Logo - Click for Cornwall Croquet home page
Cornwall Croquet Club
Croquet Terminology

The use of italics indicates another term explained elsewhere in this glossary.



A-Class player Players with the lowest handicaps, who tend to play under the laws of advanced level play.
Address A term for the stance taken up before a stroke is played.
Advanced play The version of Association Croquet played by first-class players and at all major tournaments and championships. It is distinguished from ordinary level play by special laws designed to give the outplayer more of a chance.
Angle of split The angle at which the balls diverge in a split croquet stroke
Approach stroke A croquet stroke in which the striker’s ball is positioned in front of a hoop or close to a ball, to prepare for a rush.
Association Croquet The official form of the game as administered by the Croquet Association (CA). Strictly speaking the CA only administers the game in the UK only but in practice the rules are International as the Australian & New Zealand associations co-operate. The USA has it’s own variation of the game (US Rules) administered by the United States Croquet Association (USCA) and all American clubs play by the US rules (except, I have read, for the Santa Barbara Croquet Club – not many people know that!).


Backward ball The ball of a side that has scored fewer hoops (see also forward ball).
Backward take-off A form of hoop approach in which the pilot ball is on the non-playing side before the stroke is played.
Ball in hand The term applied to a ball when the laws permit the striker to alter its position manually rather than by using his mallet directly or indirectly; for example: -

(i) any ball when it leaves the court has to be replaced on the yard-line,

(ii) the striker’s ball as soon as it comes to rest after making a roquet, must be picked up and placed in contact with the roqueted ball,

(iii) the striker’s ball when the striker is entitled to a lift.
Ball in play The term applied to a ball after it has been played into the game. It only ceases to be a ball in play when it is a ball in hand or at the end of the stroke in which it is pegged out.
Basic stroke The single stroke to which the striker is entitled at the start of a turn. He can only extend his turn if he earns bonus strokes by either making a roquet or running a hoop in order
Baulk-lines Parts of the yard-line from which balls may be played into the game
Bisque, half-bisque A bisque is a free turn awarded to the weaker player in a handicap game. A half-bisque is a restricted turn in which no point maybe scored.
Bonus strokes If the striker makes a roquet, this earns one bonus stroke (the turn continues).

The first bonus stroke is a croquet stroke.

If the croquet stroke is successful (that is, no errors & faults are committed), a second bonus stroke is earned.

This second bonus stroke is a continuation stroke.

The continuation stroke is used typically to roquet another ball or to run a hoop in order.

If the striker runs a hoop in order, he earns one bonus stroke, a continuation stroke.

Break, making a A break is a turn in which more than one point is scored. The standard form of break is the 4-ball break in which the striker makes use of all the other three balls to help him conduct the striker’s ball through the hoops.

3-ball breaks and 2-ball breaks can be played but are more difficult. While a break is in progress, the striker is said to be making a break.

Breakdown, to To end a turn unintentionally by making a mistake.


C.A. The Croquet Association.
Cannon Cannons are strokes in which more than two balls are intentionally affected. They usually take the form of a croquet stroke in which the striker’s ball makes a roquet and arise when the Laws deem a group of three yard-line balls to be in mutual contact. The striker places the striker’s ball in contact with the roqueted ball for the croquet stroke in the usual way and then places the third ball in contact with the roqueted ball but not in contact with the striker’s ball. When the croquet stroke is played, the striker’s ball will hit the third ball immediately. Cannons involving four balls are also permitted.
Carrot The part of a hoop sunk mostly below the ground.
Centre style The most popular style of play in which the mallet is swung between the legs rather than to the side of the body (see side style).
Condone, to To notice that an error has occurred after the limit of claims has expired. The principal remedy no longer applies but a restricted remedy may be available.
Contact In advanced play, if a player runs both 1-back and 4-back for one of his balls in the same turn and had not scored 1-back for his other ball before that turn began, his opponent is entitled to begin his next turn by lifting either of his balls and placing it in contact with any other ball and playing a croquet stroke.
Continuation stroke A continuation stroke is either (i) the bonus stroke played after running a hoop in order or (ii) the second bonus stroke played after making a roquet. A continuation stroke is almost always a single ball stroke which is usually used to make another roquet or to run a hoop in order. Rarely, a continuation stroke can be a two-ball stroke.
Croquet Association The body which administers Croquet in the UK
Croquet stroke The croquet stroke is the first bonus shot played after making a roquet. The striker ‘takes croquet’ by placing the striker’s ball in contact with the roqueted ball and strikes the striker’s ball so that both balls move.

