Can You Hit Overhand In Pickleball?

Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States. Primarily, because this sport is unique, brings something new, and has a very short learning curve. Because of this very reason, many people are not aware of specific pickleball rules. There are not many rules to this game, but the ones that do exist should be followed strictly.

The game is very similar to tennis but is much easier to play and learn. It doesn’t require as much force. You can consider it a fusion of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. A delightful game for players of all ages. Just like its parent games, the overhand hits can pack a real punch and serve as a formidable weapon in the game. However, there are very specific rules when it comes to these hits. They are permitted but not always.

In this article, we will be exploring when you can hit overhand in pickleball and when you cannot. We will also dive into the details of overhand hits in the game and how you can perform them, especially if you are new to the game. We will also discuss the basic pickleball rules to help you get started.

Are Overhand Hits Allowed In Pickleball?

Overhand hits are allowed in pickleball but only in rallies and not before. Until you are through the serve and double bounce rule, you cannot hit overhand. A pickleball serve must be hit underhand below the waistline and from behind the baseline. You must hit it cross-court, into the opponent’s service court. There are also some other rules about services, which I will come to later.

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You cannot start volleying right after the serve. You must get through the double bounce rule which states that the ball must bounce on each side once before the rallying begins. Once the rallying has started, you can hit overhand in pickleball. During this rallying, an overhand hit is a formidable weapon. When used with precision, it helps you secure a point.

Pickleball Rules: Understanding The Game

The primary reason why people have questions like “Can I hit overhand in pickleball?” or “Can I spike in pickleball?” is because they are not aware of the rules. When you think about rules, you might think that there is some thick rule book that is both boring and time-consuming. However, that is not the case with this game. Pickleball rules are pretty simple and brief. In general, the game has only five rules that you have to follow.

  1. The ball should remain within the playing bounds.
  2. Players must serve from behind the baseline using an underhand motion.
  3. Each side should let the ball bounce once before starting the rallying.
  4. The initial serve shouldn't fall into the non-volley area known as the Kitchen.
  5. Matches are played up to scores of 11 or 15.

Besides these general rules, there are also some minor rules to the game. Those minor rules might be subject to change, but the above five are absolute and must be followed in every game. Once the rallying begins, it’s almost like a no-rule game. You can hit however you want, including overhand, except for hitting the net or hitting the ball out of bounds.

Two Rules That Make Pickleball Unique

Two important aspects of the game that make it unique are the Kitchen zone aka no-volley zone, and the double bounce rule. Neither you nor the ball is allowed in the Kitchen zone. If the ball lands in the Kitchen zone during the serve or if you step into the zone to hit the ball, you lose the point. The double bounce rule is also unique. It states that after the serve, the ball must bounce once on each side before the rallying begins.

Understand this double-bounce rule like this. You are serving the ball, it bounces once on the opposite side, the opponent hits back and it bounces once on your side, then you can start rallying, directly smashing the ball overhand to your opponent without caring about the bounce.

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How To Hit Overhand In Pickleball?

If you are not familiar with hitting overhand in a pickleball game, then this guide will help you out. I have meticulously curated this short and brief guide to help you hit overhand hits, spikes, and smashes in the game. Follow this guide to the dot and you will become the perfect spiker and ensure your victory in pickleball.

First of all, after the serve and double-bounce rules have been taken care of, position yourself sideways with the net and place your non-dominant foot forward. The stance will give you the rotation power you need. Hold the paddle using the continental grip, similar to how you'd hold a hammer to ensure you have a stable base for hard hits. Pull the paddle back by turning your shoulder and torso to generate power.

When the ball comes in front of you and is at its highest point, strike the ball with all the force you can muster and make sure it is going in a downward direction to ensure the point. After hitting the ball, let your paddle continue the motion, and do not try to resist and bring it to a stop. Continuing the motion of the swing across your body ensures maximum power and accuracy.

When Should You Hit Overhand In Pickleball?

We have already established and discussed the serving and double-bounce rules. After that, you can start the rallying and are free to hit overhand in Pickleball. There are several kinds of overhand shots you can use in the game. These shots include spike, smash, and dink. Although smash and spike are often considered synonymous, there is a tiny difference. It is true that Spike is just as powerful as Smash, but it is less steep.

Overhand hits are very effective and often time becomes the winning shot. You can control the trajectory of the ball in a much better fashion with these hits. However, they are limited only to scenarios when the ball is high. If the ball is below your shoulder, an overhand it will only hit the net and you will lose the point.

If your opponents are too close to the net, you can use an overhand spike to push them back to the baseline. If they are back to the baseline, you can hit an overhand smash to startle them and score your point. As I said, controlling the trajectory with overhand hits is much easier.

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What Is A Hinder In Pickleball?

The concept of hinder is not commonly used in pickleball but the concept does exist. It is used to refer to situations that obstruct the play. It can be an unintentional action or scenario. Let me share some of such instances that can happen in the game that can be considered a hindrance.

If a ball from another court or a foreign object enters the playing area that can disrupt the game, like a bird flying in the middle, it will be considered a hinder and the point will be replayed. The specifics can vary, but anything that can distract the players or disrupt the game is put in the same category.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Serve Overhead To My Opponents In Pickleball?

No, serves are strictly underhand. You must serve from behind the baseline and must do an underhand serve. Overhand hits are not allowed until you have gotten through the serve and double bounce rule.

Can I Hit The Ball Hard In Pickleball?

Yes, you can hit the ball as hard as you want during the rally. However, you cannot hit the ball very hard during the serve. Since you will be doing an underhand serve, hitting the ball hard will push it out of the court.

Can I Hit The Pickleball Without Bouncing It?

Once the rallying begins, it is not necessary to bounce the ball or let it bounce before hitting it. However, after the serve, you will have to let the ball bounce once on both sides before you begin the rallying.

Can I Throw My Paddle To Hit A Ball In Pickleball?

No, throwing your paddle is not allowed, or rather strictly forbidden, not in just pickleball but rather in any game that involves hitting with an object like tennis, badminton, or even baseball.


To sum it all up, you can hit overhand in pickleball but only once the rallying has started. You cannot hit overhand during the serve and after the serve from your opponent until the ball has bounced once on both sides. These rules are put in place to make the game fair for both sides. Once you have started the rallying, you can hit the ball however you want. Overhand hits are a formidable weapon, and the above guide tells you exactly when and how to use them.

Emma James

A distinguished writer with an impressive 8-year track record of contributing to various prominent informational websites.

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