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 in-and-around the Non-Volley Zone.
What is the Kitchen in Pickleball?
Although the term, “kitchen” is not mentioned even one time in the USAPA & IFP Official Rulebook, the term has evolved to be synonymous with “Non-Volley Zone.”
While the term, “Non-Volley Zone” is the technical term, many, if not most people, will refer to the 7 feet two-dimensional “area” that extends from both sides of the net “within which a player is not allowed to strike the ball without it first bouncing” as the kitchen.
What does Volley Mean? A Volleying Definition.
In order to determine if a kitchen rule has been violated, it is important to first differentiate between the term, “volley,” and the term, “groundstroke.” A volley simply means that a player is striking 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 has bounced.
Now that we have a better understanding of what the kitchen is in pickleball and have differentiated between the terms, “volley” and “groundstroke,” let’s take a look at several frequently asked questions as it relates to these pickleball kitchen rules.
Kitchen Rules and 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 Kitchen 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: What if a player executes the volley, but his cap falls into the Kitchen?
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 Kitchen?
Answer: You can enter the Non-Volley Zone 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: While not recommended from a strategic perspective, you can nevertheless 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 Kitchen, 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.
Kitchen Rules and Momentum
Question: When volleying, can my momentum from the volley take me into the Kitchen?
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 Kitchen subsequent to the ball bouncing twice on your opponent’s side?
Answer: Your momentum cannot carry you into the Non-Volley Zone even after the ball is dead (or in this case, bounced twice). There is no time-limit to the momentum rule.
Question: When volleying, can your partner hold you back so that your momentum from the volley doesn’t take you into the Kitchen?
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 as long as your partner is not in the Non-Volley Zone either.
Kitchen Rules and a Bouncing Ball
Question: Can I hit a shot that bounces first while I am standing in the Kitchen?
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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