A wide range of croquet strokes can be played and these contribute significantly to building breaks and the tactical richness of the game.

The croquet stroke is unique to croquet, hence the name.

Croqueted ball The term used to describe the roqueted ball after the croquet stroke has been played.
Cross-wire, to To position both enemy balls on each side of the same hoop, usually the next hoop for one of the striker’s balls.
Cut rush A rush in which the striker’s ball hits the object ball off-centre so that it is sent at an angle to the line joining the two balls before the stroke is played.


Distance ratio The ratio of the distance travelled by the croqueted ball and that travelled by the striker’s ball in a croquet stroke. It can vary from 10:1 in a stop-shot to 1:100 in a take-off
Double tap An example of a fault in which the mallet makes more than one audible sound when it strikes the striker’s ball.
Double-banking The term applied when two separate games are in progress on one court at the same time. One game uses the first colours and the other uses the second colours.
Double target Two balls separated by one ball's diameter. A double is equivalent to a single ball target at half the distance.
Doubles play The version of the game when there are two players on each side. At the start of the game each side must nominate which player will play with which ball throughout the game. If a player strikes his partner’s ball, a penalty is imposed.
Drive A type of croquet stroke in which the degree of follow-through is neither exaggerated nor restricted. In a straight-drive, the croqueted ball will typically travel three to four times as far as the striker’s ball.


Enemy ball A ball of the opposing side. If you are playing red and yellow, then blue and black are the enemy balls.
Error An event that requires the application of the Laws. Some errors result in the immediate end of the striker’s turn. Others require replacement of the balls and cancellation of points scored but the striker is then allowed to continue.


Fault An error made in striking the striker’s ball that causes the turn to end immediately and the replacement of any ball affected by the stroke.
First colours The traditional colours used in croquet, namely blue, red, black and yellow Also referred to as Primary colours. (See also second colours).
Forward ball The ball of a side which has scored more hoops (see backward ball).
Forward rush A rush obtained by running a hoop under control so that the striker can rush the object ball in the desired direction, usually towards the next hoop.
Free shot A shot which is unlikely to give the opponent a break if it is missed.
Full roll A type of croquet stroke in which the striker’s ball and the croqueted ball travel approximately equal distances and in approximately the same direction.


Guard the boundary, to To leave your balls near a boundary. If he opponent shoots and fails roquet his ball, his ball will be left near yours (most likely replaced on the yard-line) and use. This may deter the opponent from shooting at you.
Golf croquet A simplified version of croquet where the croquet-stroke is not played. It is basically a race through the hoops. The Croquet Association administers the laws.


Half roll A type of croquet stroke in which the striker’s ball travels approximately half as far as the croqueted ball and in approximately the same direction.
Hammer stroke A stroke played with the striker’s back to the direction in which the striker’s ball is to travel. It is normally used to make a roquet when a conventional stroke is prevented by the proximity of a hoop.
Hampered stroke A stroke played with special care because of the proximity of a hoop, the peg or another ball. The striker commits a fault if he hits the striker’s ball with the edge of the mallet-face in a hampered stroke.
Handicap A number assigned to a player to indicate his ability. Handicaps range from – 2 (the best) to 18 or higher (the weakest). Special doubles handicaps are sometimes awarded.
Handicap play The version of the game in which the weaker player receives a number of free turns, called bisques, to give him a better chance.
Hit in, to To successfully make a long roquet.
Hoop approach A croquet stroke used to place the striker’s ball in front of a hoop in order so that the striker can run the hoop in the continuation stroke.
Hoop in order he next hoop that a ball has to run. Thus, once a ball has run or scored hoop 1, its hoop in order is hoop 2. If achieved, the striker earns one bonus stroke, a continuation stroke, and the right to roquet the other three balls again.
Hoop shot or stroke A single ball stroke in which the striker attempts to send the striker’s ball through its hoop in order.


Innings, to have the To be the player who is more likely to earn bonus strokes in his next turn.

If red and yellow are joined up close together and blue and black are each positioned over 2O yards (18 metres) apart and over 2O yards from red and yellow, the player of red and yellow has the innings no matter whose turn is next. If it is the turn of the player of blue and black, it is unlikely that he will make a roquet at that distance and so he does not have the innings although he is the striker.

Inplayer A name usually applied to the striker when he has the innings and is in the process of making a break.
Irish peel A croquet stroke in which both the croqueted ball and the striker’s ball are sent through the same hoop in order. See to peel also.


