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81 Funny Pickleball Terms to Learn Immediately

Pickleball, the beloved sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, has its own unique lexicon. In fact, three are a lot of funny pickleball terms that are really wacky sounding, even if they refer to serious parts of game play.

And, the name of the sport itself – pickleball – sounds kind of goofy if we are being honest, right? The history of pickleball explains that one of the sport’s creators came up with the name in reference to the “thrown-together leftover non-starters in the “pickle boat” of crew races.”

Whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting out, understanding the funny pickleball terms is actually essential for effective communication on the court. So get a good laugh on as you read these, but also be sure to remember them on court!

Here are the funny pickleball terms you need to know:

Ace:

A serve that lands inbounds and untouched by the opponent, resulting in a point.

Advantage:

The point scored after deuce, giving a player or team the opportunity to win the game.

Alley:

A section of the pickleball court that lies between the singles sideline and the doubles sideline.

Around the Post (ATP):

A shot hit around the outside of the net post, typically performed on the outside of the court.

Attack:

An aggressive shot or strategy aimed at putting pressure on the opponent.

Backhand:

A stroke hit on the non-dominant side of the body for right-handed players, the left side, and vice versa.

Backspin:

Rotation put on the ball causing it to spin backward after contact, resulting in a lower trajectory.

Bagel:

Winning a game by a score of 11-0, indicating a shutout.

Backhand:

A stroke hit on the non-dominant side of the body for right-handed players, the left side, and vice versa.

Backspin:

Rotation put on the ball causing it to spin backward after contact, resulting in a lower trajectory.

Banana Shot:

One of the more funny pickleball terms, this refers to a shot hit with extreme sidespin, causing the ball to curve in a banana-like trajectory and making it difficult for the opponent to predict its path.

Banger:

A powerful shot hit with maximum force, usually intended to overpower the opponent and end the point decisively.

Baseline:

The boundary line at the back of the court, marking the end of the playing area.

Block Volley:

A volley hit with a blocking motion, often used to redirect the ball with minimal movement and effort.

Box:

The area on the court where the serving team must stand during service.

Carry:

An illegal stroke where the ball is caught and momentarily held on the paddle.

Center Line:

The line dividing the left and right service courts.

Changeover:

The interval between games when players switch ends of the court.

Chicken Wing:

Definitely one of the more funny pickleball terms, this is a defensive shot where the elbow is bent awkwardly, resembling a chicken wing, often used as a last resort to return difficult shots.

A graphic novel art style image displaying funny pickleball terms

Crosscourt:

A shot hit diagonally from one side of the court to the opposite side.

Dead Ball:

A ball that is no longer in play, often signaled by the referee.

Deep:

A shot that lands near the baseline, away from the net.

Double Bounce Rule:

A rule stating that the ball must bounce once on each side of the net before players are allowed to hit volleys.

Double Hit:

An illegal stroke where the player strikes the ball twice with the paddle during one swing.

Down the Line:

A shot hit parallel to the sidelines, down the length of the court.

Drop Shot:

A softly hit shot intended to just barely clear the net and land close to it on the opponent’s side.

Drop Volley:

A soft shot hit as a volley, intended to drop just over the net.

Fault:

An error or violation of the rules, resulting in the loss of the rally or point.

Foot Fault:

An error that occurs when a player steps on or over the baseline or sideline during service.

Forehand:

A stroke hit on the dominant side of the body for right-handed players, the right side, and vice versa.

Golden Set:

Winning a set without losing a single point, a rare occurrence in pickleball.

Groundstroke:

A shot hit after the ball has bounced, typically played from the baseline.

Half-Volley:

A shot where the ball is hit immediately after it bounces, just before it reaches the ground.

Kitchen:

A term used to refer to the non-volley zone, where players are not allowed to hit volleys.

Kitchen Patrol:

Refers to players strategically positioning themselves near the non-volley zone (kitchen) in pickleball, ready to capitalize on opponents’ shots landing within that area. One of the more funny pickleball terms, you can almost visualize players on kitchen patrol.

Let:

A serve that touches the net but lands in the correct service court, resulting in a replay of the point.

Lob:

A high-arcing shot hit deep into the opponent’s court, intended to go over their heads.

Match Point:

The point that, if won by the leading player or team, will end the match.

Middle:

The central area of the court, often targeted by players to split their opponents.

Net Cord:

A shot that clips the top of the net and still lands in the opponent’s court.

No Man’s Land:

The area on the court between the non-volley zone and the baseline, where players are vulnerable to attack.

Out:

A shot that lands outside the boundaries of the court, resulting in the loss of a point.

Overhead:

A shot hit with a swinging motion above the head, typically executed when the ball is high in the air.

Partner:

The player on the same team as oneself, typically positioned on the opposite side of the court.

Passing Shot:

A shot hit past an opponent who is approaching the net, often down the line or crosscourt.

Pickleball:

A paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, played with a perforated plastic ball.

Pickleball Court:

The playing surface for pickleball, measuring 20 feet wide by 44 feet long for doubles and 20 feet by 22 feet for singles.

