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Pickleball terminology and rules


Players battle in a doubles match during a tournament organized by the Tampa Pickleball Crew.
Players battle in a doubles match during a tournament organized by the Tampa Pickleball Crew.

While these terms for pickleball are geared more toward

newcomers, the camaraderie and friendly nature of most people

involved in the sport make this information welcome to all. Here

is a bit of pickleball terminology.


APPROACH SHOT: A player hits the ball while moving toward

the net.


BACKSPIN: A slice or chop that applies spin to the ball, which

occurs by making a high-to-low motion with your paddle.


CENTERLINE: This line extends from the non-volley zone to the

baseline, dividing the service court into halves.


DEAD BALL: A ball is declared dead after a fault and the point is

over.


FALAFEL: A so-called dead paddle or short shot due to hitting a

pickleball with little or no power.


GROUNDSTROKE: Hitting the ball after one bounce instead of a

mid-air volley.


LET: A serve that hits the net cord and lands in the service court.

Let serves are replayed as is the case in tennis.


OPA: Often shouted after a third shot has been hit, signaling the

beginning of an open volley.


PAINTING THE LINE: A saying for an outstanding shot that lands

right on the line.


POACH: In doubles play, crossing over to your partner’s side of

the court to hit the ball.


RALLY: Continuous play from a serve until a vault stops play.


VOLLEY LLAMA: An illegal move in which a player hits a shot in

the non-volley zone.


Photo by Steve Lee

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