Master the Pickleball Lingo: A Comprehensive Glossary of Terms

Welcome to the world of pickleball, where friendly competition meets strategic finesse! As you step onto the court, you might hear terms that sound like another language. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this essential pickleball glossary.

Everything About Pickleball

pickleball glossary


A winning serve your opponent can’t return.

Approach Shot 

Hitting the ball while moving towards the net.


The back line of the court.

Dink Shot 

A soft, controlled shot played near the net.

Double Bounce Rule

The serving team must let the ball bounce once on each side of the net before volleying.

Double Fault

Two consecutive service errors by the serving team.


A violation of the rules, resulting in a point loss.

Foot Fault

Stepping on or over the baseline while serving.

Non-Volley Zone (NVZ) 

The area within 7 feet from the net on each side. Players cannot volley the ball while standing in the NVZ.


Continuous play between two teams until a fault is committed.

Third Shot Drive

An offensive shot hit after both teams have returned the ball once.


Hitting the ball in mid-air before it bounces.


A shot hit with the non-dominant hand.


A defensive shot to neutralize an opponent’s attack.


A powerful groundstroke hit with a flat trajectory.

Drop Shot

A soft shot that lands just over the net, forcing the opponent to play a defensive shot.


A shot hit with the dominant hand.


A powerful shot aimed to win the point.


A high, soft shot that clears the opponent at the net.

Overhead Smash

A powerful shot hit downwards with force.

Soft Shot

A shot with minimal power for better control.

Dink Battle

A long rally consisting of soft shots played near the net.

Net Cord

The situation where the ball hits the top of the net and lands on the opponent’s side. A replay occurs.


(informal) A term for the ball itself.

Ready? Play!

The call made by the server before starting the serve.


The lines run parallel to the net.


The rotation applied to the ball while hitting it.

By mastering this pickleball glossary, you’ll be conversing with confidence on the court in no time. 

Remember, pickleball is a fun and social sport, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn from your fellow players. Game on!