If you are a pickleball player yourself, or if you spend time around pickleball players then you are probably familiar with a term called the kitchen.
Although it is an odd name for a very important area of a playing court, learning about it can help your game.
However, even when you are aware of the kitchen, and its rules, you can still find yourself wondering why on earth it has that name! It’s such an odd name for a sporting zone on a playing court, so why is it named that?
Today we will talk all about the kitchen, especially it’s very quirky name!
A Few Theories
The pickleball non-volley zone is known as the kitchen, and there are a few theories as to why. The first is that three dads came up with the game, so quirky names for things would be a more likely occurrence.
However, it is also possible that it is a borrowed term from shuffleboard, in which there is also an area called ‘the kitchen’.
If you want to know more about why it might have this name, and also find out about what the kitchen is and its rules, then we are here to help, and we have so much useful information for you!
Beginners at pickleball often get confused when they hear players talk about the kitchen. Unless you are familiar with all pickleball jargon, it can be expected that a term like this would be rather confusing.
So… why is it called the kitchen?
Why That Name?
It does seem quite strange to name a part of a sports court after a room in your house. No one even seems to know why the no-volley zone gained this name, although… There are theories, but nothing solid.
It could be down to the 3 dads who invented the game, thinking it would be funny to watch everyone be confused as to why it is called the kitchen… And they would be right, we have no doubt they’d be giggling right now.
However, it is probably more plausible to think that it is a borrowed term from shuffleboard, simply because most of the pickleball game is borrowed ideas, with aspects of ping pong, badminton, and tennis, who’s to say that ‘kitchen’ is not just another borrowed aspect.
You see, in the game of shuffleboard, there is also an area behind the scoring zone where players will lose 10 points if they land a puck on it, this is also known as the kitchen or the 10-off zone.
Funnily enough, there is no real answer for why it is called the kitchen in shuffleboard either.
There are some other ideas as well!
Another idea is that it could be from the phrase “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen”. However, it has also been suggested that it was nicknamed the kitchen because no one wants to go there.
All this considered, no one knows the reason, we may never know, but considering the many possibilities can be quite funny.
A Few Things To Know About The Kitchen
Despite the very silly name, the kitchen is a very important area of a pickleball court. It has a lot of tricky rules, and you need to be well aware of them when you start playing.
The biggest factor is that in pickleball, you cannot enter the kitchen in a volley, period. Even if you dropped your pickleball paddle in the kitchen in a volley, this would still gain the opposition an extra point. So, be wary!
Let’s look at what you can do, and what you cannot do in the pickleball kitchen!
What Can You Do In The Kitchen?
There are so many rules in relation to the no-volley zone in pickleball.
There are not any real rules against standing in the kitchen, although, you should not really get used to standing around in here. Get too used to it and your opposition could take advantage of your position.
You could easily get tricked into forfeiting a point if you were to return a volley from the kitchen.
You can return a ball from the kitchen if it were to bounce first. If this is the case, just hop in there quickly to return the ball, and then hop back out before your opponents have a chance to hit a volley.
Never get tricked into volleying the ball from the kitchen, if you do, it’s an automatic fault.
If your partner is in the kitchen, and you volley, this is fine, as long as the person who is outside of the kitchen is the one who is volleying the ball.
Consider the kitchen like the game ‘the floor is lava’, minimize time there.
What Can’t You Do In The Kitchen?
Volleying in the kitchen is forbidden, the ball cannot be hit out of the air if you are in the kitchen at all.
Note, the no-volley line is also a part of the kitchen, and the no-volley rule stands here as well. If so much as a toe touches the no-volley line as you volley it is considered a fault.
The truth is that no one has any idea why the kitchen has the name that it does. However, what we do know is that the kitchen is a place you need to be familiar with if you intend on playing pickleball.
The kitchen is riddled with rules surrounding volleying, and while you can jump into the kitchen real quick to return a ball that has bounced, you should jump back out quickly.
Be it that the kitchen got its name from a dad joke, an old saying, shuffleboard, or simply because no one wants to be there, we will never know, but be sure that you know the rules!
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.