In this article, I will go over an exhaustive list of 125 pickleball terms.

It includes pickleball terms about gameplay, equipment, slang, and everything you need to know to understand what other picklers are referring to when they use these terms.

The terms are arranged in an A-Z order. If you want to look up a specific keyword, press control + F (or command + F for Mac) and type the word you are looking for.

Without further do, let’s dive into the pickleball terms.

Ace

An ace in pickleball is when a player serves the ball, and the opponent can’t return it, resulting in the server winning the point. 

APP Tour

The Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP) Tour is the first sanctioned pickleball tour for amateurs and professionals in the United States. It consists of the top professionals competing for the largest payouts in pickleball. 

Approach Shot

A shot that you hit and advance to your NVZ line. It is most commonly used when returning a serve. Your strategy should be to hit the ball and approach the net – the top strategy is to get up to your NVZ line, the best position for controlling the point.

ATP (Around the Post) shot

A legal shot where the player hits the ball around the post and into their opponent’s court without crossing into their half of the court

A 5.5 Pickleball Player 

It is a skill-level rating by USAPA. It ranges from 1.0 to 5.5+, where 1.0 is the lowest beginner level, and 5.5+ is reserved for the most advanced players and pros. Players with a 5.5+ rating are experts in the game.

Backcourt

The area of the court is near the baseline.

Backspin

 A backward rotary motion of a ball is produced by hitting it in a downward arc. 

Backswing

Part of the swinging motion before contacting the ball.

Backhand

A shot that is hit on the non-dominant side of the body.

Baseline

The line at the back of the court.

Banger

A hard-hit shot, or someone who constantly hits the ball hard mindlessly. 

Bert

A shot where you jump over and around your non-volley zone line to hit a ball before it bounces on your partner’s side of the court.

Block Volley

A defensive shot made by blocking the ball back over the net without swinging.

Bounce It

A player yells “bounce it” to tell his teammate not to volley the ball and let it bounce, mostly because it may be out.

Carry

When contacting the ball, it rolls along the paddle instead of bouncing off, resulting in a fault.

Centerline

The line that bisects the area between the non-volley line and the baseline.

Chop

Hitting the ball to put a backspin on it. Accomplished with a chopping downward motion

Composite

A type of paddle made from multiple materials.

Continental Grip

A grip where the paddle is held with the thumb and index finger to form a “V” shape.

Cross-court

A shot hit diagonally across the court.

Dead Ball

A ball that is no longer in play, meaning a point is over.

Dillball

A standard shot that has bounced once on an opposing team’s side that is in play

Dig

A defensive shot made by keeping the paddle low to absorb the power of the incoming ball.

Dink Shot

A soft shot that is hit just over the net and lands in the opposing non-volley zone.

Dink Volley

A soft volley (hitting the ball before it bounces) that is hit just over the net and lands in the opposing non-volley zone.

Doubles

A pickleball game played between 4 people (2 on each team). Teams can be men, women or mixed doubles.

Double Bounce

 A ball that bounces more than once off the ground before being returned, resulting in a lost point.

Double Bounce Rule (Also known as two bounce rule)

The rule requires each team to let the ball bounce once on their side of the court before hitting it after the ball is served.

Double Elimination

A type of tournament format where a player or team must lose twice before being eliminated from the tournament.

Double Hit

Hitting the ball twice in one motion, which is considered a fault.

Down the Line

A shot that is hit parallel to and close to the sideline.

Drive

A hard, low shot that is hit with pace and travels deep into the opponent’s court.

Drop Shot

A soft shot that is hit just over the net and lands close to the net in the opponent’s court.

Drop Serve

A serve where the ball is dropped and hit after the ball bounces off the playing surface.

Drop Spin

A shot that is hit softly with backspin and lands just over the net.

Even Court

The right side of the court when facing the net. The even court for each team is diagonally opposite. It gets its name because the server serves from this side of the court when the score is even.

Erne

A shot where you jump over and around your non-volley zone line to hit a ball before it bounces. 

Face

The hitting surface of a paddle.

Falafel

A shot without any power because it is a mishit.

Fault

A violation of the rules that results in the loss of a point.

First Server

The player who serves first in a point. In double games, the player on the right side of the court will become the first server after a side out.

