Pickleball Kitchen: Understanding the Rules and Regulations

Pickleball is a unique sport that has been gaining popularity over the years. It is a fun and easy-to-learn game that can be played by people of all ages. However, there is pickleball terminology that is unique to this sport. Words such as “dink shot,” “falafel,” and “volley llama” can sound strange to new players. Another term that can be puzzling is “the kitchen.” In this article, we’ll explain what the kitchen in pickleball is and why it’s essential to understand the rules when playing near it.


What Is the Kitchen in Pickleball?

The kitchen in pickleball is a specific area on the court located near the net. It is also known as the non-volley zone and extends seven feet on either side of the net, across the width of the court. The kitchen is so-called because, like in cooking, things can heat up in this area of the court. It is where the game’s primary action takes place, and players must understand its rules to avoid losing points.

The kitchen’s primary significance in pickleball is that it’s a non-volley zone. This means that players are not allowed to hit the ball while they are standing in the kitchen. The rule is in place to prevent players from gaining an unfair advantage by being too close to the net, which would allow them to reach the ball more easily. The non-volley rule requires players to stay back and rally the ball before coming in to try to put it away.

What Are the Kitchen Rules?

Before discussing the rules, you must know the definition of volley. A volley is when the ball comes over the net and you return it without the ball bouncing.

To better understand the kitchen in pickleball, it’s essential to know the different rules that apply to this area. Here are the primary kitchen rules you should keep in mind when playing:

  1. Players cannot volley the ball while they are standing in the kitchen. Doing so will result in a point loss.
  2. Serving the ball while standing in the kitchen is also not allowed. If this happens, the point will be replayed.
  3. Players are not allowed to block the ball while standing in the kitchen. If they do, they will lose the point.

These are just a few of the 11 non-volley zone rules found in  the USA Pickleball Official Rulebook. Players must be careful when near the kitchen, as one wrong move can result in losing the point.

What’s Not Allowed in the Kitchen?

While playing in the kitchen, certain actions are not allowed, such as:

  1. Volleying the ball while standing in the kitchen.
  2. If you volley the ball and land in the kitchen afterward, it’s also not allowed.
  3. Carrying or wearing anything that drops or touches the non-volley zone during or after a volley is not allowed.
  4. Colliding with your partner while they are standing in the kitchen is also a fault.
  5. If the ball hits you before it bounces or you accidentally hit it while standing in the kitchen, it will also result in a point loss.

What’s Allowed in the Kitchen?

Now that you know what is not allowed in the kitchen, here are some actions that are allowed:

  1. If your paddle crosses into the kitchen when you hit a volley, it is acceptable as long as you or your paddle are not touching the kitchen. The non-volley zone only includes the ground, not the air above it.
  2. Standing in the kitchen during play is not illegal, but it’s best practice to stay outside the non-volley zone. If you jump up, hit the ball, and land outside the non-volley zone, a fault will be called.
  3. Hitting the ball when it bounces once while you are in the kitchen is perfectly acceptable.
  4. If you are in the non-volley zone and want

Now That You Know What Is the Kitchen in Pickleball, What’s Next?

The kitchen is a crucial area in pickleball, and players must understand its rules to avoid losing points. Remember that no volleying, serving, or blocking is allowed while standing in the kitchen. If a player is standing in the kitchen, they must ensure they’re not jumping up to hit the ball and then landing outside the non-volley zone. The non-volley zone rules can be found in the USA Pickleball Official Rulebook.

Now it’s time to get out there and play pickleball! Grab a friend or three to play a singles or doubles game and share the answer to “What is the kitchen in pickleball?” Remember to follow the rules of the kitchen when it comes to volleys! For more tips on playing pickleball, check out Pickleball Insiders.