Why Pickleball Spin Serve [pre-spun] Is Banned New Rules Update-2023?

Pickleball Spin Serve

USA Pickleball has announced new pickleball spin serve rules in 2023, and one pickleball spin serve rule change has caught the attention of pickleball enthusiasts. It has changed in spin-serve pickleball rules 2022.

Pickleball spin serve Rules 2022 serve rules have been changed. The previously allowed one-handed pre-spun serve in pickleball is no longer permitted according to the updated rules. This means players can’t spin the ball using only one hand before serving. The logic behind this modification has not been disclosed, but it will have an impact on the way the game is conducted. However, players can still put spin on the ball without using a one-handed serve which is spin serve legal in pickleball

In last year’s update, the chainsaw serves also known as Navratil chainsaw was banned, and now the 2023 rules have outlawed another serving technique – the spin serve. With this serve, players would use their paddle to add spin to the ball during the serve, but this is no longer allowed.

As a result, some players turned to the spin serve, which involved using their hands to put spin on the ball before hitting it with the paddle. However, this technique is now also prohibited under the new rules.

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Pickleball Spin Serve Rules 2023

In 2023, the updated USA Pickleball Rule Book will forbid applying any spin or manipulation of the ball from one hand, prior to striking it with the paddle for the serve.

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Chainsaw Serve

It’s a controversial serve that involves the server hitting the ball with an extreme amount of topspin, causing it to bounce and spin in an unpredictable manner. To execute this serve, the server tosses the ball into the air and then rapidly brushes the paddle face along the ball in a downward motion, creating a spinning motion that resembles the movement of a chainsaw.

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Pre-Spun Serve(Ban)

A pickleball pre-spun serve refers to the action of applying spin to the ball with your fingers or hand rotation, prior to striking a volley serve. Players might pinch the ball, putting excessive spin on it before striking with the pickleball paddle.

What is a Pickleball Spin (pre-spun) Serve?

It is believed that the practice of using spin serves began in 2022 when Zane Navratil popularized the “chainsaw serve”. However, the rules were soon modified to limit the serve to one-handed use only. Subsequently, the PPA Tour decided to test the pre-serve spin technique in professional matches.

It is worth mentioning here that the official rulebook of USA Pickleball acknowledges solely two lawful serves – The Volley Serve and The Drop Serve. 

Rule 4.A.5 explicitly deals with The Volley Serve, and the 2023 rule amendment will concentrate on forbidding the application of spin to the ball before striking it for the serve.  This means that the action of pre-spinning the ball, which we will refer to as the “pre-spun serve” throughout this article, will be banned.

Novice players may find the pre-spun serve challenging to return as it involves applying spin to the ball with the fingers or hand rotation before hitting a volley serve with the pickleball paddle, resulting in an unpredictable bounce on the opponent’s court.

The pre-spin technique can create an erratic bounce on the opponent’s court, making it challenging to return, particularly for inexperienced players. The 2023 edition of the USA Pickleball rule book will introduce a new rule that forbids any manipulation or spin of the ball from one hand prior to hitting it with the paddle for the serve.

This rule aims to ensure a fair and accessible game for all players, as the pre-spun serve was believed to create an uneven playing field, especially for amateur players. This decision was made following a thorough review and voting process, resulting in the rule being added to the book. It is important to note that players can still apply spin to the ball using the paddle when striking it during the serve.

Review, the idea that you’re unable to apply spin to a serve is not accurate. The pickleball rules changes are only applicable to the spin applied on the ball PRIOR to it being struck during the serve.

Once the ball has been tossed or dropped, the paddle can be utilized to impart spin to it. It can be a pickleball topspin serve or side spin pickleball serve as long as the pickleball service is followed.

The Reason for Changing Rule 4.A.5 By USA Pickleball – The Volley Serve which forbids pre-spinning the ball?

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The USA Pickleball committee cited five reasons for banning the pre-spun spin serve.