Flapjack

A shot that can only be hit after it bounces. The only situation that a flapjack appears is because of the double bounce rule. (mentioned above)

Flat Face (Paddle)

Keeping the face of the paddle parallel to the net. 

Flick shot

 A quick wrist snap with the paddle to hit the ball.

Foot Fault

A fault occurs when a player steps on or over the baseline or non-volley zone line while serving or volleying.

Follow Through

The continuation of the swinging motion after striking the ball.

Forehand

A shot where the player strikes the ball on the same side as their dominant hand.

Game

A series of points played until one side reaches the predetermined number of points needed to win.

Grip

The way you hold your paddle. There are several types of grips, including Eastern, Western, and Continental.

Groundstroke

Hitting the ball after it has bounced once on your side of the court.

Half-Volley

Hitting the ball immediately after it bounces while still close to the ground.

Head (Paddle)

The top part of the paddle above the grip.

Honeycomb Core

The interior structure of some paddles made up of hexagonal cells that help absorb shock and provide power to your shots.

Hinder

A player’s actions prevent another player from making a legal shot or reaching a ball they could have returned otherwise. 

Indoor Ball

A type of pickleball ball designed for indoor play. It is softer, larger, lighter, and has fewer hoes that are larger than outdoor balls.

IPTPA 

International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association (IPTPA) is an organization dedicated to promoting pickleball education and training for players and coaches around the world. 

Junior

A player under 19 years old. 

Kitchen (Also Known as Non-Volley Zone)

The area on either side of the net measures 7 feet x 20 feet, where players are not allowed to volley.

Let

A serve that hits the top of the net but still lands in bounds on your opponent’s side. There are no “let” rules in pickleball, so a “let” is a valid serve.

Line Calls

Calls made by players during play to indicate whether a ball was in or out of bounds. 

Lob

A high-arcing shot that travels deep into your opponent’s court. 

Ladder

A system that tournaments use where players are ranked according to their skill level and play against others at their level. 

Midcourt

Also known as no man’s land or the transition area. It is the area between the non-volley zone and baseline on either side of the court. 

Momentum

Momentum is a property of a body in motion, such as a player executing a volley, that causes the player to continue in motion after contacting the ball. The act of volleying produces momentum that ends when the player regains balance and control of their motion or stops moving toward the non-volley zone.

No Man’s Land

Also known as midcourt or the transition area. It is the area between the non-volley zone and baseline on either side of the court. 

Non-Volley Zone (NVZ)

Also known as the kitchen. The area on either side of the net measures 7 feet x 20 feet, where players are not allowed to volley.

Nasty Nelson

A shot that is aimed to hit opposing team players’ bodies directly, intending to force them to violate the two-bounce rule and make a fault. It is named after Tim Nelson, who was known for his controversial playing style.

Odd Court

The left side of the court when facing the net. The odd court for each team is diagonally opposite. It gets its name because when the score is odd, the server serves from this side of the court.

Outdoor Ball

A type of pickleball ball designed for indoor play. It is harder, smaller, heavier, and has more holes that are smaller than indoor balls.

Overhead Shot

A shot that is hit hard above the player’s head that goes downward to the opponent’s court.

OPA!

A cheer that is shouted out after the third shot after a serve has been hit which means the two-bounce rule no longer applies, signifying that intensive volleying has begun.

Open Face (Paddle)

Make the face of the paddle roughly parallel to the net that is ready to hit the ball. 

Overgrip

A thin layer of material that is wrapped around the handle of a pickleball paddle to provide extra grip and comfort

PPA

The Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) is a professional organization that promotes and organizes pickleball tournaments and events.

PPR

The Professional Pickleball Registry (PPR) is an organization that provides training and certification for pickleball coaches

Paddle

The equipment used to hit the ball in pickleball. In other sports like table tennis or tennis, it’s called a racquet or racket. 

Paddle Face

The hitting surface of a paddle.

Paddle Tap

A gentle tap between your paddle and the other player’s paddle, which resembles a handshake.

Passing Shot

A shot that is aimed to go past an opponent who is at the net. It is usually hit low and hard along the sideline.

Permanent Object

 Any object on or near the court that cannot be moved, such as a fence or light pole. If a ball hits a permanent object, it is considered out of bounds.

Pickle!

A call made by a player to indicate that they will take responsibility for hitting a ball that might otherwise be missed by their partner. It is similar to calling “mine!” in other sports.

