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The Pickleball Dictionary: Pickleball Terms that Start with the Letter “T”

Strategy & Technique Stacie Townsend 02-02-2020

Pickler created The Pickleball Dictionary, which includes all of the common terms, phrases, words, people, and organizations found in, on, and around the pickleball courts. Get your FREE copy of The Pickleball Dictionary today!


The pickleball terms, phrases, words, people, and organizations that start with the letter “T” include:

Tandem – On the pickleball courts, it is imperative that you stay linked with your partner and work together as a team. You should imagine that a six- to eight-foot rope holds you and your partner together at all times. If you and your partner do not stay linked and do not move in tandem, you will find yourselves leaving large open spaces on the pickleball courts for your opponents to take advantage of.

Target – Targets can be real or imaginary, and can be used as great drill aids or as guides when playing on the court.

Team – Pickleball is most commonly played in doubles. As a result, you and your partner are a team. You must work together to be successful.

Technical Foul – A technical foul is a referee’s assessment of a rule or other violation that leads to a point being awarded to the opposing team on the pickleball court.

Technical Warning – A technical warning is a referee’s assessment of a rule or other violation that leads to a verbal warning being awarded against a pickleball player or team. No points are awarded in a warning.

Temporary Net – A temporary net is a pop-up net that does not have solid, permanent posts. Temporary nets are great tools to play pickleball on any level surface, including indoor gyms and tennis or basketball courts. Temporary nets are known to have weaker net cords; as a result, more shots on the pickleball courts with temporary nets will likely dribble over the net.

Ten-Second Rule – Once a referee calls the score during a pickleball game, the server will have 10 seconds to serve the pickleball. If the server fails to serve the pickleball during this 10-second period, then there is a fault.

The Pickleball Forum – The Pickleball Forum is a group on Facebook started by Aspen Kern that discusses all things pickleball. The Pickleball Forum currently has over 30,000 members.

The People’s Champ – John Davison, also known as “The People’s Champ,” is an up-and-coming pickleball pro known for his quick wit, especially on the Pickleball Forum group on Facebook.

Third Shot – The third shot—which can be a drop, a drive, or another shot—is generally the most critical shot in pickleball. The third shot can make or break a team’s ability to move in to the non-volley zone or kitchen line, which is imperative, as the chances of winning points in pickleball increase substantially if you and your partner can move in to the non-volley zone or kitchen line.

Time In – “Time in” signifies that the pickleball game is in action, whether at the start of a game or after a timeout.

Timeout – During pickleball tournaments, you and your partner will generally have two timeouts per game. If you do not use your timeouts, you do not get to keep them or take them home with you, so do not be afraid to use them. Timeouts can be one of the easiest ways to break or change the momentum of a pickleball game. A good rule of thumb is to call a timeout if your opponents have scored three points in a row.

Top Spin – Top spin generally causes the pickleball to pull down and take a nose dive out of the air (this is the opposite of a slice, which causes the pickleball to rise a bit), and, upon contact with the ground, take a higher bounce toward your opponents. Many top players like to use the top spin drives because the top spin allows the pickleball to keep its power and pace longer than a basic flat drive.

Tour – Two pickleball tours launched in 2020: (1) the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) and (2) the Association of Pickleball Professionals. Both tours have tournaments scheduled across the country with large prize purses for the pro divisions.

Tournament – Pickleball tournaments can be a fun way to test your skills on the court. Pickleball tournaments are a blast because they include a full day or full weekend on the pickleball courts with some of your closest friends (and if the competitors are not your friends at the beginning of the tournament, they certainly will be your friends by the end of the tournament). However, pickleball tournament also add an element of pressure and competition to the mix, which can be daunting for some people. To learn some tips and tricks to improve your pickleball tournament play, check out Pickler’s online pickleball video lessons.

Tournament of Champions – Tournament of Champions is one of the premiere pickleball tournaments in the United States every year. Tournament of Champions is played in Brigham City, Utah, and frequently draws pickleball players from across the country.

Trajectory – The trajectory of the pickleball is another word for the flight path of the pickleball. Paying attention to the trajectory of the pickleball is key on the pickleball courts.

Transition Zone – The transition zone of the pickleball court is the area a few feet in front of the baseline to the area a few feet behind the non-volley zone or kitchen line. The transition zone is a tough area to play, as your opponents will be able to more easily hit the pickleball down at your feet and with sharper angles.

Triple Crown – The triple crown is an award or title won by the pickleball player that wins gold in each of (1) men’s or women’s doubles (as applicable), (2) mixed doubles, and (3) singles.

Two-Bounce Rule – Unlike tennis, both the serve and the return of serve in pickleball must bounce. This is called the 2-bounce or 3-hit rule. After the serve and return of serve, either team may volley the pickleball. In other words, after the serve and return of serve, either team may hit the pickleball either in the air or after a bounce.

Two-Handed Backhand – As more tennis players convert to pickleball, you may see more two-handed backhand drives (which we are already starting to see), which are common in tennis. The downside of hitting a two-handed backhand drive compared to a one-handed backhand drive is that the two-handed backhand drive limits your reach with your paddle. However, the upside of two-handed backhand drive is that you may be able to generate more power, especially on pickleballs hit behind you.

Tyler Loong – Tyler Loong, a former collegiate tennis player, is a pickleball pro that has jumped on the scene. Tyler is a pickleball lefty known for his fast feet and great movement on the pickleball courts, who recently placed 4th at the 2019 US Open Pickleball Championships.

Tyson McGuffin – Tyson McGuffin, a former tennis and wrestling standout, is a pickleball pro and one of the top singles players in the world. Tyson has found huge success at tournaments across the country, including three gold medals at the 2018 US Open Pickleball Championships in Men’s Singles and Men’s and Mixed Doubles 30+.


Do you know any additional pickleball terms, phrases, words, people, or organizations that start with the letter “T” to add to The Pickleball Dictionary? Share with us in the comments below!


Updated as of January 6, 2021


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