Pickleball Kitchen Rules – Everything You Need to Know

Pickleball Kitchen Rules Explained

Pickleball kitchen rules are also known as the non volley zone on the court.

Here is a quick explanation of the Pickleball kitchen rules…

  • You can not be standing in the kitchen zone – otherwise known as the non volley zone – while hitting the ball in mid air.
  • This also includes anything making contact with this area – so your paddle, your hat or even if anything falls out of your pocket.
  • You can only hit the ball from the kitchen area if it has bounced once.

If you have played pickleball and know about the basic rules, chances are that you know the “no volley” or kitchen rule that plays a quintessential role in the game.

This is what differentiates the game from the remaining racquet games around the world.

Although this is hands down one of the most hilarious rules, it dictates the winners in the game sometimes.

What is the Pickleball kitchen size?  Find out all you need to know by clicking here.


Pickleball Kitchen rules


In this article, we will discuss everything that you need to know about the Pickleball kitchen rules and how you can master them along the way.

What is the Kitchen?

Before we discuss the rule and what it entails, let’s give you a quick description of what the Kitchen in a pickleball court is.

The kitchen is the “non-volley” zone in the court.  The primary objective of having a kitchen in this game is to prevent the players from standing far too close to the net and smashing or serving the ball downwards to ensure an “easy win.”

The kitchen area is a 7 feet distance from the net to either side of the court.  If the ball falls on the kitchen area on a serve, the serve is disqualified and the opponent wins a point.

What are the Kitchen Rules?

Now that you know the basic idea about the kitchen area and what it is, let’s walk you through the list of rules.

The first and the most important kitchen rule is that no player can stand in that zone and hit the ball on a volley.

Volleying the ball in that zone is a big NO.

Volleying means hitting the ball back to the receiver before it has bounced on the ground.

However, one unique thing about the kitchen rule is that the “non-volley” zone is not just limited to the ball.  Anything related to the player can’t be in or land in this zone.

Even if you are standing in the last half an inch of the kitchen, the receiver gets a point.

Even if your paddle, hat, keys, wrist band lands in the kitchen the point moves back to your opponent.

That’s how important and crucial this part of the court is.

Find out how the kitchen works in Pickleball doubles rules by clicking here.


What can you DO in the Kitchen?

After talking about everything that you CAN’T DO in the kitchen, let us discuss some things that can be done.

Generally, the players can return to the kitchen to have a short dink.  However, that should be in line with the ball bouncing once on the ground.

Most of the players who are beginners in pickleball have said that learning about the kitchen rules is the toughest of them all.

Not only is it physically complicated, but it is also very easy to miss, which makes it even tougher.

Groundstrokes in the kitchen are allowed too. Just ensure that you wait for the ball to bounce at least once.


How can you play a dink shot into your opponents kitchen area?  Find out more here.

Starting with pickleball can be right chaos if you don’t know the kitchen rules.

If you were confused before, we hope this article gives you a basic rundown of the important pointers and what you need to keep an eye out for.

My dad has a saying for the Pickleball kitchen rule…”When in doubt, stay out!”


16 thoughts on “Pickleball Kitchen Rules – Everything You Need to Know”

  1. Is it permitted to enter the kitchen BEFORE the ball hits the ground (in the kitchen), provided you strike the ball (in the kitchen) AFTER it hits the ground?

  2. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for your question. The official rules state that you can’t enter the kitchen area UNTIL the ball has bounced in this zone. You can then enter and hit the ball. So feet behind the line until you hear the “thwak” sound on the ground!


  3. Are the interior lines of the court considered in bounds for the kitchen or for the volley area?
    What if the ball strikes an interior line on the serve? center line in volley area, or, kitchen line?

  4. Hi Ellen,

    Thanks for your question. I am assuming that when you say “Interior lines” you mean the “T” line on the court rather than the inside of the boundary line.
    When serving, the ball has to bounce in the service area of your opponent – that is within the designated square on the opposite side of the court to you. The ball must bounce completely in this area – if it touches the line it is considered out.
    As I am sure you have seen on the tennis circuit, they have the ability to replay a shot and laser focus on where the ball hit. If you are able to do this in your Pickleball game – that would stop a lot of arguments. Generally, you have to call it as you see it.
    If you think the ball touched the line – it is out…but this is open for heated discussion by all players!


  5. Your answer of Nov 7 is incorrect. See rule 9.F. “A player may enter the non-volley zone before or after returning any ball that bounces.”

  6. What is the call if a player fairly hits a ball outside of the kitchen but his momentum from the swing causes him step into the no volley zone after the ball leaves his paddle?

  7. Hi William,
    Thanks for your question.

    According to the USAPA Official Rules – It is a fault if, after volleying, a player is carried by momentum into or touches the non-volley zone.

    Hope this clarifies your question.



  8. My partner hit the ball on a volley and struck the opponent and then his momentum took him in the kitchen. My partner contended that when the “play was over” it was legal for him to fall into the kitchen. I an uncertain if this is correct. I believe that whenever your momentum takes you in the kitchen after hitting a volley they play is then dead. Please clarify.

  9. Hi Joe,

    I have to say I got the giggles when I read your first sentence. If you remove the word “and” after “volley” and replace it with a comma it takes on a whole new meaning!
    Apologies for the distraction!

    I believe you are correct. If part of your “play the ball” action – including your momentum after hitting the ball – sends you or anything on your person (hat, keys, etc) into the kitchen, it is a foul.
    I feel that until the ball is hit by your opponent or your shot is called out, the action is still your shot and the kitchen is still “live”. I find using this “ideology” gives a clear-cut reference of when a play – or your shot – is over.

    I hope this clarifies things for you.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Patty 🙂

  10. Can a player legally stay in the kitchen as long
    as he never makes contact with the ball with

  11. Hello,

    Yes, legally you can stay in the kitchen so long as you don’t hit a ball on a volley however, staying in there will really restrict your game play.
    The kitchen is a non volley zone so you can not hit a ball on a volley but if the ball has bounced and you travel in or through the kitchen – that’s ok.

    Does this clear things for you??

    Patty 🙂

  12. Hello Lee and thank you for your question.

    The short answer is Yes…your partner can be in the NVZ when you are hitting a volley.

    Anyone can be in the kitchen area during the game. The only time you cannot be in the kitchen is when you are volleying the ball…but your partner can be in the kitchen when you are volleying the ball.

    Hope this answers your question.

    Patty 🙂

  13. Hello Reta,

    Pickleball would be a much easier game to play if there were no lines!!
    The fact you are asking this question means you have been involved in a line call “discussion!”

    I am assuming the scenario that your question relates to is that you are volleying from the main court area – not in the kitchen zone.

    I think the answer to this is a combination of 2 official rules – Rule 9.B It is a fault if the volleying player or anything that has contact with the volleying player while in the act of volleying touches the non-volley zone and Rule 6.B Except the serve, any ball in play that lands in the court or touches any court line is in…so my take is that if the ball touches the kitchen/main court line it is considered to be in the main court area.

    I hope this helps Reta.

    Patty 🙂

Leave a Comment