Explosively fun and challenging, pickleball has been steadily gaining popularity over the last few decades in the United States and other countries. If you are just beginning to explore the world of pickleball, this pickleball terminology guide will be very helpful and enlightening.
4. Communicate With Your Partner
Being able to communicate properly with your partner is one of the most important reasons to learn pickleball terminology. Following are the most useful terms you can use to this end.
Side out: This term refers to the moment when the second serve causes a team to lose a point. Very straightforwardly, it indicates that the team on one side is out and it’s the turn of the opposite team (side).
Get: According to pickleball slang, a “get” happens when a player manages to reach or return a ball that is particularly difficult.
Setup: As used by most people, setup refers to the manipulation of the opponent in order to place them in a particular area, typically in order to create holes in their defense.
Rally: A rally is an extended streak of shots between both teams. Such a session keeps the ball in the air for an impressive period of time.
Dead ball: This term is used when the ball goes out of bounds, effectively ending a point.
Fault: Quite simply, a “fault” is a violation of pickleball rules.
Put away: A shot that closes a point for a team.
3. Talk About Your Gear
It’s important to know the correct pickleball terminology when it’s time to acquire or talk about pickleball gear. Take into account the following terms:
Composite: Most manufacturers use composite material for their high-quality pickleball paddles. Simply put, a composite material is a single structure made of two or more basic materials. For example, many paddles are made of a graphite face and a fiberglass face.
Nomex: Due to its power and bounce, Nomex is one of the materials that are most commonly used to make pickleball paddles.
Aluminum: Because it’s lightweight and yet resistant, aluminum is often used in the construction of pickleball paddles.
Polymer: Another very popular for making paddle cores, polymer provides a great balance between power and control.
Polypropylene: This is the technical word for the type of polymer that is used in most paddles.
Paddle face: The face of a paddle is the material that is used to cover its surface.
Graphite: Graphite is a material that is very lightweight yet solid at the same time. For that reason, it’s often used to make the surface of the paddle.
Fiberglass: Fiberglass is another material that is often used to make paddle faces. Even though it’s somewhat heavier than graphite, it provides extra power.
Roughness: Roughness refers to how pronounced the texture on a paddle’s face is. The higher the level of roughness, the more traction it has the ability to produce.
2. Regarding the Pickleball Court
Being a central part of the game, the pickleball court is something that players will often discuss. The following pickleball terminology can be used to do so:
Baseline: The baseline is the line at the back of the court. You can’t step on it or cross it while serving.
Sideline: The lines at the sides of the court.
Non-volley zone: Simply put, the no-volley zone is an area that extends seven feet to each side of the net. As its name implies, it’s a zone where volley shots are not allowed.
Kitchen: This is the slang term that is used to refer to the non-volley zone.
No man’s land: Located halfway between the no-volley line and the baseline, this sector is dangerous as it creates large open areas where your opponent may direct the ball. Players know how difficult it is to save a point here.
Bonus Read: How to Play Pickleball Well
1. Discuss Your Pickleball Techniques and Skills
Finally, it’s important to learn the correct pickleball terminology to describe certain techniques and skills that will help you get ahead in the game:
Groundstroke: A shot that occurs after the ball has had an opportunity to bounce.
Overhead smash: A shot where you hit the ball above your head.
Volley: Any shot you produce before the ball has had a chance to bounce off the ground.
Serve: Any shot that starts a point. Typically, players call the score out before each serve.
Dink: Typically made at the kitchen line, a dink is a soft shot meant to go as low as possible over the net. This makes it very difficult for your opponent to respond.
Cross-court dink: A dink shot that goes from one side to the court to the other. Normally, this shot will land on the opponent’s no-volley zone.
Lob: This term refers to a high shot that goes over the head of your opponents, hopefully hitting the backcourt without going out of bounds.
Poach: Poaching is a term that defines that moment when a player goes after the shots that are actually for their partner.
Ace: An ace is a serve that wins a point after failing to be hit by the return player.
Third shot drop: A third shot is when the ball is hit for the third time within the frame of a single point. Because it is a transitional point, players consider the third shot to be highly important.
Backhand: A backhand is a shot that sees the back of your dominant hand facing forward during the movement.
Forehand: A forehand refers to any shot that sees the palm of your dominant hand facing forward throughout it.
Without a doubt, learning the correct pickleball terminology will take you a step further in your quest to become a seasoned player. Did we miss any important terms? Let us know in the comments!