What Is The Kitchen In Pickleball?

Pickleball is a sport played between two teams of two players each. Each player uses a paddle and a ball. The object of the game is to hit the opposing team’s ball into their court before they get theirs back to yours.

Pickleball was developed in the 1970s by tennis great Fred Davis and his wife, Mary Lou. They wanted to create a new sport that would be fun and challenging for both men and women. It is quite similar to tennis, but it has its own rules and terms that are used.

In this article, we are discussing what is meant by the kitchen in pickleball.

Where Is The Kitchen In Pickleball?

The kitchen in pickleball refers to the area on your side of the net, which is a non-volley zone of the whole court. The kitchen zone is typically 7 feet from both sides of the net, which is also from sideline to sideline.

This means that you can’t play any shots within the kitchen zone. You can only play shots outside it.

However, it is legal to volley a ball if your paddle is hovering over the kitchen zone. It is just that you can’t physically touch the line or ground of the kitchen zone when making that volley shot.

It can be quite easy to forget and this is why this rule is so easily broken, especially by beginners of the game.

Therefore, the kitchen is a flat piece of ground on the court, which does not include the air above it. You should do your best to avoid physically touching this area at all costs.

As a result, it is important to go through the kitchen rules of pickleball, as it will help you understand what you can and can’t do in the kitchen.

What Are The Kitchen Rules

What Are The Kitchen Rules

As we have just briefly mentioned above, the main kitchen rule is that you can be in contact with the kitchen line or zone while trying to volley a ball.

What we mean by this is that while the ball is in mid-air and hasn’t hit the ground, you can try to hit it, but your body can’t touch the kitchen area.

Otherwise, a fault will be declared. It is a very simple rule to understand, but it is the rule that is easily forgotten. In your haste to hit the ball, you may forget where you are on the court.

However, this rule does get a bit more complicated. It is also stated in the official rules that anything the player is carrying or wearing that touches the kitchen zone is also classed as a fault.

Therefore, if you drop your paddle into the kitchen by accident, this is seen as a fault. Even if you are wearing a hat and this falls off into the kitchen zone, this is seen as a fault as well. As a result, if anything physically touches the kitchen zone, this is a fault.

Even if you have a dead ball if you touch the kitchen zone that is a fault. However, this kitchen rule only applies to a ball that has been volleyed. Thus, if the ball has bounced, then this kitchen rule no longer applies.

It’s very common to see players jump into the kitchen to return a short shot. This is completely allowed as long as the ball has bounced.

Although, you should be careful about being in the kitchen, because as we have clarified if you make a volley whilst in the kitchen then this is an automatic fault. To not make a mistake, you will have to hope that it will bounce.

Yet, ideally, you want to get out of the kitchen as quickly as possible if you do go into the kitchen.

A more unknown rule when it comes to the kitchen in pickleball is that if you want to hit a volley shot, and you are in the kitchen, you must exit the kitchen first and then hit the ball. This may sound a bit complicated, and this is because it is.

As a result, if you want to smash the ball, both feet must leave the kitchen first, and then you can make contact with the ball and smash it.

However, this rule just puts greater emphasis on the main rule that you shouldn’t be in the kitchen and make contact with the ball unless it has bounced.

Where Should You Stand

As you can’t be in the kitchen, you may wonder where you can stand instead. This can depend on the game itself, but you want to try to be as close to the kitchen as you can, however, you don’t want to be touching the kitchen. This idea is known as toeing the line.

What toeing the line is that your feet are just a couple of inches away from the kitchen line. This makes sure that you are close enough to the kitchen if you can go in, but you are not in it.

However, this positioning takes a lot of practice as it is very easy to forget where the kitchen is or how you are in the kitchen. As a result, the more you play, the more you will become aware of where the kitchen is and how far away you need to be so that you don’t go in.

Final Thoughts

Pickleball is a very intense and fun sport that is enjoyed by many.

You need to understand the pickleball rules before trying to play a pickleball match. The main rule you need to learn concerns the kitchen.

The kitchen is an area by the net on the court that has its own rules. When volleying, you may not hit the ball while you are in the kitchen, otherwise, this is an instant fault.

Ideally, you want to be close to the kitchen zone at all times, but you don’t want to do it as it is very easy to get a fault.

The kitchen and the kitchen rules are some of the easiest rules to break in pickleball and take a lot of practice to get it right to stop you from breaking this simple rule.


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