The Ultimate List Of Pickleball Terms [+ Their Definitions]

If you’ve had the opportunity to play pickleball before, then chances are you’ve very quickly become addicted.

It’s known as the fastest growing sport in America at the moment, and it’s really not hard to see why.

The Ultimate List Of Pickleball Terms [+ Their Definitions]

Pickleball is popular for a whole host of different reasons, one of the primary ones being that it’s so accessible. 

The game is super easy to pick up, so almost everyone can play. In addition to this, it’s also a great opportunity for social interaction.

If you’re an avid pickleball player, then you’ll know that laughter is one of the most frequent noises you’ll find on a pickleball court. 

If you’re just getting started out with pickleball however, you might still be trying to familiarize yourself with all the jargon.

There’s no denying that improving in the sport comes down to playing on a frequent basis, but you still need to understand all the terminology if you’re playing competitively. 

When it comes to pickleball, there are a lot of terms that you need to wrap your head around. But, don’t worry, because that’s where we come in.

Below, we’ve created a handy guide that shows you some of the most common and important pickleball terms, along with their definitions. 

To find out more, simply keep reading below, as we take a closer look. 

What Is Pickleball? 

Now, before we jump straight in and take a closer look at some pickleball terms, let’s explain what the game consists of, for those who don’t already know. 

If we had to describe what pickleball was, then we’d probably say that it’s a combination of badminton and tennis. It is however, far more social than tennis, and easier to pick up. 

Unlike tennis where you have an incredibly large court and wide net, pickleball is played in close proximity, this gives you more time to speak to your teammate.

In addition, instead of playing with a large racquet, you only have a small paddle to manage. 

You also have the opportunity to get more creative with your shots. In tennis, for example, there are lots of rules and regulations pertaining to the types of shots you are allowed to make.

But, with pickleball, you can hit the ball from a variety of different angles, with the dinking and volleying being prolonged. 

It’s also a pretty good workout, and is considered to be a ‘medium’ sport in terms of activity. This means that it’s comparable to other sports such as water aerobics and yoga.

So, if you’re looking to shed a few extra pounds, this might be the sport for you.

Pickleball is highly popular with people who are of retirement age, as it’s a good opportunity to get out there and speak to other people.

It’s also proven to be safer than tennis when someone is suffering from a chronic heart condition. 

List Of Pickleball Terms With Complete Definitions 

Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the reasons why people love playing pickleball, we can move on to our list of definitions.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most important terminologies that are relevant to the sport, and we give the definition of each of these words. 

This list is essentially a pickleball glossary that you can refer back to if you ever need some reminding of a particular definition. Keep reading below to find out more. 

The Ultimate List Of Pickleball Terms [+ Their Definitions]
  • Ace – In pickleball, an ace is a serve that hasn’t been returned by the opponent. In this case, the server will be awarded the point. 
  • Backspin – This is a shot within pickleball that happens when you hit the ball from a high/low motion. When this happens, the ball spins in mid air, before reaching the opposite side of your opponents playing field. 
  • Baseline – When it comes to pickleball, players must always make sure that they have at least one foot behind the baseline before serving. The baseline is the line on the end of the court. Hitting the ball out of the baseline will not qualify as a point. 
  • Carry – Carry is another type of shot within pickleball, and refers to when a shot doesn’t bounce off the surface of the paddle. Instead of bouncing, the ball will be carried from the paddle, across to your opponent’s side of the court. 
  • Cross Court – This means the opposite end of your court, in a diagonal manner. 
  • Dead Ball – A dead ball is essentially when a ball is proclaimed to be a fault, and the player does not receive the point. 
  • Dink Shot – This popular shot is when the ball goes directly over the surface of the net, and falls into the no volley zone. 
  • Doubles – This is considered to be one of the most popular ways of playing pickleball, and involves a total of 4 people. There are two people on each side of the net forming a team, and they play against each other. Doubles teams can be made up of two people of the same gender, or can be mixed too. 
  • Double Bounce – This qualifies as a fault, and pertains to when a ball bounces twice after it’s been hit over the net. In pickleball, your ball should only bounce once during gameplay. 
  • Face – This refers to the surface of your pickleball paddle, which is classified as being the ‘face’ on which you hit your ball. 
  • Fault – This is when a ball has been hit incorrectly, or outside of the lines, and the player is not awarded a point. 
  • Falafel – This is common with beginners, and refers to when a player doesn’t hit their shot with enough force to make a good shot. 
  • Foot Fault – This refers to when a player makes their shot, but hasn’t adhered to the rule of keeping their foot behind the baseline. 
  • Game – One ‘game’ of pickleball consists of a total of two matches, and within these two matches, players must reach 11 points in each. 
  • Hinder – This doesn’t necessarily have to be something within the game itself, but instead refers to when something external affects the gameplay, hindering the match. 
  • Kitchen – This is one you’ll hear commonly in pickleball, (see also: What Is The Kitchen In Pickleball?)and refers to when a player hits a ball over the baseline into the non volley zone. 
  • Junior – In pickleball, anybody who is under the age of 19 is considered to be a junior player. 
  • Line Call – A line call is how a fault is announced in a pickleball (see also: What Is A Fault In Pickleball?)game. 
  • Overhead shot – This shot is when you hit the ball higher than your waist, with your wrist facing inward. 
  • Open Face – This means when you’re holding the pickleball (see also: What Does 002 Mean In Pickleball?)paddle in a slightly inward direction. 
  • Pickled – This is something that a pickleball player might say if they’ve played particularly badly. Pickled essentially means that you haven’t scored any points throughout the game. 
  • Ready Position – A ready position is when the opposing player is ready and waiting to hit the ball. 
  • Receiver – This refers to the person who will be responsible for returning the other player’s serve. 
  • Serve – This is the opening throw that starts a game. 
  • Stroke – This is the motion of hitting the ball with the surface of your paddle. 
  • Painting The Line – This is considered to be a great shot within pickleball, and pertains to when a player hits the ball directly on the surface of the baseline. 
  • Unattackable Ball – This is when a ball has been hit, but not hard enough that it bounces high enough so that the opponent can return it. 
  • Transition Zone – The transition zone is the place that stands between the baseline and the no volley zone. Players can move around in this space in order to make their shots. 

Final Thoughts 

That’s it! We think that we’ve provided you with plenty of pickleball terms in order to get started with the game.

Hopefully, after you familiarize yourself with these, you’ll feel more equipped the next time you’re out on the court. 

Don’t be afraid to refer back to these terms and phrases anytime you feel that you need a reminder. Chances are that the more you play, and the more you hear these words, the more they’ll stick in your mind. 

We hope that you found this article helpful, and that you continue to have fun playing the wondrous sport that is pickleball. 

Michael Walter
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