Jaws of a hoop The space between the uprights of a hoop.
Jump shot A stroke in which the striker hits down on the striker’s ball in order to make it rise into the air and jump another ball, a hoop or even the peg. Jump strokes can also used to run very angled hoops




Laying a break The act of arranging the balls at the end of a turn so that the striker has a good chance of picking up and making a break at the start of his next turn.
Leave The arrangement of balls at the end of a turn.
Level play Games where no bisques are used (players compete on level terms, without handicapping).
Lift In certain circumstances, the laws entitle the striker to lift either of his balls at the start of a turn and play it from any point on either baulk-line. See also progress lift and wiring lift.
Limit of claims The period within which an error must be noticed if the full remedy given by the Laws is to apply. If an error is noticed after the end of the period, but before the end of the game, a restricted remedy may be available.
Line of centres The line joining the centres of the striker’s ball and the croqueted ball before the croquet stroke is played. The croqueted ball should travel in the direction of the line of centres.




Next hoop The hoop that a particular ball has to run next in order. Usually employed in the context of the strikers ball.
Non-playing side The non-playing side of a hoop is the side to which a ball must pass in order to run a hoop.


Object ball The name given to a ball to be rushed before the stroke is played.
One ball A variation of Association Croquet, usually singles, where each player has one ball only, so there are only two balls on the court. The rules are standard but it changes the game, as only two-ball breaks are possible thus increasing the difficulty. If one player gets ahead, it can be difficult to catch up, so a hit in to stop the leaders progress is essential.
Opening The first four turns of a game. In advanced play, the opening is a tactical exchange in which both players attempt to obtain the innings without giving the other a good chance of a break.
Ordinary level play The standard form of Association Croquet as played in clubs.

Most tournament play is either advanced play or handicap play.

Outplayer The player who is not the in player or striker.


Partner ball The ball of a side that is not the striker’s ball during a turn.
Pass roll A type of croquet stroke in which the strikers ball travels further than the croqueted ball and in approximately the same direction.
Peg out, to To cause a rover ball to strike the peg and thus complete its circuit and b removed from the game.
Peel, to To send a ball other than the striker’s ball through its hoop in order by means of a croquet stroke or, occasionally, roquet. See also triple peel.
Peelee The ball that is peeled or to be peeled.
Penult hoop The next to last hoop.
Pick up The act of creating a break, usually from an unpromising position.
Pilot ball The ball used to 'pilot' or 'navigate' a ball through a hoop - usually the Pioneer for that hoop and the subsequent reception ball.  Not a much used term.
Pioneer ball A ball sent to the next hoop but one by the striker’s ball. If blue, the striker’s- ball, is for hoop 2 and, before making hoop 2, the striker sends red to hoop 3, red is called a pioneer.  If blue runs hoop 2, then red becomes the pilot for hoop 3.
Pivot ball A ball positioned usually but not invariably near the middle of the court during a 4-ball break.  Its function is to shorten the stoke distances when progressing from one hoop to the next - it acts as a stepping stone.  In more advanced play the pivot is moved around more, for example, being used as a third "escape" ball when performing triple-peels and running Rover.
Plain hit A single ball stroke in which the striker is neither attempting to make a roquet or run a hoop. It is usually played in the context of a positional shot.
Playing side of a hoop The side from which a ball enters the hoop in order to run it.
Positional shot A plain hit in which the striker’s ball is sent to a particular and tactically significant position on the court, often on the yard-line or in a corner
Progress lift A lift given in advanced play to the opponent of a player who has run I-back or 4-back in his previous turn.
Push A fault in which the mallet remains in contact with the striker’s ball for too long.




Roquet The striker is said to make a roquet when he strikes the striker’s ball so that it travels across the court and hits a ball that he is entitled to roquet. At the start of a turn, the striker is entitled to roquet all the other three balls. If Andrew plays blue and blue hits black, one might say that ‘Andrew roqueted black’ or ‘Andrew hit black’ or ‘Blue hit black’.

‘Roquet’, and ‘croquet’, are pronounced to rhyme with ‘okay’.

Roqueted ball The term used to describe a ball after it has been hit by the striker’s ball and before the croquet stroke has been played. Once the stroke is played, the roqueted ball is called the croqueted ball.
Rover ball A ball that has run all twelve hoops and can be pegged out.
Rover hoop The last hoop (indicated by a red top bar)
Run a hoop, to To send the striker’s ball through a hoop. If the hoop is the hoop in order for the striker’s ball, the striker earns a bonus stroke.

