Can You Serve Overhand in Pickleball? Mastering the Technique

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Pickleball combines three sports; tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. This game requires little skill, but it has a set of rules that each player must follow. For some people, these rules are quite complex, and they need help remembering each one. One of the hardcore rules is to serve with an underhand technique as it creates an upward arc. It allows the ball to move diagonally toward the opponent. 

Can you serve overhand in pickleball? Due to the underhand serve rule, many people need clarification on whether they can use the overhand technique. Here’s a detailed video on how to serve overhand in Pickleball:

This article discusses whether you can use an overhand technique and when you can use it. Let’s begin! 

Is It Possible to Serve Overhand in Pickleball? 

Pickleball has some ground rules, and you cannot break them. One of the main rules of playing pickleball is that only the serving team gets the point. However, the server should serve using an underhand technique only. If serving with an overhand technique is allowed, it is not. 

You cannot serve using an overhand technique, but you can use it otherwise. Overhand technique is perfect to create a good pace and momentum, making the game more intense and interesting. You can hit the ball overhand anytime you want unless you are serving. Overhand is one of the most powerful techniques that give you more defense capabilities. You can use the overhand technique to defend yourself against an overhead smash or a lob. We will discuss further overhand shots and the right time to use them.  

When Is the Best Time to Use an Overhand Shot? 

Now that you know you cannot use an overhand shot when serving, you must be thinking when to use it. An overhand shot holds much power, throwing the opposing player out of their comfort zone. Here are some of the best times to use an overhand shot: 

After Serving 

Anytime is good for an overhand shot, adding more momentum and power. Once you have served, you can use an overhand shot whenever the ball comes back toward you. It is even better to make the overhand shot if you are a receiver and use it as a defense against the lob. An underhand works best if the bounce is less and the ball is low to the ground. If the ball is higher than your shoulder, hitting an overhand shot is better. 

When the Bounce is High 

The best time to use the overhand shot is when the ball bounces high. You cannot make most of the overhand shot if the ball bounces weakly. It is better to use the underhand technique if the bounce is less and the ball is lower to the ground. 

However, an overhand shot would be perfect if the ball has an exceptional bounce and is higher than the shoulder level. Use gentle force to maintain good momentum and gain a competitive advantage. Overhead smashes are the most powerful and are quite effective in putting the opponent under pressure. 

To Get Opponent Near Baseline 

Multiple strategies can cause the opponent to lose their competitive spirit. Most professional players use overhand shots to put their opponents under pressure. An overhand shot has the most power as it helps push the opponent near the baseline.  

It adds more bounce to the ball, which causes the opponent to push back to make a nice shot. It can make them go beyond the boundary, which helps you gain additional points. Hence, using an overhand shot strategically at the right time is best. 

When To Not Use an Overhand Shot? 

The above section was about the best time to use an overhand technique. However, sometimes an overhand shot may not be the smartest decision. Here are sometimes when it is best to avoid overhand shots: 

Balls with Low Bounce 

Often your opponent will use a couple of techniques to intimidate you. One of the techniques that most players use is a dink shot which has a low bounce. This shot is perfect for getting the opponent under pressure and giving them less room to think. 

If your opponent throws a dink or low bounce shot at you, hitting back with an overhand shot will be a mistake. It can make the ball hit the kitchen area or not even go over the end. The best thing to do with low-bounce shots is to use the underhand technique to give it a nice diagonal arc. 

Ball Below Waist

Another way to estimate when to hit an overhand shot is to check the bounce. You can successfully try an overhand shot if the bounce is higher than your shoulder or waist. However, an overhand shot will turn weak if you use it on the ball below the waist. 

If the ball is lower to the ground, converting it into a dink shot is best, making it challenging for the opponent. Never try an overhand shot until the ball is higher and gives you room to hit powerfully. 

How to Hit an Overhead Smash? 

Most people are weaker at hitting an overhead smash because they don’t get their posture right. It is best to twist your body, keep the dominant hand behind, and keep your feet aligned. If you want to go lighter at the ball, twist your body slowly and adjust the speed at which your hand will hit the ball. If the ball bounces higher, jumping a little before hitting is best. After hitting, land on your feed and closely observe the opponent’s next move. 


Pickleball is an easy-to-learn game, but it has its complexities. Can you serve an overhand in pickleball? It is one of the popular questions that most people ask and want to know a detailed answer to. We tried to explain everything you need to know about overhand in pickleball. We hope this article comes in handy and improves your pickleball performance. 

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