Have you ever successfully volleyed a ball in pickleball but ended up being yelled at by other players for standing in the kitchen? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. For beginners in pickleball, nothing is more perplexing than the rules of the kitchen. Some players are so terrified of the kitchen zone they avoid it altogether.
Sure, there are some basic ground rules regarding the kitchen or non volley zone in pickleball. However, most of them have been misinterpreted to create unnecessary confusion. In this pickleball guide, we’ll break down and explain the kitchen rules in a simple way to help you overcome the kitchen phobia. Moreover, we’ll also define some basic pickleball terminology and debunk common kitchen zone myths.
So keep reading!
Table of Contents
- When Can You Go in the Kitchen in Pickleball?
- What is the Kitchen in Pickleball?
- What is Not Allowed in the Kitchen?
- What is a Volley in Pickleball?
- Rules of the Kitchen in Pickleball
- Final Thoughts
When Can You Go in the Kitchen in Pickleball?
The most frequently asked question is, when can you go in the kitchen, and what is allowed in the kitchen? To answer this question, let us quote a rule from the USAPA Pickleball Rulebook.
“You can be in the kitchen anytime you like, except when volleying.”
This rule makes it clear that, except volleying a ball, you can do anything in the kitchen. You can stand in the kitchen and hit shots as long as the pickleball has bounced once. In a doubles game, you can be in the kitchen while your partner volleys a ball from outside the kitchen.
A common misconception is that players think of the kitchen as a 3D zone instead of a 2D space. Therefore, they believe that hitting a volley above the kitchen while standing outside the kitchen is also a fault. However, the kitchen is a 2D area and as long as no part of your body is in contact with the kitchen, or lines surrounding the kitchen, you can safely volley a ball above the kitchen.
In short, if you are in the kitchen, and you get a volley shot, either let it bounce and then hit, quickly jump out of the kitchen to hit the volley or let your partner take it.
What is the Kitchen in Pickleball?
A pickleball court measures 44 feet by 20 feet. The kitchen is the area on either side of the net and is 7 inches in width. It extends between the two sidelines, which is the entire width of the pickleball court. In official pickleball terminology, it is called the non volley zone. The line that demarcates the kitchen zone is known as the kitchen line or non volley zone line.
What is Not Allowed in the Kitchen?
When talking of the kitchen, there is a simple rule of thumb: You cannot volley a ball when you are standing inside the kitchen zone or are in contact with the kitchen line. If you volley a ball in the kitchen zone, it will be considered a fault. That’s why it’s called the non volley zone.
Sounds simple, right? But wait, there is more to this rule than meets the eye.
What is a Volley in Pickleball?
If you are a beginner to pickleball, you might not know what a volley is. Volley is a shot in pickleball that is hit midair before the pickleball has bounced on the court. Types of volleys you can hit are block volley and punch or swing volley.
You can volley a ball from anywhere on the court except the kitchen zone. Explore more pickleball hitting techniques here.
Rules of the Kitchen in Pickleball
Now that you know the basic rule of the kitchen, let’s dive into the various complexities arising from the rule.
You Can’t Volley in the Kitchen
This is the most obvious rule. You can’t volley in the kitchen also can’t step on the line of non volley zone as you volley. Even if your toe touches the kitchen zone as you volley, it’s considered a fault.
Your Body or Equipment Shouldn’t Touch the Kitchen While Volleying
If any of your sports gear or anything you touched falls into the kitchen as you volley, it’s considered a fault. This includes things like sunglasses, hats, hair, ties, or, keys. Moreover, if your paddle or your partner’s paddle falls into the non volley zone while one of you volleys, it’s a fault.
Touching Your Partner In the Kitchen is a Fault
If you are running to volley a ball but accidentally touch your partner standing in the kitchen, that’s also a fault.
Stepping into the Kitchen Due to Momentum is a Fault
Momentum is when you can’t stop your body from moving forward. If you successfully volley from outside the kitchen, but your momentum carries you into the kitchen, it’s a fault. It’s still a fault if your momentum takes you to the kitchen after the ball is dead.
Both Feet Must Make Contact Outside the Kitchen
If you’re in the kitchen, you have to quickly jump out of it to hit a volley. But if both your feet don’t touch the ground together outside the kitchen while you volley, it’s considered a fault.
Kitchen and Serving Rule
If a served ball lands on any line except the kitchen line, it’s considered “in”. However, if a serve lands on the kitchen line, it’s a fault. In short, a serve cannot land in the non volley zone.
What is pickleball kitchen rule about momentum?
Pickleball kitchen rule about momentum states that if a player is carried into the kitchen during a volley by their momentum, it is considered a fault. Even if the opponent hits the next shot, and you enter the kitchen due to the momentum from your shot, it’s a fault.
Can you follow through into the kitchen in pickleball?
According to the official rules of pickleball, if any part of your body touches the kitchen while volleying, it’s a fault. This includes entering the kitchen due to your swing, follow through and momentum.
For players who have just started playing pickleball, the kitchen rules might seem intimidating. However, if you understand the rules and practice regularly, you’ll soon become used to them. Just keep in mind, hit the ball in the kitchen only if it has bounced. Otherwise, steer clear of it if you’re in the kitchen!