When playing pickleball, the kitchen rules — what one can or cannot do while in the Non-Volley Zone — can certainly be confusing. The following are frequently asked pickleball kitchen rules questions that should help clarify if faults are committed around the Non-Volley Zone. Before proceeding, however, it is important to differentiate between the term, “volley,” and the term, “groundstroke.” A volley simply means that a player is hitting the ball out of the air before it bounces. A groundstroke, on the other hand, refers to a shot that is executed after the ball bounces once on the court. Finally, you may hear the term “Kitchen” on the pickleball courts. The “Kitchen” is simply another name for the Non-Volley Zone.
The Kitchen & the Airborne Pickleball
Question: Can I hit a volley while standing in the Non-Volley Zone?
Answer: No. Volleying while in the Non-Volley Zone (or standing on the Non-Volley Line) is considered a fault.
Question: Can I hit a volley with just one of my feet touching the Non-Volley Line?
Answer: No, if a player touches any part of the Non-Volley Line during the act of volleying, it will be considered a fault.
Question: When volleying, can my momentum from the volley take me into the Non-Volley Zone?
Answer: No. A fault will be declared if, in the act of volleying the ball, a player or anything the player is wearing or carrying touches the non-volley zone or touches any non-volley line. The act of volleying the ball includes the swing, the follow-through, and the momentum from the action.
Question: Can the momentum from your volley carry you into the Non-Volley Zone subsequent to the ball bouncing twice on your opponent’s side?
Answer: Your momentum cannot carry you into the kitchen even after the ball is dead (or in this case, bounced twice)
Question: When volleying, can your partner hold you back so that your Momentum from the volley doesn’t take you into the Non-Volley Zone?
Answer: Yes. That is permitted. Your partner can, indeed, hold you back so that your momentum doesn’t take you into the Non-Volley Zone.
Question: What if a player executes the volley, but his cap falls into the Non-Volley Zone?
Answer: This would be considered a fault. Something the player is wearing cannot touch the Non-Volley Zone or any Non-Volley Line during the volley.
Question: What if — in the act of executing a low volley (or any volley, for that matter) — the paddle touches the Non-Volley Line?
Answer: A fault will be declared if, in the act of volleying the ball, a player or anything the player is wearing or carrying touches the non-volley zone or touches any non-volley line.
Question: When can I enter the Non-Volley Zone?
Answer: You can enter the Non-Volley Zone — also referred to as the Kitchen — at any time as long as you don’t hit a volley while in there.
Question: Can I stand in the Non-Volley Zone while my partner serves or hits a shot?
Answer: You can enter and stay in the Non-Volley Zone at any time as long as you don’t hit a volley while in there.
Question: If I am in the Non-Volley Zone, when can I once again hit a volley?
Answer: You must establish both feet outside the Non-Volley Zone before you can once again volley the ball.
The Bouncing Ball
Question: Can I hit a shot that bounces first while I am standing in the Non-Volley Zone?
Answer: Yes, as long as the ball bounces first you can hit a shot while standing in the Non-Volley Zone. You simply cannot volley while in the Non-Volley Zone.
Question: You hit a groundstroke but your momentum from the shot carries you into the non-volley zone. Is this a fault?
Answer: Regardless of where the ball bounces on the court — as long as it bounces first — your momentum from hitting your groundstroke can, indeed, carry you into the Non-Volley Zone without penalty. Click here to see confirmation from our friends at the USAPA. Just don’t hit a volley on your next shot while in the kitchen! 😉
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