  1. Firstly, the server’s original purpose was to start play.
  2. Secondly, most players cannot effectively hit or return a pre-spun serve.
  3. Thirdly pre-spun serves that are effective require the receiver to have a larger area of the court to react.
  4. Fourthly, only a select few players have achieved mastery of this type of serve, which can give them an unjust advantage.
  5. Fifthly, the pre-spun serve can be particularly devastating for novice players.

Overall, the USA Pickleball committee believed that the pre-spun serve made the game less accessible for newcomers and casual players. Pickleball is meant to be an easy sport to get started with, regardless of age or athleticism, and the goal is to have longer rallies.

Difficult-to-return serves to detract from that goal, and according to USA Pickleball, the serve should be a means to start play, not a way to score by itself.

New Volley Serve Rule 2023

The new volley serve rule for pickleball has been updated for 2023.

4.A.5 The Volley Serve

The rule requires that the server only use a one-handed spin serve to release the ball for the serve. Before executing the serve, the server is prohibited from applying any sort of manipulation or spin on the ball during its release. Additionally, the release must be observable to both the referee and the receiver.

In the event that either the referee or the receiver suspects that manipulation or spin has been applied or that the release was not visible, a reserve will be declared. In pickleball, it is permissible for players who have only one hand to use either their non-dominant hand or paddle to toss the ball up and serve.

Additionally, there have been changes in equipment time-outs where players can use equipment time-outs even if the team is out of regular time-outs. There is also a new rule that prohibits players from wearing clothing that matches the color of the ball during the game. If a player is wearing clothing that matches the ball’s color, they may be requested to change it.

Other changes include the ability to correct the score if the wrong score is called, as well as updates to service motions, line calls, rejection of rally scoring, and editorial changes. These changes are intended to make the game more accessible to newcomers and casual players while still keeping with the original spirit of the game.

Pickleball Spin Serve

Effects of Pre-Spun Serve on a Normal Pickleball Game

For those who typically don’t face opponents who employ pre-spun serves, the updated rule will have no impact on their usual games. On the other hand, those who previously faced such serves will no longer have to contend with them, resulting in a more predictable and manageable return.

It’s worth noting that players can still incorporate topspin or underspin in their serves.

Rule Changing Criteria By USA Pickleball

The rules governing pickleball are founded on transparency and community involvement, upholding the values of the sport. To initiate a rule change, USA Pickleball members are welcome to submit suggestions, with the submission period ending on June 15 each year. In the most recent year, 78 rule change proposals were received.

The USA Pickleball website publicly displays all suggested changes, and members can review them and provide feedback until June 30. During July, the USA Pickleball Rules Committee evaluates all the submissions, deciding whether to approve, reject or modify them.

Once approved, the proposed changes are formulated into rule language and made available to USA Pickleball members for input from August 30 to September 15.

By October 31, 2023, the finalized rule changes were presented to the USA Pickleball Board of Directors for their final decision on whether to approve or reject them. Once approved, the revised rulebook undergoes a thorough review process and is published on the USA Pickleball website by December 1. This gives the public 30 days to become acquainted with the changes.

The new rulebook is then made available on the USA Pickleball website by January 1 of the following year.

Pickleball Spin Serve

Players’ Opinions About Pickleball Spin Serve Banned in 2023?

The players of USAP are divided in their opinions regarding the recent modification to rule 4.A.5, which prohibits the pre-spun serve.

Supporters of the Pickleball Pre-Spun Serve Ban

Numerous players share the viewpoint of USA Pickleball, contending that prohibiting the pre-spun serve will ensure the game remains accessible, and fair for everyone, and promote lengthier and more engaging rallies.

It has been argued by some that finger spin serving in table tennis has been banned since the 1930s for reasons similar to those in pickleball, particularly due to the limited playing area that doesn’t allow enough time to react to a spin serve.

Additionally, it has been pointed out that players are only permitted to manipulate the ball with their paddle during every other phase of the match, so why should the serve be an exception?

Opponents of the Pickleball Pre-Spun Serve Ban

A concern has been expressed about the new rule, which allows the receiver to request a replay if they cannot see the ball during the serve and suspect an illegal serve has been made, but there is no referee present.

