A common misconception about pickleball is that you can’t go into the kitchen when you’re learning. But once you get started, you’ll soon discover that it’s a whole lot more complicated than that. Is it possible to catch a ball that bounces inside the kitchen but you cannot reach it? Is it possible to step into the kitchen after hitting the ball outside? One of the most challenging parts of pickleball for me was learning the pickleball kitchen rules.
How does the No-Volley Zone (a.k.a. “the Kitchen”) function?
According to wepickler, kitchens are located within seven feet of the net on either side. It is forbidden in this area to hit a volley before the ball bounces. Because the kitchen extends only so far across the court, you can stand in the non-volley zone, although it’s usually best not to. As for the non-volley zone, yes, it includes the lines as well.
In order to get the most out of my kitchen, what should I know?
1. Whenever you want, you can be in the kitchen.
As opposed to popular belief, you can spend as much time as you like in the kitchen, but avoid getting too comfortable. It’s a fault if you hit a volley or get hit with the ball while in the volley zone. Because of this, sitting in there isn’t ideal. A dink or drop shot can be anticipated by entering the kitchen. It is okay to step into the kitchen to return the ball as long as you do not volley it.
If your momentum takes you to the kitchen, you can hit a bounced ball and enter the kitchen. Getting back out is the most important thing.
2. It is impossible for your momentum to take you or anything on you into the kitchen if you hit a volley
You know that you can’t hit a volley in the kitchen. You cannot, however, let the momentum of your volley carry you into the kitchen. After contacting the ball, momentum continues until the player regains balance or stops moving forward towards the non-volley zone.
Jumping from outside the kitchen, hitting the ball in the air, and landing in the non-volley zone is not allowed. A volley cannot be completed by running forward and then running into the kitchen. The ball is still considered dead before you reach the kitchen, even if it is considered dead before you reach the kitchen.
In most cases, you’ll be sitting on the edge of the kitchen when you hit a volley, causing your momentum to carry you forward. The non-volley zone still counts as a fault if you do this. Additionally, you can’t use your paddle to balance yourself because anything touching you can’t touch the non-volley zones. You better hope that a hat or sunglasses don’t touch the non-volley zone if they fall off while you hit a volley or you’ll be penalized.
Not so pro tip: Your partner can save you from falling into the kitchen by grabbing you. Providing that they are not in the non-volley zone at the time.
3. It is not permitted to hit a volley if you enter the kitchen
You must exit the kitchen before you can volley the ball if you find yourself in the kitchen for any reason. This means that you cannot jump backwards from inside the kitchen to strike a volley close to the net while backing out of the kitchen. A volley must be hit from outside the kitchen once both feet have touched the ground.
It is hopefully clearer now how to play around the non-volley zone. You can find a complete set of rules in section 9 of the official rulebook.