Pickleball Lingo

Every sport has its own unique lingo, and pickleball is no exception. Although lots of tennis terms are used, there’s definitely some pickleball-specific language. Check it out.

“Bounce it” or “Let it bounce”

A phrase used by doubles partners to let the other player know that the ball is about to land out of bounds, so they shouldn’t volley it out of the air. Because, if the other team hits it out of bounds, you score the point.


A shot that is inbounds and has already bounced once, AKA a live ball ready for you to return.


A soft shot that is strategically hit into the opponent’s Kitchen. Dink shots can be very effective, as they are usually pretty tough to return. It’s also referred to as a drop shot, but we think dink sounds cooler.

The Double Bounce Rule

This is a basic rule in pickleball that says the ball must bounce once on both sides of the net before players can hit it out of the air when they volley.



No, not the Middle Eastern food dish. In pickleball, a falafel is a shot that falls short of the net because it wasn't hit with enough power.


Another delicious culinary term repurposed for the pickleball court, a flapjack is a shot that must bounce once before it can be hit. This occurs during the first two shots of any point. After the third shot, no bounce is necessary.

The Kitchen (or “No-Volley Zone”)

The Kitchen is the 7-foot area on either side of the net. Players cannot pick balls out of the air with volleys while standing in The Kitchen. If they do, it’s an automatic point for the other team. So, even if you can take the heat, stay out of The Kitchen.



A cheer often shouted out after the 3rd shot has been hit to signify that open volleying has begun. Basically, it’s a phrase that indicates the real fun is starting.


Word called out by server to alert all players that they are about to serve, so get ready. Kind of like yelling "Fore!" in golf, but not quite.


Losing 11-0. Some sports may call it getting skunked, but around here it’s called getting pickled. You don’t want to get pickled.


A seemingly normal, well-adjusted person who is now addicted to the game of pickleball. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.


Where medals are won and legends are made. The Pickledome is the championship court at a Pickleball tournament, where the final match takes place.


To put backspin on your shot.

Volley Llama

An overzealous pickleballer who attacks a ball in the No-Volley Zone (which is, of course, illegal in game play). Don’t be that guy.