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What is a Let in Pickleball? All You Need to Know

What is a Let in Pickleball? All You Need to Know

Pickleball is a game that is considered more accessible than tennis and badminton as less effort is required in it. But still, some beginners find it challenging to understand the rules and regulations associated with pickleball.

It is a sport that becomes easy when all rules are followed correctly. If anything is skipped or missed regarding regulations, this game becomes confusing. Let serve is also a significant rule in the pickleball world. What is a ‘Let’ in pickleball?

A let in a pickleball game involves a serve in which the ball hits the net cord and lands in the service court of the opponent player. The ball, in this case, touches the top and makes it across the net, reaches beyond the non-volley zone, and lands in the correct part of the opponent’s court.

Service let is also associated with this and occurs when the ball hits the net on the serve and still lands in the proper service court. It happens when the ball glances at the top of the net.

Service let occurs when serve is repeated without any penalty, and at that moment, the referee can call it to let serve. It is considered a fault when the ball hits the net on the service and does not go over the net. It is also considered a fault if the ball hits the net on the serve, goes over it, and lands in the kitchen or outside the service court.

An Overview of Let Serve in pickleball:

Professional players must be aware that only one serve attempt is allowed in pickleball, but let serve is also an exemption. Although not counted as a legal service, it is also not counted against the player either. If a player wants the service to be considered as a let, it must:

  • Hit the net in pickleball game
  • Go over the net in a pickleball game
  • Should bounce in the correct area of the opponent’s court, which is outside of the no-volley zone

Origin of Let Serve:

There are some major theories associated with the origin of let serve, which nobody is still sure about.

One widespread, which is not backed by any evidence, says that let serve is a shortened version of ‘’let’s try that again’’ or allowing your opponent to try the service again.
  • There are three more theories in which one says that as pickleball is a component of other sports, specifically tennis, badminton, and ping pong, the term ‘’let’’ is borrowed directly from tennis.
  • Another theory says that ’let’ stems from the French word ‘filet’ whose translation explains the term ‘net.’ It is assumed that tennis players in the United Kingdom picked this French word and shortened it to ‘let.’
  • The final theory says that the word roots back to the ancient German language, Old Saxon. The German word ‘’Lettian’’ is translated as ‘’to hinder’’.
What is a Let in Pickleball?

There are basic pickleball serving rules as set by the International Federation of Pickleball Official Tournament Rulebook, which we will explain below:

  • The server’s arm should move through the upward arc while serving with backhand or forehand forward motions, which makes the player comfortable.
  • When the player contacts the ball, it must be below the waist and ideally below the belly button.
  • Technically, it is impossible, so the paddle head should not go above the server’s wrist.

How to Attempt to Serve in Pickleball?

Step 1The player should get in the right position. The serving position depends on whether a player is playing singles or doubles and is based on score.
Step 2Call out the score and always say the score first. If a player is playing doubles, make sure to say the service number before the score.
Step 3As a player, decide how a player wants to serve the ball and where they are aiming to serve.
Step 4A player must compose itself and should take a deep breath. It helps to have a routine before a player serves.
Step 5A player should reach out in front of the other player and drop the ball while having the ball in the opposite hand. It is recommended not to throw the ball up.
Step 6Contact the ball in front of the body as the player drops the ball swing to paddle in underhand position.
Step 7The swing of the player should have a smooth and relaxed follow-through.
Step 8A player must be ready for the opponent’s return.

Types of Advanced Servers:

There are three types of advanced servers according to the serving techniques:

  1. High Soft Serve
  2. Power serve
  3. Soft angle serve

Type of Serve


When to Use


High soft serve

  • ·When a player hits high arc deep into the opponent’s court, high soft serve is seen.

  • This serve has a lot of variety and it can keep the opponent’s on their toes.

  • High-soft serve can be tried in the back or front of the serve area. It can be used to make the opponent move and gets them out of position.

  • High-soft serve is a good changeup when the opponent gets used to returning power serves.

  • This serve can be used to draw the other team close enough for hitting a power serve which right passed them.

  • This high arc keeps the opponents back away from the net and is a great serve for all levels.

  • This serve forces the other players to put their own speed on the ball.

  • Opponents can block the ball with their paddle and can make the opponent to do work which increases their chance that they will make a mistake.

Power serves

  • If a player wants to improve the game, power serve is a good option although it is harder to pull off than high-soft serve.

  • Power serve is a fast and deep serve into the opponent’s court.

  • Power serve is a good shot if a player knows that their opponents have a weak backhand.

  • Power serve also makes a perfect combination with high-soft serve. The player from other side might moves forward after serving few high-soft serves.

  • This serve requires a lot of practice and is an advanced serve technique. The power serve lets the player to target the forehand or backhand corners which forces the opponents to use the full repertoire of shots.

