If you have yet to discover the expanding sport of pickleball, you’re in the right place to open up a whole new world. You may have heard all about pickleball and would love to try it out, but you need to figure out how you join in the fun.
Pickleball for Beginners
When Do You Switch Sides in Pickleball?
Knowing when to switch sides is one of the most challenging concepts for new pickleball players to grasp. I’ve seen my fair share of confusion on the court when it comes to switching sides, but it gets better with time and practice.
From alternating serves to showing common courtesy when in rec play, this is your guide on when to switch sides when playing pickleball.
Pickleball Terms and Slang
Pickleball terms and terminology don’t differ all that much from tennis and other sports. Well, except for the occasional ‘dink’ or ‘Erne!’ 🙂
The sport known as “ping pong on steroids” brings a vernacular as unique as the game itself. Here is a running list of pickleball terms to help keep you in the know.
Please let us know if we missed one of your favorite pickleball vocabulary words.
Looking for a good time off the court? Use our printable Pickleball Word Search puzzle. And grab the answers here if you get stumped.
Ace – A serve untouched by the receiver, granting a point to the service player.
ATP (Around-the-Post) – Often the result of a super-wide dink, this shot is hit around the net post; the ball may or may not travel over the net.
Backcourt – The part of the pickleball court that lives close to the baseline.
Backspin – A ball struck in a manner that gives it a backward spin. These balls tend to stay low to the ground but tend to float if not executed properly.
Backswing – The extension of the arm before hitting the pickleball.
Banger – A pickleball player who relies on forceful hits as opposed to dinks or soft shots. Think POWER over placement.
Baseline – The 22-foot line furthest from the net.
Block Volley – A volley that is carried out by moving the paddle in the path of the ball and deflecting it back into the opponent’s kitchen.
Carry – A legal paddle strike that occurs in a continuous motion but could see the ball ‘carry’ on the face of the paddle or even double hit.
Centerline – The 15-foot line down the middle of the court dividing the even and odd service courts.
Dead Ball – A ball that can no longer be returned; the point is over.
Dink – A shot often hit from your kitchen line that lands in your opponent’s non-volley zone.
Dink Volley – When you return a dink on a fly and softly volley it back into your opponent’s non-volley zone.
Double Bounce Rule – Exclusive to pickleball, the ball must bounce twice: once on the serve and once on the service return before a player is allowed to hit the ball out of the air.
Double Hit – Hitting the ball twice during the same stroke; the offender does not get the point. See “Carry.”
Drop Shot –A soft shot, often with spin, that lands in your opponent’s kitchen. It is designed to change the pace of play or make your opponent advance towards the net.
Erne – A volley hit close to the net by a player positioned outside the left or right boundary of the non-volley zone. Named after Erne Perry, the shot’s ‘inventor.’
Even Court – When facing your opponent(s), this service area is on the right side of the court.
Fault – A serve being hit out of bounds or into the net; a fault results in a “dead ball.”
First Server – The person on the right during doubles serves first.
Foot Fault – There are two types of foot faults: when the server’s foot is touching the baseline when serving or when a player’s foot touches the non-volley zone during play.
Footwork – How your feet move and react to execute shots and balance.
Forehand – The opposite of the backhand; executed by swinging the paddle across the body with the hand moving palm-first.
Ground Stroke – A ball strike after a single bounce that typically occurs from or near the baseline.
Half Volley – A shot that is hit immediately after the ball bounces creating contact well before the ball peaks.
IPTPA (International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association) – One of two sanctioned pickleball certification programs for instructors.
Kitchen – Jargon referring to the Non-Volley Zone.
Lob – A shot hit over your opponent’s head designed to send them back towards the baseline.
Midcourt – The area of the court between the kitchen line and the baseline, aka “transition area” or “no man’s land.”
Mixed Doubles – Male/Female vs. Male/Female
Non-Volley Zone – The 20′ x 7′ area near both sides of the net where the ball cannot be hit on a fly, and you may not purposefully enter– aka the “kitchen.”
Overgrip – Griptape placed over existing grip tape on a paddle’s handle to increase the size, provide an additional cushion, or absorb sweat.
PPA – Professional Pickleball Association; tour consists of professionals competing for payouts
Paddle Tap – Opponents tap the butts of their paddles at the net after a match.
Passing Shot – A groundstroke that passes an opponent positioned at or near the kitchen line
Poach – When a player moves across the court, possibly in front of their partner, to hit a volley
PPR (Professional Pickleball Registry) – One of two sanctioned pickleball certification programs for instructors.
