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Pickleball 101

The Pickleball Dictionary: Terms to Help you Learn the Game

by The Dink Media Team on

Learning to play pickleball should be easy. Here are commonly used pickleball terms to help you master the game. We call it our dink-tionary.


Association of Pickleball Professionals


Around the Post. The ball does not need to pass over the net in pickleball. The ball can be returned around the net into the opposing court when the opportunity arises.


A Bert is an advanced-level shot where a player leaps over the kitchen on the opposite side of the court to volley a ball. It is similar to an Erne, but becomes a Bert when the player crosses from the left side of the court to the right sideline or vice versa.


When a player is hit with the ball it is called a 'body bag.' Hitting your opponent with the ball is one way to earn points in pickleball and it is a strategy that is commonly used in competitive pickleball.


The dink is a shot that is unique to the game of pickleball. It is performed by a player at the kitchen line hitting to an opponent that is standing on the opposing kitchen line. The shot is usually hit softly and bounces in the kitchen.


A drive is a hard hit ground stroke from the baseline or transition area that is intended to cause a mistake from your opponent or an opportunity to advance your position towards the kitchen line.


A drop shot is a ball hit from the baseline or transition area that is intended to bounce in the kitchen or just behind the kitchen line. It is used to give the player/team a chance to advance their position towards the kitchen line.


Dreamland Universal Pickleball Rating


An advanced level shot where a player crosses over the corner of the kitchen to return a ball out of the air. It is used to meet the ball at a higher position, closer to the net, so the shot is more advantageous.


Major League Pickleball


A 'Nasty Nelson' is the name for intentionally hitting your opponent with your serve. If your serve hits your opponent in the air you are awarded the point. This is a rare occurrence in pickleball and not always well received. Remember to always pay attention when on the court so you don't end up a victim to a Nasty Nelson.


An 11-0 shutout victory is also known as a pickle. If the pickle is completed without any side outs it is known as a "Golden Pickle."


In doubles when one player intercepts a ball meant for their partner, it is considered a poach. This is commonly seen when the intercepting player is at the NVZ line and their partner is further back in the court.


Professional Pickleball Association


An offensive strategy that combines a third shot drive (shake) followed up by an aggressive volley (bake). The third shot drive is used to force a pop-up or poor volley from the opponent. The player hitting the third or more commonly, their partner, advances into the court and hits another aggressive shot. This technique was made popular by Morgan Evans and Marcin Rozanski.


A side out occurs when the serve changes from one side of the court to the other. It occurs when the server loses a point in singles or the serving team loses the point on their second serve in doubles.


In pickleball, the ball must bounce twice before it can be hit out of the air. The serve must bounce in the appropriate service square AND the serve return must bounce on the server's side of the court. This differs from tennis where a common strategy is to serve, rush the net and volley the next ball.


A volley is any ball that is hit out of the air. It is an important term in pickleball because it is illegal to volley the ball from inside the non-volley zone.

Did we miss any terms used by you and your pickleball crew? Let us know at

Check out the rest of our Pickleball 101 Guide to answer all of your other pickleball questions.

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