Pickleball Paddle:

The equipment used to hit the pickleball, typically made of lightweight materials such as wood, graphite, or composite.

Pickleball Serve:

The stroke used to put the ball into play at the start of a point.

Pickleball Tournament:

A competitive event where players or teams compete against each other in matches to determine a winner.

Pickle Juice:

Refers metaphorically to the strategic shots or maneuvers that entrap opponents, leaving them in a metaphorical pickle or predicament on the court.

Poach:

When a player intercepts and hits a ball that was intended for their partner.

Rally:

A sequence of shots exchanged between players before a point is won.

Ready Position:

The stance adopted by players, prepared to react to their opponent’s shots.

Return:

The shot played in response to the opponent’s serve.

Serve-and-Volley:

A strategy where the server rushes the net after serving to hit a volley on the return.

Server:

The player who initiates the point by serving the ball.

Set:

A unit of scoring consisting of a series of games, typically won by the first player or team to reach six games with a margin of two games.

Side Out:

A term used when the serving team loses the serve, resulting in a change of serve to the opposing team.

Singles:

A pickleball match played with one player on each side of the court.

Skunk:

Winning a game by a score of 11-0, indicating a shutout.

Slice:

A shot hit with underspin, causing the ball to skid and stay low after bouncing.

Smash:

A powerful overhead shot hit with force, intended to end the point.

Spin:

Rotation put on the ball to alter its trajectory and behavior after bouncing.

Split Step:

A small hop or step performed by a player to prepare for an opponent’s shot.

Stacking:

A strategy used in doubles where players switch positions to optimize court coverage.

Sweet Spot:

The ideal location on the paddle for hitting the ball, resulting in maximum control and power.

Tandem:

A strategy where both players on a doubles team stand side by side instead of one behind the other.

Third Shot Drop:

A soft shot played by the serving team after the return of serve, typically landing in the kitchen.

Topspin:

Rotation put on the ball causing it to spin forward after contact, resulting in a higher trajectory.

Touch:

The ability to hit delicate and precise shots with finesse.

Transition Zone:

The area between the non-volley zone and the baseline, where players move during points.

Two-Bounce Rule:

A rule stating that the ball must bounce once on each side of the net before players are allowed to hit volleys.

Underspin:

Rotation put on the ball causing it to spin backward after contact, resulting in a lower trajectory.

Volley:

A shot hit in the air without allowing the ball to bounce on the player’s side of the court.

Warm-Up:

A period before a match or practice session where players prepare themselves physically and mentally.

Wild Card:

An entry into a tournament given to a player or team at the discretion of the organizers.

Winner:

A shot that wins the point outright, typically a well-placed and powerful shot.

X-Out:

A term used to indicate that a player’s return shot is out of bounds.

Zero Zero Two:

A serve in which the server hits the ball first into the non-volley zone, then across the net.

Zinger:

A fast and unexpected shot that catches the opponent off guard.

5.0:

A rating system used in pickleball to denote the highest skill level of players.

What are the Most Funny Pickleball Terms?

So, it’s not surprising that when I first stepped onto the pickleball court as a newbie, I was eager to learn but completely clueless about the game’s terminology. As my partner and I warmed up, I heard someone mention a “Chicken Wing” and burst into laughter, envisioning players flapping their arms like poultry. What does that even mean, anyway?

Little did I know, it was a defensive shot technique, not a barnyard dance move! Needless to say, my early days on the pickleball court were filled with humorous misunderstandings, but they only added to the fun and camaraderie of learning the game.


Another amusing pickleball term is the “Bagel.” While it might sound delicious, in pickleball, a bagel refers to winning a game where the losing team has a score of 0, indicating complete dominance over the opponent.

Players often find this term amusing because it adds a touch of levity to the intensity of the game, turning a decisive win into a playful reference to breakfast fare. It’s a lighthearted way to acknowledge a particularly one-sided match, fostering camaraderie among players while injecting some fun into the competitive atmosphere.

So, whether you’re serving up bagels on the court or avoiding being on the receiving end, embracing the term adds a dash of humor to the pickleball experience.

pickleball accesories including a pickleball paddle and three bright color pickleballs on a court
Pickleball paddle and several pickle balls on court.

Wrap Up

From quirky phrases like “Kitchen Patrol” to hilarious mishaps described as “Pickle Juice,” these funny pickleball terms not only add a layer of entertainment to the game but also foster a sense of camaraderie among players worldwide.

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a newcomer to the courts, understanding these pickleball terms is just as important in learning the rules of the game. Being “in the know” also enhances the overall enjoyment and appreciation of the sport. As players rally on the courts, exchanging banter and laughter, it becomes evident that pickleball isn’t just a game—it’s a community united by a shared passion for fun, competition, and good humor.

So, the next time you step onto the pickleball court, embrace the playful spirit embodied in these terms, and let the laughter echo across the court as you engage in spirited matches with friends old and new. After all, in the world of pickleball, a good sense of humor is just as essential as a killer backhand.

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