Ready Position – Knees bent; feet shoulder-width apart; paddle in front of your body as you wait to hit the ball
Second Server – The person on the left during doubles serves second.
Sidelines – Two 44-foot lines that run down both sides of the court from baseline to baseline.
Side-out – When the serve opportunity shifts to the other person or team.
Singles – One vs. One
Skinny Singles – Pickleball practice or a game that uses only one-half of the court vertically.
Slice – A shot hit with undercut/backspin.
Smash – Overhead shot favored by ‘bangers.’
Stacking – A strategy used where doubles partners position themselves to keep one player on a particular side of the court as opposed to standard positioning.
Third Shot Drop – A shot that arcs upwards and lands softly into the opponent’s non-volley zone.
Topspin – The ball will continue to travel forward when it lands, unlike topspin which can redirect or slow down.
Two Bounce Rule – After the serve, each side must let the ball hit their side of the court first before the first volley is performed.
Unforced Error – Exactly what it sounds like. 🙂
Volley – A ball hit out of the air before it bounces.
Have we missed one of your favorite pickleball terms or sayings? Please let u know if the comments section, and we will continually update this post.
Here Is When to Use a Pickleball Forehand Drive
The drive is an essential shot in pickleball. From catching your opponent off-guard with speed to set up your follow-up shot, a solid pickleball forehand drive is a must in your arsenal. So when is the best time to get aggressive and drive the pickleball?
Basic Pickleball Strategy: Get to the Kitchen Quickly
We’ve all been told countless times that a basic pickleball strategy is to get to the kitchen ASAP. And it’s great advice! But there’s more to it than just rushing up the court. Getting to the kitchen quickly is important, but effectiveness is key. If you make a poor approach, an experienced player will exploit your error more often than not.
Why Play Pickleball? Here Are My Top 11 Reasons
With pickleball getting seemingly overhyped across America, many people ask, “why play pickleball?” and wonder if the sport is a passing fad.
As someone who spends a fair share of his time consuming pickleball-related content, one consistent theme is that people either love it or hate it. It’s ironic that such an innocent sport can be so polarizing, but this is just how it is in the 21st century. As with most things in this world, society loves to build things up and tear them down.
However, I advise you not to become a victim of the hype.
Pickleball is fantastic. And the best part is getting out there to play the game.
So while the pundits debate the credibility of pickleball as a sport (it is!), you would be best served to pick up a paddle and play. Here are a few benefits of playing pickleball.
How to Keep Focus During Pickleball – These Tactics Helped Me Win My First Tournament
It was my first pickleball match with a professional referee officiating. And I found myself unusually nervous.
The kitchen turned into a fiery cauldron; I became hyperaware of my surroundings.
Not only did it freak me out that someone was watching the match, but I didn’t know what to expect. The referee, who was super nice, explained that part of the gig entails calling the score before each serve. A minor detail, yet one more thing to think about during the tournament final.
The match got underway, and the first rally ended abruptly when my assigned partner was called for a kitchen violation.
There’s that ref again!
How to Serve in Pickleball – Rules and Tips
If you are wondering how to serve in pickleball, you are in the right place! From pickleball serve rules to the types of pickleball serves to master, we have you covered.
The serve is one of the most important aspects of pickleball. A good serve can put your opponent on the defensive and give you an early lead in the game. In this blog post, we’ll go over the basics of serving in pickleball, including the rules, foot placement, types of serves, and strategy. By the end of this post, you’ll be an ace at serving! And that’s key. Because if you can’t get your serve in…you can’t score!
Pickleball vs. Tennis – A Comparison and Frequently Asked Questions
The factions have formed, and the world seems to be debating the merits of Pickleball vs. Tennis. Pitting one sport against another is one of the dumbest things ever. If a game can provide joy and produce fans, can’t we all just get along? But there I go, dreaming again.
Rather than look at a battle between racquet and paddles; plastic and rubber; skill and fun; let’s examine several main differences between pickleball and tennis.
My First Pickleball Tournament: Tribulations and Triumph
So, you want to play in your first pickleball tournament? I did. And here’s what I learned.
After playing in several leagues and learning more about pickleball over the past few months, I finally did it: I played in my first pickleball tournament. The outdoor event had me in the 35+ 3.5 doubles division, where the organizers would match me with a partner. The weather here in New York was 85ﾟ and sunny, with minimal wind.
If you are considering playing in an upcoming tournament, I learned a few things that I’d like to share.