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Tips for An Aggressive Serve

I’ve recently started watching more professional pickleball. I typically tend to watch more doubles than any other format, but yesterday I watched quite a bit of singles at the PPA Riverland Pickleball Open. As a doubles fan, I noticed that serves are typically conservative, which is atypical of my personal pickleball game. However, I did notice more aggressive serves in the singles games yesterday. This was a breath of fresh air to me. 

Yes, I understand there are risks to more aggressive serves. The loss of possession and potential scoring opportunity is the biggest risk. While I acknowledge this risk, I still think the strategy pays off more often than not. 

Personally, I enjoy seeing some aggressive serves because it keeps the opposition on its toes. I think you always need to keep your opponents guessing. All it takes is one aggressive serve poorly returned to get your opponent on edge. They will start to overthink it and you can effectively mix in different serve types, but more importantly, if they are so focused on returning the serve, they will struggle with placement.

If you’re interested in more aggressive serves, take a look at the following tips below.

  • Live on the Lines
    • We all know that placing the ball deep on the baseline is key in pickleball, but I rarely see people use the sideline and middle line to their advantage. Depending on the positioning and paddle hand of your opponent, don’t be afraid to rip a serve to the sidelines to make your opponent run wide to return. If they are able to effectively return it, they are out of position for the follow-up return.
  • Step Back
    • Pickleballers tend to be right up on the baseline while serving. When serving aggressively, I’d recommend taking a step back off the baseline before serving. Doing this allows you more space for rotation while serving, but also allows you to put more power behind the serve with less risk of a deep-out serve.
  • Play to the Backhand
    • Whether your opponent is skilled with their backhand or not, it will pay off to target their backhand on the serve. The combination of an aggressive serve to their non-dominant side will leave little room for error.

Pickleball is a game of inches, every little difference makes an impact on the game. Next time you are playing mix in a couple more aggressive serves and let me know how it goes!

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