Pickled

A term used to describe a player or team that has score zero point in a game or match. It can also refer to someone who has been beaten badly in a game or match.

Pickledome

The court where the final game in a pickleball tournament is played. It can also refer to any large indoor facility where pickleball tournaments are held.

Pickler

A person who is addicted to playing pickleball. It can also refer to someone who plays pickleball frequently or at a high level.

Plane of the net 

An imaginary line that extends upward from the top of the net. When hitting shots over the net, players must make sure their paddle does not cross this line.

Poach

A doubles term that means stepping into a partner’s side of the court to “steal” a shot.

Put Away

A shot that is impossible to return.

Punch Volley

A quickly reacted volley shot with little to no backswing or follow-through.

Rally

A series of shots hit back and forth between opponents.

Rally Score System

A scoring system where points can be won by either the serving or receiving team.

Ready Position

The position where players stand before the serve.

Receiver

The player who receives the serve.

Replay

A situation where a point is replayed due to an error or fault.

Resetting (or Reset)

Returning to your original position on the court after hitting a shot.

Round Robin

A tournament format where each team plays every other team in their group.

Sandbagging

Intentionally playing below one’s skill level in order to gain an advantage in competition.

Scorpion

A counterattack shot in which the player bends his knee and raises the paddle above his head. 

Serve

The act of hitting the ball over the net to start the game.

Service Court

The area on the court where the serve must land in order for it to be considered legal.

Service Out Side Scoring

A scoring system where only the serving team can win points. If the server team loses, a side-out happens. 

Server Number

A number that appears in double games only. It is assigned to players at the beginning of the match and after side out that determines which player on the team will serve first.

Sideline

The boundary line on either side of the court.

Side Out

The serving team loses the opportunity to serve the other team. It happens when both players on the team have made a fault or the server has made a fault when a new match begins when the score is 0-0-2.

Singles

A game played with one player on each side of the court.

Skinny singles

A game played with one player that only uses half of the court.

Slice

A shot that is hit in a downward arc.

Slide Step

A footwork technique used to move quickly and efficiently around the court.

Slammers

Players who always hit the ball hard mindlessly.

Smash

A powerful overhead shot that is hit downward.

Split Step

 A footwork technique to stop your momentum and get ready for the ball.

Stacking

The strategy of lining up players on one side of the court during a serve or return of serve.

Stroke

The way a player hits the ball.

Tagging

Deliberately aiming and hitting an opponent with the ball.

Technical Foul

A violation of the rules results in a loss of point or serve. Players can call for a technical foul of the opposing team. If the referee agrees it’s a foul after reassessment, a point or serving opportunity will be taken way from the opposing team.

Third Shot

The shot that is hit after the return of serve. After a third shot, players can start to volley the ball. 

Third Shot Drop

A soft third shot that is hit on the third shot to prevent the opponents from attacking.

Top Spin

A shot that is hit with a forward spin.

Transition Zone

Also known as no man’s land or the transition area. It is the area between the non-volley zone and baseline on either side of the court. 

Tweener

A shot that is hit between the legs while the player is facing away from the net.

Two Bounce Rule

Also known as the double bounce rule. The rule requires each team to let the ball bounce once on their side of the court before hitting it after the ball is served.

Unattackable ball

A ball that is very difficult to be attacked by an opponent because it is too low or too close to the net.

UPTPR 

USAPA Tournament Player Rating (UPTPR) is a rating system used by the USAPA to rank players based on their skill level.

USA Pickleball

The national governing organization for pickleball in the United States.

Volley

A shot that is hit in the air before it bounces on the ground.

Volley Serve

A serve that is hit in the air before it bounces on the ground.

What’s Next

Congratulations on making it here. It was a long list. To further expand your pickleball knowledge, check out this pickleball rules article.

FAQ on Pickleball Terms

What’s the Difference Between Erne and Bert

A Bert is the same as an Erne but only appears in a double game. A Bert is executing an Erne on your partner’s side of the court.

Is the Odd Court on the Same Side for Both Teams?

No, the odd court is the left side for each team. So the odd court of opposing teams is diagonally opposite.

Is There a Let Rule in Pickleball?

No, the let rule was removed in 2021. It means that a let shot is legal if it lands inbound.

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