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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pickleball Terminology

After nearly 100 posts, I just realized that I have been using a lot of terms with which newcomers may not be familiar.  This post aims to rectify that omission. Here are the terms commonly used in pickleball (and other racquet/court games):

Approach shot - A hit while moving forward toward the net.

Backcourt - The area of the court within several feet of the baseline.

Backhand - A hit with the "back" of the paddle made by reaching across the body and leading the swing with the back of the hand.

Backspin - Spin on the ball in the opposite direction of the flight of the ball.

Backswing - The paddle movement from the ready position toward the back of the stance in preparation for the shot.

Baseline - The line separating in-bounds and out-of-bounds at the back of the pickleball court (22 feet from the net). The baseline is considered in-bounds.

Centerline - The line bisecting the service courts that extends from the non-volley/kitchen line to the baseline. The centerline separates in-bounds and out-of-bounds for the serve and is considered in-bounds.

Closed Face - A paddle position where the top of the paddle is tilted forward.

Crosscourt - The opponent’s court diagonally opposite yours. 

Dink - A soft shot hit so that it drops into the non-volley zone. 

Doubles - A game played with 4 players and divided 2 per team. 

Drive - A low shot intended to reach the opponents' backcourt. 

Fault - An infringement of the rules that ends the rally. 

Forehand - A hit with the "front" of the paddle made by leading the swing with the palm of the hand. 

Foot fault - Stepping on or into the non-volley zone while volleying a ball, or, while serving, failure to keep both feet behind the baseline with at least one foot in contact with the surface when the paddle contacts the ball. 

Groundstroke - Hitting the ball after it bounces. 

Half-volley - A type of hit where the player hits the ball immediately after it has bounced in an almost scoop-like fashion. 

Kitchen - A nickname for the non-volley zone. 

Let serve - A serve that touches the top of the net and lands in the proper service court. It is replayed without penalty.

Lob - A shot that sends the ball high overhead and deep, forcing the opponent back to the baseline.

Mid-court - The area between the kitchen and the backcourt.

Non-volley zone - A seven-foot area adjacent to the net within which you may not volley the ball. The non-volley zone includes all lines around it. Also called the “kitchen”.

Non-volley zone line - The line separating the non-volley zone from the rest of the court. The line is considered part of the zone. It also is the line separating in-bounds from out-of-bounds for the serve. It is considered out-of-bounds, the only line so designated.

Open Face - A paddle position where the top of the paddle is tilted backward.

Overhead Smash - A hard shot made with the paddle over head height.

Poach - In doubles, to cross over into your partner’s area to play a ball. 

Rally - Hitting the ball back and forth between opposite teams, starting with a serve and ending with a fault.

Ready Position - A player's position when receiving the ball on a serve or waiting for the return of a ball. The position is taken to enable the player to move in any direction to make the return.

Serve (Service) - An underhand lob or drive stroke used to put a ball into play at the beginning of a rally.

Server number - When playing doubles, either “1” or “2,” depending on whether you are the first or second server for your side. This number is appended to the score when it is called.

Sideline - The line at the side of the court separating in-bounds and out-of-bounds. The line is considered in-bounds.

Singles - A game played with 2 players and divided 1 per side.

Topspin - Spin on the ball in the same direction of the flight of the ball. 

Unforced Error - A player missing a shot that should normally be made. 

Volley - Hitting the ball before it bounces.

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