Pickleball Vocabulary Words – Understanding the Lingo

Pickleball Vocabulary Words starting at A

ACE - Some people like to say that an ace is a serve that is not returned by the opponent. It is most accurately described as a legal serve that is not touched by the receiver. (Because it was a good winning serve).

APPROACH SHOT - A shot that is hit while running up to the net – moving forward.

'B' Pickleball Vocabulary Words

BALL - A ball is literally what it is – a pickleball is a ball similar to a whiffle ball that is made of plastic or a plastic type rubber with anything from 24 to 40 holes in it.

BACKCOURT - The area that extends backwards from the court baseline.

BACKHAND - Means to hit the ball on the opposite side to your forehand side which for a right hander player would be on their left side.

BACKSPIN - Backspin means that a ball spins backwards as it travels through the air after you hit it. Backspin is imparted to the ball by stroking it from high to low in a predominately forward motion causing it to spin backwards in flight. Backspin is often called under-spin or a slice.

BACKSWING - Backswing is the backwards movement of your paddle in preparation of following through with your shot.

BASELINE - The baseline is the line at the back of either end of the pickleball court (22 feet from the net).

BOUNCE IT - This is terminology used in a game normally from your partner telling you to allow the ball to bounce normally because they think it might land out of bounds.

'C' Pickleball Vocabulary Words

CARRY THE BALL - Carry the ball means to hit ball in such a way that it is carried along on the face of the paddle during its forward motion. This is done to impart an effect on the ball. The desired result is spin or swing.

CENTERLINE - The line down the center of the court that bisects the service courts.

CHOP SHOT - A shot that is required to apply spin to a ball normally a high to low path of travel.

CLOSED FACE - The top of the paddle face is angled slightly forward from the vertical.

CROSS STEP - A step across action whereby you move either your right foot across your left foot or your left foot across your right foot to move in a generally sideways direction.

CROSSCOURT - Typically reference to a shot or a position that diagonally opposite yours.

Moving onto D of Pickleball Vocabulary Words

DANGERZONE - Reference to what the No Volley Zone is.

DEAD BALL - The ball is ruled when required as a ‘Dead Ball’ when a serve fault is declared.

DEEP - A position that is near the baseline of the court

There is nothing more identifying in the Pickleball Vocabulary Words than DINK

DINK - A dink is typically a soft shot made into the opponents kitchen and typically made from a position close to the kitchen line opposite however it can be made from any part of the court, also sometimes referred to as a third shot drop when it is in fact the third shot of a rally.

It is a shot that ideally just clears the net and drops into the no volley zone of your opponent.

DOUBLES - A game played with four people divided into two teams, each team having two players. Teams can be male, female or mixed.

DOUBLE BOUNCE RULE - After a serve the ball must bounce twice before it can be volleyed which means to say that on serve the receiver must let the ball bounce before they hit to return it and the serving side must also let the ball bounce before they hit top return it. From that point forward the ball may be hit without the need for it to bounce or in fact can be hit after it has bounced once.

DOWN THE LINE - A shot that is hit close and parallel to the sideline.

DRIVE - A low “driving” shot typically hit to the opponent's back-court.

DROP SHOT - Typically a soft shot that is initiated from mid- to back-court, that arcs just over the net and lands within the opponent's no volley zone.

DROP SHOT VOLLEY - A soft volley shot that often takes pace of the ball and is returned to the kitchen.

DROP SPIN - A form of the drop shot volley that spins the ball to make it stay low on bounce and more it difficult to return.

'F' Pickleball Vocabulary Words

FAULT - Typically a serve that is out of bounds but also an even (or play) that ends with the server giving up his serve to the other side.

FACE - The ‘face’ of the paddle – or the side of the paddle that you hit a ball with backhand or forehand.

FLAT FACE - The hitting surface of the paddle is kept parallel to the net.

FOOT FAULT - When a servers foot touches inside the court before the ball is hit or when a players foot is inside the kitchen and a volley shot is hit or the momentum of a player from a shot just played carries them inside of the kitchen.

FOLLOW THROUGH - Simply the action of travel of a paddle that follows a hit ball.

FOREHAND- A stroke hit on the same side of the body as the hand holding the paddle.

'G & H' Pickleball Vocabulary Words

GAME - Regulation games are played to 11 points and a team must win by two points. It means that games can go past 11 points but are won when one side is two points in front such as 19/17.

GRIP - Grip has two meanings: One referres to how you hold the paddle and the other is the material that is bound around the paddle handle.

GROUND STROKE - A ground stroke is made from anywhere on the court after the ball has bounced.

HALF-VOLLEY - A type of hit where the player hits the ball on the rise after it has bounced.

HEAD OF PADDLE - The part of the paddle above the handle that is used to hit the ball which is effectively the face of the paddle

Harsh Pickleball Vocabulary words - get outta the bloody kitchen!

KITCHEN - The Kitchen is an affectionate name for the no volley zone.

LET or LET SERVE - A legal serve; but for the fact that the ball touched the top of the net. It is replayed as often as required without penalty.

