CJ Johnson Headshot
CJ Johnson
Tony Roig
Tony Roig

Legal Pickleball Serves-photos

This is a great time to clarify this rule.

Here’s the rule you’re referring to:
4.A.6 The paddle head must be below the server’s wrist when it strikes the ball. The highest point of the paddle head cannot be above the highest part of the wrist (where the wrist joint bends). (see Figures 4-1 and 4-2).

I created the post below from a still photo from the video and the picture in the rule book. As you can see it fits the definition above.

CJ Johnson

Hey there — I’m a professional three-sport athlete and coach who has spent my entire adult life earning a living from playing and coaching sports. Since I started coaching more than three decades ago, one thing has remained the same: My commitment to see students not as they are but as what they can become and to move heaven and earth to help them realize their untapped potential. You should know that when it comes to helping pickleball players over 50 live their best lives on and off the courts, I'm an expert. Good pickleball is not just technique; it's the mind and body working holistically. That's why I'm also a personal trainer and weight management specialist. When I’m chillin', you'll find me watching Star Trek with my husband John and our two fur babies, Shirley and Ralph. (Yes, Happy Days)


  1. Avatar photo Michael Morian on December 7, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    Why do players get so upset when I’m refereeing a match and call them on an obvious illegal serve and they swear it’s legal and they have been doing it for years at their local court and nobody has told them different. If they would just read the rules and conform to the three simple constraints, they would be a better player and partner. Just calling them as they are.

    • Avatar photo Cathy Jo Johnson on December 9, 2019 at 8:14 am

      Hi Michael, I hear you! I’ve encountered the same thing. We have a player who has a backhand serve that’s clearly illegal. I finally took a quick video and showed him the points. He was still resistant and used the same argument despite the video. Since this is just rec play and I’m not the referee I decided I’d rather be happy than right.

  2. Avatar photo Cordell Barbe on December 14, 2019 at 9:24 am

    woh I love your blog posts, saved to bookmarks! .

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