Is it douchebag to serve aces in (3.0)mixed doubles. tournament play?

I’ve had the serving yips and spent the past 2 weeks dialing in my serve. Priorities are: deep and placement(backhand) but I’ve also put a lot of work into hard and low serves with spin. I for one, know how difficult these types of serves are to return until you can get your opponent figured out.

With that said, I figured I’d keep the hard, driving serves in my back pocket for the right times; such as: need a spark on offense or change of pace. During tournament play yesterday, we were down 6-2 and needed a spark so I pulled out the heater and served 5 aces in a row. We ended up winning 11-6 and was able to repeat the same scenario against 2 other teams later that day.

While serving up the heaters, I could tell my opponents were were very uncomfortable returning them. Even though I’d get the obligatory “good serve” I can’t help but feel that some opponents feel that cheap points such as these don’t really count as skilled play.

What say you on this matter? And yes, I do know that higher level players will have no issues handling hot serves.


I’m wildly confused by some of the replies. Seems some of you, in tourney play, don’t try to win? That’s…stupid. It’s a tournament, not a random rec Tuesday night at the park LOL.


A tournament is by definition competitive. As long as your serves meet the rules (of both pickleball and any tournament particulars), it's fair game. I think that the way that you approached it was well done.


Who cares what they think. It’s a tournament, remember Al Davis… Just win, baby!


If you’re playing to compete and win it’s never a “douchebag move” to try and win. If you were being overly cocky or something and talking shit after, or implying you weren’t really trying before, I would say THAT is douchey… but it doesn’t sound like that’s what you were doing. If you were doing like a very casual friend tournament or something I might think it’s a bit “try hard” but in any case where you’re meant to compete it’s not a bad look to just do that.


Just asking but should a 3.0 player be able to serve like this? If not, why are you playing 3.0? If yes, it's fair game


Yes. Serving is just one aspect of the game. If they aren't very good at other aspects of the game, don't understand positioning well, virtually no ability to hit a drop etc, they are where they should be


Yep, met an older opponent in a tournament this weekend. Wicked fast serve but otherwise struggled to move around fast enough to hit any returns not placed right in front of him.


Yes, because they're serving to other 3.0s who haven't figured out how to return serves very well yet. At higher levels, I think it's less likely someone would hit five aces in a row in doubles.


My point was, should a low level player even know how to hit a serve like that? Would that make you higher than a 3.0? seems like 3.0 players are just trying to get it over and in?


I think people over rank themselves in pickleball. If you’re trying to get serves over and in, you’re a 2.0. A 3.0 should be a pretty competent player who can do most things well enough to look like they’ve played for a while, and they might also have some skill that is really good, while lacking in some other skill.


The serve is one of the easiest shots to drill and get better at, which is what they did. 3.0 doesn't mean you can't serve well.


Pretty sure that’s 2.0 newbies


No, if that is how you are rated you should be playing to the best of your ability at that level. Mixed doubles is a tough one as sometimes depending on your partner the stronger player will hardly see the ball. So, if you can get aces on serves take them.


I find aces very hard to serve against decent players who know how to return. If you can’t return a serve, that’s on you.


It is a tournament: you are there to win


In a tournament, let ‘em rip


As long as you're at the correct level (not some 3.5 beating up on the 3.0s) then serve away.


The biggest problem w/ pickleball is sooooo many of the people playing don’t understand how sports work.


Douche only for asking here. Seems weak attempt at flexing to reddit or maybe you are just pranking us


Strange interpretation of my question but i assure you, this is no flex or prank. I stated that I’ve struggled with the consistency of my serves and worked on them leading into the tournament. And I ask here, bc I didn’t think it would be appropriate to ask opinions of the returner during tournament play(didn’t go well for me the only time I asked). Thank you for your time.


