What’s The Kitchen Rule In Pickleball (How To Take Advantage)

Kitchen Rule In Pickleball

What's The Kitchen Rule In Pickleball?

Are you just getting into Pickleball (or need a refresher) and wondering about the “Kitchen”? Don’t fret we will be covering what the kitchen rule is and giving you some great ways to use the kitchen to your advantage! 

Here’s the quick answer:

The court is sectioned into two main parts: The Kitchen (or No Volley Zone) and the area that runs to the backline. The kitchen is in the 7ft zone on either side of the net. 

Don’t volley from here, meaning the ball has to hit the ground before you hit it back over the net if you are standing in or touching the kitchen.

If your momentum takes you into the kitchen (or touching the line) be sure the ball bounces before dinking it.

Your clothing and pickleball gear counts! If your glasses, paddle, or other equipment fall into the zone when volleying that’s a fault.

We will break it down even further below. Let’s Jump in!

Why Do People Call It The Kitchen?

While there is plenty of speculation, no one knows the exact reason for the kitchen name. The general consensus and assumption are that the 3 fathers borrowed the name from shuffleboard.

The kitchen is the ‘10-off area’ with strict rules when playing shuffleboard. The rules state that when you land in this space or zone,  it deducts 10 from your total points.

What's The Pickleball Kitchen Rule

Kitchen Rule In Pickleball

The kitchen zone is an important and fun aspect of the sport! You’ve most likely heard people shouting from other courts’ KITCHEN! Let’s dig a little deeper into the pickleball kitchen rules and where you can take advantage:

Kitchen Rule - No volleying

No volleying is the simplest kitchen rule when enjoying your game. The rule states that you can’t hit any balls out of the air while you’re standing in it. Remember, you must ensure that the ball bounces before you strike it. How fun would it be if you could stand in the kitchen and just smash the ball into your opponent’s side? Not very! The rule allows for longer and more exciting gameplay.

Kitchen Rule - Over-the-line rules

Non-volley zone has various parts, where the non-volley line is one of the key parts. With the line being an essential part, you can’t touch or step the line while having your volley. Rules state that this is a fault for any player to touch any sections of this line when volleying. 

Besides the rules restricting you from touching or stepping on the lines, your clothes can’t cross the line. Even after striking the ball, the volley’s momentum or follow-through shouldn’t push or cause you to cross or step the line. 

The rule further outlines that you mustn’t carry over the momentum into the kitchen despite having a dead ball on your opponent’s side. There is no time limit on momentum taking you into the kitchen. You must fully regain “bodily control” and reset before getting back into the kitchen.

When to Get in the Kitchen

Despite the strict regulations, you can enter this area anytime. Furthermore, you’re free to hit your groundstrokes from the non-volley zone. 

However, the game outlines additional regulations if you’re moving out of the non-volley area to hit the volley. You must establish your feet outside the area before you strike the ball from the air. Remember that you can only hit a volley after two bounces, where one comes from the serving and the other from the return serve.

However, you may wonder what happens if the pickleball bounces in the zone in a short dink. The rules allow you to enter the kitchen zone to play the ball. Remember, these rules apply only for shots hit in the air or volleys. 

Preferably, it’ll be vital to avoid staying in this area, as your opponent could take advantage with a volley. 

Kitchen Rules Explained

Using The Kitchen To Your Advantage



#1. Use cross-court dinking into the kitchen

The goal is to get your opponent off balance by cross-court dinking into the kitchen. While easier said than done try and place a soft touch cross-court shot on the ball. 

#2 Use depth in the kitchen 

 If you and your opponent are dinking back and forth create depth in your shots. Practice a shot pattern an example short, deep, short, deep. centerline smash. Again try and take advantage of the opponent’s balance, creating a pop-up opportunity for you to smash over the net. 

#3 Catch your opponent in the kitchen 

When the opportunity arises pin your opponent – a direct shot at them will cause a volley.

Final Thoughts

Pickleball is a great game for all ages and skill levels. The kitchen can be used to your advantage if you know the rules and how to utilize this area of the court properly. Use the tips in this article to help you master the game of pickleball!

Or rather, do you have any other tips on how to use the kitchen in pickleball? Please share them with us in the comments below!

Read More: 6 of the best paddles for spin

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