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Learn the Basics: Pickleball Terminology

For someone who is new to pickleball, or even racquet sports in general, the terminology can be tricky to pick up. An “ace” is from a deck of cards, right? And doesn’t a “server” work in a restaurant? To help weed through the confusion, we are dishing out some basic pickleball terminology so that you can know the lingo, too. Ace – This happens when the serve goes untouched by the receiver, resulting in a point won by the server. “The server hit an ace and went up 6-3 in the game.” Aces are very uncommon in pickleball because all serves must be hit underhand. Ad Court – The left half of your side of the court. Backhand – Hitting the ball on your non-dominant side. Baseline – The line parallel to and furthest away from the net. Crosscourt – The opponent’s court diagonally opposite to yours. Deuce and Ad Courts are diagonally opposite from each other, so if you are in a crosscourt rally you are hitting Ad court-to-Ad court, or Deuce court-to-Deuce court. Deuce Court – The right half of your side of the court. Dink – A soft bounce shot that lands inside the no-volley zone. Double Bounce Rule – After the serve, each team must allow the ball to bounce on the first shot before returning the shot. Down the Line – Hitting the ball straight ahead of you instead of diagonally, or crosscourt. Face – The flat surface on the head of your paddle used to hit the ball. Fault – An action that stops play because of a rule violation. This results in the point ending and the switching of service. Forehand – Gripping the paddle with one hand and hitting the ball on your dominant side. Game – The first person to reach 11 points, winning by two, wins the game. Matches are usually best two out of three games. Ground Stroke – This is the stroke made after the ball has bounced. Head – The part of the paddle above the handle used to hit the ball. Kitchen – Common name for the no-volley zone. Let – A serve that knicks the top of the net and still lands in the proper service box. The serve is replayed. Lob – A deep, arcing shot that forces your opponent back to the baseline. No-Volley Zone – The rectangular area on either side of the net. If you are standing inside this area, you cannot hit a volley. Overhead – Taking the ball out of the air above your head and hitting it in a forceful, downward motion. Paddle – Item used to hit the ball. Must be made of a composite material, such as wood or graphite. Cannot have holes drilled into it and must meet size requirements to be considered a pickleball paddle. Rally – Continuous play, hitting the ball back and forth between opposing sides. Serve (Service) – An underhand shot hit into either the Deuce or Ad service box that starts play. Service Boxes – The two large boxes in the back half of the court. Depending on the game score, serves must land in either the Deuce or Ad service box. Server – The person who serves the ball to start the point. Sidelines – The lines running perpendicular to the net near the net posts. Swinging Volley – Using a forehand or backhand swinging motion to take the ball out of the air. Volley – Taking the ball out of the air in a short, quick motion. Once you have these terms down to a science you’ll be well on your way to talking the talk. And with the help of our innovative paddles, you could match your knowledge of the game with your skills, too!


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