What is the Pickleball Kitchen?

by Kristina Tamas on July 11, 2023

Pickleball is a sport that has been growing in popularity in recent years, attracting players of all ages and skill levels. If you're new to the game, you may have heard the term "kitchen" used and wondered what it means. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the pickleball kitchen, its rules, and why it's such an important part of the game.


What is the Kitchen in Pickleball?

The kitchen in pickleball is also known as the non-volley zone. It's an area on the court that's 7 feet from the net on both sides and marked by a line that runs parallel to the net. The kitchen is 14 feet long and serves as a buffer zone between players and the net.

The purpose of the kitchen is to prevent players from getting too close to the net and hitting a volley shot downward, making it difficult for the opposing team to return.


Why is the Non-Volley Zone in Pickleball Called the Kitchen?

The term "kitchen" is thought to have originated from the game of shuffleboard, where players used to place their weights on a specific area of the court that resembled a kitchen. The term was then adopted in pickleball to refer to the non-volley zone.

Older Pickleball Players on the Court

Pickleball Kitchen Rules Explained

Pickleball has several rules related to the kitchen area, also known as the non-volley zone. Pickleball kitchen rules are essential to ensure fair play and encourage players to play a strategic game.

According to the non-volley rule, players cannot hit the ball while standing in the kitchen unless the ball has bounced in the kitchen first or they are outside the kitchen. If a player's feet touch the kitchen line while hitting the ball, it's considered a fault. Similarly, if the ball lands in the kitchen before a player hits it, they cannot hit it in the air. These rules prevent players from gaining an unfair advantage by standing too close to the net.

Players must also adhere to the kitchen rule during the serve. The serve must be hit from behind the non-volley line, and the ball must land on the playing surface completely before the player can enter the kitchen. If a player hits the ball while standing in the kitchen during the serve, it's considered a fault.

It's worth noting that hitting the ball after it has bounced in the kitchen is legal, and players can enter the kitchen after hitting the ball as long as they don't hit it while standing in the kitchen.

Tournament play strictly monitors the kitchen zone to ensure that players follow the official kitchen rules. Besides, players must follow other rules such as letting the ball bounce before hitting it during the serve and keeping the ball within the boundaries of the pickleball court lines during play.

Violating the non-volley zone rules results in a fault, and the opposing team gets the point. Players often commit faults by using a volley motion to hit the ball while standing in the kitchen, which is not allowed. However, a player can hit the ball in the non-volley zone if the ball bounces in the kitchen or they step outside the kitchen first.


If You Can't Take the Heat , Stay Out of the Kitchen

If you know someone who is a master in the kitchen, surprise him/her with a Born to Rally keychain - "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen". Also, make sure you check out other interesting pickleball keychains

Stay Out of the Kitchen - Pickleball Keychain

The pickleball kitchen is a key area of the court that players must adhere to. The non-volley or kitchen rule dictates that the kitchen area is off-limits for hitting the ball unless the ball has bounced first or the player is outside of the kitchen. The kitchen line must be respected during play, as well as during the pickleball serve hit, to avoid faults and penalties. However, there are times when hitting the ball in the non-volley zone is perfectly legal, such as when the ball bounces in the kitchen.

It's essential to understand that the pickleball kitchen rule exists to promote fair play and prevent players from gaining an unfair advantage, making it a crucial part of the game.