Important Pickleball Terms & Definitions – 2023

Pickleball is a new sport that is just becoming popular but has lots of promise. It is one of the fastest-developing sports activities in the United States. It combines badminton, tennis, and table tennis and is perfect for all ages and skill levels. Whether you are a seasoned athlete or just beginning to explore the world of pickleball, it is important to familiarize yourself with the terms and definitions of the game. This blog will explore some of the most common pickleball terms and definitions to help you join the pickleball conversation.

Are you ready to join in on the newest trend in sports? Pickleball is taking the nation by storm, and it’s time you jump on the bandwagon. But before you do, you should know some of the funny, hilarious and unique pickleball terms that will have you laughing and playing in no time.

Discover the Pickleball Lingo: Unravel the Mystery of Pickleball Terms


The region close to the starting line, about a few feet within the court from the beginning


Also referred to as “Slice” or “Chop”, it imparts spin on the ball by hitting it with higher to lower movement, resulting in the ball spinning in the opposite direction of its trajectory


The action of taking the pickleball paddle from the prepared stance before proceeding with a forward swing involves swinging it backwards.


Hit where the player smacks the ball on the opposite side from their stronger backhand


The rear boundary of the pickleball court is marked by a line that stretches 22 feet from either side of the net.

Bounce It

Instructions shouted to partner to not hit the ball and let it drop (since you believe it will go out of bounds).


Striking the ball in a manner that it does not ricochet from the pickleball racket but rather remains on the surface of the paddle during its onward movement.


The court area is situated diagonally opposite your side court.


A straight boundary that stretches across the No-Serve Area to the Backline, separating the service area into two equal parts

Champion Shot

A pickleball stroke that ricochets twice in the No-Volley Area


Cut in an upwards direction to apply backspin to the pickleball.

Dead Ball

The point is over when a ball is declared dead after a fault.


A ball that is still in play and has struck the ground at least once

Dink Shot

A gentle lob that ascends above the net and lands in the opposite non-volley region

To learn more about the game of pickleball, one must visit the “What is Dink in Pickleball“.

Double Bounce

A ball that rebounds more than once, on a single side, before being sent back. After the serve, each team must hit the ball at least once off the ground before volleying it (hitting it in mid-air)

Double Hit

A player may strike the pickleball ball twice consecutively before sending it back over the net, or it may involve both players on a side. A double hit is possible

Drop Shot

A groundstroke shot that does not reach the opponent’s spot

Down the Line

A pickleball shot that glides close and alongside the boundary line


A forehand stroke struck squarely and low, into the opposing backcourt

Drop Shot Volley

A volley strike intended to dramatically decrease the velocity of the ball and send it back close to the net, near an adversary located at or near the baseline

Drop Spin

A pickleball shot that is hit with the intention to cause a sudden drop as soon as it passes the net is an advanced technique.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the pickleball terms out there? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Let’s take a closer look at some more common pickleball terms and their meanings so you can keep up with the game like a pro.


The extensive face of both sides of the pickleball paddle used to hit the ball


It is a weak hit or a “dead paddle,” is when one strikes the pickleball ball with insufficient force

First Serve

To start a fresh game, only one individual from the initial serving side is allowed to serve. Once a fault has been committed, the service shifts over to the opposing team.


A pickleball stroke in the air must be allowed to drop to the ground once before it can be struck during either of the initial two strokes of every point (the return of service or the return of serve return). After the third shot, no bounce is required and a direct hit can be made.

Flat Face

Maintaining the paddle’s hitting face aligned with the net.

Foot Fault

When serving in pickleball, the player must have one foot behind the back line of the court before hitting the ball; neither foot may touch this baseline or any part of the court until after striking. Violation of this rule will result in a serving foot fault. Additionally, if a player volleys a ball while standing inside the Non-Volley Zone (NVZ) or stepping on its line, then that player commits a Non-Volley Zone foot fault.

Follow Through

On the swing, the continuing onward movement (after the backswing) in the direction of where the pickleball should go.


