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The Complete Guide to Pickleball Terms and Lingo

The Complete Guide to Pickleball Terms and Lingo

Pickleball is a game that has been gaining popularity for several years now. It has its lingo and terminology. This can be confusing to new players or those who are getting started with the sport. This guide will help you understand the pickleball terms. It will enable you to get up to speed and join in on the fun!

Basic Terms

  • Pickleball:

A racquet sport that is like tennis, but played with a smaller court and different rules. Two or four players hit a perforated plastic ball over a net with wooden paddles.

  • Paddle:

A paddle is used to strike the ball in pickleball, like a racquet in tennis. Paddles come in different sizes and materials, depending on the type of play.

  • Court:

The court is the playing field for pickleball. It is a rectangular shape with lines painted or taped onto its surface. There are two service boxes at each end of the court where players can take their serve.

  •  Net:

The net separates the two sides of the court and is kept at a height of 34 inches.

  • Score:

To win a game of pickleball, one team must score 11 points. Players score a point when the opposing team fails to return the ball or when their ball goes out of bounds.

  •  Serve:

All games start with a serve. The server must hit the ball diagonally into the opposite service box, which begins a rally.

  •  Dink:

A dink is a soft shot that hit over the net and close to it. It’s used to keep the opponent off balance as they try to return it.

  •  Lob:

 A lob is a high-arching shot. It is usually used to gain time, push the opponent further back on the court, or set up an attack.

  •  Drive:

A drive is a hard shot hit directly at an opponent and can be a great way to end a rally.

  • Volley:

Hitting the ball before it has bounced on your side of the court is known as a volley.

  • Let:

If the ball touches the net on its way over, players refer to it as a let. They can replay the shot without any penalty.

Advanced Terms

  • Ghosting:

This is when one team stands in the court of their opponent to distract them during a rally. It’s considered bad etiquette and isn’t allowed in competitive play.

  • Banger:

Players hit a banger shot with the greatest power and speed.

  • Third Shot Drop:

During a rally, players hit the third shot to clear the net. The goal is to make the ball drop near the opponent’s feet for an easy return.

  • Overhead Smash:

An overhead smash is a powerful shot hit from above the head. It’s a great way to put an end to a rally and keep your opponents off balance.

  • Cross Court:

Players hit a cross-court shot across the court. Players aim the cross-court shot in the direction of the opponent’s backhand.

  • Lob Rally:

When both teams are only hitting lobs, it’s known as a lob rally. This type of rally can often go on for several shots until one team makes a mistake or hits an aggressive shot to end it.

Tips & Tricks 

Pickleball is all about strategy and positioning. Here are some tips and pickleball termsto help you get the most out of your game:

• Focus on a good serve: A good serve can set you up for success in any rally. Practice your serves so that you have a wide range of options when it comes to starting off the point.

• Don’t forget about the third shot:

The outcome of many rallies depends on what players do after the second shot. Make sure to pay attention to where you place your third shot, as this can make or break a point.

• Stay focused:

Pickleball is all about quick reactions and anticipating your opponent’s next move. Make sure to stay in the moment and focus on each shot.

• Practice good footwork:

Being able to move around the court is essential to being successful in pickleball. Practice your footwork to stay one step ahead of your opponents.

• Mix up your shots: Variety is key when it comes to pickleball. Try to mix up your shots and keep your opponents guessing as much as possible.


What is pickleball slang?

Pickleball slang is the informal language used by players when talking about the game. Words such as ‘dink’, ‘lob’, and ‘volley’ are all part of their lingo. Other common terms include ‘paddle battle’, ‘ace’, and ‘slam’. Knowing these words can help you better understand and take part in conversations about the game.

What are pickleball smashes called?

In Pickleball definition, players execute a smash as a powerful overhand shot that they hit from above the head. It’s usually used to end a rally or keep opponents off balance. Also known as an overhead smash, this move can be tricky to master and requires good timing and technique. 

What is an ace in pickleball?

Ace is a term used in pickleball. It describes when a player serves the ball. If their opponent fails to return it, it results in an immediate point for the server. An ace can be an effective tool to gain an advantage over your opponents.

What is a pickleball dink?

Players hit a dink as a soft shot over the net and close to it. You can use this type of return to keep your opponents off balance or set up an attack. When hitting a dink, getting the technique right is crucial. 

What is ATP in pickleball?

ATP stands for ‘Advanced Tactical Pickleball’. This is a style of play that focuses on strategy and positioning, rather than power. Players who practice ATP use tactics such as cross-court shots and third-shot drops. 


We hope this guide has helped get you familiar with the pickleball terms and lingo. Learning the game’s terminology is crucial for understanding this. It is an important part of becoming a successful player. Knowing what all the terms mean can help you plan and communicate with other players. It can also enhance your enjoyment of the game.

Remember, It is all about strategy and positioning. Make sure to stay focused on each shot and practice your footwork regularly. Mix up your shots to keep opponents guessing and focus on a good serve to set yourself up for success in any rally. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be playing like an ace in no time!


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