At the start of 2022, the “chainsaw serve” was banned by USA Pickleball. For reference, the chainsaw serve is where a player holds the ball in one hand pressed up against the pickleball paddle, and uses a chainsaw-like motion to generate a lot of spin, causing the ball to kick in a way you don’t normally see a pickleball kick. For those players that previously used the chainsaw serve, they evolved to the “spin serve” which is similar to the chainsaw, but the players spin the ball only with their hand, not using their paddle for extra leverage. Well, that seems to be short-lived, as word on the streets is that USA Pickleball will be banning the spin serve effective 1/1/2023.
As of January 1, 2023, players will only be able to toss and strike the ball without adding any additional spin, even from the hand holding the ball. Below is a summation of why USA Pickleball is banning the spin serve:
- The original purpose of the serve is to begin play
- Most players cannot effectively hit or return a spin serve
- There is extra court space needed to react to and return a spin serve
- Only a number of players have mastered the spin serve, giving them an unfair advantage
- It’s particularly damaging for amateur players
Now I’m sure this topic will elicit passionate opinions from both sides, and we’ll insert ours, too! I can appreciate reasons #4 and #5 when it comes to amateur play, and agree, it can be damaging. To me, there’s one simple answer though, ban the spin serve from amateur play! Allow the pros to use it in professional divisions, and say “nay” to any other division!
What’s the difference between being able to hit a nasty spin serve, and having lightning-fast reactions? To us, there isn't one! They’re both something that professional athletes will have to varying degrees, so why ban something because one player is better at it than another? (Isn’t that just sports in general?!) To summarize pro player Zane Navratil’s comments on the matter, pro players in any sport will always use the rules to create as much of an advantage as possible. We like the spin serve in the pros. It makes an exciting game even more exciting.
Whether you’re for it, against it, or don’t have a strong opinion, this time of year is always interesting to see which pickleball rules are going, coming, or remaining the same. If you have an opinion and would like to share it, hop over to our Instagram or Facebook page and leave a comment!