What Is a "Nasty Nelson"? | Pickler Pickleball

What Is a "Nasty Nelson"?

Have you heard of the phrase "Nasty Nelson" on the pickleball courts? If not, a "Nasty Nelson" is certainly a shot to learn about. Although, be warned, that a Nasty Nelson can spark some controversy on the pickleball courts.

A Nasty Nelson is a shot on the pickleball courts where the server serves the pickleball to intentionally hit the opposing player nearest to the pickleball net (in other words, the opposing player that is not receiving the serve). If the served pickleball strikes the opposing player before it bounces, then the receiving team commits a fault, and the serving team wins the point. A Nasty Nelson is easiest to successfully execute if the opposing player nearest the pickleball net is close to the centerline of the pickleball court and/or not paying attention to the server.


This shot - Nasty Nelson - is named after Tim “The Puppet Master” Nelson. Tim Nelson is a top pickleball player that is known for his controversial style of play, which includes Nasty Nelsons (of course) and a puppeteer hand motion to celebrate getting the better of his opponents on any given shot.

To avoid being the victim of a Nasty Nelson, always pay attention and be ready as the receiving team player closest to the pickleball net. If you happen to be caught off guard one day, shake it off - it happens to the best of us.

Have you ever hit a Nasty Nelson to win a point? Or, been the victim of a Nasty Nelson? Share with us at stacie@thepickler.com.

Also, to learn more on pickleball serving rules, check out Pickler's blog - Pickleball Serving Rules - Master the Start of Every Pickleball Rally!

Updated as of January 18, 2021