Do you want to get started playing Pickleball but are you not sure what all the lingo, terms, and phrases even mean? Have you heard the word Kitchen on the Pickleball court and had no idea what is being talked about? We got you covered! Take a look and study our Pickleball dictionary so when you get to the Pickleball court, you know everything being said within those lines. 

Slang Terms: 

Ace -  a serve so epic that the opponent can not return and a point is won

Dillball - a shot that is inbounds and has bounced once (ie. a live ball) 

Dink Shot - a soft shot that falls into your opponent’s “kitchen” 

Falafel - a shot that falls short due to hitting the pickleball without any power. Also known as a “dead paddle” 

Flapjack - a show that must bounce before it can be hit. This occurs during the first two shots of any point. After the third shot, no bounce is needed 

Junior - a player between the ages of 7 and 19 

Opa! - a cheer often shouted out after the 3rd shot has been hit nad open volleying has begun 

Pickle! - A server will shout “Pickle!” to let all other players know that they are about to serve 

Pickled  - When a team scores zero points in a whole game. “You’ve been pickled” 

Pickledome - the court where the championship match in a pickleball tournament is played

Pickler - a pickleball addict 

Poach - When playing doubles, a poach is to cross over into your partner's side of the court to hit a shot 

Smash - a shot that is hit above the hitter’s head a.k.a a cooler way of saying an overhead shot 

Volley Llama - an illegal move, or fault, where a player hits a shot in the non-volley zone 

Techniques and Skills: 

Approach Shot – This is a type of shot that is executed by a player who is running towards the net. This type of shot can either be a backhand or forehand.

Serve – A serve is the starting point for any play. During a serve, the player must start out from behind the baseline. When a player earns the serve, it means that they have won the previous point.

Backcourt – This is the area of the court located near the baseline.

Backspin – This type of pickleball shot is also called a slice or chop. This is achieved by applying spin to a ball using a high or low motion. This causes the ball to spin in another direction.

Backswing – This type of move is when the player moves the paddle backward in preparation for the next shot.

Backhand – This is a type of shot in pickleball wherein the ball is hit on the opposite side of the player’s dominant forehand.

Carry – This type of shot is when the ball is hit using a forward swing without allowing it to bounce off the court.

Dead Ball – This term is used to refer to a dead play, or when a point is scored by one of the teams.

Doubles – This is a type of game that is played by two players on each side. The team can be composed of men, women, or mixed.

Double Bounce – This is the most basic rule of pickleball: to not let the ball bounce on the court twice. When this happens, it is an automatic point for the opposing team.

Down the Line – This is a type of shot that is placed parallel to the baseline. It is usually one of the hardest shots to receive.

Drop Shot – This is a type of soft shot that is usually straight in direction but low in trajectory.

Drop Spin – This is an advanced skill for expert pickleball players. It tends to drop sharply across the net.

Forehand – This type of shot is defined as a stroke that is consistent with the side of the body where your paddle is.

Game – It refers to a series of plays that are executed by each team. A game is complete once one team has scored 11 points (and must have a 2-point margin).

Overhead Shot – This is a type of shot that is executed with the paddle above the head. This allows the offensive player to direct the ball downwards in a fast motion, making it difficult to catch for the opposing team.

Technical Foul – A team earns a point when the opposing team is called for a technical foul. It is usually given by the referee when one team or player violates the standard rules of play. This can be the use of abusive language or any unsportsmanlike conduct.

Court Terms: 

Baseline – This refers to the line at the back of the court. When serving, your foot must be behind this line.

Sideline – This refers to the line on opposing sides of the court. The ball must be kept inside the court for the play to be live.

Non-Volley Zone or “Kitchen” – This refers to that area in the court that is seven feet from both sides of the net. As the name implies, players are not allowed to execute a volley shot while inside this area.

No Man’s Land – This is the space between the no-volley zone and the baseline. This is considered the most dangerous part of the court as it is also the largest zone. There are plenty of open spots for the opposing players to drop the ball here.

Centerline – This is the line that divides the court into two halves: the non-volley zone and the backcourt.

Cross Court – This is the area of the court that is diagonal to the position of the player on court.


Side Out – Side Out is when a team has the ball out of bounds during play. When this call is made, it means that the opposing team earns the chance to serve the ball.

Setup – This is a technique used by players of pickleball to deceive the opposing player’s defense. You are manipulating the defense to guard a certain area when in fact you are directing the ball to another.

Rally – This is a consecutive streak of shots that are played by both teams before a point is scored.

Fault (Volley Llama) – This is any type of violation of any rules that results in a point for the opposing team (of the one that committed the fault).

Put Away – This is when one player from a team closes a point for their team.

Get – This is a term used to refer to a point that was difficult to get, yet a player manages to score that point.

“Bounce It” – This is a type of play called wherein you do not hit the ball and instead let it go out of bounds.