Can You Toss The Ball On A Serve in Pickleball?

Alex Jones

You might be wondering if can you toss the ball on a serve in Pickleball since the serve is such an important shot for scoring points. In this game, your goal is to score more points than your opponent. It is essential to know how we like to win, to understand the play guidelines, and to know how to serve the ball.

Can You Toss the Ball on a Serve in Pickleball?

Yes, you can toss the ball on a serve in Pickleball. At the beginning of a rally, you can serve the ball by tossing it. Volley pickleball serves can be used to throw the ball on release. In the alternate drop serve, it is illegal to toss the ball rather than drop it.

In order to play Pickleball, you need to understand the guidelines because it has exploded in popularity across America. It is important to consider more than just hitting the ball when determining whether the ball is in play after a serve.

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Is It Legal To Toss The Ball On A Pickleball Serve?

Can You Toss The Ball On A Serve In Pickleball

In Pickleball, there are two types of serves that are legal since 2022. There are two types of serves: the volley serve and the drop serve. Players with disabilities were initially given access to the drop serve, but now everyone can use it.

If you choose to alternate between serves and digs during a rally, you may do either. The ball can only be tossed during a volley serve, however, there are still certain rules that must be followed in order for this service to be legal.

Pickleball Volley Serve Criteria

In accordance with the USA Pickleball 2022 Rulebook, here’s what you should watch out for:

  • You must move your arm upward (forehand or backhand) when you serve (4.A.3) USA Pickleball 2022 Rulebook.
  • (4.A.4) USA Pickleball 2022 Rulebook states that the top of the paddle head cannot exceed the highest part of the wrist.
  • According to USA Pickleball 2022 Rulebook 4.A.5, there can be no physical contact with the ball above the waist.

Feet placement is also required. When contacting the Pickleball with your paddle, one foot must remain behind the baseline and in contact with the ground. There is no need to do this after the service.

There are imaginary extensions of the sidelines and centreline from where the server should stand diagonally opposite the service court.

When Not To Toss A Ball In A Pickleball Serve

A drop serve results in an illegal serve if the ball is thrown, pushed upward, or propelled downward. When doing a drop serve, the ball must not be thrown upward, bounced, or hit.

Your Pickleball bounce can only be influenced by gravity if you drop serve. The serve will be ruled illegal if the ball is tossed or if it is unnaturally bounced. After the Pickleball bounces, it is hit. There is no limit to the number of bounces a ball can make before being hit.

These three rules are irrelevant for the drop-to-serve, so adhering to the same criteria as the volley serve is unnecessary. It is a legal serve as long as your feet are positioned correctly when you serve the ball (see table below for foot positioning).

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Drop Serve And Volley Serve in Pickleball

Compared to the drop serve, the volley serve has some similarities and some differences. The following table highlights these:

The pickleball should be hit with either a forehand or backhand motionVolley serves are subject to the following restrictions:– Make sure you hit the Pickleball below your navel– Arrange your arm in an upward motion– Your paddle head should be lower than your wrist at its highest point.
A Pickleball drop serve is not subject to any of the restrictions listed above
It is important to follow basic foot placement rules.– Keep one foot on the ground behind the baseline, e.g., do not jump.– You may not place your feet inside the baseline or on the Pickleball court. Sidelines and centrelines may not be touched by your feet or extended beyond their imaginary extension lines.It’s important to remember that you must remain unaided when using a drop serve, as gravity will accelerate the release, whereas the volley serve may be tossed.
It is important that your serve lands diagonally to the server’s service courtAs opposed to the volley serve, aiding the Pickleball by tossing or throwing the ball will cause a fault, losing the serve
After the score is called, pickleball must be played within 10 secondsA volley serve hits the ball with the paddle and does not allow it to bounce on the court, unlike a drop serve

Pickleball games start with a service, so it’s only if you serve the ball that you can score points or win the rally. When you win the rally, your opponent will not be able to hit the ball back to your side.

Get the upper hand by following these tips.

Toss Tips For Pickleball Volley Serves

The toss can make or break your game if you decide to start with a volley serve. Using a volley serve is the only time you can play a toss on service. You can ace your play by following these tips:

  • Before you strike, lift your toss. It is up to you what height you toss the ball at, as this will give you time and space to hit it. You also make more contact with the ball when you strike it this way.
  • You can add spin to your toss by adding spin. Use your paddle or bare hands to do this. The serve will be harder to return if you use this move.
  • It is better not to hit a bad toss. You will have ten seconds after the score has been called to redo the toss.
  • Your toss needs to be practiced, practiced and practiced some more. Make your serve more aggressive by adding a spin or by being more aggressive in general.

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Common Mistakes to Avoid

Tossing Errors

Tossing motions can be incorporated into serves inadvertently by some players. Use your non-dominant hand only for ball placement and emphasize the underhand swing.

Foot Faults and Illegal Serves

To avoid foot faults, make sure both of your feet remain behind the baseline during the serve. Also, make sure you serve within the correct diagonal court to avoid serving illegally.

The Impact of Toss on Overall Game Performance

Pickleball serves do not require tossing the ball, but it can affect your overall game performance. The ability to serve more powerfully and effectively can be improved by focusing on consistent and accurate underhand swings while eliminating unnecessary tossing movements.

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Do you have to drop the ball when serving in pickleball?

No, Pickleball does not require you to drop the ball when serving. Drop serves and volley serves are both available. To make a volley serve, the ball is tossed or released and hit before it bounces.
During a drop serve, the ball is dropped or released from a natural height and is then hit after it reflects on the court. Both types of serves have advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your skill level and preference, you will use a particular serve.

Does tossing the ball add more power to the serve? 

The tossing motion is regarded as a powerful serve by some players, but it does not contribute significantly to the power of the serve in pickleball.

Can you let the ball bounce when serving in pickleball?

Using the drop-serve technique is the only way to allow the ball to bounce while serving in pickleball. In a drop serve, the ball is hit after it has reflected on the court.
It is important that the ball is in the receiver’s court during the bounce. The placement of the foot and the point of contact are exact in traditional serves. A drop serve is more accurate and controlled when the ball is observed during contact.

Which stroke is legal while serving in pickleball?

In pickleball, you can only serve using an underhand stroke. This means hitting the ball with your paddle downward and upward. Forehands and backhands are allowed under the underhand rule.
A mistake will result if you use an overhand or sidearm stroke to hit the ball. Adding spin to your serve is still possible while using an underhand stroke. If you want to serve in pickleball, you must use the underhand stroke, whether you are serving a volley or a drop serve.


Serving is the first step in every game, and winning is the last step. When used correctly, the serve ranks highly. Several uses can be made of it including setting up attacks and gaining control over rallies. Keeping control of the ball and preventing your opponent from returning the favor is the goal.

Be sure your game is legal, whether you begin with a toss or a bounce. It is important to remember the Pickleball serving rules since points are only awarded for legal service. The bounce of a drop serve may be used at the end of a volley serve (AKA toss serve) depending on your ability.


Alex jones

about Alex jones

As a freelance writer, I primarily write articles for Pickleball Click. With over 17 years of experience in playing pickleball, I have developed a deep love for this exciting and fast-growing sport.

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