The Pickleball Knuckleball Serve — Be the R.A. Dickey of Pickleball

For a pickleball serve to be deemed legal, three criteria must be met — the arm is moving in an upward arc, contact is made below the waist and the highest part of the paddle is not above the wrist.

Once one is confident their serve is legal, it’s time to add variety to the serve. Perhaps you’ve already experimented with different types of serves such as a powerful, driving serve, a high-soft lob serve or a short, angle serve.

What About a Knuckleball Serve?

Several months ago a question was posed about the mechanics of serving a knuckleball in the Pickleball Forum — an ultra-engaged Facebook Group comprised of over 9,000 members, all of whom are extraordinarily passionate about the sport of pickleball. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the post did not get a whole lot of traction.  However, it was a wonderful question… and it got me thinking…

In baseball, a knuckleball is defined as “a pitch thrown to minimize the spin of the ball in flight, causing an erratic, unpredictable motion.” Hmmm. An erratic, unpredictable motion — very cool!  What if we could get the ball to behave like this on our serve? And, surely, it must be easier to do with a ball with holes — after all, I’ve seen some nasty knuckleball pitches during my school days backyard Wiffle Ball games!

Here is a video clip of R.A. Dickey, one of baseball’s few knuckleball pitchers. Check out the flight of the ball! If we could somehow get the ball to dance like this on our serve, we would be unstoppable! What do you think?

Coach Todd
About Todd

Todd is the talent behind PickleballMAX. He knows pickleball and demonstrates it on the court as a 4.5 – 5.0 player. In addition to creating content and running the PickleballMAX business, Todd is IPTPA Level II certified. As an instructor at the Ohio Pickleball Academy, he instructs students and runs adult and youth clinics. He also manages tournament desks throughout the tri state for tournaments ranging from 100-500 participants.

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