How Many Lets Can You Have In A Row On A Serve?

There is obscurity regarding the number of lets one can have in a row. Many assume that it’s three, but how many does the rule book says you can have?

As long as all service rules are followed, a table tennis server can have as many lets in a row as possible. No rules limit the number of services available to servers in both singles and doubles. You should replay a letting service every time it occurs.

The allowance of unlimited let services creates an exciting dynamic in table tennis. However, several types of possible let circumstances occur in a rally, and you should read them below to avoid losing points because of an avoidable fault.

Is There A Limit On Consecutive Lets?

There are clear rules in table tennis that afford players infinite consecutive lets. Although frustrating for the other player, as long as the server doesn’t fault during these services lets plays, they can continue letting indefinitely. 

If you are a skilled tennis player, you can probably manage to play consecutive lets to break up a rally that’s in your opponent’s favor. Of course, this method of play wouldn’t be very sportsmanship-like as it requires a skilled and attentive umpire and steals away from the fast-paced nature of the game.

Some players could see such play as a great tactician in utilizing legal means to turn tides in their favor. In contrast, others could see this as a way of admitting that you must resort to obscure means because you are outmatched.

Fortunately, suppose you only enjoy playing table tennis casually with your friends. In that case, you can use this tactic if you have the skill to pull some laughs. You can even decide among your friends to put an arbitrary cap on service lets that a player can have in a row.

Most people usually go with a restriction of three lets before a fault and losing a point, especially if they already have skunk rules in effect.

What Constitutes A Let?

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has clear rules and guidelines on what constitutes a let. It’s essential to familiarise yourself with their current literature, as service lets aren’t something people are familiar with in games.

According to the ITTF’s final word, a rally will only be considered a let if the ball begins its humble journey from a correct serve. The ball should bounce once on the server’s side, hit the net assembly, and bounce on the side of the receiver.

For doubles, it’s all similar with only the adjustment of the standard doubles rules of correct service. Without the server overcoming this practiced hurdle, there can be no further discussion into whether or not a let has occurred. 

The second ground for a service is the other team being unprepared to receive your or your partner’s service. Suppose your opponent or opposing pair doesn’t act on a service by attempting to strike the ball because they weren’t ready. In that case, that play will also be relinquished to the obscurity of lets. 

Many inexperienced people aren’t aware that outside interruption or interference can also result in a service let. This is simple, if a player or pair fails to return service, do a service, or cannot comply with table tennis rules and regulations because of outside forces, then that play can also be called a let.

This is why an experienced umpire or one that is intimately familiar with the most current ITTF stipulations is so necessary for smaller events.

A combination of experience and professionalism can also positively contribute towards curbing the occurrence of a lot because of this situation. If an umpire or assistant umpire interrupts a play, that play can be ruled as a let.

Most people and even newly officiating umpires understand this rule implicitly. However, it’s still handy to know that the old and great ping-pong deities foresaw such calamity and jotted down the text to correct such offenses.

Because we are having fun, we’ll continue riding this reverent course of explanation and raise our tested bats in reverence to the great ITTF handbook for allowing the dubious nature of service to extend to players of all mobilities. 

Suppose your opponent is in a wheelchair because of a physical disability and correctly service. In that case, the ball receives a service if it touches the court and returns in the direction of the net. 

A lot will also hold if they come to rest in their receiving court. This line of letting continues in singles if the ball goes out of your opponent’s court from either sideline after touching it.

With all of these ways that a let can save your point, it’s only natural that there are rules that make room for legally interrupting a play without seeming injurious to either player. 

The mighty rule book allows for play interruption when an error in serving, receiving, or ending requires some correction. This also holds when an expedited system needs to be put into effect because of players agreeing to it or because the points allow when the game time is going further than ten minutes.

Interruptions can also be expected when a player or advisor needs to be warned or penalized. Lastly, play may also be interrupted if the original conditions of play are disrupted in such a way that it could change the course of the rally.

Other Puzzling, But Legal Plays

Like the mystery of the infinite let case, other interesting situations can happen in this high-octane sport. For most of us, we regard the net with some respect. However, there are some fun things you can do when you look at the net assembly in its entirety.

The net assembly is everything from the posts, suspensions, and table clamps that keep that net demarcating the court. 

With this knowledge that your enthusiast self already knew, you can begin to create some unique highlight reels for your game. According to the ITTF, the ball doesn’t necessarily have to go over the net to get the point.

As long as all is in order from your side and the ball meets its goal of bouncing once on the receiver’s side, it can go under or around the net assembly with complete impunity from the umpire.

