The largest, most comprehensive list of pickleball terms and definitions. If you come across any pickleball jargon we missed here, please let us know!
Table of Contents
A serve that the opponent does not return. This is rare in pickleball due to the underhand serve rule.
The line at the back of a pickleball court. There are two baselines each 22 feet from the net.
Playing pickleball 2-on-1. If you have three players it is no fun to make someone wait to play. Instead you can play a friendly game of Canadian doubles. Canadian doubles is not an unofficial type of play so there are no official rules.
Hitting the ball in a way that the ball does not bounce off the paddle. Rather the ball is carried and thrown off the paddle.
Divides the service courts and extends from the baseline to the no-volley zone line.
The section of the court diagonally across the net from a player.
A ball that is no longer in play. Such as after a fault.
A soft shot made with the open face of the paddle that drops into the opponents no-volley zone.
When the ball bounces more than once on a side before being returned.
Playing with 4 plays (2 on 2).
When a player contacts the ball more than once with their paddle before returning the ball. Similar to a carry.
The service area on the right side of the court when facing the net. The first serve should start from the even court when a team’s score is even.
An infraction resulting in the end of a rally and a loss of serve (from first serve to second serve or side out).
The official pickleball handshake. 🤜 🤛
There are two kinds of Foot Faults:
- Stepping into the no-volley zone while returning a ball
- Stepping over the baseline when serving.
Hitting the ball after one bounce (as opposed to a volley).
A groundstroke that contacts the ball after its bounce but before the ball reaches its full height.
Anything outside the game that interferes with play.
Another name for the no-volley zone. The kitchen is 7 feet from the net on both sides. Players may not enter the kitchen while returning a ball unless the ball has already bounced.
A serve or rally that must be replayed for any reason such as a net serve or hinder.
Hitting the ball in a high arc to the opponents back court. This shot is designed to move a player back away from the net if that have advanced.
A serve that hits the net but still goes over. A net serve is replayed with no penalty.
Non-Volley Zone (NVZ)
Sometimes called the the “no-volley zone” or the “kitchen.” The Non-volley zone is the area that extends 7 feet on both sides of the net. Players may not enter the non-volley zone while returning a ball unless the ball has already bounced.
The service area on the left side of the court when facing the net. The first serve should start from the odd court when his or her score is odd.
A shot that goes passed the opposing player, usually to win the rally.
Any object around the court that can interfere. Such as a wall, ceiling, fence, etc.
A shutout in pickleball (Losing 11-0). Equivalent to ‘skunked’ in other racket sports.
In doubles, crossing over the centerline to play a ball on your partners side. This is allowed and is not a fault.
Hitting the ball back and forth between opposing teams.
Serve / Service
And underhand stroke used to put the ball in play at the beginning of a rally.
The area on either side of the centerline. Includes the centerline, sideline, and baseline. Excludes the non-volley zone. A serve must land in the service court diagonally across from the server.
Service Out Side Scoring
The scoring system used in pickleball where you can only score on your serve. Commonly used in volleyball as well.
The lines on the sides of the court. Sidelines are 20 feet apart.
When the serve moves from one team to the other.
Playing with 2 players (1 on 1). As opposed to doubles.
A hard overhand shot
A foul called by a referee when a player violates a rules. A point is awarded to the other team. Referees may give a warning first.
The receiving team must let the serve bounce and the serving team must let the first return bounce. On the third shot, and thereafter, the ball may be volleyed.
Hitting the ball in the air before it bounces (as opposed to a groundstroke).
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