Pickleball Kitchen

Pickleball  Kitchen or Pickleball Non-Volley Zone |  pickleball Kitchen Rules

Non-volley Zone also referred to as the  Kitchen in pickleball is the area on either side of the net. This area on a pickleball court is 14 feet wide i.e.,  7 feet on both sides of the net. This non-volley zone or Pickleball kitchen area has specific rules and all players learn these rules and follow these pickleball rules to a T when playing the game. The most fundamental rule in NVZ is to avoid volley while in the kitchen, but when a pickleball ball in the Kitchen area bounces, a player can hit the ball. 

Reason Behind Pickleball Kitchen and  Non-Volley Zone Name 

The name Non-volley zone is very simple to remember and understand. It is an area where volley is not allowed. but  If you are familiar with Pickleball then by now you know that the Non-volley Zone is called the Kitchen. Honestly, it is quite a peculiar name for a game, but there is an interesting story behind why the NVZ is also referred to as the kitchen. There are many possible explanations behind this name: one story is that it is derived from the popular phrase that goes, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”.

This simply implies that the games get tough in this non-volley zone and only seasoned pickleball players stay in the kitchen. Well, there are quite specific and strict rules for pickleball in the kitchen area so it makes sense that this name stuck. One cannot enter the kitchen to hit a volley shot. So one has to be physically fit and a pro at the game to master a shot in and above this zone.

Pickleball Kitchen

The other theory is that it is borrowed from the Surfboard game, which has very specific scoring conventions based on the Kitchen area. However, there is no official explanation as to why it is called Kitchen. 

Volley Shot Rule: First Pickleball Kitchen and No Volley Zone  Rules

The first rule regarding the pickleball non-volley zone is that a player is not allowed to volley in the Kitchen area or while standing in NVZ.  A Volley shot is basically when you hit the pickleball ball in the air without letting it bounce.  This is not allowed as per the non-volley zone rules, as the name implies, when you enter the kitchen, you are entering the non-volley area. 

Therefore, when you are hitting a volley shot, it is best to stand outside of the kitchen completely. This also means that in the act of volleying, no part of your body like hands, arms, feet, or legs touches the kitchen, including your pickleball paddle. This also means you will lose a point if you volley the ball while outside of the non-volley zone, and if your paddle crosses the non-volley line, you have committed a fault. 

To abide by this pickleball kitchen rule make sure: 

  • Your legs, arms, and paddle are far from the Kitchen area, and shouldn’t touch the non-volley zone in the act of volleying. This also includes non-volley zone lines, as technically in the Kitchen area. 
  • When you hit the ball, stand as far from the kitchen line as possible because it is part of the kitchen area. And don’t let pickleball paddle over the Kitchen while hitting a volley outside of the NVZ. 
  • Don’t drop your items in the Kitchen at any point during the game like your paddle, hat, glasses, etc. If any of these personal belongings falls into the Kitchen zone, it is a fault. 
  • Avoid any contact with your partner who is in the NVZ. The best strategy is to stay far from the Kitchen line while volleying. 

To put it in a straightforward way, get out of the Kitchen before you volley. 

Pickleball Rules Outside  of the Non-Volley Zone and Kitchen Area 

A Volley shot is allowed only outside the Kitchen. Behind the Kitchen line, you are not standing in the non-volley zone. So if a volley shot is possible you can hit it. 

Shots allowed inside the  Kitchen in Pickleball 

NVZ is not the red zone, you can step into the Kitchen. When a ball lands in the Kitchen and bounces, it is perfectly OK to hit the ball. Any shot, other than a Volley is allowed in the pickleball Kitchen area, and in fact during a doubles game it is a good strategy for one of the pickleball players to stand in the Kitchen. 

If the ball has bounced, then you can hit a shot inside the Kitchen and may enter the Kitchen to return the ball. 

Another shot that is allowed in the Pickleball  Kitchen is an erne shot. Basically, an Erne shot is when a player hits a   volley shot either

  • by jumping in the air above the kitchen and hitting the ball or
  • Running around the kitchen area to hit a volley shot during a pickleball game. 

An erne is allowed, but the trick is to land completely outside the non-volley zone and both feet should land outside of the NVZ. 

avoid stepping on the kitchen or the kitchen line while running for a  volley shot.

Pickleball Kitchen

Dink Shot in the  Pickleball Kitchen

When you play pickleball, a Dink shot is something that sets beginner-level players apart from advanced-level pickleball players. Dink is basically a soft and controlled shot in Pickleball that a pickleball player can hit from a non-volley zone line and it lands on the opponent NVZ. 

A dink shot when used effectively can give you an edge over the opponent. Basically, when you hit a pickleball ball and it enters the kitchen area of the opponent without bouncing, they cannot hit a volley. This pacifies the game and takes the opponent off guard. The reason is a Dink shot lands very low in the Kitchen or on the Kitchen line, which forces the opponent to let the ball bounce or in the next hit the ball hard. In either case, there is a high chance of committing a fault. 

Pickleball Kitchen Rules For Players in a  Wheelchair and Non-volley Zone Line

If a pickleball player is in a wheelchair, their front wheels can touch the kitchen or Kitchen line, but when the back or rear wheels come in contact with the kitchen, it is a violation of official rules. 

Non-Volley Zone or Kitchen rules of Pickleball make the game much more interesting.  In the NVZ or Kitchen, the act of volleying the ball is strictly prohibited. Therefore, when hitting a volley it is best to avoid stepping on the kitchen or touching the kitchen line. This also means keeping your body and objects away from this zone,  even when the paddle touches the on-volley zone it is a fault.  so hit a volley shot in a way that it does not carry you into the non-volley area. A volley is allowed on a pickleball court surface completely outside the non-volley zone.  As a player, you can go into the kitchen to return a shot after the ball bounces. 

Rules of the kitchen are very straightforward,  no volley in this area, and stay out of the kitchen when in a volley motion. While volleying, don’t let your paddle or feet cross the non-volley zone at any time. 

FAQs about the Kitchen Area

What is pickleball kitchen size or how big is the kitchen in pickleball

The pickleball kitchen is 14 feet in total on both sides of the net.  7 feet deep by 20 feet wide on either side.

Why is it called the kitchen in pickleball

There are many theories. First, it is borrowed from a skateboard and the other explanation is Kitchen area is where the real and tough game brews. 

 Can you step on the kitchen line in pickleball?

Not when volleying. When a player touches a non-volley zone to hit a volley it is a violation of kitchen rules. it is best to stay away from the kitchen and volley the ball. The kitchen is off-limits unless you can hit an erne shot. 

Similar Posts