WHAT IS A LET SERVE IN PICKLEBALL: A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE

Pickleball is a fast-paced and growing sport with many changing rules. If you are a pickleball enthusiast or beginner, you would probably want to become a pro pickler.

But, it is not possible without understanding pickleball rules. A common question asked about let in pickleball is what is a let serve in pickleball or even if is there any let in pickleball.

If you are also stuck with these questions then don’t worry, it’s not your fault because the pickleball rules have been recently changed.

Let’s dive deep into the Let Serve in Pickleball. First, you need to know whether pickleball let serve still exists or not.

IS THERE ANY LET SERVE IN PICKLEBALL

No, there is no let serve in pickleball as of 2023. According to the official pickleball rules, if the ball hits the net and lands in the service area then the play should continue without any interruption.

If the ball hits the net and lands outside the service area then it’s a fault and the serve goes to your opponent.

In other sports like tennis, and badminton, there was no let rule but in pickleball, it was the opposite. 

If the ball hits the net on top and lands in the correct service area then it was called a pickleball let. 

Now, that you know about the current let serve in pickleball then we should gain a little more information about it.

WHAT IS A LET SERVE IN PICKLEBALL

The let serve in pickleball refers to a serve that contacts the net and lands in the proper service court, without crossing the non-volley zone (kitchen).

What is a let serve in pickleball.

The let serve is an answer to many of your common questions, like, what happens if you hit the net on a pickleball serve.

The answer is simple, if the ball hits the top of the net and lands in the service area of your opponent, beyond the kitchen line then it’s a pickleball let.

Due to let rule, the server would get another chance to hit the ball. So, for many people, let in pickleball was meant to be ‘Let’s Try Again’ which is a fair meaning.

However, just touching the net, does not make a let serve. The ball must touch the net and pass over it toward the 2nd player’s service area but it should not land in the Kitchen area.
What if pickleball hits the net and lands in the NVZ? It would be a fault and it cannot be let serve because it requires the ball to land in service area beyond the NVZ or kitchen area.

DOES PICKLEBALL LET RULE STILL EXIST

No, the USAPA completely removed let rule from official rulebook to save the integrity of pickleball. Now, no let serve rule exists.

Previously, if the server hit the ball and it touched the net falling into the service area of opponent, it would be called out as a ‘let serve’.

According to official rules, the server would be given a second chance to serve the ball. Till now, it was the good part.

But the problem starts here, if the person hits again a let serve, he would be again given the chances to perform serve until a good shot.

Pickleball has many of its rules similar to tennis but here, it was different and this let rule seemed like a significant advantage to the server.

Therefore, the USA Pickleball Org. announced in 2021, the ending of pickleball let serve rule. 

It stated that if the ball hits the net and lands in the service area, the opponent must hit it and continue the game or he will lose the point.

PICKLEBALL LET RULE CHANGES 2023

In 2021, the USAPA declared to remove let serve for the integrity of the game.

According to the official rulebook(Page: 11) ;

The definition (3.A.18) and section 4 (Service Lets) have been removed. Starting in 2021, there will be no rule(s) governing service lets. Service Lets have been removed. It is noted that out of habit, both referees and players may sometimes habitually call a service let. If any player stops play because of a service let being called, that player/team will have committed a fault per rule 7.I.


In short, let rule is null and void, and trying to let serve will result in a fault to the pickler who didn’t hit the ball after it hit the net and landed in his service area.

WHY PICKLEBALL LET RULE WAS REMOVED

Pickleball Let rule was removed by the rules committee of USA Pickleball(USAPA) and fortunately, they have explained the causes behind it.

The pickleball let rule was removed at the beginning of 2021 in order to;

  • Protect the integrity of the game.
  • To avoid conflicts.
  • Making the officiating easier for officials.

The ‘Service Lets’ or ‘Let Rule’ has caused many conflicts among players. Some picklers may draw an unfair advantage from this rule by taking many services without letting the opponent play.

Similarly, let serve makes it difficult for the referee to decide which player is right. It causes problems for the match officials.

Above all, the integrity of the game is most important. Anyone, either officials or players and even normal persons would not like a rule that may seem to give an unfair advantage to a player.

Therefore, the USAPA rules committee agreed to completely remove the Let rule in 2021 which is still going onwards.

HOW MANY LET SERVES WERE ALLOWED

You should know that earlier than 2021, unlimited let serves were officially allowed.

Yes! It may sound hard to believe but a player can get as many serves as he wanted until his every serve was a let serve.

This is the unfair advantage we talked about! It makes the game hard for receiving players and slows down the whole match.

However, with its removal, it is not a problem anymore, and now each player gets to hit a single serve each time which is a lot more fair.

WILL LET SERVE BE REINTRODUCED

Well, it’s much more unlikely for pickleball let serve rule to be introduced. The rules committee in its official statement has elaborated the removal of this rule in much detail.

They have provided many valid reasons for Pickleball let serve rule to be invalid. So, it’s very unlikely for it to be reintroduced.

Almost two years have passed, although, some players have expressed their concern regarding this rule and want it back in Pickleball to enjoy original pickleball.

But with each passing day, more and more people are joining pickleball due to which the let serve in pickleball may be forgotten.

BUT ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN! It may be reintroduced again. You do not need to worry about that. You should learn the currently implemented rules to become a pickleball pro.

TO SUM UP

Just like other rules, pickleball let serve rule was also a good one and a bad one, simultaneously. It depends on the rules committee to form rules and our work is to play by them. The rules in any game are to ensure a fair gameplay and full enjoyment. So, play by it and Enjoy your pickleball game!

Can the ball hit the net in pickleball?

 Yes, the ball can hit the net in pickleball. If the ball lands in service area of the opponent then he/she needs to play it and continue the game without any interruption.

Is there let rule in tennis?

 No, there is no let serve rule in tennis, badminton, and pickleball.


3. Is let serve legal in pickleball?

  Yes, it is considered legal and needs to be returned by the opponent just like a normal serve.

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