What Is A Let In Pickleball?

Pickleball is a relatively new sport, having been invented in 1965, which is taking the world by storm. More and more people are participating in this fun and exciting game, while learning about its rules, serves, and techniques. 

What Is A Let In Pickleball?

If you are new to Pickleball, then you may feel overwhelmed by all of the information and rules.

We want to make things a little bit easier for you, by telling you a little bit about Pickleball, and answering one of the hottest questions: what is a let in Pickleball? So, let’s find out! 

About Pickleball

Pickleball is a fun sport that combines various elements from tennis, badminton, and ping pong or table tennis. It is played both indoors and outdoors, on a badminton sized court, but with a tennis net.

The players will then use paddles much like table tennis paddles in order to hit the ball over the net and onto the other side of the court. 

Opponents will need to hit the ball on either side of the net until one player or side commits a rule infraction. As a result, there are a lot of rules when it comes to Pickleball. There are various types of serves in Pickleball that you should know about.

To serve in Pickleball, you will need to do so underhand while holding the paddle just below your waist. The paddle has to make contact with the ball while at this level, and the top of the paddle has to remain below the wrist. 

To start the game, you have to have one foot behind the baseline, and neither of your feet can touch the baseline or the court until you have made contact with the ball.

Your opponents must also be ready to receive the ball before you serve, and the ball has to be hit into the court in a diagonal fashion. In addition, the ball has to go past the non-volley zone. 

You will only be allowed one attempt to serve the ball, unless you have a ‘let’ or a ‘let serve’. So, what is a let in Pickleball?

What Is A Let In Pickleball?

Let serves are the topic of much debate in the Pickleball world. A let is often a means of slowing the game down, and creates more hassle and dragging out of the game than they are worth. 

The term ‘let’ can be derived from the Saxon term ‘Letian’ which means to obstruct or hinder, but it could also come from the fact that players are basically saying ‘let’s try that again.’ Therefore, a let serve is the short term for ‘let’s try it again’.

This is for cases where you have hit the ball, it touches the net, and makes it across, doesn’t go into the non-volley zone, so you have not made any faults, but you want to do it again. 

A let serve is for serves that are not great, but do not cause a penalty either. It has to pass over the net in order for it to be a let serve. You cannot try it again if you have made a penalty.

For instance, if the serve lands in ‘the kitchen’, after the ball has touched the net, then it cannot be considered a let. 

In short, a let is a serve where the player can retry the serve, and do it again, without calling a penalty or a foul. 

How Many Let Serves Can You Have In Pickleball?

What Is A Let In Pickleball?

In previous years, let serves were more common, and there was no real limit on how many let serves could be had in a game of Pickleball.

Many people do not enjoy this part of the game, as stated above, it tends to slow the game down and halt the pace of the game, and of the fun. 

In recent years, Pickleball has seen a lot of changes and expansion, and there are now new rules involved in current Pickleball games, which could affect whether you can use a let serve or not, and how many let serves you are allowed to serve. 

What Is The New Let Rule In Pickleball?

In 2021, Pickleball officials decided to change the rules (see also: Why Did The Pickleball Rules Change?)of the game. This was so the ‘let’ rule was no longer part of the game or part of common practice.

In the 2021 handbook, the USAPA has since changed the rule officially, and calling a ‘let’ is no longer acceptable.

The new rule is that when a serve hits the net but manages to land in the proper side of the court, and past the non-volley zone, then the ball is in play and is live. You cannot stop the play or redo the serve.

However, if the ball hits the net and does not go over or beyond the kitchen, then the serve is lost.

Now, if any player or team calls a let serve out, then the team who stops the playing of the game is at fault and will lose a point. In addition to this, the same goes for referees.

If a referee calls a let serve, then the player who served or the team who served will also lose a point. 

The decision to change the rules was made to keep the game in motion, avoid conflict between players, and to preserve the integrity of the game, particularly for competitive matches. 

Final Thoughts 

To summarize, a let in Pickleball is a type of serve that is called out so that the player or team who served can do it again.

This often slows the pace of the game down, and creates conflict and hassle between players, so as of 2021, Pickleball officials no longer allow ‘lets’ in the game. 

Michael Walter
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