Pickleball Terms You Need to Know

The racquet sport pickleball incorporates aspects of ping-pong, badminton, and tennis. People of all ages and ability levels love playing it in solo or doubles. There are specific Pickleball Terms and pickleball definitions you must understand for succeeding on the court, regardless of your level of experience as a pro or your level of inexperience. We’ll go over a few key Pickleball Terms in this post that every player should be familiar with.

Basic Pickleball Terminologies

Serve: The serve is the starting shot of each point. The server must hit the ball underhand and make contact with it below the waist. There are various types of serves, including the underhand serve, the overhead serve, and the lob serve.

Dink: A dink is a soft shot that is hit near the net, typically used to place the ball in a strategic location or to force an opponent to hit a difficult shot.


Drive: A drive is a harder and faster shot that is hit with more power and speed than a dink. It’s typically used to force an opponent to move quickly or to hit the ball past them.

Volley: A volley is a shot that is hit in mid-air without letting the ball bounce. It’s typically used to keep the ball in play and to put pressure on the opposing team.

Third Shot Drop: The third shot drop is a strategical shot that is hit as the third shot after the serve. It’s a soft shot that is designed to land in the opponent’s no-volley zone, making it difficult for them to return the ball.

Kitchen: The kitchen is the no-volley zone near the net. Players are not allowed to hit a volley shot while standing in the kitchen. This rule is designed to prevent players from dominating the game with their volley shots.

Baseline: The baseline is the back boundary line of the court. It’s used to find out whether a ball is in or out of bounds.

Fault: A mistake or rule infringement that costs a player a point is referred to as a fault. Typical mistakes include serving incorrectly, striking the ball out of bounds, and walking into the no-volley area while attempting a volley stroke.

Advanced Pickleball Terminologies

Erne: An Erne is a shot that is hit while jumping and landing outside the court. It’s a challenging shot to execute, but it can be effective in catching opponents off guard.

Poach: Poaching is a strategy in which a player catches an opponent’s shot intended for their partner. It’s a risky move but can be effective if put in action properly.

Dinking Battle: A dinking battle is a back-and-forth exchange of soft shots near the net. It’s a strategy used to wear down contestants of opposite team and force them into making a mistake.

Putaway: A putaway is a winning shot that ends a point. It’s typically a hard and fast shot that is stricken with precision and accuracy.

Lob: A lob is a deep, high shot that is made over the head of the opponent. It’s a defensive shot that’s utilised to buy players some time to reposition themselves.


Stacking: Players that use the piling plan of action place themselves strategically on the court to obtain an advantage. In doubles play, it is frequently employed to give one player an advantage over the other.

Bangers: Players that favour striking strong shots over delicate ones are known as bangers. They are frequently more aggressive players who depend on their strength and quickness to score.

Bounce: Before being played, the ball makes contact with the ground and bounces. Before striking the ball on the return, players must wait for it to bounce.

Pickleball Terminology for Game Situations


Pickleball singles matches have just one player on either side of the court. The court is a little bit smaller, and the serving area is moved to the right side of the court, but the game is played according to the same regulations as doubles. As it calls for more mobility and planning, singles play may be a terrific method to advance your abilities.


Pickleball doubles, when there are two players on each side of the court, is the most popular variation. Due to the requirement for the players to coordinate their movements and shots, doubles play requires a lot of cooperation and communication. It’s a game that moves quickly and needs quick reactions and smart thinking.

Mixed Doubles:

Similar to doubles, mixed doubles has a player on either side of the court who is both a man and a woman. This format is used in tournaments and adds a new level of strategy and teamwork since the players must modify their shots based on the strengths and limitations of their partner.


Round Robin:

Round robin is a rotating game format where multiple pairs of players play against each other. Each player or team gets to play against every other player or team, and the winner is determined based on the number of games won. This format is often used in friendly matches and social events, as it allows players to play against different opponents and improve their skills.


A pickleball tournament is an organized competition with various rules and formats. Tournaments can be held for singles, doubles, or mixed doubles play, and they can be open to players of all skill levels. Tournaments often have a series of matches, with the winners advancing to the next round until there is only one winner left. Participating in a tournament can be a great way to challenge yourself and meet other pickleball players.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a kitchen in pickleball?

A: The kitchen, also known as the non-volley zone, is a 7-foot area on both sides of the net where players are not allowed to hit the ball out of the air (volley) unless the ball bounces in this zone first.

Q: What is a dink in pickleball?

A: A dink is a soft shot that is hit just over the net and lands in the opponent’s non-volley zone (kitchen). It is usually used as a defensive shot to keep the ball in play.

Q: What is a lob in pickleball?

A: A lob is a high, arching shot that is hit over the opponent’s head and lands deep in their court. It is used to push the opponent back and gain time to get into better court position.

Q: What is a rally in pickleball?

A: A rally is a sequence of shots that are hit back and forth between players without the ball touching the ground or going out of bounds. The rally ends when one player fails to return the ball properly or the ball goes out of bounds.

Q: What is a let serve in pickleball?

A: A let serve is a serve that hits the top of the net and lands in the correct service court. It is considered a do-over and does not count as a fault or a point for either player.


In conclusion, understanding the pickleball terminology used in pickleball is essential for improving your skills and enjoying the game. Knowing the difference between singles, doubles, and mixed doubles play, as well as the formats used in tournaments and round robin events, will help you become a better player and fully appreciate this exciting sport. So get out there and start playing!

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