Pickleball is a fun and fast-paced sport which can be played by almost anyone anywhere.
Similar to other sports, such as tennis or badminton, pickleballs has some rules that you will need to follow to develop your playing skills. One of these rules is known as a “let”.
A let in pickleball is when your ball hit the net but it still ended up correctly in the no-volley area of the playing field.
The let rule was removed from the pickleball rule book in 2021, so there is currently no rule of a let in the game at all.
In this article, we’ll explore what exactly a let serve is and why it has been removed from the game.
What’s A Let In A Pickleball Game?
A let serve is very simply another attempt at hitting the ball (see also ‘What Kind Of Ball Is Used In PickleBall?‘).
When you serve your ball once and it hits the net but still gets over it into the non-volley zone, then this is called a let serve.
In pickleball, this type of serve isn’t seen as the ideal serve but it doesn’t get the player any penalties.
The old let rule of pickleball allowed a server to play a second serve.
Saying this, as the let rule has been scrapped, players aren’t allowed to play a second serve when the ball as played as a let.
With a let serve, it’s important to keep in mind that the ball must go over the net into the correct part of your opponent’s side.
If the ball stays on your side of the net or it ends up in the volley zone of your opponent, then this is not a let and wouldn’t get you a second try.
How Many Let Serves Are Permitted In A Pickleball Game?
There is no limit on how many numbers of let serves are allowed in a single pickleball game.
You can try as often as you like to get your serve right.
However, it’s worth saying here that it can be very frustrating for other players when they have to wait for a quality serve from one player.
Saying this, if you are playing in a beginner team (see also ‘How To Play Pickleball For Beginners‘), then other players are likely more understanding and accepting when you take your time trying a few times.
Why Is A Let Called A Let Serve?
There is no clear origin where the term “let” came from for this type of serve.
However, there are a few theories that have emerged over time, although they are not backed by evidence.
One theory is that a let is simply a shorter version of “Let’s try again” or “letting” your opponent try his or her serve again.
This in itself sounds plausible but there are also a few other theories on the origin of a let serve.
Pickleball shares a lot of similarities with other sports, especially tennis, table tennis and badminton.
Another popular theory is that pickleball borrowed the term “let” from tennis (see also ‘Pickleball Vs. Tennis‘).
A little further in meaning, another theory suggests that the term “let” comes from the French word “filet”, meaning net.
As French is a popular language in the US and UK, it’s possible that the English language has adopted the short version “let” as a pickleball term.
But there are also theories that reach even further back in time, specifically to Old Saxon.
In this ancient Germanic language, the term “lettian” means “to hinder” in modern English. That describes very well how the game is slowed down by the player’s let serve.
However, there is no evidence for any of these theories.
Why Was The Let Rule Removed?
In 2021, the official pickleball organization USA Pickleball decided to remove the “let” rule from the official rule book of pickleball.
Anything related to a let or a let serve has been taken out of the pickleball rules by the pickleball governing body.
This has caused a lot of debate in the pickleball community but as the rules are officially designed by USA Pickleball, they need to be followed by players.
USA Pickleball explained that if a player halts the play due to a let serve, which may be accidental or not, then this will result automatically in a fault for the player or the team.
Although it has been acknowledged that there are players who play a let serve accidentally, there is no space for negotiations when it comes to receiving a fault now with the new rules.
How To Serve Correctly In Pickleball
Now that the let rule has been removed from the pickleball rules, it’s more important than ever to play a good serve in pickleball.
The right way to serve a ball in pickleball is underhand while holding your paddle below your waist.
You need to make sure that your paddle comes into contact with the ball at this height.
You should keep the paddle face just below the wrist. Then set one foot behind the baseline.
Keep in mind that your feet should not touch the court or the baseline until the ball has been served.
Your teammates and opponents should have their paddle up, ready to hit the ball in return.
When you are serving, then you will need to hit the pickleball ball into the playing area diagonally opposite. It should land in the non-volley zone.
In the past, you were allowed to try serving a ball several times if it just got over the net.
However, the let rule has been removed and any ball that touches the net is now a fault.
A let is simply trying to serve a ball again in pickleball.
A ball that hit the net and got over into the correct zone of your opponent was not a fault in the past.
However, this rule has been changed and you are not allowed anymore to try serving a ball again.
Instead, this serve would be counted as a fault for your team or you as a player.