Lets in Badminton: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you wondering about what a let is in badminton? Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about lets in the game of badminton.

Without any further introduction, let’s dive right into the topic and see what a let is.

A let is called by an umpire or by a player to halt play. It may be given for any unforeseen or accidental occurrence. It is called to end the rally and replay a point.

However, when a let is called, the score does not change and the same server serves the same receiver. A let can be called by the umpire or the player (in absence of an umpire) to halt play. When a let occurs, the player who served last should serve again. 

The difference between a let and a fault is that in a let situation, you do not lose a point and if you make a fault you lose a point. 

The issue often occurs due to concerns like a receiver not being ready for a service, no one being certain as to whether the shuttle landed in and out of the court, or if a shuttle from another court or another unplanned instance of interference develops in one’s playing field.

Examples Of Lets In Badminton

Let’s have a closer look at the various situations under which a ‘let’ can be called for. The understanding of these situations is very crucial in your professional badminton career.

According to the rules of badminton, the following situations are considered as ‘lets’:

Serving Before The Receiver Is Ready 

When the server serves before the receiver is ready, it shall be a ‘let’. The server must wait for the receiver to be ready before he/she serves. 

However, if the receiver attempts a return to the service, he/she will be considered to be ready for the service and it will not be considered a ‘let’.

So if you are receiving the service and not ready, just raise your hand as a gesture to the server to stop and let it down once you are ready. In this scenario, don’t be bullied if the server is rushing the serve, as the rules favor you. 

Server And Receiver Are Both Faulted 

During service, if both the receiver and server are faulted at the same time, it shall be a ‘let’. The server and receiver may have faulted for different reasons which can happen one after the other. It doesn’t matter who faulted first, if both are faulted then they play a let. 

Shuttle Gets Caught On/In The Net 

When the shuttle gets caught in the net and remains suspended on top or after passing over the net, the shuttle is caught in the net, it shall be a ‘let’ except on service. This rule applies only after the serve. 

The reason why it is considered a let and not a fault is that in both cases, the receiver has the chance to return the shot but could not do so due to such situations. 

However, if the shuttle gets stuck on the net on the hitting player’s side, then it is considered as a fault as it did not go over the net. 

Shuttlecock Falls Apart

If during play, the shuttle dismantles and the base completely separates from the rest of the shuttle, it shall be a ‘let’.  

This rarely happens when a player smashes very hard so that the shuttle explodes, and in such a situation, it is called a let. 

It doesn’t matter if the feathers come out, but if the cork disintegrates from the rest of the shuttle, then it becomes unplayable and unfair to continue with just the cork. In such a situation, the players play the point again with a new shuttle. 

Outside Disturbance, Many Shuttles On Court 

If in the opinion of the umpire, a play is disturbed or the player of the opposite side is disturbed by the coach, it shall be called a let. There are various instances when such disturbances can happen. 

  1. Stray shuttles or other objects end up in the court in the middle of a rally. In such a situation, players can get hurt and can lead to injury. 
  2. Disturbances can also take place by people taking flash photography or spectators shouting at players to draw attention. This can disturb the players during a rally.

The safety of players must be always considered a priority. The players may not notice any object that comes their way during a rally and may step over it and this leads to injury.

Therefore, always be careful and call out when you see something on your court or the opponent’s court.

Umpire Not Able To Make A Decision 

If a line judge is unsighted and the umpire is unable to make a decision, it shall be a ‘let’, However, now in International badminton, the Hawkeye technology has helped make such close calls. At competitions where officials are there, a let can be called if the line judge was unable to see it and if the umpire is unable to decide whether the shuttle landed in or out.

However, in club badminton, where is no umpire or line judge, the players decide as per the best view. However, if no one is sure whether the shuttle was in or out, or if you cannot overcome a disagreement, then call it a let. 

When Unexpected Situations Occur

When any unforeseen or accidental situations occur, it shall be called a ‘let’. The situations can be like extra shuttles landing on the court, some invading the court, lights go off, water leakage on the court from centralized air conditioning units, and many more.

Service Court Errors

A service court error also leads to a ‘let’. When a ‘let’ occurs, the play since the last service shall not count and the player who served shall serve again, except in situations where the Law of Service Court Errors is applicable. 

A service court error occurs when: 

  • A player serves out of turn. This primarily happens in doubles. 
  • A player serves from the wrong service court
  • A player, standing in the wrong service court was prepared to receive the service and returns it as well. 

If a service court error is made, then:

  • If only the error is discovered before the next service is delivered, it is considered a “let”.
  • If the error is not found before the next service, then it will not be considered a ‘let’.
  • If there is a service court error, the rally is replayed. 
  • If the service court error is not corrected, then the play will continue without changing the player’s new service courts. 

If you don’t know about all the service rules in badminton, I would highly recommend you check out this article. It will help you learn all the important service rules pretty easily.

When Is A Shuttle Not In Play? 

A shuttle is not in play when:

  • It strikes the net or post and starts to fall towards the surface of the court on the server’s court.
  • When the shuttle hits the surface of the court.
  • And when a ‘fault’ or a ‘let’ has occurred.

Final Thoughts 

Well, these are all the situations under which a ‘let’ can take place. As a player, you must be aware of all these situations or lack of understanding can make you lose points. Also, your opponent can take advantage of various situations during a game if you are not aware of them. 

While practicing, observe situations like these, and execute a let in practice games. This will give you a better and deeper understanding of situations that lead to a ‘let’. Keep practicing in a disciplined manner incorporating all the badminton rules, as this will help you in your professional matches. 

I hope this article was helpful to you in learning something new about badminton. That’s what this website is all about. Check out the other articles on this site to improve your badminton knowledge.

If this article was helpful, do share it so that other people can also find it.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the game!

Anushree Burad

Qualified as an MBA in Sports Management. A Sports fanatic and a passionate badminton player. My passion for sports drove me to foray into sports writing. This is my attempt at translating my thoughts into words. Looking forward to contributing to Sports through my writing.

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