There are a few unwritten rules that all pickleball enthusiasts understand, but these rules don't always get passed along to newcomers. For those looking to get involved in the sport, here are some of the most important things you need to know regarding Pickleball Kitchen Rules.
What is The Kitchen Zone in Pickleball?
Pickleballers refer to the non-volley zone as the Kitchen. The “kitchen” is located on both sides of the net, where each one is 7-feet wide and extends as long as the court's width. It's important to remember that the kitchen is the ground itself and not the space above.
Why should you care about the Kitchen?
The kitchen's popularity comes from the fact that it's a rule not found in any other racket sport. Since it’s unique to pickleball, it's one of the easiest rules to break, especially if you're a beginner. But there's a deep reason why the Kitchen is a non-volley zone. Without the Kitchen, players can go right up to the net and smash the volleys from there.
Since pickleballs can bounce high enough, hitting a volley right from the non-volley zone can easily knock the ball out of bounds. It would then be extremely difficult for the players on the other side to catch up to the ball, thereby making pickleball an unplayable sport.
Thankfully, the kitchen prevents all these things from happening. If you want to win, you must understand the kitchen's role in the game and how you can use it to your advantage.
Top 3 Pickleball Kitchen Rules You Should Remember
Now that you have an idea of how the kitchen is used, here are some of the most essential rules you need to remember when playing:
1. You (or any part of your body) must never touch the kitchen when volleying the ball. The kitchen is a non-volley zone, and therefore, you should not be in it either, especially when the ball is volleying. And since the kitchen is the ground itself and not the space above it, hovering above the kitchen is acceptable. Just remember not to touch the kitchen or the non-volley line when the ball is volleying.
2. You'll violate the Kitchen Rule if anything you wear falls on or touches the Kitchen. It's simple, really. The Kitchen is a non-volley zone, and you shouldn't be in it if you’re about to hit a ball that hasn’t touched the ground yet. If anything you wear (including sunglasses, a hat, jewelry, etc.) gets in the way and falls on the kitchen or the non-volley line, then it's a violation. So, be careful about wearing those accessories that could fall on or touch the kitchen during a game. They might cost you a point or two – if you're not careful! Also, keep in mind that the kitchen rule only applies to volleyed balls. It doesn't cover balls that have bounced already.
3. Initiating a volley from the Kitchen is prohibited. According to the International Federation of Pickleball’s (IFP) official tournament rulebook: "Standing in the kitchen, jumping up to hit a volley, and landing outside the non-volley zone is prohibited." In other words, initiating a volley from the kitchen, even if the actual volley was initiated mid-air, could result in a fault. Therefore, it would be much safer to move outside the kitchen before you even attempt to volley.
Pickleball Kitchen Rules: Your Questions Answered
For a beginner, pickleball can be very confusing, and there are a lot of things that you need to know. And since a lot of people have questions about how the kitchen rule works, we put together this Q&A to give you a better idea of how you can effectively use the kitchen rule to your advantage.
When can I enter the kitchen?
It is okay to enter and stay in the kitchen as long as you don't hit a volley while you're there. When can I volley again if I am in the non-volley zone? You need to step out of the non-volley zone first before you can hit the volley again.
What would happen if I fell into the non-volley zone while volleying?
Falling into the non-volley zone due to momentum during volleys is considered a fault. And even if it's just an article of your clothing that touches the kitchen, it's still a violation.
If my partner is volleying, can I prevent them from stepping into the Kitchen? Yes, it's acceptable to hold back your partner from entering the kitchen for as long as you are in the non-volley zone as well.
What if I'm in the kitchen, and the ball has bounced already? Can I hit that shot?
Yes. Only a ball that hasn't touched the ground is considered a volley. Therefore, you're permitted to hit a ball that's already touched the ground, even if you're in the non-volley zone.
Now that you've reached this far, you should know by now that the kitchen rule is something that should be taken seriously, especially if you’d like to win a game of pickleball. Besides, learning more about the kitchen rule can make your game even more exciting and challenging!
So, if you have any questions that we haven't covered here, do let us know by dropping us an email at