LINE CALLS - Line calls are in reference to balls that land on the line and the game code is that they are made by the players on the side the ball lands on. This is a call made in good faith. One partner can overrule another partner on a line call or any other fault. A team can also ask the opponents if they saw the ball in or out but they must accept their decision as final. If no one clearly saw the ball in or out, the ball is considered in and the play is won by the opponent. A do-over (or play again) is not allowed in tournament play but is often part of a friendly game.

Spectators not referees and should not contribute unless asked. If asked by the receiving side then the spectators word should be accepted.

LOB SHOT - A shot made high enough to clear the opponents reach forcing the opponent back to the baseline.

'M & N' Pickleball Vocabulary Words

MIDCOURT - The area between the non-volley zone and the back-court and often referred to as the dead zone.

NO-VOLLEY ZONE - The area affectionately referred to as the kitchen and is marked 7 feet either side of the net and stipulates that no ball can be volleyed while any part of your body is touching the court inside of the kitchen. This includes the kitchen line.

'O & P' Pickleball Vocabulary Words

OPEN FACE - The top of the paddle face is angled slightly backwards from vertical.

OVERHEAD SHOT - A shot made when the ball is over your head.

PADDLE - Pickleball is played with a paddle that has a flat smooth surface. It is not a bat nor a racquet and has no strings. A paddle can be made of wood or a composite material. Paddle must adhere to a set of design rules to be used in legal play. There is no limit to the weight the paddle.

PASSING SHOT - A shot that passes beyond the reach of the opposition player and lands in court.

PICKLED - When you have failed to score a point in a game. A score of 11-0 says that you  have been Pickled.

PICKLER - An otherwise normal person that is now addicted to the game.

PLAYERS - 2 or 4 (singles or doubles)

POACH - To steal a shot that is otherwise hit to your partner.

PUNCH - A short, quick shot with limited back-swing.

PUT AWAY - A ball that is significantly hit to result in a winning shot.

'R' Pickleball Vocabulary Words

READY POSITION - The position that a player adopts when ready to play or receive a serve or shot.

RALLY - A play that is extended of ‘normal’ play.

 RECEIVER - The receiver is the person who receives serve and is on the diagonal from the server. The receiver is the only player who may return the ball on the serve.

'S' Pickleball Vocabulary Words

SCORING SEQUENCE - Pickleball scoring protocol and etiquette  is to announce 3 numbers prior to serve by the server.  The server must announce the score or the other team can refuse to accept the serve until they do. The first number is the opponents score, the second number is the serving side score and the third is the servers number. IE 3/5/2 – The opponents score is 3, the servers score is 5 and the second server is serving.

SECOND SERVE - Refers to the second server who is yet to serve or who has taken the second serve.

SERVE (SERVICE) - An underhand shot that puts the ball into play at the beginning of a point.

SERVER NUMBER - Refers to the server and is used when playing doubles. Doubles play (2 people per side) has server 1 and server 2 on each side. The first person to serve will do so from the right side of the court and be sever 1. The second server will serve when sever 1 point is lost. Sever 2 will then serve from the side they are on when the point was lost. When the second server loses point, server is handed to the team on the opposite side.

SERVICE SIDE OUT SCORING - When the serving side has either faulted from server or from a serve in play, it is called as “Side Out” and serves moves to the opposition team.

You can only get a point if you are serving, not on receiving. If you win a play on both the 1st and 2nd serve from the other side then you win the right to serve again but you do not win a point.

SHADOWING - Shadowing is about moving in tandem with your partner both sideways across the court and up and down the court so that you cover as much open space as you can in unison.

SHOT - The result of hitting the ball and its trajectory.

SIDELINE - The line at the side of the court denoting in- and out-of-bounds.

SINGLES - A game played with two people, one on each side.

SLICE - Another name for backspin or under-spin.

SMASH OR SLAM - A hard, overhead shot.

SPLIT STEP - When both feet are parallel to each other and ready to cross in either direction.

START - A term sometimes used by players to indicate that the serving team starting the game will only get one service down before giving up the ball. So the player that starts serving in the right court can either say 0-0-2 or 0-0-Start. Both are understood and acceptable.

STROKE - The action of hitting the ball.

'T' Pickleball Vocabulary Words

TECHNICAL FOUL - The referee may add one point to a player's score or a team's score when, in the referee's judgment, the opponent is being deliberately abusive.

TOPSPIN - Spin applied to the ball by stroking it from low to high, causing it to rotate in the direction of its flight.

TWO BOUNCE RULE - This term refers to the fact that the receiving team and the serving team must allow the ball to bounce once on their side of the net before they can play the ball on the fly. The serving team has to be very aware of this rule and not move up after the serve as in tennis. Both serving team members should stay behind the baseline.

'U & V' Pickleball Vocabulary Words

UNFORCED ERROR - When a player misses a shot that is not very difficult.

VOLLEY -  To hit the ball before it bounces.

VOLLEY LLAMA - A player attacking a ball in the no volley zone, illegal in game play.

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