Chainsaw Serve Pickleball: Legal Or Illegal Pickleball Serve? Explained

One of the most popular Pickleball techniques of 2021 was the chainsaw serve. Almost every top player was experimenting with this serving method. So why did USA Pickleballs decide to impose a ban on the chainsaw serve in 2022? Also, what are people's opinions about it and what's the future of chainsaw serving? Read on to find more information about the popular method!

What is Chainsaw Serve?

A chainsaw serve is made by rolling the pickleball against the paddle. This service is also known as the Zane serve as it was invented and popularized by Zane Navratil, who is a professional American pickleball player.

chainsaw serve pickleball

To roll the pickleball, the paddle and arms are moved in a way that looks like a chainsaw in action. This gave the chainsaw serve its name.

Chainsaw serve is often described as the modified version of the finger-spun serve, which was invented by Morgan Evans. Evans is also a professional pickleball player.

Morgan’s version requires a player to use their hands for spinning the ball, while Zane’s version requires a paddle to do that. Although both methods serve the same purpose to some extent, the chainsaw method is considered more controversial.

How is Chainsaw Serve Ruining the Game?

Pickleball is a game that has easy rules and can be played by anyone. However, having techniques like chainsaw serve may compromise the ease of the game.

These methods will also keep beginners away from the game. Knowing the other player has such skills in their arsenal will cause them to hesitate and create a fear of facing them.

The rally is also shortened because of the chainsaw serve. Most of the games where players used the chainsaw serves ended quickly.

Chainsaw serve gives benefit to one player only, leading to a zero score for the other player. Short pickleball games are not enjoyable and there’s no benefit in playing them. So, the chainsaw serve is destroying the ‘actual fun’ of pickleball.

Is the Chainsaw Serve Legal or Illegal?

Yes, chainsaw serve is considered illegal. The USA Pickleball issues a new rulebook on the first of every January. In 2022, their handbook contained a rule banning the chainsaw serve.
In the rulebook of 2022, it is mentioned that “the server shall use only one hand to release the ball to perform the serve.” The noticeable thing is that the rule has only banned using the paddles for spinning the ball.

That is why many players are now spinning the ball with the same method, but with their hands. If you watch streams of professional pickleball games, you must have noticed that some players are still using the chainsaw method.

To clear out the confusion, we must understand the rulings of professional pickleball leagues. In the US, the Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP) and the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) conduct tournaments.

Some tournaments usually follow the rules of USAP. However, some organizations make their own rules and allow the players to spin the ball with both paddle and fingers.

Civil War: Different Opinions

The chainsaw serve is very controversial as there’s a difference of opinion amongst pickleball players. People who have just started playing this incredible sport find it difficult to excel in the game due to chainsaw serve.

People were asked to vote about this heated topic on Reddit. Surprisingly, the number of people who voted in favor of chainsaw serve was almost equal to the number of people who wanted it banned. Here are the results of 161 votes;

  • 39% of people voted in favor of chainsaw serve
  • 29% dislike it but don’t want it to be banned
  • 32% of people voted to ban it

reddit thoughts on chainsaw serve

People who support the chainsaw serve like it due to the increased chances of winning the games when it’s employed. However, due to the aforementioned drawbacks, a large number of people are disliking this technique.

One person who chooses the second option wrote, “it sucks, but the game evolves and it’s on you to adapt.” Another user who supported the idea of chainsaw serves wrote, “Let players serve anyway they want and that will reduce arguments on the court.”

All in all, there is a difference in opinion among the pickleball community about the chainsaw serve. Some like this method and some want it to be banned.

Final Words

To summarize, chainsaw serve is a technique that is currently banned by the USA Pickleball. This technique causes more competition and kills the true essence of pickleball.

Should USA Pickleball lift the ban or not? Let us know what your opinions are about the chainsaw serve and whether you use it in your game.

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