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Pickleball Corner | Pickleball Schweiz

Pickleball terms you need to know before you play

Although pickleball has been around since 1965, you may just be starting to play. Many terms used in pickleball have been adopted from other sports such as table tennis and badminton, but there are also many words that are unique to pickleball. Here are a few pickleball terms you should know before you start playing.

Pickleball terms related to the court.

When you play pickleball, it's important to know some terms that relate to the pickleball court. This knowledge will help you understand where you can and cannot stand.

Kitchen or non-volley zone

Kitchen is a colloquial term for the non-volley zone or NVZ. The Kitchen extends 2.13 meters on each side of the net. Players are not allowed to be in the NVZ when playing the ball.


The baseline is located 6.70 meters from the net. It is the line that indicates the location of the back of the court.


On each side of the net there is an area where the team plays, called the service area. The centerline extends from the non-volley zone to the baseline, dividing the service area in half.


The midcourt is the area where you play. It is the space between the non-volley zone and the baseline.


The sideline is an area that runs around the court. It is located between the actual playing surface and the area that is considered "out of bounds".

Pickleball terms related to scoring and serving.

Other pickleball terms you should know relate to serving and scoring. Here are a few terms to get you started.


An ace occurs when the other team does not return the serve. In this case, the serving team is awarded a point.


When you serve, you must pass the ball to the player of the opposing team who is diagonally opposite you. This is called a cross-court.

Dink shot

This shot occurs when you play the ball and it lands in your opponent's kitchen shortly after crossing the net. This is a good way to score a point.


In pickleball, each game begins with an underhand serve. You use the paddle to hit the ball across the net to serve. The receiving team tries to return the ball to the server. If this fails, the receiving team has committed a fault and the serving team is awarded a point.

Play continues until the serving team commits a fault. The time between the serve and the error is a rally. After the error, the ball is called a dead ball. When both players on one team have had a chance to serve (in doubles) and it is time for the other team to serve, it is called a "side-out".


A volley is when you hit the ball without letting it bounce first. According to the double-bounce rule, a volley may only be played after the third stroke. This means that the serving team serves the ball, the receiving team bounces it, and the serving team bounces it back to their opponent before the volley can begin.

There are many more pickleball terms to learn. As you continue to play the game, you will learn more terms. Contact the Pickleball Corner team to learn more terms or to get answers to your pickleball questions.

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