What Is A Volley In Pickleball? Understanding Pickleball Terms 

October 24, 2021

Pickleball is becoming more popular in the United States and other parts of the world. Hence, there is an ever-growing list of beginners that are interested in the game. Like any other sport, this game has terms that refer to specific situations in the play.

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player, it’s necessary to master all related terms to play well. The more you know about the game, the better you learn the techniques. Therefore, let us get into it and see what terms players usually use in Pickleball.

What Is A Volley In Pickleball?

A volley is a ball you hit while it’s still in the air. Most of the time, players execute volleys while they are right behind the catching line. You can use volleys to block hits, especially when the ball comes at you at a high spend and in the mid-section area where you can’t get a good hit. 

You can also use the volley to raise balls that come in low to destabilize the opponent to give yourself an attacking advantage.

How To Volley

volley is a big part of a game, and it can help you win if you master when and how to do it. Often, it will allow you to get the opponent off guard and destabilize them enough to score. Let us look at this move and see how you can do it.

There are several volleying variations you can use, and various situations will force you to volley. Thus, you won’t have enough time to move up and down with the pad to volley in the game. 

Use a continental grip on your pad to allow the wrist free range of motion between the front and backhand.

It’ll be helpful to maintain a natural hinged wrist for sturdier and more accurate hits on the ball to give better direction.

The most basic volley will be for a ball that is coming at your chest area. The first step for such a volley is a backswing, and how far back you go depends on the speed of the ball and how much power you want to deliver.

You need to make a compact swing forward and maintain complete control of the pad to keep the ball in your possession. 

Once you hit the ball, follow through with its motion and return to your ready position after the swing.

You want to keep the pad in front of you, around your chest and upper stomach area, to ensure you can get to the ball quickly. 

You can stand facing the opponent directly or do a cross-over step like in tennis if that makes you more comfortable.

The grip on your paddle should allow you to switch from forehand to backhand quickly. Being quick with your hand and paddle movements is highly significant in Pickleball since the court isn’t as large as tennis courts.

Most of the time, the ball you volley comes to you under the net, meaning you don’t need too much power because you mostly need to raise it.

The perfect timing will allow you to hit the ball before it touches the ground, putting pressure on your opponent.

When the ball comes in low, you have to hit it with an open paddle. An open paddle means that your paddle is facing up, so it will raise the ball. For high balls, you use a closed paddle, one that is facing down to lower the ball.

If you are looking to deliver more power, you should use the rolling volley. With a rolling volley, you always use a closed pad. 

You can hit the ball with a bit more power to get it moving faster. As you hit the ball, you move the pad upward to get it to roll the ball.

For attacking purposes, you can use the directional element of a volley. Hit the volley at your opponent’s feet or far away from their position to try to get them to miss. If they get to it, you can always volley again, in a different direction, and get them off guard.

A volley is all about technique, and it takes a while to master. Constant practice is critical to ensure you master these techniques and become better at the game. You can train with a friend feeding or playing against each other.

Other Common Pickleball Terms And Their Meanings

Pickleball has a lot of terms and rules, so you need to know all of them, or at least the most basic of them, to keep you in the loop. Here are some of the most used terms that you should have in mind;

  • Around-the-post. It’s a term that refers to a shot that goes around the post outside the net. However, it comes around to land near the line at the opponent’s backcourt. It is an advanced technique that helps stretch an opponent to give you an attacking advantage.
  • Banger. This playing style involves a player driving the shots hard to try and beat the opponent with speed and power. The player targets the ball away from the opponent to make them miss or hit it in the wrong direction and lose.
  • Dink. A dink is a soft hit, mainly at the kitchen line. It doesn’t have too much power, aiming to fall in your opponent’s valley zone. This way, your opponent is unable to volley it back, giving you an advantage.
  • Dinker. A dinker is a soft kind of Pickleball play where all the players use dinking shots throughout the game. The style is mainly for beginners that are mastering a technique or advanced players having fun.
  • Doubles. It’s a Pickleball game played by two players on each team to make for four players on the court. Each player is on a quarter of the volley zone, and they guard one-half of the court.
  • Drop shot. A drop shot is a soft hit that raises the ball over the net but the ball lands in the non-volley region of your opponent’s court. It’s a way to defend a low ball without getting caught off guard since the opponent can volley a drop shot.
  • Erne. This type of volley is hit at the net with a player off the court. It is usually a close save done by quick people who can move faster around the court.
  • Approach shot. As suggested by the name, this is a shot done while a player is approaching the net. It can be to raise a low ball or a recovery from a ball that sent them to the back of the court.
  • Crosscourt. A term referring to the opponent’s court is diagonally opposite to yours, and it is most common in doubles. When using the backhand, the ball often goes into the crosscourt.
  • Kitchen. It is another name for the non-volley zone. It is a seven-foot space from each side of the net, and it is a fault to volley the ball while in this region.
  • Double bounce rule. It is a rule in Pickleball, and you have to let the ball bounce, whether it is on a serve or return. It is one of the rules that define Pickleball and makes it stand out from other games.
  • Drive. A drive is a low, relatively powerful shot aimed at the opponent’s backcourt. It is an excellent way to push an opponent back to make them leave an opening in the front side of the court where you can score with a drop shot.
  • Foot fault. It is a fault called when you step into the kitchen while volleying the ball. It’s also the fault called if one or both your feet are on the baseline when your paddle hits the ball.
  • Let serve. It is a ball serve where the ball touches the top part of the net but lands in the proper service court, so it isn’t a fault.
  • Game. A series of games going on until one team accumulates 11 points; they would have won by 2 points. 
  • Groundstroke. It is a standard part of Pickleball, and it refers to a shot, forehand or backhand, made after the ball has bounced once on the court. 
  • Half volley. A half volley refers to when a player hits a ball immediately it bounces off the court. This shot needs them to use an open pad to hit the ball in a scooping fashion to make a drop shot.


Pickleball has a lot of terms, and it is essential to know as many of them as you can. You will pick up most of the words as you go along the game, but it is good to learn the basics to make learning easier.

Among the most significant Pickleball term is the volley. The volley is an integral part of Pickleball since most balls you receive will come in the chest area. If you master volleying, you’re a step closer to becoming a pro at Pickleball.

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