Pickleball is a fun and well-liked game that mixes aspects of ping pong, badminton, and tennis. It can be played indoors or outdoors on a court resembling a badminton court by players of all ages and ability levels.
“Let” is one of the words you could hear while playing pickleball. How does it impact the game and what does it mean? We shall define what is a let in pickleball, discuss how the let rule changed in 2021, and discuss how to adjust to the new let rule in this post.
What is a Let in Pickleball?
A let in pickleball refers to a stoppage in play, which requires the rally to be replayed. It occurs when the ball goes through the net without touching the ground. The decision to call a let can be made by the referee or any player on the court.
A let can happen in different scenarios, such as:
- When the ball hits the net on a serve and lands in the proper service court
- When the ball hits the net on any other shot and lands in the proper court
- When there is an external interference, such as a stray ball or an animal on the court
- When there is a dispute or confusion about a call or a score
A let rule has the advantages of keeping the game’s momentum and uniformity, while preventing unfair advantages or disadvantages for either team. A let rule has the disadvantages of disrupting the players’ flow and rhythm and of maybe leading to disputes or arguments between players or referees.
How the Let Rule Changed in 2021
By 2021, the let rule was no more part of the game. Players or referees were not allowed to call service let anymore. And if any player or the referee calls a let serve out of habit, the player/team who stops playing is at fault and will get a minus point. This change was approved by USAPA (USA Pickleball Association) in its 2021 rulebook.
The main difference between the old and new let rules is that now, if a serve hits the net but still lands properly outside the no-volley zone (also known as the kitchen), it is considered a valid serve and the rally continues. If a serve lands in the no-volley zone after touching the net, it is still a fault.
The reasons behind this change were to:
- Preserve the integrity of pickleball as a sport that rewards skill and strategy over luck
- Align with other racquet sports that do not have service lets, such as badminton and table tennis
- Reduce delays and disputes caused by service lets
- Increase excitement and challenge for players and spectators
How to Adapt to the New Let Rule?
The new let rule may seem daunting or frustrating at first, but with some practice and tips, you can adjust to it and enjoy pickleball even more.
Here are some suggestions on how to adapt to the new let rule:
- When serving, aim for deep and consistent serves that clear the net by a good margin. Avoid hitting low or risky serves that may clip the net or land short.
- When returning, be ready for any serve that may hit the net and bounce unpredictably. Keep your paddle up, your feet moving, and your eyes on the ball. Try to get to the kitchen line as quickly as possible after returning.
- Practice hitting and receiving net balls with your partner or friends. You can also use a ball machine or a rebounder to simulate net balls. This will help you improve your reflexes, anticipation, and control.
- Learn from watching other players or professionals who play a let in pickleball under the new let rule. You can find videos of pickleball matches online or attend live tournaments. Observe how they handle net serves and shots, and try to emulate their techniques.
Frequently Asked Questions
A: In most cases, the players on the court are responsible for calling a let. If they perceive any of the situations mentioned above or encounter any other valid reason for a let, they can stop play and request a let.
A: When a let is called, the player or players who noticed the need for a let should immediately stop play by calling “let” loudly and raising their hand to indicate the need for a replay. The game is paused, and the point is replayed from the beginning.
A: Yes, there are instances where a let is not called in pickleball. For example, if a player makes an unforced error, hits the ball into the net, or hits the ball out of bounds without any interference or obstruction, a let is typically not called. The point is simply awarded to the opposing team.
What is a let in pickleball? A let in pickleball is a stoppage in play that requires a replay of the rally. It used to happen when a serve hit the net but still landed in bounds. However, since 2021, there are no more service lets in pickleball. Any serve that hits the net but lands outside the no-volley zone is valid.
The new let rule was introduced to maintain the integrity of pickleball as a skill-based sport, to align with other racquet sports, to reduce delays and disputes, and to increase excitement and challenge. To adapt to the new let rule, you need to practice hitting deep and consistent serves, returning net balls effectively, and getting to the kitchen line quickly. By understanding and following the new let rule, you can improve your game and have a great time on the court.
Founder of BallSportsGear, Sports Enthusiast and Speaker.