Understanding Pickleball’s Kitchen Rules

Pickleball integrates the elements of different sports such as tennis, badminton, and ping pong. The rules of Pickleball are fairly simple, and once you get the hang of them Pickleball can be a fun and exciting game.

However, in order to fully grasp the game of Pickleball, you should also understand Pickleball’s Kitchen rules.

We’re sharing exactly what the Kitchen is in Pickleball and all the Kitchen rules you need to know to play the game right.

Pickleball kitchen rules

What Is A Volley In Pickleball?

A volley is a shot made by a player before the ball has bounced on their side of the court. A volley is generally considered to be an aggressive shot, as they often force the opponents to defend deep in their court.

There are two main types of volleys in pickleball – forehand and backhand. Forehand volleys are typically hit with an open paddle face, which allows for more power and control. Backhand volleys are often made using a closed paddle face, which gives the player better ball placement.

What Is The Kitchen Area in Pickleball?

On the pickleball court, one of the main areas is the non-volley zone. This area lies between the net and the non-volley line. This non-volley zone is referred to as the ‘kitchen’. 

In the kitchen zone, the rules differ from the rest of the court. In this non-volley area, the volley cannot be hit. 

While no one is certain where the name kitchen originates from in pickleball, it is a popular opinion that the term is borrowed from shuffleboard. In shuffleboard, too, there is a kitchen area, where if players land, they face a 10-point deduction.

Pickleball Court and non-volley zone

What Makes the Kitchen Important?

What makes the kitchen area so significant? Well, what makes it so popular is that no other racquet sport has any such rule. Because of the rareness of such a zone in other sports, it can often be difficult to grasp the concept of the kitchen for pickleball beginners. 

The designated kitchen area ensures that players cannot go right up to the net and aim at the volley from there. 

If it weren’t for the kitchen, it would be quite possible to hit the ball from the non-volley zone and cause it to land outside the bounds. This would render pickleball an unplayable sport as it would be difficult for players on both sides of the net to catch up to the ball. 

Understanding the kitchen’s rules is essential to playing the game fairly and standing a chance to win. 

Understanding the non-volley zone

Pickleball Kitchen Rules To Follow

Volleying Is Forbidden

This is the foremost and simplest rule of the kitchen to be kept in mind. In pickleball, volleying refers to hitting the ball without letting it bounce. This is strictly forbidden in the kitchen. The ball cannot be hit out of the air. It must bounce before you strike it in the air.

Therefore, it is recommended to move away from the kitchen even before you initiate your volley. Nor you nor any party of your body must touch any space in the kitchen while volleying. This also includes any accessories such as sunglasses, hats, or jewelry. If anything falls into the kitchen zone, it is considered a violation. Thus, stray away from the kitchen before you volley. The safer the better. 

Pickleball Kitchen rules to follow

Be Cautious of The Non-Volley Line

The non-volley line is also a part of the kitchen, and hence a part of the non-volley zone. Similar to the rest of the kitchen, no volleying is permitted here. 

This means that if your foot touches the non-volley line while volleying, it is considered a foul. Similarly, no part of your body or anything you are wearing can cross or touch the line. 

The rule is enforced to the extent that even if the momentum of striking your pickleball racquet causes you to touch the non-volley line, is considered a fault. 

Entering the Kitchen

We’ve talked about when it’s forbidden to enter the kitchen. But when is it permissible to enter the kitchen?

The answer is simple: anytime the volley is not being hit.

If you choose to strike a groundstroke, you can very well do that from the kitchen. It is only volleying that is not allowed from the kitchen zone. You can choose to enter and stay for as long as you want in the kitchen if you do not volley.

Partner pickleball kitchen rules

Partner Rules in The Kitchen

While volleying, if you stray close to the kitchen, your partner is allowed to draw you back and prevent you from entering it. This way, if the momentum of striking the pickleball racquet is causing you to cross the no-volley line, your partner can quickly pull you back.

However, if any one of your articles, such as a hat or sunglasses, falls into the kitchen, it will be considered a fault. 

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