The Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) has introduced new serving rules, significantly altering the way players serve in tour events. These changes, which are currently in a beta testing phase, have sparked much discussion in the pickleball community.
Let’s delve into the key aspects of these new serving regulations.
Rule #1: The Serve Toss
Old Method: Traditionally, players had the freedom to toss the ball upwards and strike it on the fly during a serve.
New Change: Under the new PPA rules, this technique is no longer permissible. The ball must now be tossed below the waist, transforming the serve into more of a drop than a traditional toss. This change aims to standardize the serve, making it less of an aggressive starting play and more in line with the sport’s original intent.
Rule #2: Release Point
Old Method: Previously, players would release the ball with their palm facing upwards during the serve.
New Change: The updated rule mandates that players must release the ball with their palm facing downwards, towards the floor. This adjustment in the release point fundamentally changes the mechanics of the serve, potentially impacting the serve’s power and trajectory.
Rule #3: Where You Release the Ball
Old Method: There were fewer restrictions on where above the body the ball could be released for a serve.
New Change: The new rule specifies that the ball must be released below the hip line. Releasing the ball above the hip line is now considered a fault. This requirement for a lower release point leads to more compact and controlled swings, again diminishing the serve’s role as an overpowering first strike in the game.
Watch and Learn
Pro player and coach Will East recently broke down these new rules in a video:
Will also shared some straightforward pickleball coaching tips to smoothly adapt from the traditional to the BETA serving rule:
Implications and Adaptations
These changes, especially being tested in a high-profile setting like the PPA tour, reflect an evolving philosophy in pickleball. The emphasis is shifting towards less aggressive serving techniques, possibly to encourage longer rallies and more strategic gameplay.
Players, both professional and amateur, may need to adjust their serving techniques significantly. Training and practice under these new rules will be crucial for those competing in PPA events.
To Sum Up
The introduction of these new serving rules in the PPA tour represents a significant shift in pickleball’s competitive play. While these rules are in a beta phase and may undergo further adjustments, they currently point towards a future where serving in pickleball is more about strategic play initiation rather than an overpowering advantage.
As with any sport, adaptation and skill development are key, and players will undoubtedly rise to the challenge presented by these new serving rules.
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