There is an old saying “If you cannot stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”. It’s an old saying, sure, but it is uniquely actually very true in pickleball.
You’ve probably heard of this saying, and if you’re here, you are also likely knowledgeable that there is an area in a pickleball court known as ‘the kitchen’.
This is an area of a pickleball court that has its own very specific set of rules that define what a player can and can not do while in it.
It can be a bit of a challenge for new players to understand the pickleball rules associated with the kitchen
However, if you are a newbie who is a bit confused about what the kitchen is, and how it works, do not worry, that is exactly why we are here! Stick around and find out more!
Where Is The Kitchen?
The kitchen is just the non-volley zone in a pickleball court. It extends over 7 feet from both sides of the net and each sideline.
In the center, you have the net and the no volley zone, or kitchen, which starts at the net on either side and goes back 7 ft from the net
How Did It Get Its Name?
There is no real answer as to why the non-volley zone in pickleball is known as the kitchen, however, it is possible that it came from another sport.
An example could be shuffleboard, in this game, the kitchen is a section behind primary scoring zones or ‘10-off’ zones where players could lose points.
Therefore, the kitchen is seen as something of a bad spot to be in, whether you play pickleball or shuffleboard.
It may have derived from this.
Since we are now aware of what the kitchen is, we also need to accept that it is very important to know the rules of this game. This is one of the more unique sides of pickleball that makes it different from other racquet-based games.
Be aware that, you cannot stand in the kitchen, or make contact in the kitchen line while you are volleying the ball.
Should any part of your body be in the kitchen when you are volleying the ball, then your opponent will gain a point. This rule is there to discourage people from standing at the net during play.
This rule is only in an application should you be making contact with the ground. You can hit the ball out of the air while you stand behind the line, however, if you do this, you are also risking faulting due to another rule concerning the kitchen.
Should a player drop anything in the kitchen that they carry or wear, then the opponent would receive a point.
So, if you dropped your pickleball paddle in the kitchen or even your sunglasses, maybe your wallet, it is still considered a fault. No matter what it is.
One last thing you need to be aware of is your momentum. Your momentum cannot take you into the kitchen. Even if you were to succeed in volleying the ball to your opponent, you still have to stay out of the kitchen to avoid a fault.
Even if the ball is dead, it can still be a fault.
Now, we need to consider, what should happen if the ball bounces in the kitchen on a dink. Well, you can enter the kitchen to play with it.
The rules we have stated only apply for shots hit out of the air, or on a volley.
You simply need to remember to not stand in the kitchen after you respond to a dink, if so, then your opponent could easily take advantage of this and play a volley.
You can stay in the kitchen as long as you have to respond to a bounce on a dink, however, you have to get out of there as soon as you possibly can’t.
Note, that both of your feet also need to be in contact with the surface outside of the kitchen before you hit a volley.
What About Doubles?
If you are playing a doubles game, then your partner could be in the kitchen while you volley, the only rule here would be that they cannot touch you.
These rules can be a bit confusing for new players, but after a couple of games, you are sure to get a feel for it and know how it works.
Can A Serve Hit The Kitchen Line?
Serves cannot hit the kitchen line either. The kitchen includes the line, which is formerly known as the ‘no-volley zone line’, but simply it is known as the ‘kitchen line’.
This also includes all the pickleball court lines that are bound to it, including the centerline and sideline.
This is very important in the game as a single toe going over this line can change a legal volley into a volley that breaks the rules of the kitchen.
There are two things you cannot do in the kitchen, you cannot volley while you stand in the kitchen, including your body, paddle, or any other part of you with momentum. Nor can a server land in the kitchen.
These are the only two true rules of what you cannot do. As long as you remember this, you will be fine.
The kitchen in pickleball is a no-volley zone, while you can hit a bounce on a dink, if you enter the kitchen on a volley you will end up giving your opponent a point, which is the last thing you want to do.
Before you play any pickleball, make sure you are fully aware of the rules around the kitchen, and that you understand them. Kitchen rules can change the whole game if you do not know them.
I am Michael Wanner, an experienced and educated expert in the field of pickleball. I hold a degree in Sports Science from Cleveland State University, Ohio, USA. My expertise lies in the technical aspects of pickleball and how to play it effectively. I have spent many years playing and coaching pickleball and have a wealth of knowledge to share with my readers. I am a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their pickleball skills and strategies.