Jai-Alai Glossary


Term Explanation
Aro The wooden frame of the cesta.
Arrimada A reverse-spin shot that goes along the side wall. Catching an arrimada is difficult.
Atchiki The time between catching the ball and returning the ball.
Bote corrido If a ball slides and slips instead of bouncing, it is a bote corrido.
Bote pronto An underhand catch on a short hop. (Scoop is a synonym.)
Buzzball A ball that is thrown exceptionally hard.
Cancha The playing court.
Carombola A ball that hits the front and side walls, and then hits the cancha and bounces off in the direction of the screen. (The screen is the net that protects the spectators.)
Cesta The “basket-racket” used in jai alai.
Cestero A person that creates and/or repairs cestas.
Chaval de pelotas Ball boy
Chic-Chac A ball that hits the floor very near the back wall, and then immediately hits the wall. Very difficult to return.
Chula The ball hits the base of the back wall and returns without bouncing (it rolls instead). Pretty much impossible to catch since there is no bounce.
Cinta The cinta is used to tie the cesta to the player’s hand.
Contracancha The wooden area located on the right side of the cancha, between the cancha and the screen. Any ball landing on the contracancha is out of bounds.
Corredores Bookmakers
Corta An under serve. The opposite of a pasa.
Costillas The ribs of the cesta.
Dejada A soft shot that barely reaches the front wall and bounces off it just above the foul line. It will bounce off the front wall, but with a very small bounce due to the low speed, and drop on the floor without much of a bounce.
Delantero The frontcourt player. The opposite of a zaguero.
Dos paredes A shot that hits a front wall and any of the side walls, in any order. Carom is a synonym.

Dos means two in Spanish, while paredes is the Spanish word for walls.

Efecto The spin on the ball
Equipo A team of two pelotaris
Faja The sash worn around the waist of the pelotari.
Frontis The front wall.
Fronton The building in which jai alai is played.
Guante The leather glove attached to the cesta to protect the hand of the player.
Juez Judge
Lateral The side wall
Libre If a jai alai player wants to signal his team mate that the team mate is not too close to the wall (and therefore can keep moving) he will shout libre.
Mala A ball that is out of bounds. Mala is the Spanish word for bad.
Mimbre The reeds from which a cesta is made.
¡Mucho! When spectators like something that is going on at the cancha, they will scream ¡Mucho!
Palco de pelotaris The place where the pelotaris sit while waiting for their turn to play.
Pared chica A ball hitting low on the back wall with a short bounce to the floor. This shot is difficult to return.
Partido A game where only two opponents (two individuals or two teams) play to a fixed amount of points, usually 30 points. Partido is uncommon in the United States.
Pasa An over serve. The opposite of a corta.
Pelota The ball used in jai alai.
Pelotari A jai alai player. The plural form is pelotaris.
Picada An overhead shot thrown with an exceptional amount of wrist snap. The result of this wrist snap is a great spin, and the ball will hit the wall in a high sport and bounce off the floor in a very sharp angle.
Pica y vete This is a shot that is very difficult to return, because the ball hits a front wall and then bounces off the floor in the direction of a player’s box.
Rebote Any shot made after the ball has hit the back wall.

Also, sometimes the term rebote is used for the back wall itself.

Saque The serve
Scoop An underhand catch on a short hop. (Bote pronto is a synonym.)
Tanto The point
Zaguero The backcourt player. The opposite of a delantero.

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