consider this your cliff notes

learn the lingo


A serve that is not returned.


The area near the baseline, more specifically, the few feet inside the court from the baseline.


When you hit the ball with your non-dominant side.

FUN FACT: This stroke got its name because the back of your hand is facing the net as you hit the ball.)


The section of the court diagonally opposite where you are standing. FYI: when serving, you must hit the ball cross-court to your opponent.

Pickleball players holding cans with koozies reading "swinton."


To slice from high to low on the pickleball putting a backspin on the ball. Also knows as "slice" or "backspin."

dead ball

A dead ball is called after a fault (aka when your ball hits the net but still goes over.)

dink shot

The name says it all, it's a soft and controlled shot that is intended to move downwards shortly after is clears the net, landing in the no-volley zone (ideally at your opponent's feet).

TIP: This slow-moving shot can be an effective weapon that you should strongly consider adding to your game.

Man and woman pickleball player goofing around on court sideline.

double-bounce rule

When you serve, the receiving team must let the ball bounce once before returning, and then your team must let is bounce before returning (hence the two bounces).

drop shot

A drop shot is a groundstroke shot that falls short of the opponent's position.


A fault is any action that stops play because of a rule violation. A fault by the receiving team results in a point for the serving team, a fault by the serving team results in the server's loss of serve or a side out.


This is your go-to stroke, typically he most comfortable and natural stroke. The forehand stroke is made wiht your dominant forearm facing forward.


A groundstroke is made just after the ball bounces off the ground.

half volley

A half volley is a groundstroke shot where the paddle contacts the ball imediately after it bounces from the court and before the ball rises to its potential height.

Pickleball player relaxing with giant martini glass filled with pickleballs.


A let is a serve that hits the net and lands in the proper service court. Let serves are replayed.


A lob is a shot that returns the ball as high and deep as possile, forcing the opposing side back to the baseline.


Rally is continuous play that often results in a need for a water break.

Female pickleball player wearing jacket reading "happiest on the court."

side out

A side out is declared after one side loses its serve and it becomes the other sides turn.


A volley is hit in the air, during a rally, before the ball has hit the ground.