Padel Service: How to Serve Like a Pro (Guide)

Concerned about your padel service and unsure if you’ll ace it on the court? Struggling with the rules governing this crucial aspect of the game? Seeking some expert advice? Fret not, as Racchettiamo is your go-to source to unravel all the nuances of the service in padel. By the time you finish reading, you’ll be ready to invite friends, arrange a match, and confidently serve without any worries of leaving a subpar impression.

Padel Serve Guidelines

paddle field

Padel Service Rules

Starting with the service rules in padel, they’re more intricate than the ones for regular rallies.

Each game in padel requires a change in server, and this player continues to serve until that game concludes. An exception is during a tie-break: the initial server serves once, followed by the other players who serve twice in succession.

Typically, the serving team is determined at the game’s outset through a casual rally. The duo that commits an error loses the chance to serve first. Once the first point is played, the receiving pair selects verbally which player will serve first.

After the conclusion of a game , the serve is handed over to the opposing team. Once both players from the opposing team have served, the serve returns to the original team but is taken up by the player who hasn’t served yet, ensuring everyone gets an opportunity. It emphasizes the sport’s commitment to fairness and equitable play.

Shot Execution and Rule Violations

Having discussed the lineup, let’s delve into the hands-on aspect – the actual serve in padel and potential violations.

Padel differs significantly from tennis. Unlike tennis, where players toss the ball and strike it mid-air, in padel, the ball is dropped and hit on its way up after the bounce.

The serve in padel is diagonal-only, strictly not directed at the player directly ahead. It should bounce in the square next to the net on the opposite side.

This designated square is in line with the net, extends 4 meters from the back wall, and is bisected by the midfield line.

When serving, the ball must first land within this square. After that, it must either bounce on the court or hit the rear or side glass, but it can’t hit the metal section without glass.

A serve hitting that metal section counts as a violation. So, when is a serve in padel retaken?

On the first violation, the server gets another chance. If a second violation occurs, the opposing team scores a point.

If the ball grazes the net during the serve but lands in the correct square, it’s termed a “net” and the server gets a redo without any penalty.

Scoring in Padel

Understanding the scoring in padel (or “paddle” as some refer to it) is crucial for both players and spectators. A point in padel is awarded when the opponent fails to return the ball before it bounces twice on the court.

However, if the ball bounces once on the court and then strikes the wall, it’s still in play, as long as the player can successfully return it to the opposing side. While you’re allowed to use the rear glass wall for your return, the side walls or side glass are off-limits.

When playing a shot over the net, the ball must first touch the ground (excluding serves), and only then can it hit any of the walls. A ball that directly hits a wall without bouncing on the ground first is deemed out, giving the point to the opponents.

Interestingly, if a ball bounces in the court and then exits the play area, either through a door or over the walls, the point is awarded to the player who hit that shot. And on the rare occasion where the ball bounces in the opponent’s court and then spins back towards the hitter’s side without any player making contact, the point is awarded to the player who made the shot. Padel’s unique court features and rules can make for some exciting and unpredictable plays!


Padel Service: How To Serve Like a PRO?

padel service guidelines

Serving in padel is an essential skill that can set the tone for the rally. While it may not be as aggressive as tennis serves, mastering the padel serve can give you a distinct advantage over your opponents. Here’s how to serve like a pro in padel:

  1. Underarm Serve: Unlike tennis, padel serves are always underarm. The ball must be struck at or below waist height. A good way to ensure this is to let the ball bounce and strike it as it rises, keeping your racket below your waist.
  2. Positioning: Begin your serve behind the service line and between the central and lateral service lines. This position allows you to cover the court effectively for the return.
  3. Eye on the Ball: As with all racquet sports, keeping your eye on the ball is crucial. Track the ball from the bounce to your racket to ensure a clean strike.
  4. Grip: The continental grip, similar to a “hammer grip,” is the most recommended for serving in padel. It provides the best combination of control and power. Take a look
  5. Smooth Action: The serve should be one smooth action. Start by tossing the ball into the air. As it drops, let it bounce once before striking. Aim to hit the ball just as it begins to rise after the bounce.
  6. Diagonal Direction: Always serve diagonally into the opponent’s service box. The ball should bounce within their service box and can then hit the back wall. However, it shouldn’t hit the side wall first, or it’s a fault.
  7. Variety: Like tennis pros mix up their serves, try to vary your serves to keep your opponents guessing. While power isn’t a primary focus in padel serves, placement and variety are. Serve deep, serve short, use sidespin – keep your opponents on their toes.
  8. Double Faults: Just as in tennis, you get two chances to make a valid serve in padel. If both serves result in faults (like hitting the net or serving out of the box), the opposing team wins the point.
  9. Practice: Spend time practicing your serve. Focus on consistency, ensuring that the majority of your serves land in the correct service box without hitting the net. Over time, as your consistency improves, you can start working on adding variety.
  10. Watch the Pros: One of the best ways to learn is by watching the professionals play. Take note of their serving technique, their body positioning, and how they handle pressure situations.

Example: Consider the playing style of famous padel players like Fernando Belasteguin or Juan Lebron. Their serves, while not overly powerful, are consistent, well-placed, and set them up perfectly for the next shot. They use their serves not as a weapon to win points outright but as a strategic tool to begin the rally on their terms.

Consider also to buy yourself professional gear, that will help you to perform better. Find the best padel shoes to choose the pair that will bring you more comfort and confidence on the court.


Final Thought

Mastering the intricacies of serving in padel is key to establishing a strong foundation for the game. While serving might initially seem simple, it’s layered with nuances that, when overlooked, can lead to missed opportunities or even losses. In padel, the likelihood of scoring direct points or ‘aces’ through serves is minimal. The focus should be on delivering a solid, consistent serve that sets up the rally rather than trying to win the point outright.

Also, partnering your serve with good court positioning and communication with your teammate can exponentially increase your chances of gaining the upper hand in subsequent exchanges. It’s not always about the power but the strategy and placement. I will recommend you to invest time in understanding and practicing your serves – it’s a small element that can have a significant impact on your overall game.


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About Mark Bailey

I’m Mark Bailey. I’ve been in the racket sports industry for 11 years and counting! You could say I’m a bit of a racket guru. I have experience with tennis, squash, badminton and table tennis at an international level. My blog is all about providing you with tips to improve your game as well as sharing my experiences from different tournaments around the world. In addition to this, when there’s snow on the ground (in winter) I like to take advantage of it by going snowboarding in France! And even when there’s not any snow left… My Labrador Rocky always needs walking!

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