Although it’s not the most common, you’ve probably seen this happen in professional matches. You are wondering about the legality of what you’ve just seen. 

Interestingly, the ball can also go over the net, hit your opponent’s side, and back to your side. The receiver must engage their boosters and scurry around the table to make their shot. 

Tips And Tricks For A Successful Table Tennis Match

There is a reason why table tennis is so incredibly popular in massive places like India and China. The game is not only full of excitement with all the twists and turns you’ll need to either keep your physio busy even if you’re just spectating.

It’s not only essential to be familiar with what constitutes a lot, but also to be aware of a few tips and tricks to make your matches worth the sweat down your brow.

Use A High-quality Racket

Suppose you are a relatively new player investigating the murky world of service lets. In that case, you might also be looking for ways to avoid unintentionally playing lets. 

One of the most essential investments a player can make in this sport is purchasing a quality racket that’s not only made from top-end material but is calibrated for professional play. It would help if you got a racket you can grow with and use it often to get used to its unique weight and feel for better control.

Have A Proper Grip

Another significant influence on how well you play and avoid letting and faulting is how well you grip your racket. A proper grip that suits your style of play will help you with better control as you continue advancing in the game. If you are searching for straightforward ways to improve your game, revisit all the fundamentals to ensure they are where they should be.

Pay Attention To Your Footwork

Mastering the correct footwork will help your ankles to have a long career. Footwork will aid in sharpening your response to shots and help you move swiftly with the game’s tempo. This is essential in keeping up with more experienced players and possibly even getting a leg up over them. Your footwork will keep getting better with every practice session.

In paying attention to your footwork, you’ll also want to consider the type of shoes you wear. Having fitting footwear will help your mission of having quick and fast footwork. You want shoes that fit correctly and help you with quick and decisive movements. 

Serving Is An Art Form To Be Mastered

The serve is everything in table tennis. It’s where you have complete control of the court and can change the game’s tide when you can fully use it. You’ll need to learn all the rules around serving to imbue each service skill and precision. 

Try to limit taking on multiple styles of serving at once and simply focus on mastering serving methods one at a time. The basics of a serve require throwing the ball into the air at a certain height from an open palm. Here, your opponent must be able to see the ball without obstruction the entire time of the serve. 

Slowly Grow To Include Different Tactics 

There are many styles of play in table tennis, and it’s essential to learn as many as possible so you can begin including them in your arsenal.

Having a deep bag of tricks will make predicting your shots more difficult for your competitors, which could give you the edge you’ve been training towards. Incorporating varying lengths and levels of spin in your serves will go a long way in getting you an edge over your competition.

Several shot styles are ripe to be learned, so make sure to add them to your bag of ammunition. Different styles of shots will make it harder for receivers to catch on to your game.

Practice And Practice Some More

This is a no-brainer, but people continually need reminding until something is a habit and their second nature. With practice, you’ll grow to be able to control your server and avoid service lets or use service lets as you see diabolically fit.

Practicing with your bat will make you the master of your domain, and this dedication will also improve your speed and reflexes. 

The practice also entails physical training. Ping-Pong is a highly demanding sport, and you need both speed and stamina to keep up with your opponent, especially when you enter the competitive sphere of the game.

You’ll need to do full body strength training and pay special attention to your legs, forearms, shoulders, and upper back. Make sure to warm up before every match with an exercise like rope skipping to loosen you up and get your reflexes and footwork firing on all cylinders.

Another vital part of practicing is being able to play against many other players. This is where being part of a table tennis club comes in handy, as these groups will have a wide array of players with unique styles and tactics.

Take time to invest in finding a suitable club conducive to growth and preferably has an experienced coach to walk you through the ropes. Like any sport or profession, there’s always something interesting to learn in table tennis.


Having a calm and clear mind during a game is possibly one of your most valued assets. Ping-Pong players need to be able to think clearly and rationally, even if they are losing, to be able to deploy different styles of play and tactics precisely.

Being rattled only increases the number of faults in a game and gets stuck in a pattern of getting service lets. You need to breathe and reel in that heart rate. Players can manage to come back from the brink of “extinction” if they can control and redirect their nerves.


Table tennis is incredibly exhilarating and requires many hours of play and practice. The sport’s governing body, the ITTF, has, in a way, made sure that there’s always something to reap from going over the sport’s rules.

Knowing that players are afforded as many lets in a row as they need is but one of the nigh countless titbits of the sport. Your game will do well to take note of some of the essential tips and tricks for improving your play.

Table tennis is a sport where you can vastly improve your game by simply adjusting the positioning of your bat in your hand, so stick with the many training sessions or keep following the sport for all the frills and thrills to keep your heart monitor busy.


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