Who Serves First in Pickleball | Top Fitness Services

Pickleball, one of the most popular racquet sports in the US, serves up a simple yet essential question, who serves first in pickleball? Answering this question becomes easy if you know the basic key concepts of this game.  Here are a few rules and tips you need to follow to answer that question of your, who serves first in pickleball. 

Understanding the Basics 

So, who serves first in pickleball? Players or teams, whether playing singles play or doubles play, use different fair methods to decide who gets to serve first in pickleball. These fair methods include rocks, paper, scissors, coin flip, etc. The one who wins then decides whether he wants to serve first or defer to their opponent. 

When you are stepping onto the court, whether for singles or doubles, remember – the first server stands on the right side. And if you are playing doubles, why not let the best player on your team serve first? It increases your chances of snagging points from the get-go.

Pickleball Point Progression

Pickleball Positioning

Here are a few more points you need to have a strong grip on: 

  • After the first serve, your opponent (the returner) needs to send the ball back over the net to keep the point alive. They have the whole serving team’s side to aim for.
  • If you clinch the point, get ready to serve the next ball, but this time from the left-hand side of the court.
  • In doubles, during the first server’s round, the winning player stays in charge, serving from one side to the other with each successful point.
  • However, if the returning team wins a point initiated by the first server, it’s time to pass the ball to the second player on the serving team.
  • The second player takes over the serving duties, switching sides after each victorious point until the serve is lost, and the ball goes to the opposing team.

Mastering Pickleball Scoring:

Understanding how points are scored in pickleball adds a strategic twist to the game.

  • Only the serving team has the chance to score points in pickleball.
  • In singles, the receiving player, and in doubles, the receiving team, must win a rally to earn the right to serve and start accumulating points on the scoreboard.
  • In doubles, winning at least two rallies is necessary to regain the serving opportunity since each server gets a turn.
  • The scoreboard might not budge much in many pickleball games, depending on the competitiveness and how evenly matched the teams are.
  • Two well-matched teams may go back and forth between serving and receiving without racking up many points if the receiving team consistently wins points.
  • In games with a significant skill gap, the stronger team can accumulate points quickly on serve, leading to a faster conclusion of the game.

Decoding Pickleball Points:

Alright, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of scoring in pickleball – it is not just about winning an exchange!

So, here’s the lowdown: you win an exchange when the other team goofs up. But hold on, that doesn’t guarantee a point. To score, you need the opposing team to mess up AND be the serving team.

Now, onto the common mishaps that can cost you points:

  • The ball takes a detour into the non-volley zone during service.
  • Someone hits the ball out of bounds!
  • An encounter with the net that doesn’t end well.
  • Breaking the non-volley zone rule – no standing or sneaking in during volleys.
  • Breaking the two-bounce rule – serve bounces on their side, return on yours.
  • The serve switcheroo – serving from the wrong side or by the wrong player.
  • A mix-up in receiving – confusion about whose turn it is.

Now, the two-bounce rule is crucial. The serve bounces on their side, the return on yours. Serving team, watch out – you are usually at the forefront of this rule. Avoid the temptation to charge in too soon after that serve; hitting the third shot as a volley is a no-no and scores a fault for your team. Stay sharp, play smart, and let’s keep those points rolling! 

Mastering Your Pickleball Serve

Master Serve in Pickleball

Let’s talk about the MVP of pickleball – the serve. It’s a game-changer, and here are some tips to elevate your serving game:

Picking Your Target

  Aim for a specific spot on the court, placing the ball strategically, like targeting your opponent’s backhand for a slight advantage. As you progress, go deeper and closer to the baseline.

Progression To Eastern Grip From Continental

 Start with a continental grip for simplicity when learning. As you advance, consider shifting to an eastern forehand grip for more powerful serves.

Swing With Your Whole Body

Avoid the rookie mistake of using only your wrist and elbow. Engage your entire body – legs bent, twist at the waist, and swing through with your shoulder and arm.

Margin of Error

 Allow yourself a margin for error by aiming a couple of feet away from the baseline and sideline. Aces are rare in pickleball, so no need to risk it near the lines.

Mix Up Your Serves

Keep opponents guessing by varying the speed, position, and spin of your serves. Consistency is key, but adding variety maximizes your chances of scoring points.

How to Improve Your Serve

 Practice, practice, practice! If you’re low on balls, a wall can be your training buddy. Mark a target and hone your accuracy. Once confident, head to the court, focus on deep serves, and experiment with different spins and power levels.

Serving – The Gateway to Pickleball Fun:

Serving is more than just an opener; it’s your chance to shine on the court. Whether you’re confident or looking to level up, working on that serve is a game-changer. So, grab your paddle, hit the court, and make that serve a force to be reckoned with! 


1. How is the first server determined in pickleball?

The first server in pickleball is typically decided through a coin toss or by winning a rally.

2. Where does serving start in pickleball?

Serving in pickleball begins from the right-hand side of the court.

3. How is the serve determined in pickleball?

The serve in pickleball is determined by the team that wins the previous point.

4. Is serving first advantageous in pickleball?

Yes, serving first in pickleball can be advantageous, especially if you have a strong server, giving you an early chance to score points.

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