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Pickleball Dictionary

Get in the know before you get out on the court by learning all of the key pickleball lingo from A to Z!
  • Ace: A serve that is not touched by the receiver
  • Banger: A player who likes to hit every ball hard
  • Carry: Hitting the ball in such a way that it is carried for a few seconds on the face of the paddle
  • Dink: A soft shot with the intention of landing the ball in the kitchen or at the feet of your opponent
  • Erne: Named after the player that invented the shot--Erne Perry--the Erne is a volley hit close to the net by a player positioned on either side of the kitchen
  • Fault: A fault occurs when the ball:
    • Is hit out of bounds
    • Doesn’t clear the net
    • Doesn’t clear the non-volley line during a serve (including the lines)
    • Is volleyed from inside the non-volley zone
    • Is volleyed before bouncing once on each side
  • Graphite: A pickleball paddle face that is strong and durable
  • Half Volley: A shot that is hit just as the ball comes up from a bounce
  • Injury: What happens if you don't stretch and hydrate before you play!
  • Junior: A pickleball player between the ages of 7-19
  • Kitchen: Also called the non-volley zone, the kitchen is the 7’ area between the net and non-volley line on both sides
  • Let: A serve that hits the net and lands in the service box. Unlike in tennis, let serves are played.
  • Midcourt: The area of the court between the non-volley line and the baseline
  • Non-Volley Line: The line parallel to the net and 7' behind it that indicates the non-volley zone 
  • Open Paddle Face: Holding the paddle at about a 45-degree angle to the court. An open paddle face is helpful for dinking. 
  • Pickled: Scoring zero points in a game. If you lose a pickleball game 11-0, you’ve been “pickled”.​
  • Qualifying: You can qualify for a US Open Pickleball Tournament even if you've never competed before!
  • Receiver: The person who receives serve and is diagonally across from the server. The receiver is the only player who may return the ball on the serve.
  • Side Out: When service is passed to the opposing team
  • Two Bounce Rule: The rule that the ball must bounce twice (once on the serve and once on the service return) before a player is allowed to hit the ball out of the air
  • Unforced Error: When a player misses a shot that was not difficult
  • Volley: Hitting a ball in the air without first letting it bounce. Volley shots must be made behind the non-volley line and the player may not step into the non-volley zone when following through.
  • Whiff: When a player swings at the ball and completely misses it
  • X: "Respect the X" in pickleball means that the player diagonally across the court should hit the ball played by the opponent, even if it is his partner's forehand.
  • Yellow: The most common color for pickleballs because it maximizes visibility on the court
  • Zones: There are 3 zones on each side of a pickleball court: the non-volley zone, the left service zone and the right service zone.