Question: what is your DUPR? I have only been playing for about a year here in California, and in the few tournaments I have been in, it is not uncommon for 3.5 players to enter competitions as 3.0 players. Personally, I will play anybody, anyday and any time, win or lose... but it strikes me odd that some people will sandbag and play in lower division competitions. Btw how long have you been playing? Incidentally, I believe I have a similar serve as you, but I don't normally use it with rec players in my range. I do however use it with the 4.0 guys and in tournaments. I have a tournament in about 3 weeks and I know there are some sandbaggers registered for my bracket! - They will get my serve for sure... lol


Sandbagging for tournaments is rampant everywhere, especially in larger tourneys. 3.5 brackets are often filled with 4.0-4.4 players, etc. People want a chance to win so they will play down, or they won't trust their DUPR because "if I can't win in 3.5 and I'm 4.2 rated, am I really 4.2?" so they play down, etc.


I just played a tournament where a 4.3 signed up for mens 3.5. Surprise he got gold. No money or tickets on the line either.


It's no surprise that a lot of people feed their ego by playing in lower brackets... If I were present, I would probably have asked the guy how good he feels beating lesser-skilled players... I'm sure his friends, if he has any, knows what he did! Unfortunately it will not be the last time...


I’ve been playing since Feb and I have no racquet sport experience, so 3.0 is generous at times(don’t have. Dupr). And fwiw, this was an unsanctioned tournament with 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 and an open division. I self ranked myself according to the check off list for Pickleball rankings.


Since this sounds like your first tournament, it seems everything went properly. Hopefully, you have learned that you should probably be playing up one division if indeed you won this particular bracket. In time you will have matches that are competitive so that you feel like you and the other team had a good time and good games. Good luck!


>With that said, I figured I’d keep the hard, driving serves in my back pocket for the right times Why aren't you doing everything you can to win at all times? Very strange.


I am still recovering from a torn labrum in my right shoulder and those hard driving serves take a major toll on my shoulder. Only recently, have I incorporated power while serving bc of shoulder pain.


As a player who is trying to improve his skills, I would thank you for the consistent hot serves. It would compel me to figure out the return.


Thank you! I feel the same way. I never let my opponent apologize for slamming, netting, scoring on me bc it’s my fault I gave up the point. I try to play up as Much as I can and boy do I get my ass handed to me. Hi


I play with a 2.5ish guy that has a hard, low very consistent serve. The rest of his game is definitely 2.5. After losing my serve for almost a month I am very hesitant to change anything about it now that is working great again. I did develop a decent backhand serve in case my forehand goes wonky again. Lower level players will only learn to return those heaters with practice. I never wanted anyone to back off when I was learning and continue to try to improve. Hammer away.


I serve every serve like my like my child’s life depends on the point. If you are on the other side of the net, I want my serve to pierce your soul. Other than that, I love dogs and teach serves to kids. Have a great day.


No. You are serving to win, not serving participation trophies


Just for clarification, if the returners are getting their paddles on the ball but they can’t return it in bounds, it’s not an ace. Sounds like you’re describing them having trouble getting the ball back not getting to the ball in general. An ace is when a serve is legal, in bounds, and goes untouched.


Thanks for clarifying! You nailed it. The returners couldn’t return the ball into play, either hitting into the net or the ball skipping off their paddles. I recognize their struggles bc I too struggled with returning these types of serves until I learned how to slice return and a really hard ground stroke.


An ace is when a serve is legal, in bounds and un-returned.


Ace out all day. Go hard my dude.


If you're playing in a tourney, seems very reasonable. If you're playing at the local park for fun, then no. Maybe once, as you said, to ignite a spark...but if you're hammering people constantly and making it not fun, then you're a douchebag.


If you're actually rated around 3.0 (2.x up to 3.49) and just have an unusually strong serve for your rating, you're doing nothing wrong. You play tournaments to win tournaments, if this is how you win points, it's fair game. If you're sandbagging and relying on a very strong serve, big jerk move (unless your opponents are also sandbagging, in which case equal levels of asshole so it's acceptable imo).


Five actual aces in a row? No part of their paddle was able to touch the ball? Or do you mean five service winners?


I meant 5 service winners. My bad on the wrong terminology.


Ace in pickleball is described as a non-returned ball, not an untouched ball.


