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If you are new to playing – or even watching – pickleball, then you might be wondering about some of the terminologies that is used during the game.

While the terms may seem a little confusing right now, once you understand what they mean, you will realize how simple the rules of pickleball really are.

If you have been too embarrassed to ask what ‘sideout’ means when it has been shouted out during the game, then you will be surprised to hear that it has no relation to the sidelines.

In fact, sideout actually means that when a second server causes the team to lose a point, an official will yell “Sideout!” which refers to the side which lost the point being out.

This then means the other team will get to serve.

If that has whet your appetite to learn more about pickleball, then read on to find out what some of the terminology means in pickleball.


This is when a ball has bounced before a person hits it with their paddle.

So, when the person strikes the ball with their paddle, it bounces on the ground before the opposing player strikes it with their paddle.

While a good technique, it does cause the ball to lose strength and speed due to it hitting the ground first.


Simpler than it sounds. When the second server on the team loses a point, an official will shout aloud “Sideout!”. This refers to the team (which lost the point) now considered to be out.

This then means that the opposing team has now become the server. And again, no, it has nothing to do with those pesky sidelines.

Dead Ball

When there is a dead ball, it means the ball has been specified as out, and the point is now over.


And following on from the simple ‘dead ball’, we have ‘fault’. Again, just as simple as it sounds, it means that there has been a violation of the rules.

Compliment: Nice Rally

If someone says to you “Nice rally!” during a pickleball game, you might not know what they are talking about.

This complement is actually often stated towards both teams, rather than one person.

It means that they are impressed by the streak of shots between the two teams.

The rally is often long too, which makes the game very intense for a player and a watcher.

Compliment: Nice Put Away

When someone compliments the ‘put away’ of the game, it is often referring to the shot which guarantees the overall win for the team.

So when someone says “Nice put away” as you receive a point, then you now know it means they are complimenting your awesome skills to get points.

What Is A Sideout

Double Bounce

This refers to the rules of the game, however, in simple terms it just means that upon both the serve and the return the ball must bounce.

What happens if you do not let this happen in the game of pickleball? Well, it is then considered to be a fault.

Compliment: Nice Setup

To put it simply, when someone shouts out “Nice Setup!” during a game of pickleball they are referring to manipulation during the game.

They have seen you work your magic by making the opponent move to a certain position so you can hit the ball toward an open area.

A good example of this would be to hit the ball across the court to make the player move further than they would like.

As they hit the ball back, your partner then hits the ball to the exposed section of the court in the hope to score a point.

Compliment: Nice Get

If somebody shouts out to you “Nice get!” they are referring to the difficult hit that you have just done to return the ball back to your opponent.

People often say that this is their favorite compliment to get while playing pickleball.


The baseline is the area marked by a line that you cannot cross when you are taking a serve.


Just like the baseline, you cannot step out of the sideline – oh, and remember it has nothing to do with the sideout!

Non-Volley Zone

Here you cannot volley a ball while standing in this zone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few questions asked about pickleball:

What Is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a game that uses paddles and takes inspiration from other sports such as badminton, ping-pong, and tennis.

The paddle has holes in it and is often made of plastic. The game itself is really simple to follow which makes it great for all the family.

Why Does It Have The Name Pickleball?

Joel Pritchard and his two friends Barney McCallum and Bill Bell founded pickleball in 1965 during the summer when they were at Bainbridge Island in Washington.

Joel thought of the name ‘pickle ball’ as a reference to ‘pickle boat’ in crew races.

Is Pickleball Difficult To Play?

Because pickleball is a growing sport across America, many people are taking it up.

It takes inspiration from the likes of badminton, tennis, and ping-pong.

The rules themselves are very easy to follow, making it a great sport for beginners.

However, over time the game becomes a lot more competitive and fast as a person develops their pickleball skills.

Why Is Pickleball A Popular Sport?

Pickleball is fast becoming a common sport to play across America.

This is because it is an easy game to learn, and is generally a slower sport to play.

However, over time you may find the speed of playing is faster as you develop your skills.

Having said that, pickleball does not cover much ground and you can play doubles with a partner (see also ‘What Is Stacking In Pickleball?‘).

This makes it a great sport with low impact for those who have medical issues.

Final Thoughts

While at first, you had no idea what sideout means in pickleball, now you know what the official is saying, as well as a few other terms used when playing pickleball.

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