Pickleball is a paddle sport which has gained prominence for its easy-to-learn characteristic. Played across all age groups, the sport is turning out to be one of the best leisure sports globally. The rampant spread of the sport has led to the development of various lingos and slang language related to the sport. One such word is falafel.
A falafel is a delicacy of the middle-east region that is made of ground chickpeas, broad beans, herbs and spices. A deep-fried ball, this food item serves as a good starter for your meal. In Pickleball, the use of the word falafel gained prominence only after the 21st century.
Falafel itself comes from an Arabic word that means crunchy. In Pickleball, when a shot is hit with insufficient power, it falls short and does not reach the needed distance. Such a shot more often than not finds the net. This is called a falafel.
The origin of the word falafel in Pickleball is unknown. However, it can be postulated that when a shot is without any power, it is not ‘crunched’ enough to reach the target area. Thus the word falafel. Since a falafel shot is a poorly executed shot, the term ‘dead paddle’ is often used interchangeably.
A falafel shot is most often seen when players attempt to hit a dink shot from the baseline or the net. Since the dink shot lands in the non-volley zone that is adjacent to the net, it has to be hit with a limited but optimal power to land right. In an attempt to hit the dink, the player might not have the needed technique, resulting in a falafel.
When a player is near the net and has to hit a defensive shot to counter an incoming smash or a paced shot, they might not have any power of their own. In such instances too, an improper angle of the paddle can result in a falafel with the ball finding the net.
A falafel is not a professional word per se in the sport of Pickleball. However, the leisurely nature of the sport has led to it being a common slang between beginners and intermediates.