What Is The Kitchen In Pickleball?

Pickleball is a great game that people of all ages can play. Whether you are new to the game or an experienced player, knowing what the kitchen is in pickleball and how it should be used will help ensure that your game goes smoothly. 

If you are a newbie and curious about this rule, read on to discover what is the kitchen in pickleball with this blog!

What Is The Kitchen In Pickleball?

One of the most important areas on a pickleball court is between the net and 7 feet behind it, commonly known as ‘the kitchen’ or non-volleying zone. This area is a little different from the rest of your court. In this area, volleys are not allowed and will be considered as a fault. 

A volley is an act of hitting a ball off the air without waiting for the ball to bounce. By doing so, you can increase the ball’s speed. This act is especially suitable for high balls that demand you to back them up for the bounce. 

A groundstroke is what occurs when the ball bounces after being hit. It can be used to keep up with long rallies and wear down an opponent’s morale. Yet, they have a low success rate of landing in play because it takes time for these balls to reach their destination on the court. 

Once you grasp all the definitions of these terms in pickleball, you confidently comprehend the pickleball kitchen rule!

Why Is It Called The Kitchen? 

Pickleball combines the excitement of a variety of sports. While nobody knows where “kitchen” came from, it is believed that this term is borrowed from shuffleboard games. 

Why is it called the kitchen

Shuffleboard and pickleball have a similar rule- no one wants to end up in the kitchen! In the shuffleboard’s language, the “10-off” zone refers to the kitchen, and landing in this area will result in a score deduction of 10. Meanwhile, with tennis games, the player can move toward the volley and the net, although this has the same name as the “kitchen.”

With the pickleball kitchen, there are stipulations that allow being in that zone, but you can’t break this rule! The rules are key to success in this game. Breaking them means you’ll lose points and be faulted for breaking a rule. So, be mindful to stay away from this area if you tend to hit the volley.

What Rules Should You Remember?

If you need more details on the pickleball kitchen, here are thorough explanations and what to keep in mind:

Never Volley While Standing In The Kitchen

As we’ve mentioned above, you can’t hit any volleys while standing in this area. Remember, the definition of “volley” includes anything hit off-air without bouncing!

Never volley while standing in the kitchen

Keep in mind that you should also stay away from the marking line of this area. If you’re a beginner, don’t be tempted to go up and smash your shot right at the net. You see that they are designed with an end goal in mind- preventing excessive smashing!

Moreover, it is still considered as a fault if the momentum forces you to the kitchen although you hit the volley outside that area.

Never Let Your Feet Touch The Non-Volley Line 

Non-volley lines are considered part of non-volley zones because either player cannot touch them during the act of volleying. If any part of your body touches these areas, it will result in a fault. This is also the same with what you’re carrying or wearing!

You mustn’t cross the line when playing pickleball. According to this rule, it will be considered an illegal serve, resulting in losing points if your volley hits and follows through with a racquet but goes over the zone.

Able To Return Bounce Shots

It’s OK if you hit the ball in that area, as long as it first bounced on your courtside.

Taking a shot from the kitchen doesn’t sound like your best strategy. You should try and get back into a position outside of it, or else the rival can take advantage of your team’s poor situation!

So, when can the player enter the non-volley zone? Anytime as long as you’re not hitting a volley in this court part.

No volley in this area

Get To The Kitchen Line Right After Exchanging Groundstrokes

The best way to get on the offensive is by moving up once you have exchanged groundstrokes. Once the opportunity comes, move behind the kitchen line and have a nice split step with the central position so that when things do come your way, they will be met with ease! 

If an opponent moves up next to try and keep pace, there are two key shots: cross-court for depth but low bouncing dink between their legs – don’t miss these!

Frequently Asked Questions

When To Enter The Kitchen?

You’re not allowed inside of it, but you can hit groundstrokes out here as long as nothing’s being volleyed at that moment.

A player must establish their feet outside the non-volley zone before hitting a ball. They can only do this by first moving into position and then striking it with a volley, which means that there are two bounces required for each strike: one from where they stand or move into play (the serve) and another after catching up to them.

Can You Stand In The Kitchen While Your Partner Serves Or Hits A Shot?

While it is not an ideal place to be, you can stay or enter this zone any time you want; just make sure you do not hit the volley inside that zone.

When Volleying, Can Your Momentum From The Volley Take You Into The Kitchen?

The answer is No. The following will result in a fault: if any part of one’s body touches an inaccessible area or line during the act of volleying. Volleying a ball includes the act of momentum of the action, follow-through, and swing.

Pickleball gameplay


Overall, what is the kitchen in pickleball? A kitchen is a place on the court where players can’t hit balls. Watch out for this and remember what it’s called! That way, you know how to find your way back when you get lost in the game of pickleball. Good luck, keep up with all those rules to have a joyful game!

Further reading:

What is “The Kitchen” in Pickleball? – DICK’S Sporting Goods

Kitchen clarification: Pickleball – Reddit

Pickleball is growing at an almost unprecedented rate in the history of American sports

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