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Know Your Pickleball Lingo

Know Your Pickleball Lingo
Photo by Joan Azeka on Unsplash
New to pickleball? Once you’ve mastered the complicated rules there are a few other things to learn. Like other sports, pickleball has its very own vocabulary. Here’s some of the current pickleball lingo to help you feel at home on the court!

Pickleball Lingo

Here's a list of some of the most commonly used words and phrases in pickleball. Who knew that a sport could have its own vocabulary! Learn your own pickleball lingo now:


ATP (Around-the-Post) – A shot that is hit around the outside of the net post that then lands in on the opposite side of the pickleball court.

Banger – A person who likes to mostly hit hard pickleball shots.

Bert – An Erne executed in front of your partner. Occurs when your partner jumps over the kitchen and hits the ball in front of you on your side.

Dead Ball – A ball that is “no longer in play.”

Dillball -Shot that is in and has bounced once.

Dink Shot – A shot executed from around your own kitchen line that lands in your opponent’s non-volley zone. This can be both a volley or hit after the bounce.

Double Bounce Rule – In every point the ball must touch the ground once on both sides of the court before any player is allowed to volley.

Erne – Named after the pickleball player that invented this shot, Erne Perry. The Erne is a volley hit whilst outside of the NVZ either to the left or right of the court area.

Falafel - A short shot due to hitting the pickleball ball with little or no power.

Flabjack - A midair pickleball shot that must bounce once before it can be hit during one of the first two shots of any point - either the return of serve or return of the serve return.

Foot Fault – NVZ foot faults occur when the foot touches any part of the NVZ during the act of volleying the ball. Serve foot faults occur if the foot touches the baseline or inside before the ball is struck by the paddle.

Kamikaze – A player who storms the NVZ line at speed while their opponent strikes the ball.

Kitchen – A slang term for the Non-Volley Zone.

No-Man’s Land – The area on the court between the NVZ line and the baseline. Also known as the “transition area.”

Non-Volley Zone (NVZ) – The 7-foot area at the front of the court. A player cannot hit a ball out of the air while standing in this area. Also referred to as the Kitchen.

Paddle Tap – Pickleball's version of a handshake at the conclusion of a game. Paddle taps are also used as a high five in between points.

Pickled - Losing your game 11-0.

Pickler - A Pickleball Addict.

Poach – When at the NVZ line, a volley is considered a poach when you move across to your partner's side to play the ball.

Side-out – The transfer of serve from one player or team to the other side.

Skinny Singles – Splitting the court in half, either in a straight line or cross-court to play out points.

Stacking – A strategic formation where you place the stronger shot of each player in the middle. Often used in mixed doubles or if partners are right and left handed.

Tagging – Refers to hitting your opponent with the ball in an aggressive fashion.

Tattoo – The imprint of the pickleball on your body after getting hit with the ball.

Third Shot Drop – Serving team's second shot after the serve (3rd shot of the rally) with the objective of dropping into the NVZ so that the returners cannot attack.

Transition Zone – The area of the court between the NVZ line and the baseline. Also known as no man’s land.

Volley Llama - Term referring to an illegal move where a player hits a volley in the NVZ.


Let us know in the comments below if there is any pickleball lingo we have missed or if you have variations in your region. Also, if there are any topics you would love to read about in future TopspinPro articles, write a comment or send us a message.


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