Can You Hit Overhand in Pickleball? Legal or Not?

Are the rules changed or can you hit overhand in pickleball in actuality? Why players are not getting charged for hitting overhand when there’s already a rule? Relax! Every pickleball player once in their lifetime certainly asks these questions since we know the game of pickleball is full of mysteries. 

Though, there’s no change to the rule i.e. the underhand rule applies to the serving side only. That being said you can hit overhand in pickleball when not in serving. So let’s set back and understand in what conditions you can hit overhand, how to hit overhand, and what rules apply to hitting that shot. Let’s dive in!

Can You Hit Overhand in Pickleball?

Yes, you can hit overhand in pickleball only if you are not serving. Basically, you can’t serve overhands but return the serve with an overhand. 

Overhand shots can be played by the returning side in order to send the opponents to the baseline. However, you must abide by the serving rules otherwise you’ll be highly likely to get a penalty when smashing overheads with an overhand hit.

What is an overhand shot

What is an overhand shot?

Perhaps you are a beginner and don’t know what exactly an overhand shot is, let us define it for you; “an overhand shot is an aggressive shot that is played above the shoulder level with a maximum height. The hand should be higher and the elbow should be straight. Generally, they are aimed at the opponent’s feet rather than the body”. Overhead slams are the most powerful and common type of overhand shots. 

Now you know the overhand shot, let’s learn how to hit an overhand serve in pickleball in the upcoming section. 

How to hit Overhand in Pickleball:

There are a lot of factors to consider when hitting the overhand shot. Though, overhand shots are the hardest shot in pickleball. The reason is they require a calculated pace to hit the shot in the right direction. Even an inch of misplacement can get you a fault real quick. 

So, here’s we have made a guide on how you can hoit overhangs without making any fault. 

  • Balance yourself with your feet twisted on the court. Your elbow should be behind your head just as though you are talking on a phone. When you see the ball coming, keep your paddle a little higher such that you can land the land on the paddle while it is high. It is called being ready to hit the overhand. 
  • When you make the contact, go a little higher but DON’T JUMP as it’ll count as foot fault (you have to keep at least one foot on the court while serving). 
  • Hit the ball like you are doing a “high-five” with the ball – just more vigorously! 
  • Aim at the opponent’s feet and hit the ball with a maximum force. 
  • Use your wrist action to make the paddle swing in order to spin or send the ball in a certain direction. 
  • If you had to jump, do it before making the contact and swing the ball, and make sure you have a foot planted on the ground when sending the ball back. Although, you can elevate your hand as high as you can unless you are not pointing the ball on the out-of-the-bounds area or on the sidelines of the opponent’s court. 
  • Stay confident and instantly plan your next move since you are going to receive the ball with a multiplied speed. 

Conditions where you should play underhand: 

Unfortunately, you can’t serve overhand on every shot in pickleball. Sometimes, the rules limit you, otherwise, it won’t benefit you much. So here are a few conditions when the overhand can give you maximum advantages. 

  • When you are returning the serve and want to send the opponents at the baseline. 
  • When you sense the speed to be too high and the ball is coming downward, that’s where you should the overhand. 
  • If the game is slow, you can hit overhand to make it heated. 
  • During the dinks, when you want to change the course. 
  • When the trajectory is more favorable to you and you are confident to send that ball back to the legitimate area of the opponent’s court. 

Situations where you should avoid Overhand Shots:

When serving in pickleball
When serving
When the ball reaches you at a low speed
When the ball reaches you at a low speed
If the ball reaches you by your waistline
If the ball reaches you by your waistline 

Tips to hit Overhand in Pickleball: 

No matter how easy it looks, players could still make a less effective shot. Therefore, it’s better to make use of the following tips to avoid any blunders. 

  • Never backpedal when serving overhand. 
  • Though, overhand is a powerful shot but don’t try to hit it on every shot. 
  • Add spin when hitting overhand. 
  • Sometimes, it’s hard to read the pace of the upcoming ball, so hit overhands only when you know the ball will handle the pace correctly and lands properly on the opposite side. 
  • Wrist backward and control the paddle when adding spin with the help of your wrist. 
  • Keep your elbow at your head’s back. 

Certain rules to follow while hitting Overhand in Pickleball: 

Besides being powerful, overhand shots are the most crucial. When serving overhand, the following rules must be kept in mind. 

  • Don’t hit underhand when you are serving. 
  • Keep one foot on the court especially when you are jumping to swing.  
  • Don’t touch the nets during and after hitting. 
  • Don’t hit above the nets. 
  • Make yourself aware of the rules of any specific tournament. Most of the official courts don’t allow overhand shots so it’s better you know the rules already. 

Can you hit Overhand in Pickleball – Wrapping Up: 

So, can you hit underhand in pickleball? Well, the answer is both yes and no depending on whether you are serving or returning the serve. As we explained everything in detail, we believe that you now know the answer along with the conditions as when you can hit the overhand and when it is a fault. The rules will help you throughout whether you are playing championship tournaments or out in the court of your area with friends and family. 

For any further queries on the overhand service reach us out through the comment section, we’d love to hear from you!

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