WHAT ARE THE KITCHEN RULES IN PICKLEBALL: A WONDERFUL GUIDE

If you have ever played pickleball, you would have probably come across the term ‘Kitchen’. Just like you, many beginners think about what is a kitchen in pickleball.

Do you think, it’s the kitchen where food is cooked? NO, this kitchen is probably NOT that one. Then, what type of kitchen is it?

The answer is hidden in the official name of kitchen, Non-Volley Zone(NVZ). Yes, pickleball kitchen is formally known as NVZ or Non-Volley Zone.

Let’s dive deep into the NVZ.

WHAT IS A KITCHEN IN PICKLEBALL

The Kitchen in Pickleball is the court area within 7 feet on both sides of the net where volleying is prohibited. This can cost the player a standard point. Kitchen is also known as the “Non-Volley Zone”.

How big is the kitchen in Pickleball?

The kitchen in Pickleball is 7 feet long and 20 feet wide. As a result, it covers 140 square feet. Players cannot volley the ball from the kitchen, which is on either side of the net.

What is a let serve in pickleball.

The lines marking NVZ or Kitchen are called the Kitchen Lines or NVZ Lines.

You see, there is a term ‘volleying’ in the definition. So, what is a volley in pickleball?

A pickleball volley is when you hit the returning ball without letting it bounce on the court ground. Volleying is sometimes referred to as smash because it provides overpowered hits against your opponent.

WHY VOLLEYING IS PROHIBITED IN PICKLEBALL KITCHEN

Pickleball does not allow volleying when standing in the kitchen or NVZ or even if a part of your cloth is touching the kitchen lines.

This is to simply prevent a pickler from standing with the net and smashing every incoming ball.

You have to be outside the kitchen and inside the pickleball court to hit a legal volley. Hitting a volley inside the kitchen will result in a fault and loss of a point.

It is noteworthy that you cannot even go to the kitchen during follow-through with the shot or momentum of volleying.

WHAT IS MOMENTUM IN PICKLEBALL

The USA Pickleball has defined momentum in Rule 3.A.20. As;

Momentum is a property of a body in motion, such as a player executing a volley, that causes the player to continue in motion after contacting the ball. The act of volleying produces momentum that ends when the player regains balance and control of their motion or stops moving toward the non-volley zone.

In simple English, when you perform a volley shot, your body moves in the direction of shot due to momentum. If even a part of your body touches the NVZ line or steps into the kitchen due to momentum, it would be a fault.

So, try to perform a volley while retaining complete control of your body, so, you do not end up in the kitchen.

HOW BIG IS THE KITCHEN IN PICKLEBALL

From the start, we are only talking about how you cannot enter into in pickleball kitchen. Your mind will probably think of the following questions.

CAN YOU STEP INTO THE KITCHEN

Yes, you can step into the kitchen as long as you are not volleying the ball. Going into and standing in the kitchen is only prohibited while performing a volley.

WHEN CAN YOU STEP IN THE KITCHEN IN PICKLEBALL

You can enter into the kitchen anytime you aren’t taking a volley shot but here are some specific examples of when can you step into the pickleball kitchen.

  • To return a short dink.
  • To reach a ball that has bounced in the kitchen.
  • To serve.
  • To defend against a lob.
  • To make a strategic move.

It also means that you can enter into the kitchen after hitting the ball. The rule just states that you cannot volley in NVZ.

A common question I get is what happens when pickleball serve hits kitchen line? It’s a ‘fault’. We have already read in the pickleball serve that it must land in the service area of the court, beyond the kitchen line.

So, it is a complete fault when a pickleball serve hits the kitchen line as kitchen line is also a part of NVZ.

OFFICIAL PICKLEBALL KITCHEN RULES – USA PICKLEBALL

USA Pickleball has deeply explained all the kitchen rules in Section-9 (page:43) of their rule book.

We will try to simplify down each rule into simple terms.

  • RULE  # 9.A.– No volleying is allowed in the Kitchen or NVZ.
  • RULE # 9.B.Nothing associated with the player should touch the kitchen, even his clothes or paddle. It also applies to the swing, follow-through, and momentum of the player.
  • RULE # 9.C.It is a fault if you enter the kitchen while volleying due to your momentum or even your partner.
  • RULE # 9.D.- A pickler inside the Kitchen zone will need to have his both feet outside the NVZ on the ground to perform a volley. Jumping into the air to hit the ball while within the kitchen zone will result in a fault, even if you land outside the kitchen line.
  • RULE # 9.E.You can enter into the NVZ at any time except when performing a volley.
  • RULE # 9.F.You can enter into the kitchen or NVZ before and after hitting the ball.
  • RULE # 9.G.- You can hit a bounced ball while standing inside the pickleball kitchen but not a volley.
  • RULE # 9.H.- Only the person returning the ball should be outside the kitchen, no matter if his partner is inside the NVZ.

These were all the simplified Pickleball Kitchen Rules 2023.

COMMON QUESTIONS REGARDING KITCHEN IN PICKLEBALL

Following are some common questions asked by confused picklers.

CAN YOU STEP INTO THE KITCHEN AFTER HITTING THE BALL

Yes, you can enter into the kitchen before and after hitting the ball. You cannot enter into kitchen while hitting a volley.

CAN YOU SPIKE IN PICKLEBALL

No, you cannot spike in pickleball. Spiking in pickleball is the act of hitting the ball with such force that it bounces above the net on the opponent’s service court. 

It is an overpowered hit and grants you unjust dominance over your opponent pickler. So, it’s illegal.

WHY IS IT CALLED THE KITCHEN IN PICKLEBALL

It is believed that the term “kitchen” was borrowed from shuffleboard when pickleball was first created. In pickleball, the non-volley zone is similar to the kitchen in shuffleboard in that players cannot hit the ball from there.

HOW LONG CAN YOU STAY IN THE PICKLEBALL KITCHEN

Players can stay in the kitchen as long as they want but they cannot volley there.

CONCLUSION

Pickleball is a fun sport that has some difficult rules like the kitchen or NVZ. You can master these rules only by practicing. So, pick up your gear and start practicing but remember to eat something from the ‘kitchen’ to become a master at the ‘pickleball kitchen’.

HAVE FUN!

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