  •  The speed of the shot keeps the other players back behind the baseline and makes harder for them to move up to non-volley zone line.

Soft angle serve

  • Soft angle serve is a shot which drops near the kitchen line and the sideline. It is the most difficult among the three main serves because the aimed target is small.

  • This serve leaves a wide open lane on the far side of the court and player can move the opponent off the edge of the court.

  • ·A player gets an easy score if the other player does not get back in position fast enough.

  • ·Whenever the opponents are stacked and the game is being played in doubles, this serve is great to use.

  •  This serve puts the opponents out of position. Ball is dropped near the kitchen in this type of serve which means that the other player has to move.

  • A player can have an easy shot down the opposite lane or a lob right over their head if the opponent does not get backs in the position.

Recent Changes To The Let Rule in Pickleball:

The official organization which regulates all matters associated with pickleball in America had recently made some official rule changes that affect the "let." They removed all the rules which govern let serves and officially took them out of the rulebooks. 

This thing might upset some long-time players of the game. If a player or another teammate stops playing because of a let call, it will be an automatic fault for the team.

Some people might wonder why this significant rule change is applied as let is a large part of pickleball and other racquet sport. USA Pickleball revealed three primary considerations for changing the rules such as:

  • This rule was imposed for preserving the integrity of pickleball
  • Rule change should improve the experience of players by making it easier to learn the game
  • It might minimize the conflict between players and referees

These all priorities were considered when the USA pickleball committee implied the decision of eliminating let. During this decision, many explanations were revolved around the ambiguity of making a let call for both players and officials.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Give an example of letting in a pickleball?

The primary instance of let in pickleball sport is when the ball crosses back to the serving team’s court, and just as the server is about to make a play on the ball, the receiver partner loudly yells the word “let” just as the original server was about to hit the ball.

What do you mean by letting in a pickleball?

A serve that hits the net cord and lands in the service court is called let-in pickleball. Let serves are replayed just like tennis sport.

What happens with a let serve in pickleball game?

Let serves are replayed when the ball touches the net on the serve and lands on the proper service court in pickleball sport. One serve attempt by the player is allowed except in a let-in pickleball sport.

Does let count in a pickleball game?

According to new rules and regulations, there are no lets in pickleball games. If the ball hits the net and goes in, it must be played by the receiving team. Points are scored while serving.

What do you mean by flapjack in pickleball?

Flapjack is a shot that must bounce once before it can be hit.

Can a return of serve in pickleball land in the kitchen?

The serve must never land in the non-volley zone, also called the kitchen. This rule implies even if it hits the net beforehand. The serve can never hit the kitchen or its court lines.

Are double hits played in pickleball games?

A double hit is a ball hit during one continuous single-direction stroke, which is legal in a pickleball game; even though the ball may be unintentionally hit twice or carried still it is legal.

What do you mean by the alley in pickleball game?

Alley is an area which both sides of the court have and is 7 feet long. It is where you can tell by the name that you are not allowed to volley here. Volleying is allowed in pickleball but not in these designated areas, and it is the place where people don’t smash the ball down against their opponents.

Is the backhand serve considered legal in pickleball games?

Backhand serve to challenge to perform legally under the serving rules. Illegal backhand serves are performed high above the waist so that the top of the paddle head is above the wrist.

Is it possible in a pickleball game to hit the ball before it bounces back in a pickleball game?

Both teams may either volley the ball after the ball has bounced once in each team’s court. The two-bounce rule in pickleball games eliminates the serve and volley and extends the rallies.

What is meant by centerline in pickleball?

A centerline or line on a court means that the court or zone will end. The court sequence tells simply that be careful; the court or zone is about to end.

Is the kitchen line present in or out in the pickleball game?

The kitchen rule says that a player cannot touch the kitchen zone or kitchen line while volleying a ball. Any object physically connected to the player counts, including the other partners. It also includes the momentum through which a player will land in the kitchen after volleying the ball.

Can a player's foot touch the kitchen line in pickleball?

No, a player cannot touch any part of the non-volley line during the act of volleying. It is considered a fault.

Can a player spike in the pickleball game?

Pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court in which the players on each side must let the ball bounce once before the volleys are allowed. There is a seven-foot no-volley zone on each side of the net. The server continues to serve to alternate the service courts.

Can a player jump in a pickleball game?

A player may jump over the non-volley zone to volley a pickleball, but the player should not touch the non-volley zone line surface area. This shot is called an Erne.

Can a player underhand in a pickleball game?

The pickleball rules clearly state that the paddle has to be moving upward and should make an overhand shot virtually impossible. The ball and paddle should also make contact at or below the navel.

Who can return a pickleball serve in a pickleball game?

The ball must serve into the diagonal court, and the receiver in that court is the only one who can return it in the court.