What is a let Serve in Pickleball? Pickleball Rules to Know 2023

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Playing pickleball is easy, but you need to know the rules correctly. As a newbie, these rules may seem difficult. However, once you are acquainted with the rules, you will find them really simple.

Nevertheless, some rules will make you confused if skipped. As a result, those skipped regulations may bite your score while playing.

Let serve is such a part of the game that actually doesn’t have specific rules. However, let serve is crucial while playing a tournament despite a lesser-known basic rule.

What is a let Serve in Pickleball? Pickleball Let Serve Rules 2023

Let serve was a common act of Pickleball for years in case of any interruption. But, the USA Pickleball Committee recently changed this traditional rule for a few reasons.

The committee believes it will protect the transparency of this sport. Pickleball players will enjoy a smooth gaming experience. Additionally, it will reduce decisional collisions between players and referees.

In the present rule, let serve will not be applicable despite interruptions. Though it was an established rule, the committee has completely removed it from the rulebooks.

Let serve occurs when you have to retake the serve. In simple words, let serve means; let’s serve again. The reason for let serve could be anything that interrupts your game. For example, your dog suddenly jumps into the court and runs off with the ball.

So, any interruption or pause like that deserves a let serve. However, the most common type of let serve rule written on the rulebook is service let, also known as the ‘let.’

What is a let in Pickleball?

When a served ball hits the net and somehow reaches the right side of the opponent’s court, it is called a ‘let.’ Then the player can serve again. Usually, it happens when the ball hits on top of the net and goes over. However, the ball has to reach the court area properly.

On the other hand, if the ball landed in the kitchen area or couldn’t cross the kitchen court line, it will be counted as a fault. For a fault, the player will not be allowed for a let serve and will lose the point as well as they serve.

How Many ‘let’ Serve Can You Take in Pickleball?

First of all, don’t get confused with the regular serve attempt. You are allowed to have only one serve attempt. However, it is different to let serve.

So, is there any limit for let serve in pickleball? Or how many serve attempts are you allowed to take?

There is no limitation for let serve. You can keep trying until you get a legal serve. However, it is not advisable to do intentionally as it will cut off the fun of the game.

Since you just knew the let serve process and underlying rule, let’s get to know the legal services.

Legal Pickleball Serve

According to the International Federation of Pickleball Official Tournament Rulebook, there are 3 basic pickleball serving rules.

  • The server’s arm should be moving through the upward arc while serving with backhand or forehand forward motions (whatever makes the player comfortable).
  • When the players contact the ball, it must be below the waist, ideally below the belly button.
  • The paddle head cannot go above the server’s wrist. However, technically it is not possible either.

These are the pickleball rules on serving. Although players sometimes ignore or forget the rules, which is not a big deal while playing at home or a friendly match.

However, it is a big deal in the tournament, and you might get a penalty for illegal pickleball serves. So, how to avoid it? We continue to the following part.

How to Avoid illegal Serving in Pickleball?

So far, we have discussed the serving rules. But, what is an illegal serve?

Any serve that doesn’t follow any of the serving rules is considered as illegal serve. It is seen frequently that some players are completely unaware of the international laws while serving in pickleball. However, it is totally unintentional. Let’s see how to avoid illegal serving and serve properly.

Read the Rulebook

The rulebook should be your ultimate reference. Pick a book that contains all the rules in detail and go through every detail and try to understand.

Watch Video Tutorials

With the advancement of technology, learning through videos is easier as multiple video sharing platforms are available such as Youtube, DailyMotion, etc. You will get thousands of videos on basic pickleball rules on those video sharing websites. Watch them get clear about the rules and playing styles.

Watch Live Telecast

If you are dedicated to pickleball, you should attend tournaments or watch live telecasts on TV. It is another excellent way to learn pickleball.

Besides, you should know the basic rules to take a pickleball serve.

Basic Ways to Serve in Pickleball

The service is the essential thing in pickleball as it starts the rally. A good serve can lead you through the point table. You can begin your serving in the following ways.

  • First thing first, do not rush for the serving. Natural and calm serving motion works better.
  • Pick a spot before aim for serving, and then hold the pickleball paddle in a way that doesn’t go above your wrist.
  • Also, keep the paddle below the waist level, and the highest part of the paddle should stay below the belly button.
  • Then, put one of your feet forward, and both of the feet must stay behind the baseline of the serving side.
  • Make sure that your opponent is ready to receive the service or wait for receiver readiness. Make the serve! It should go diagonally and must hit the court passing the non-volley zone.
  • Additionally, the service should finish closer to the shoulder height.
  • Congratulations! You completed a legal pickleball serve.

FAQs on Pickleball Serve

Can the pickleball Receiver’s Partner Return the Serve?

No. Receiver’s partner cannot return the serve. As the pickleball’s services must be done diagonally and only the receiver on that opposite diagonal service court can return it. If the server serves straight instead of diagonal, it is a fault serve.

What is it called when a served pickleball hits the net and lands in the opponent’s court?

It is called a let, which means you have to serve again. Although it is not a fault serve, players are allowed to serve again. On the other hand, if the ball lands on the kitchen(non-volley) area, it is a serving fault.

Related Articles:

  1. In Pickleball What is the Kitchen?
  2. Keep the Ball Low
  3. Gifts Ideas for Pickleball Players
  4. What are the dimensions of a pickleball court?

Final Words

To be a master in pickleball serving, you need practice. Knowledge from rule books or video tutorials will only enrich your theoretical experience. But, the practice can make you perfect.

Besides, there are many serving techniques for pickleball that are essential to avoid the let serve. Practicing those techniques will make anyone a sharp server.

I'm Dave Ogden, a professional pickleball player from Ogden, Utah. When I'm not dominating the court, I pour my passion into writing a blog, sharing pickleball trips and tricks. Join me as I take you on an exciting journey through the world of pickleball. Let's improve our game together!

3 thoughts on “What is a let Serve in Pickleball? Pickleball Rules to Know 2023”

  1. The rule on lets has changed. A serve where the ball touches the net and lands in the service box is considered in play and does not allow for another serve.

      That’s because of the invasion of high-level tennis players who hit forehands with semi-western grips. That carries over to their serves to gain advantage. This situation was very predictable. The underhand serve rule must be strongly enforced to prevent servers from dominating the receiver and shortening the rallies with aggressive topspin. Pickleball needs to avoid what has happened with table tennis: shortening or eliminating rallies due to serves that make rallies difficult…or nearly impossible. The result? A sport with less spectator appeal and less enjoyment.


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