By: Tony Roig | December 11, 2021 |

2022 Pickleball Rules- The Drop Serve

The 2022 revisions to the USA Pickleball Rules (technically the IFP Official Rulebook) have been announced. The “provisional” qualifier was dropped (is there a pun there) from the Drop Serve rules.

What this means is that the Drop Serve is in the official rules and here to stay.

Before the new rules were adopted, it would have been fair to view the Drop Serve as something that a player might use if they were having trouble with the serve (the Service Yips as they are commonly called). But a player may have been hesitant to spend too much time on a serve that was a provisional rule and might be removed.

No reason to fear any longer. The 2022 Rules Committee makes it clear that the Drop Serve Rule is now a permanent part of the game.

So, should you use the Drop Serve or add it to your game?

For the most part, the answer is going to be definitely.

    • If you are new to pickleball and do not have a background in racket sports, proceed directly to the Drop Serve. There is no reason to learn the traditional in-air volley serve. Keep on reading for why.
    • If you are having trouble with your volley serve, kick it to the curb and make the Drop Serve your full-time serve.
    • If you sometimes falter on the volley serve, consider replacing it completely with the Drop Serve or, at a minimum, spend some time on the Drop serve so that you have it as an insurance policy. You get into a jam with your serve? No problem. Take the Drop Serve out of your bag and use it.

Why the Drop Serve over the in-air volley serve? Three main reasons:

      1. It is consistent with the rest of the groundstrokes you hit in the game. The volley serve is an outlier. You hit it like a groundstroke, BUT the ball never bounces on the court. The Drop Serve does not suffer from this difference and is the same as a return of serve, except that you control the drop of the ball.
      2. The Drop Serve allows you better timing in hitting the ball and decreases the chance that you will rush the serve – a common cause of service errors.
      3. You’ll be able to hit deeper shots with the Drop Serve. Particularly useful when you are hitting into a heavy wind.

We show you how to do this in our 2022 Drop Serve Video

The Drop Serve also reduces the chances that you will have serve controversy at your courts.

Say you are playing, and someone suggests that your serve is illegal (or might be). Then, just pull out the ole Drop Serve.

There is only one rule you must comply with on the Drop Serve: the ball has to be dropped. This means that the ball cannot be propelled downwards (or tossed up and then allowed to bounce). Instead, it must be dropped out of your hand with no downwards force applied to it.

Once you drop the ball, the 3-rules of the service motion (ball hit under waist, upward motion on swing, and paddle under wrist) no longer apply. Dropping the ball is the only requisite.

Speaking of which, the ball can be dropped (and bounce) anywhere on the court. When you hit the serve, your feet must remain outside the baseline and between an imaginary extension of the center and sideline. The ball, however, can bounce anywhere on the court.

The permanence of the Drop Serve makes it a great addition to your game. Plus, it’s what all the cool kids are doing.

Ready to see how to hit the Drop Serve, including how to get more depth on your Serve?

Tony Roig

Hola. Hello. Konichiwa. After 40 years playing tennis, I am now a full-time pickleball player and professional. As a 5.0 rated Senior Pro Pickleball Player and an IPTPA-certified Master Teaching Professional, my focus is on helping players like you learn to play their best pickleball. In 2016, shortly after starting to play pickleball, my friend Tom and I jumped into the highest division at the first US Open in Naples, Florida. That morning it became clear just how much there is to learn in this seemingly simple sport – a lifetime of learning if you so choose. Since 2018, I have been on a mission to share my knowledge of pickleball so other players can enjoy the game at a higher level and attain their pickleball objectives. When not studying or playing pickleball, I like to travel with my other half, Jill.