The infamous chainsaw serve was reduced to a one handed spin serve in 2022. Now, it appears USA Pickleball is finishing the job and ending the spin serve completely.
Rule 524 titled "Eliminating the spin serve" passed the USA Pickleball Rules Committee vote this month. The next step for the proposed rule is the USAP Board of Directors. The board has until October 31st to approve the rule making it official. If the board approvals the rule, it will go into effect Jan 1, 2023.
This means that no pre-serve manipulation will be allowed on the ball. The ball must be visible to the ref and opponent for the toss.
Zane Navratil, who made the spin serve famous, has still had success using the one handed spin serve. A couple of other top pros like JW Johnson, Jorja Johnson and John Cincola have also benefitted from using the spin serve in 2022.
Navratil's spin serve was most notable in mixed doubles matches. Female players did not have as much exposure to his serve and some players struggled with it resulting in aces or missed returns. This was true for Major League Pickleball where Navaratil's team BLQK won in Austin and finished second in Newport Beach.
The spin serve was also popular in the amateur ranks. In tournaments at the 4.0-5.0 levels it seemed like the majority of rallies started with a spin serve. The effects of the serve were amplified in the singles game. Forcing poor returns leads to easy points in singles so many singles players made their spin serve a big art of their game.
The PPA Tour was ahead of the trend and decided to completely outlaw pre-serve spin at the start of 2022. Ben Johns made comparisons to the evolution of the table tennis serve in the PicklePod.
He discussed how the game eventually reached a point where the toss could have no maniulation and must be visible. No doubt he helped influenced the league to skip the one handed serve.
Stay tuned for the official USAP announcement on the spin serve but all signs point to its demise. If you're a big fan of the spin its time to squeeze in tournaments before the end of the year.