The pickleball court is divided into different zones to dictate fair play for both teams or players. All these zones come with a set of rules that describe them, and if you violate those rules, it results in a foul, and you end up losing points.
One of the areas on a pickleball court is called the kitchen.
The kitchen on a pickleball court is the no-volley zone, which is the area between the net and the no-volley or the kitchen line. It extends seven feet from each side of the net and is as wide as the width of the court.
The kitchen rule may initially seem confusing because it is one of the unique rules of pickleball. However, once you start playing, you understand why it is a non-volley zone and how it contributes to fair play in pickleball.
The no-volley zone is important because it keeps the game fair. If players were allowed to volley the ball close to the net, they could easily score points. This would make the game less fun for everyone involved.
In this article, we will find out why this area is called the kitchen and what the rules are associated with this zone on a pickleball court.
How Long is the Kitchen in Pickleball?
The no-volley zone in pickleball is the area within 7 feet of the net on either side. A dashed line on the court marks this zone. The purpose of the no-volley zone is to prevent players from volleying the ball too close to the net, which can give them an unfair advantage.
This zone exists on the court to prevent excessive smashing. Since new players find it tempting to be able to score points while standing close to the net, this area was created to prevent this from happening.
Why is it Called the Kitchen?
Picklers called the no-volley zone in pickleball the kitchen. While it’s unknown why it is called the kitchen and where the term originated, it is a common belief that it was borrowed from the game of shuffleboard.
Some people also believe it’s the kitchen because nobody wants to enter it. That is why this zone has been named the kitchen to discourage people from entering it.
Pro pickleballers are skilled at throwing low-dink shots that end up in the kitchen on their opponent’s side. They purposefully bring their opponent into this area and then take advantage of their poor position on the next shot.
So, it’s not a good idea to keep standing in the kitchen and leave it as soon as you have hit the ball.
Pickleball Kitchen Rules
The kitchen is called the no-volley zone because if a player happens to hit the ball before it bounces while standing in this area, they lose points. So, you are not supposed to enter the kitchen when the ball is still in the air.
There are some exceptions to this rule. If a player hits the ball into the no-volley zone and bounces it off the other player, they can still score a point. This is called a “let.” Also, if a player hits the ball into the no-volley zone and hits the net, they can still score a point. This is called a “net point.”
According to the rulebook of the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP), it is not allowed for a player’s swing, their follow-through, or their momentum to carry them into the kitchen area or touch the kitchen line when they try to hit a volley.
This means momentum must be stopped outside the kitchen, even if the ball is dead. If you want to volley, you shouldn’t be standing in the kitchen area or on the kitchen line. The kitchen line is 2 inches thick, like all other court lines, and is considered part of the kitchen.
You can have your paddle over the kitchen area while volleying the ball. A fault occurs only when you’re physically standing inside the kitchen or your foot is touching the line. Even if you jump up to hit a volley and land outside the kitchen, it is still considered a fault.
It is important to know all these rules pertaining to the no-volley zone. If you violate any of these, you will end up losing points.
Can You Step in the Kitchen in Pickleball?
You can enter the kitchen and play in it as long as you don’t violate the above rules. However, it’s not a good idea to keep standing in the kitchen because it can give your opponent a chance to score a point with a volley.
In a doubles match, you can volley outside of the kitchen even if your partner is standing there, but the two of you cannot touch each other.
The kitchen was designated to discourage players from standing too close to the net. The game is supposed to be easy for everyone to play, so it does not encourage aggressive shots like tennis or badminton.
The idea is to stay out of the kitchen as much as possible. Because unless the ball has bounced, if you happen to hit it while standing in the kitchen or touching the kitchen line, you will lose points.
Can You Hit the Ball in the Kitchen in Pickleball?
You can hit the ball in the kitchen only if it has bounced. You will lose points if you try to volley it while standing in the kitchen. In order to volley a ball and score points, you are supposed to be standing anywhere on the court except on the no-volley line or the entire area that comprises the kitchen.
Even if you were not standing in the kitchen while volleying the ball, if your momentum carries you inside the kitchen after hitting the ball, it will still be considered a fault.
If you’re standing in the kitchen and you don’t intend to hit the ball, it’s fine. Just make sure your partner does not come in contact with you while they volley the ball.