Ah, the service... Such a simple blow to padel and yet, so controversial. Should it be played below the hip… or above? Where is the impact zone authorized by federations around the world actually located? It would seem that, despite himself, the service does not find consensus among players.

You, like me, have undoubtedly already had the right to this little thought "I don't say anything because we are training but in a tournament, I would have called a foul.“I admit, this kind of remark makes me cringe. I would bet that I'm not the only one. Therefore, let's see what they say the official texts of the FFT !

“The server first bounces the ball then hits it below the belt”

No offense to the supporters and those who squeak when impact above hip level, the service must be carried out below the waist, according the rules of the FFT. Therefore, above the hip. Same thing with regard to international rules, which mention the waist, which means the belt or in other words the waist, for non-Spanish speakers. For those who, like me, have some difficulty understanding where the hip is in relation to the waist, we found this little sketch:


Here we can easily see that the waist sits well above the hip. If we take the navel as a point of reference, the waist is above and the hip is below. In the end, it's not that complicated.

Controversies and arbitration decisions

On the professional circuit, in 2023, the service has been all the more controversial as it has been widely contested by players. If some prefer not to complain to the referee, others do not hesitate to play with the nerves of their opponents. Often, all eyes are turned towards the referee, the imperial judge of any game of padel of a very high level.


Take the above example of Franco Stupaczuk. We quickly notice that the Argentinian's service is not regulatory. Moreover, Javi Garrido reports the fault to the referee immediately. Yet, surprise and amazement, the point is lost for the Garrido/Gonzalez pair. We then speak of “vol arbitral“, Garrido is even disgusted.

But in the end, what should we learn from this story? That the referee wanted “steal” Gonzalez/Garrido? Not really. That the rules around the service are vague and subjective? Without a doubt. Like everyone, referees make mistakes. And in a case as specific as that of service, which requires very good eyesight and rapid decision-making, we can understand that there could be a few misses.

So, if even the pros make a mistake, we can't even imagine it as an amateur.

What solutions?

There will be no "type“, in this article, to save you some withdrawals bandeja. In the end, the service is quite difficult to referee. Among amateurs, it’s even worse because everyone has their own definition.. If we look closely, even the size of the player matters because, the taller you are, the higher you can hit the ball, and therefore, serve well.

Ultimately, if you don't want to risk your opponent telling you for the thirteenth time in this set that you're serving too high, just drop the ball rather than throwing it. Thanks to this, you almost automatically ensure that you impact the ball below your waist. However, the recommendation to let go of the ball certainly ensures that the ball is impacted under the hip, but goes against all the recommendations of the best coaches.

You can also do like Juan Martin Diaz, who took time to warm up for service before the start of the meeting, to find your bearings!

Gwenaelle Souyri

It was his brother who one day told him to accompany him on a track. padel, since then, Gwenaëlle has never left the court. Except when it comes to going to watch the broadcast of Padel Magazine, World Padel Tour… or Premier Padel…or the French Championships. In short, she is a fan of this sport.