Every sport has its slang–those insider terms that if you know, you know. Prep for your next time on the pickleball courts with a look at this glossary of some of the most distinctive diction in the language of pickleball.
Baseline: The furthest line from the net on the court, which you’ll need to stand behind when you serve and stay within when you hit to the opposing side
Bert: An advanced shot that’s a companion to the Erne (defined below), in which you run and jump through the non-volley zone, hitting the ball in the air to avoid a fault–potentially even in front of your partner
“Bounce It”: Something you might hear from your doubles partner when they want to remind you not to hit the ball until it’s bounced
Champion Shot: A rare pickleball shot that bounces twice before it even leaves the non-volley zone
Dead Ball: What you call the ball after a fault takes place–if it goes out of bounds, bounces twice, hits a player, etc.
Dillball: The opposite of a dead ball–it’s in bounds and it’s bounced once, so it’s live and ready to hit
Dink: The holy grail of pickleball hits–a soft shot that lands in your opponent’s non-volley zone
Double Hit: When it takes a village to make a volley; one team hits the ball twice before returning it to their opponents
Erne: An advanced shot in which you hit the ball in the air while jumping around in the non-volley zone or from the out-of-bounds area alongside the court after running through the non-volley zone
Falafel: When a shot falls short on account of a “dead paddle,” or a hit without enough power
Flapjack: What you call one of the first two shots of a pickleball point that must bounce once before it’s hit. After the flapjacks, you’re free to volley without bouncing
Kitchen: If you can’t stand the heat, and really just in general, stay out of this slang term for the non-volley zone
OPA: Something you might hear someone shouting after the third shot of a point, when you can volley openly
Pickle: Something a server might call to let players know they’re ready to dish it out
Pickled: The worst-case scenario for any player, in which you score zero points in a game to your opponent’s 11
Pickler: What you call a pickleball enthusiast once they’re truly hooked on the sport
Poach: In doubles pickleball, to cross over into your partner’s side of the court to hit a shot.
Two Bounce Rule: The rule that after every serve, the opposing team must let the ball bounce before hitting it, and the serving team must also allow the ball to bounce before they return that hit. After the 3rd hit, the volleying begins (hitting the ball midair without bouncing)
Volley Llama: Hitting a volley shot in the non-volley zone (a move to be avoided despite the colorful name)
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Like any slang, the best way to learn is by putting it into practice. So grab your paddle and a ball, and dink away. And when you do, you can wear our AGPC pieces both on the court and off. Consider it a giant pickleball gift from us, that lasts all year round. For a long, long time. Shop the collection here.