What is a Let in Pickleball? Why the Let Removed?

Doubtlessly, Pickleball is a game of unique and weird terms and rules. While “Let” remains one of those pickleball rules that is mostly misunderstood or goes over the head of the players. So, today, we’ll explain what is let is pickleball and how it is played. You’ll also be covered with the detailed peculiarities of the let rule here including recent updates, serving criteria, and much more!

Although it is now a banned ule in pickleball, still it is crucial to understand “let” in pickleball. Why? Well, it is one of those game-changing rules that alter the pattern completely. Additionally, it defies basic pickleball rules which makes it quite uncommon and superlative. Other than that, a player can advantage from a let serve or confuses the opponent so having a clear conception of the rule helps you save the game’s fairness. Prior to that, let us uncover the mysteries of “Let”.

What is a Let in Pickleball?

What is a Let in Pickleball

Let is an abbreviation of “let’s serve again” or “letting your opponent try it again”. It basically means retrying the shot that mistakenly touched the nets. The ball, however, must reach to the other side of the net just afar from the non-volley zone.

A let serves neither gets counted as the service nor is the penalty. It is just a wrongly placed shot that allows the player to play again. It is important that the ball touches any part ( tape, cord, net, strap, etc) of the net before it reaches the other side. However, mostly it is the top part of the net where the ball touches.

It is also essential that the ball landed beyond the kitchen or the non-volley zone. In case the ball appears in the NVZ, it will be counted as the fault and the opponent will be given the point. Both referees and the players can call the “let” serve.

2021 Update:

In January 2021, the let serve has been banned for several reasons. One of them is, that it messes up the fairness of the game. For example, one player can replay the shot just by justifying the ball hitting the net. One person might believe the shot serve was let while the other doesn’t. Sometimes, it leads to quarrels among referees and players too.

Additionally, it also slows down the game since there is no limit to the number of times. That is why the rule has been removed for the betterment of the game. Now, any shot that comes under that criteria will be considered a “fault” according to rule 7.I.

How do you play a let in pickleball?

To play a “let serve”, the following two conditions must be met;

  • The ball must touch the nets.
  • It lands beyond the non-volley zone of the other side.

If a hit the ball and it happens to come under that criteria, the shit will be replayed. Now, you’ll have the chance to make the service again, and this way you can alter the game in your favor.

However, the “let serve” should also be legal and follows the basic pickleball rules i.e;

  • The player must be one foot behind the kitchen.
  • The player must make the serve underhand.
  • When in contact with the ball, the paddle should remain below the wrist.

How many let serves are allowed in pickleball? 

Normal serving goes for one serve per player at a time. The opposite is the case with the let serves. According to Rule 4.0 of the 2020 Official Rulebook, a person can play as many let shots as he/she wants. No points or faults will be counted on his/her side unless the ball goes on the other side without touching the nets or he/she makes any fault.

Wrapping up:

Although “let serve” is now removed from the pickleball rules. However, it is better to learn and understand what is a let in pickleball. This way you can have a more comprehensive basis that helps you play the game better and more consistently. The information will also help you set your grounds in tennis and table tennis since they also follow this rule.

New players that joined in February 2021 won’t have any difference in the game. In case you happen to be playing from the past years, let us know your thoughts about what you think about the let rule and the impact of its removal on your current game.

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