The issue is that from a distance of 44 feet, it might be tough to see the server’s hand with sufficient clarity to make an accurate call. In addition, as using the paddle for spin serves is still permissible, the player receiving the serve might incorrectly attribute the ball’s spin to an illegal serve rather than a skilled use of the paddle. This could lead to confusion or disagreement between the players.

Ban the Pre-spun Serve from Amateur Play! But Let the Pros Use It!

Some argue that the rules should be tailored to cater to the needs of the best players in the sport. As the pre-spun serve is challenging to execute successfully and regularly, it may not be utilized much at lower levels of play. Allowing it at the higher levels, particularly by professionals, will make watching pro matches even more thrilling.

Is it Fair to Ban this Spin Serve: Player’s Expert Opinion?

Certain players believe that prohibiting pre-spun serves is essentially penalizing skillful players who have developed techniques to gain an advantage, only to have the rules modified to prohibit those tactics.

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Opinions about Banning the Other Aggressive Shots, Like the “Bert” or “Erne?”

Bert” and “Erne” are two highly advanced and aggressive shots in pickleball that require a lot of skill to execute and are even harder to defend against. Some players wonder why one aggressive shot is prohibited while another is not, and it seems like an inconsistent enforcement of the rules to them.

It’s typical for sports that are growing to have changes in their rules. This isn’t the first time that a type of pickleball shot has been prohibited. In 2021, the “Chainsaw Serve,” which involved players excessively rolling the ball between their hand and paddle to create spin, was banned.

Most of the opposition to the volley serve rule change appears to come from a sense of unfairness towards players who appreciate and succeed in using a pre-spun serve. However, this disregards the essential purpose of the serve: to begin the rally, not to win it.

Opinions of Players about Local Rules?

Some players believe that the rules should be designed to let the top players excel and use techniques to gain an advantage within the rules. However, individual clubs or tournament directors may choose not to allow pre-spun serves for various reasons, such as limited space or safety concerns.

They could also limit its use to players with a certain skill level. Both sides have valid arguments and opinions regarding the rule change.

The Rules Committee’s Interesting and Confusing Reasons for the Move:

There were three main reasons why the rules committee decided to ban the pre-spun serve in pickleball.

Firstly, safety was a concern, as some courts are not big enough to allow players to safely return a pre-spun serve without risking running into a wall or fence.

Secondly, the committee wanted to ensure a level playing field for all players, as some found it difficult to return pre-spun serves, and it was not widely adopted across all skill levels and genders, giving some players an unfair advantage.

Finally, the committee received input from professional players, who recommended the pickleball spin serve ban 2023, although the exact reasons for their recommendation were not made clear.

Final Thoughts

There is still ample opportunity for players to innovate with their serves and push the boundaries of the sport, which is a thrilling aspect of pickleball. The community of pickleball is relatively new and constantly evolving, which provides ample opportunity for growth and development.

What is your opinion on the recent rule change that prohibits pre-spun serves in pickleball? Do you agree with the decision? Additionally, have you ever faced an opponent who utilized a pre-spun serve, and if so, how did it impact your performance?


When serving in pickleball, you are allowed to add spin to the ball using your paddle, but you cannot use your hands or fingers to spin the ball when releasing it for the serve.

The Volley Serve rule, stated in Rule 4.A.5, prohibits the use of pre-spinning the ball with the hand when serving in pickleball. While spin serves are still allowed, players are required to generate spin using only their paddle and not their hand.

Indeed, the ban on pre-spun pickleball serve affects recreational play as well. However, the change is expected to have a positive impact on the game by leveling the playing field and making the game more inclusive for players of all skill levels.

With the pre-spin serve banned, experienced players will no longer have an unfair advantage, and newer players will be able to compete on a more equal footing. This can lead to more enjoyable and satisfying games for everyone involved.

Starting January 1, 2023, players will no longer be allowed to add spin to the ball when serving, even using the hand that is holding the ball. This decision was made by USA Pickleball due to the serve’s original purpose, which is to initiate play.