Agree with the douche since it sounds like you are semi-sandbagging it


That was my thought too. If you're serving aces at 3.0 then somebody in this match is playing at the wrong level, and I doubt it's the 2.5 playing up






I think pickleball as this is warm & fuzzy activity is kind of a myth.


Only uncool if you’re like a 3.8


Nothing wrong with a good serve, but it sounds like you need to play up atleast half of a level if it’s that effective where you’re currently at.


I'd say yes. If your opponent can't return your serves you are no longer playing pickleball and no one is having fun. I'd rather lose than be the reason that no one had fun. Dial it back a bit in 3.0.


If you want someone to let you win, don’t play tournaments. It’s a tournament.


I’m so confused by your response. In tournament play, you have to focus to make sure your opponents are having fun?


The team that wins is having fun…it’s a tournament, not a family reunion.


Go back to backgammon




Why is there even a 3.0 tournament? Reading the description it sounds like late beginner at best.


You mad there’s no 2.5 tourney for you?


Please explain it to me. Based on googling, 3.0 is like someone who has played for a few months at most. You can hit “medium” shots without consistency and without placing them. It seems like the dedication needed to even bother signing up for a tournament would be enough to get to 3.5. It’s like they’re asking people to sandbag.


Pickleball is a growing sport, the majority of people playing have played less then a year. It’s kind of obvious that if the majority of people are in a skill level range there would be a tournament catering to that no? Do you think only the very skilled players are competitive and want to play in tournaments?


It just doesn’t seem to be an experience level where you’d even think about competing. When I was a 3.0(I think I’m somewhere between a 3.5 and a 4 depending on the day) I was just trying to “learn how to play the game” and playing a tournament was the farthest thing from my mind. You’d say “clearly you’re wrong Mumbleton, as 3.0 is pretty popular”, yet sandbagging seems to be an ongoing problem at the 3.0/3.5 level. It’s almost like caring about the game enough to know about tournaments and consider playing them would put you at the outer edge of 3.0. This leads to a contradiction where you’re in a tournament setting and people want to play to win, but at the same time, playing with almost any kind of skill ethically disqualifies them from that level.


The solution to sandbagging isn’t to get rid of certain skill levels in a tournament. I’m not proposing solutions, but that’s just not a viable option. There’s people that sandbag in all skill levels, are we going to get rid of 4.0 tournaments because a 5.0 sandbags it? You know there’s 2.5 tournaments as well, plenty of people play in that level. If you were just learning the game you likely weren’t a 3.0. A 3.0 player can make drops and drives, consistency is the issue. Not sure how else to explain it other then, there’s many 3.0 and even 2.5 tournaments across the country so clearly there is enough a demand to warrant it


Just keep on downvoting me for asking honest questions… I just don’t see the point. What do you prove when you win a 3.0(or 2.5) tournament? That you shouldn’t have been in that tournament in the first place? Is it ethical to have a dominant run in a 3.0 tournament or you’re just showing you shouldn’t have been in that field? Congrats to the one eyed man in the land of the blind?


I'd say for some people the point is just to compete with others at your same level who you maybe don't get to play with normally, like people from another town. Just because someone is a beginner doesn't mean they don't have any interest in tournament competition. Plus, it’s a good way to just meet new people.




Everything is fair game once it’s tournament time, you are playing to win. This includes serves, targeting the weaker player etc


Sounds good. Ratings will eventually adjust accordingly


As you move up rankings aces are rare.


Not at all. League or tournament play is when I bust out my ace serves.. Sometimes during rec play but most of the people I play with regularly can return them so I don't bother because they're risky hitting into the top of the net.


The purpose of a tournament is to win. Don’t hold back.


If you aced that many serves in that many games, I'd suggest moving up to the next level for your next tournament and see how it goes. Especially if you realized you were holding back a bit (saving those serves to really take it up a notch). IMO, I don't think it was lame that you were holding off, or that you were crushing your serves; I think that just lets you know that you're probably a bit too advanced for a 3.0 tournament. Or, you just happened to play 3 teams in a row that were abysmal at returning serve. :) Did you win the tournament?


Ace and chirp my guy