The first thing you need to master when playing pickleball is how to control the ball. Once you can dink the ball back and forth, it is time to make your serve more interesting. And you can do that by learning to impart spin on the ball.
Putting a spin on the ball will make your shots unpredictable and increase your scoring chances!
If you want to learn the spin technique, you have come to the right place. Here, we will discuss the different techniques for spin shots and some important news about pickleball! Let’s dive in!
How To Hit A Spin In Pickleball For Beginners
When you are a beginner at pickleball, you start by learning the fundamentals that involve hitting the ball. But you will only be able to hit flat balls without any spin or slice.
Learning how to hit spin shots for returns will take time, but with this guide, you can learn how to do an amateur spin. However, you will have the basic knowledge and the tools with which you can build your skills over time to produce a mean spin.
There are three types of spin serves in pickleball: top spin, under spin, and side spin. Let us discuss these in detail:
1. Top Spin
For a top spin, you swing your paddle in an upward motion, i.e., keep your paddle low and slice it upwards. You can do it with a forehand or a backhand. The ball rotates forward and bounces at a low level. A top spin is also called a “slice shot.”
You only have to make contact with the ball for a fraction of a second and slice upwards to send the ball spinning forward.
2. Under Spin
With an under-spin shot, the ball bounces lower than with no spin. The right way to hit an underspin shot is to move from high to low. And you always want to make contact with the lower part of the ball when executing this serve.
3. Side Spin
For the side spin, you need to hit the ball across the horizontal axis. For the forehand, your paddle moves from right to left. And for the backhand, you have to slice from left to right in a quick motion.
Here is a video explaining the technique for the three main types of pickleball spin serves.
How To Serve A One-Handed Pickleball Spin?
Now let us talk about how to execute a perfect one-handed pickleball spin serve, popularized by the pro player Morgan Evans. Follow these steps to learn the one-handed spin:
Step 1- Hold The Ball In The Correct Position
Hold the ball between your thumb and the middle finger so that your thumb is facing your body and your middle finger is directly in front. Put the index finger on top, so the three fingers form a triangle.
Step 2- Toss The Ball With A Spin
To execute the spin, move your thumb on top of the ball and let your middle finger roll down as if you were snapping your fingers. The key to imparting a good spin to the ball is to snap your fingers.
It is a common misconception among amateur pickleball players that the server needs to grasp the ball with his thumb and middle finger and bring them together to pinch the ball. We are here to debunk this method and assure you that this method is not the way to perform a spin serve and does not produce nearly enough RPMs.
Step 3- Hit The Ball
For a topspin stroke, toss the ball and, keeping your wrist towards your body, hit a drive in a low to high motion. This will produce a ball that stays low and, thus, will be difficult to return.
Another technique for hitting a spin ball is misdirection. With this, you kick off the serve, letting your opponent think you are hitting in one direction, but the spin from your hand shoots the ball in another direction. This will trick your opponent and may make them miss the shot.
Here is a video tutorial to help you understand this better.
Is The Spin Serve Illegal In 2022?
All spin serves, including the one-hand spin, two-handed spin, and the chainsaw serve, have been banned by the Pro Pickleball Association, effective from 2022. If the referee suspects a spin has been imparted on the ball, he or she can call for a reserve.
Remember that these new guidelines only apply to the professional division players competing on the PPA tour. If you are playing in a non-professional PPA event or the amateur division of the same event, you can use the one-handed spin serve.
Every ball spins a little because there is no way you can hit a completely flat ball. The ball will tumble post-serve, but spinning the ball immediately before release is not allowed anymore.
This rule will not be applied to any USAPA, APP, or local pickleball events because they follow USAPA guidelines, according to which the one-hand spin is a legal serve.
Here are the details about this rule change and the one-hand spin serve, as included in the official USA Pickleball rulebook:
- The server can only use one hand to release the ball to perform the serve.
- The part of the hand coming into contact with the ball should be bare, i.e., you cannot use a band-aid or a glove on the hand you are using to release the ball. However, you can cut out the glove material from the fingers to expose them to the referee.
- The ball’s release by the server should be visible to the referee. The serve should be visible to the receiver if the referee does not officiate the match. You cannot use the paddle or your partner to shield the ball’s release.
- The receiver or the referee reserves the right to call for a replay if the serve is not visible.
Although the PPA has banned spin serves for the pro division, it does not apply to most players out there, and they can learn to use the spin serve to ace their opponents.
Mastering this technique will add a new dimension to your game and make it challenging for your opponent to return the shot.
So, now that you have all the information, keep practicing the technique you learned here today to always keep your opponents guessing!