Badmintons Best
Open Menu

Lets in Badminton - Was it In or Out? Net Cords When Serving

Image credit: Photo by Will Porada on Unsplash - https://unsplash.com/photos/ZaGcU6BxJEc

This is the complete guide to lets in Badminton. We’re going to breakdown what a Badminton let is and explain all of them mentioned in the Badminton rules. You’ll learn when to call a let during the game to avoid any disputes.

Here’s the full list of Badminton lets:

There’s a great video by the BWF that shows some of these lets in practice, you can watch that below. Keep reading if you want to learn all the Badminton lets from the official Badminton rules.

What is a let in Badminton?

A let is called to end the rally to replay the point, the score doesn’t change and the same server serves again to the same receiving player.

14.3 When a ‘let’ occurs, play since the last service shall not count and the player who served last shall serve again.

— Taken from the BWF Laws of Badminton rulebook.

Umpires, and players if no umpire is present, are allowed to shout “let” to end the rally to be replayed under the following situations to follow.

14.1‘Let’ shall be called by the umpire, or by a player (if there is no umpire), to halt play.

— Taken from the BWF Laws of Badminton rulebook.

Serving before the receiver is ready

In Badminton, the pace of the game is driven by the receiver. The server must wait for the receiver to be ready before they can serve. The full rule:

14.2 It shall be a ‘let”, if:

    14.2.1 the server serves before the receiver is ready (Law 9.4);

9.4 The server shall not serve before the receiver is ready. However, the receiver shall be considered to have been ready if a return of the service is attempted.

— Taken from the BWF Laws of Badminton rulebook.

If the receiver wasn’t ready and makes no attempt to return the service then the serve is taken again. However, if the receiving player attempts to get the service back in any way, either by moving or swinging his racquet at it, they will be considered to have been ready.

If you’re receiving and the server is trying to rush you simply stay still and leave the shuttle alone when he serves it. Raise your hand up to gesture them to stop and only let your hand drop once you’re ready.

In this scenario, the rules favour the receiver so don’t be bullied into being rushed.

Server and receiver both faulted

A very rare situation but if both the server and receiver are faulted during the service then they play a let. The full rule states:

14.2 It shall be a ‘let”, if:

    14.2.2 during service, the receiver and the server are both faulted;

— Taken from the BWF Laws of Badminton rulebook.

The server and receiver might have been faulted for two different reasons and one might have happened before the other. It doesn’t matter which happened first though, if both players are faulted then they play a let.

Shuttle getting caught on or in the net

This let only applies after the serve. If the shuttle gets stuck on top of or in the receiver’s side of the net then it is a let and the server serves again. The full rule:

14.2 It shall be a ‘let”, if:

    14.2.3 after the service is returned, the shuttle is:

        14.2.3.1 caught on the net and remains suspended on its top;

        14.2.3.1.1. except in wheelchair badminton when it is a fault.

    or

    14.2.3.2 after passing over the net is caught in the net;

    14.2.3.2.1. except in wheelchair badminton when it is a fault.

— Taken from the BWF Laws of Badminton rulebook.

The reason why it is a let and not a fault is that in both situations the player about to hit next had a chance to return the shot. People don’t often know this but when you think about it logically it makes sense.

If the shuttle gets stuck in the net on the hitting players’ side then it is a fault because it didn’t go over. Below is a video of this let in action.

Shuttle falls apart

So rare I don’t even know anybody who’s seen this happen. If Superman is playing and manages to smash so hard that the shuttle explodes then you have to play a let. I’m sorry Superman but it’s unfair to carry on with just a cork.

14.2 It shall be a ‘let”, if:

     14.2.4 during play, the shuttle disintegrates and the base completely separates from the rest of the shuttle;

— Taken from the BWF Laws of Badminton rulebook.

It doesn’t matter how many feathers that fall off during the rally but if the cork separates from the rest of the shuttle then it becomes unplayable.

The players must play the point again with a new shuttlecock.

Outside disruption, multiple shuttles on court

This is basically the safety rule. It’s used when stray shuttles or other objects end up on court during the rally. If somebody walks past too close to the court and disrupts the players shot. The full rule:

14.2 It shall be a ‘let”, if:

     14.2.5 in the opinion of the umpire, play is disrupted or a player of the opposing side is distracted by a coach;

— Taken from the BWF Laws of Badminton rulebook.

We don’t want an environment where players can get hurt because they didn’t stop the rally when a stray object lands on court. If someone tripped and hurt themselves it wouldn’t be acceptable.

Always call out straight away when you see something that isn’t right and could endanger yourself, your partner or the other players on the court.

Disruptions can also be people taking flash photography or spectators shouting at players to draw their attention.

In or out? Too close to call

This one can be a tricky one. In every day and club level Badminton, we don’t have umpires and line judges to call the shuttle in or out. We have to rely on the honesty of players to make the right call.

The etiquette is that the player closest to the shuttle when it landed should make the call. If they’re unsure they can call a let. Admittedly people can take this too far and it’s the duty of all players to show good sportsmanship and accept the calls but also be honest themselves when they have to call it.

At competitions where they have officials, they can call a let if the line judge was unable to see it and if the umpire is unable to make the call himself.

14.2 It shall be a ‘let”, if:

     14.2.6 a line judge is unsighted and the umpire is unable to make a decision; or

— Taken from the BWF Laws of Badminton rulebook.

In international Badminton, they now have the Hawkeye system just like Tennis to be able to make these close calls. Especially if the line judges and umpire can’t make the call. Here are some close calls in Badminton.

An accident or the unexpected occurs

This let is quite vague, it doesn’t state any detail as to what constitutes the unforeseen or accidental. The full rule:

14.2 It shall be a ‘let”, if:

     14.2.7 any unforeseen or accidental situation has occurred

— Taken from the BWF Laws of Badminton rulebook.

Unforeseen and accidental situations could include extra shuttles landing on the court or somebody invading the court themselves. If the fire drill goes off or if the lights go out. The more bizarre and random the event is the more likely it is to be a let.

Can you hit the net on a serve in badminton?

Yes, when serving in Badminton it’s fine if the shuttle hits the net on the way over. If the player leaves it and it lands in then the service still counts and you win the point. If the shuttle hits the net and lands out though then you still lose the point.

What is a let serve in badminton?

A let serve is either when the server serves before the receiver is ready or if the shuttle gets stuck on top of or in the net whilst passing over.

If you found this article useful or know someone who might find this useful please leave a comment and share. If you feel I’ve missed anything out or have other advice, please leave feedback and share your help with others below. Thanks again for reading.


Written by Liam Walsh who lives in Manchester, England. Working as a Software Engineer but moonlighting as a dad, Badminton player/coach and creator of BadmintonsBest.


Related Content

All Badminton Faults Explained (with Videos)

In this guide, we briefly explain what a Badminton fault is, then we’re going to breakdown and explain all the Badminton faults in the Badminton rules. You’ll understand what the rules are and how to avoid being faulted.

Badminton Rules when Serving - Avoiding Common Faults (With Pictures)

There are a lot of rules around serving in Badminton, it’s a very confusing part of the sport for those just getting started. In this guide, I’m going to cover: the basic serving rules, common faults when serving, the service court, serving rules for singles, serving rules for doubles, the rules when receiving serve