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Zane Explains

Zane Explains: Why Don't Pros Use the Drop Serve?

by Zane Navratil on

Doesn't this Zane clown 🤡 have anything else to talk about other than the serve?

Nope. Sit down and shut up 🤫 while I tell you why the pros don't use the drop serve.

The same set of new 2021 rules brought us the infamous chainsaw ⛓🪚 serve (#RIP #FreeTheChainsaw), but it also brought us the provisional drop serve. Provisional meant that the rules were essentially being tested for a year before being incorporated into the rules. In 2022, the drop serve became fully incorporated in the rules, and to date, I’ve seen two drop serves used: once by yours truly last year, and a couple times by the 🐐 Kyle Yates. So why don't the pros use the drop serve?

First reason: They can’t. Last year the PPA decided not to implement the 2021 rules that made the drop serve possible, and the serve is disallowed this year as well. The APP follows USA Pickleball rules, and the drop serve is allowed there.


Second reason: They won't. I cannot think of an advantage that the drop serve provides, other than more consistency or a remedy for the yips. Pro players don't usually struggle with either of these issues.

With a normal serve, you are allowed to make contact at waist height (which has, to my understanding, been traditionally interpreted as the belly button). However, no matter how high one drops a ball from, it never bounces much above mid-thigh. So the server is losing height on their contact point. We all know that a higher contact point changes the angle at which we need to hit to clear the net, thus allowing us to hit harder.

Some people have asked, can't you get crazy spin with the drop serve? Yes, the drop serve allows for the ability to create additional backspin. However, backspin on the serve isn't a positive thing. All professional players can read the spin of a ball based on the swing path of the opponent, so the backspin isn't fooling anybody. Additionally, backspin causes a shot to fly through the air longer, making it more likely that the serve will go long or wide. Finally, if you've ever watched Law and Order, you know that 'anything you say can and will be used against you', and that applies to spin as well. If that makes no sense at all, just wait until next week when I explain how heavy spins can be used against the opponent!

So there ya have it. Drop serves don’t provide any competitive advantage to pro pickleball players, so there’s no reason for us to implement them!

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Zane Navratil

Zane Navratil

Zane is a professional pickleball player (ranked No. 17 for doubles). He is also the co-host of the number one pickleball podcast Picklepod.

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