Pickleball Kitchen Rules

What Is The Pickleball Kitchen Rules And How To Stop Breaking It

A pickleball player must know about the Non-volley Zone (NVZ) or Kitchen and pickleball kitchen rules.  The pickleball kitchen or non-Volley Zone is the area in the center of the pickleball court. The total area of the NVZ or Kitchen is 14 feet—7 feet on either side of the net in the Pickleball court.  This area has very specific rules that make pickleball much more interesting and challenging to play. These pickleball kitchen rules include: not crossing or stepping into the NVZ or Kitchen area or Kitchen line while hitting a ball; volleying above the NVZ by jumping over NVZ is permissible to hit a ball that results in an Erne shot; not letting the serve shot hit the NVZ and other such rules.  Continue reading to learn more in-depth about these rules below and how to avoid faults while playing pickleball

Non-volley Zone Area (NVZ) or Kitchen

As stated above the NVZ or Kitchen area is 14 feet in the court divided equally on both sides of the net. The official term for this area within the pickleball court is NVZ, Kitchen is more of a pickleball slang that players use informally when referring to this zone. The entire purpose of this zone is to distinguish pickleball from other similar sports like racquetball, squash, tennis, badminton, and other sports. More specifically, with the NVZ the players cannot make smash hits, which often put the opponent team at a disadvantage. By removing the possibility of smashing shots, the game is prolonged and less forceful than other sports. Despite the non-volley rule, there are some exceptions where volleying over the NVZ is allowed as per the pickleball kitchen rules.

Pickleball Kitchen Rules

Pickleball Kitchen Rules You Must Know

The Pickleball Kitchen Rules 2023 that you need to know and remember while playing the pickleball game are listed as follows:

Not Volley over the Kitchen Area

The first rule that you remember and follow is not to hit a volley shot in the Kitchen Area.  As per the rule number 9A and 9B, a volley shot in the NVZ is prohibited and when someone hits a volley in the Kitchen zone, a fault is committed which results in the other team earning a point. A volleyed shot is when you hit the ball before it bounces i.e., hit the ground. These pickleball rules also include staying out of the NVZ and Kitchen lines and not letting any object or body part cross the NVZ line while volleying. Because the rules state that even if any object or part of the body touches the NVZ it will be deemed a fault. This includes the ‘swing of a paddle, follow through, and increase in momentum (rule 9.B.1)’. so, in pickleball kitchen rules momentum can also cause trouble if a player is not careful. Therefore, for example, if during momentum any of your body parts contact your partner in the NVZ then it will also be a fault (Rule 9C). Likewise, contact of the paddle with the Kitchen is a fault as the paddle is considered part of the body during a pickleball game.

Non-volley Zone Area (NVZ)

Shots Allowed in the NVZ

As mentioned, the first rule is not to volley i.e., hit the ball before it bounces in the NVZ or Kitchen area. In certain situations, volley is allowed. As per the pickleball kitchen rules, Volley is allowed in the NVZ or Kitchen if the ball bounces outside of the NVZ and enters the Kitchen area, you can hit it. If someone is in the NVZ and a ball enters their side, the best strategy is to ‘reestablish’ oneself in the court area outside of NVZ. Therefore, any volley has to be from outside of the Kitchen area otherwise it is a fault. The only exception, however, is an Erne shot.

Jumping Over the Kitchen Area

While one cannot hit a volley shot when standing in the Non-Volley Zone, there is an exception to this rule. If you are jumping to hit a volley shot over the kitchen area then that shot is called an Erne shot and is allowed as long as you establish yourself in the court area outside the Kitchen area. You can also run around the sideline of the NVZ to hit a volley. The trick is to reestablish your feet in the court Dimensions outside of NVZ and not let any body part or object touch the NVZ and kitchen lines.  An Erna short can put one in an advantage because this shot is quick and forces the opponent to make a quick and efficient shot which can be challenging.

Pickleball Serving Rules in the NVZ

The rule for Serve in Pickleball is that it must be shot crosscourt to the opposite side and should land in the baseline, sideline, or centerline. Pickleball serving rules, thus, indicate a Serve cannot hit the Non-volley zone or lines of the NVZ. If the serve shot lands in the kitchen area or any lines of the NVZ, then a fault is committed.

The  Pickleball singles kitchen rules and pickleball kitchen rules doubles are the same. Regardless of the type of game you are playing, these rules apply without any difference. However, there are slightly different rules for those who are playing pickleball in a wheelchair.

Improve Your Pickleball with These Kitchen Rules

To understand these rules better and improve your strategy to play pickleball better, watch the pickleball kitchen rules video. Observing seasoned pickleball players explain these rules and how to play better pickleball with all the pickleball kitchen rules in the visual demonstration will definitely up your game.

Pickleball Kitchen serves a very clear purpose to make this game unique and different from other games, therefore the pickleball kitchen rules are very specific to make this game more stimulating and fun to play. The sum of these rules is that in the NVZ a volley shot is not allowed; when hitting a volley shot make sure you don’t touch the NVZ lines or enter the NVZ. This also includes not letting any body part or object contact anyone in the Kitchen area. The rules also include learning to reestablish oneself in the court outside the NVZ and avoiding sending the ball to NVZ during a serve. 

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