Pickleball Terms You Need to Know

How did pickleball get its name? Reading Pickleball Terms You Need to Know 3 minutes Next Behind the Designs - The Ashbury

Did you just google “What does ___ mean in pickleball?” No shame!

Every sport, including pickleball, has its own lexicon of terms and phrases that “if you know, you know". Likewise, knowing the insider terms is key to taking your game to the next level. 

Bring a few (or more) of these fun terms to the court and sound like a real pro. You just might start playing like one too! 

Pickleball Court Terms: Words to identify parts of the court and outlining fair play. 

  • Baseline: The line running parallel to the net in the back of the court. When serving, you must stand behind the baseline.

  • Centerline: The line running down the middle of the court, from the kitchen to the baseline. 

  • Backcourt: The area near the baseline. 

  • Kitchen: Slang term for the 7-foot, no-volley zone on either side of the net. 

  • Double Bounce Rule: When receiving a serve, let the ball bounce before returning. Your opponents must also let the ball bounce before returning. After those two bounces, volleys can begin. 

Pickleball Play Terms : Words to describe game play, movements, and types of shots. 

  • Rally: A continuous return between teams after the serve and before a dead ball.

  • Volley : Striking the ball out of the air, before a bounce. 

  • Dink: A soft shot that lands right over the net into the no-volley zone. 

  • Lob: A long, high shot that requires your opponent to move towards the baseline. 

  • Dillball: A live ball, after a bounce. 

  • Poach: Crossing into your partner’s side of the court and playing their ball. 

Pickleball Fun Terms: These are uniquely awesome pickleball words. 

  • Volley Llama: An illegal shot where the ball is hit into the Kitchen or non-volley area. 

  • Falafel: A shot lacking strength that falls short of its potential. 

  • Pickle: Shouted by the server to alert the court of their serve. 

  • Slammer: A really hard shot; difficult to return. 

Pickleball Phrases: Sometimes you need more than one word to get the point across. 

  • “Bounce it!”: How to tell your partner to let the ball land out-of-bounds. 

  • “Dead ball”: Call an out-of-bounds ball and end the point. 

  • “You’ve been pickled!”: If your team doesn’t score any points in a game. 

  • “Nice get”: Congratulate your partner after they return a difficult shot. 

The entire dictionary of pickleball terms is extensive,  so don’t stress if you hear a new one. Just ask for the inside scoop! 

A great fellow player will always be happy to share the words they know. In our opinion, the more pickleball lingo everyone knows, the more fun pickleball is to play. OPA!