A right-handed player would begin their forehand stroke with their right hand behind them, then proceed to pull the paddle across their body..

Let’s keep on rocking with more pickleball terms! Get the latest jargon and lingo so you can impress your court mates and dominate the court. Get ready to learn new skills and up your game. Pickleball has never been more fun!


The way you clasp the paddle handle with your hand (e.g. continental grip) or the cloth that is wound around the paddle handle to protect it and provide padding (such as grip tape)

Ground Stroke

Striking the ball on the rebound instead of volleying it in midair.

Half Volley

A groundstroke hit is where the paddle interacts with the ball right after it rebounds from the court and before it reaches its maximum altitude.


One of the two parts of the pickleball paddle which includes the paddle face (hitting surface and paddle edge)


An element that interrupts play or something that interferes with the play is called a hinder


Players under the age of 16 but above 7. In 2016 USAPA Juniors was established to support these young players.

Line calls

If the ball touches the ground on or below the lines, it is considered in (except for the Non-Volley Line), otherwise, it is out


The opposing side is forced back to the baseline by a shot that returns the ball high and deep.

Let’s keep pushing forward with even more Pickleball terms! Master all the lingo for a better understanding of the game and to become an ace on the court. Get to know all the common terms used in Pickleball to communicate and play like a pro.

Non-Volley Zone

The section of court next to the net is referred to as the Non-Volley Zone. While standing in the non-volley zone, a player can’t volley a ball. All lines surrounding the zone are included.

Overhead Shot

Overhead Shot is a shot where the paddle starts high above your head and drives downward, like a tennis serve

Overhead Slam

Overhead Slam is a shot that is hit in a downward motion. It’s usually done on the return of a high-bounce shot


After the 3rd shot has been hit, and shouted out, open volleying has begun

Open Face

It means the position in which you can hold a pickleball paddle that is tilted slightly upward


The paddle is similar to a racket in tennis or racquetball. It’s possible to make a pickleball paddle out of wood, Composite or Graphite.

Passing Shot

A passing shot is a volley or groundstroke shot that is aimed at a distance from the player and is meant to prevent a return of the ball.

Permanent Object

Any object around the court that could interfere with the flight of the ball is a permanent object. Walls, fences, fixtures, lights, net posts, bleachers or spectator seating, the referee, line judges, spectators themselves, and all other objects around and above the court are permanent objects.


The server shout out a warning to everyone on the court that they were about to serve

You’re getting more and more impressive in the world of pickleball! To take it to the next level, here are a few more interesting pickleball terms you should know: second serve, rally, singles, and volley. Impress your friends and opponents with your pickleball savvy!

Second Serve

The condition when a serving team begins the game or loses the first serve is called the second serve.

Overhead Slam / Smash

An overhead slam is a hard, overhand shot that results from an opponent’s high bounce


Two people playing a game with one on each side.


Hitting the ball in the air, during a rally, before the ball has a chance to bounce onto the court.

From the basics like serving and scoring to more advanced terms like dinking and moonballing, we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive list of pickleball terms. Get ready to sharpen your skills and take your game to the next level!

Must read the article Pickleball Rules for more understanding of the game.


A downward hit that imparts backspin to the Pickleball is called a chop

Hitting the pickleball in the air when jumping within the Non-Volley Zone (or Kitchen) is known as an Erne. Alternatively, an Erne can be achieved by running around or through the Kitchen and landing with both feet outside.

When playing Pickleball, a ‘slice serve’ involves hitting the ball so that it curves to one side, making your opponent move quickly to reach it. This must be done in accordance with the serving regulations to ensure a legal serve.

Dinking – a dink shot that is a gentle stroke performed near the No-Volley zone that is meant to land in the opposing player’s kitchen area.

A Bert is an advanced-level shot which involves a player leaping over the kitchen on the other side of the court and then volleying the ball. It is comparable to an Erne but only becomes a Bert when the player traverses from the left side of the court to the right sideline or vice versa.

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