Hoop viewed from the side
arrow indicates direction of play

The red ball is about to start running the hoop

The yellow ball is running the hoop

The blue ball is about to complete running the hoop

Rush A short roquet in which the roqueted ball is sent to a specific position on the court, such as the next hoop for the striker’s ball or close to a ball that the striker wishes to roquet next.
Rush-line An imaginary line connecting the centre of the ball which is to be rushed and its destination, extended in both directions. It is desirable to play the approach stroke in which the striker’s ball will take position for the rush from a position on the rush-line.


Scatter shot A continuation stroke used to hit a ball which may not be roqueted in order to send it to a less dangerous position. Often used as a form of damage limitation when a bad hoop approach makes it impossible to run the hoop and continue the turn.
Score a point, to The striker scores one point for every hoop in order and one point for causing each of his balls to hit the peg. As there are 12 hoops to be run by each ball, the winner will score a total of 26 points (12 hoop points and one peg point for each of two balls)
Second colours The colours of the balls used in the second game played on the same court in double-banking, namely green and brown, pink and white. Also referred to as Secondary colours. (See also First colours)
Shoot, to To attempt a long roquet.
Shot An attempt at a roquet of more than a few yards. A long shot is typically over 13 yards (12 metres). A lift shot is a shot taken after the striker has exercised his right to lift the striker’s ball at the start of the turn.
Side A game of croquet is contested between two sides, each of which is responsible for two balls, either blue & black or red & yellow.

In singles, each side consists of one player.

In doubles, there are two players on each side and each player plays only one of the balls of a side during a game and either player may play at their next turn (partners do not have to take alternate turns).

Single ball stroke A stroke in which the striker’s ball does not start in contact with another ball.
Split A croquet stroke in which the mallet is swung at an angle to the line joining the centres of the striker’s ball and the croqueted ball with the result that the striker’s ball diverges from the path of the croqueted ball.
Stab roll A form of hoop approach in which the striker hits down on the striker’s ball but restricts the follow-through.
Straight croquet stroke A croquet stroke in which the mallet is swung along the line joining the centres of the striker’s ball and the croqueted ball with the result that the striker’s ball travels in the same direction as the croqueted ball.
Stop-shot A type of croquet stroke in which the striker restricts the degree of follow-through in order to maximise the distance ratio. In a well-played straight stop-shot the croqueted ball can travel up to ten times as far as the striker’s ball.
Striker The player whose turn is in progress.
Striker’s ball The ball which the striker chooses to play with at the start of a turn. During that turn he may not strike his partner ball with his mallet.


Take-off A type of croquet stroke in which the croqueted ball moves a very short distance.
Tice A ball sent to a position on a boundary close enough to an opponent ball to induce the opponent to shoot at it and, hopefully, far enough away to be missed. A tice is a standard feature of many opening strategies.
Triple peel An expert procedure which can win a game played under advanced play in two turns.

In the first break, one ball is taken round to 4-back and a good leave made.

If the opponent misses the lift shot, the expert will make an all-round break with the backward ball in which he will peel the forward ball through it’s last three hoops (4-back, penult and rover) and peg out both halls to win the game.

Turn The basic unit of play which consists initially of only one stroke but can be extended by bonus strokes to a maximum of 91 strokes in level play.

Sides take alternate turns.

The winning side is invariably the side that best develops its turns into breaks



Uprights The vertical sections of a hoop. Also described as the wires.
United States Croquet Association Administers the game in the USA (US Rules Croquet)
U.S.C.A The United States Croquet Association.
US Rules Croquet The official rules for Croquet played in the USA.




W.C.F. The World Croquet Federation.
Wire, a A term for a hoop upright.
Wire, to To interpose a hoop or the peg between an opponent ball and its likely target in the opponent’s next turn, often the striker’s ball or its partner ball. (a bit like a snooker).
Wired A ball is said to be wired from another ball if a hoop or the peg impedes the path of any part of the first ball to any part of the target ball or if a hoop or the peg prevents a free swing of the mallet.
Wiring lift A lift given in all forms of play whenever the striker finds that one of his balls is wired from all three balls and was placed in its position by his opponent.
World Croquet Federation. This body, administered from England, attempts to co-ordinate and promote croquet on a world wide basis. It produces a world-ranking list of players and promotes events in the UK and abroad.




Yard-line The imaginary line running l yard inside the boundary to which balls sent off the court are immediately returned (striker’s ball only at end of turn).
Yard-line area The area between the yard-line and the boundary.
Yard-line ball A ball that is placed on the yard-line after going off the court or coming to rest in the yard-line area.