Ever heard someone refer to the “kitchen” in pickleball but had no idea what they were talking about? The kitchen, also known as the non-volley zone, is an important part of this fun and fast-paced sport.

Let’s dive into what a kitchen is and why it matters when playing pickleball.

The Basics Of The Kitchen In Pickleball

In pickleball, the kitchen refers to a 7-foot area closest to the net on each side of the court. This line is also referred to as the non-volley or no-volley zone (NVZ).

This area has specific rules that must be followed by both teams to ensure a fair game. Players are not allowed to volley, meaning hit any ball before it bounces, from within the kitchen. If they do so, then they will lose the point.

This rule helps keep players from standing too close to the net, which can give them an unfair advantage over their opponents.

What is the Purpose of the Kitchen?

The main purpose of the kitchen is to maintain a fair playing field for all players. If one player was able to take advantage by standing too close to the net to hit volleys, it would be difficult for their opponent to hit an effective return shot.

By having a designated non-volley zone, pickleball helps keep players from crowding the net or taking up too much of the court.

The kitchen also helps create a more fun and engaging game for all involved. Since volleys are not allowed in this area, it forces players to be creative and think strategically when they’re attacking or defending against their opponent’s shots.

This can make pickleball an even more exciting sport as players come up with creative solutions to hit the ball past their opponents.

The Benefits of Knowing About The Kitchen In Pickleball

Knowing about how and why the kitchen exists in pickleball can help you become a better player. When you understand where your opponent cannot hit volleys from, you know where it is safe for you to stand and where it isn’t.

This gives you more control over your positioning on the court and allows for more strategic plays.

Knowing about the kitchen can also help prevent potential arguments with your opponents since everyone should be aware of its existence and the rules surrounding it.

The Impact Of The Kitchen On Strategy

Since players must remain out of the kitchen when hitting volleys, understanding its presence can have a huge impact on your strategy for any given game.

For instance, if you notice that your opponent keeps hitting their volleys close to the NVZ line—but not actually crossing it—you may want to adjust your strategy accordingly by moving further away from that area of the court or serving shots closer to their baseline.

By considering how your opponent’s use of—or lack thereof—the kitchen affects their playstyle, you can gain an edge over them in any match.

Common Kitchen Violations

Sometimes players can be unaware of the kitchen rules, or they may unintentionally cross the NVZ line while returning shots.

However, it’s important to be aware of the kitchen rules in pickleball since violations can quickly lead to a loss of points. Some common kitchen violations include:

• Hitting a volley within the NVZ line

• Catching or stopping the ball on the bounce within the NVZ

• Reaching over the net into the NVZ

• Stepping into the NVZ with both feet before hitting the ball

Understanding and respecting these rules can help you become a better pickleball player and avoid any potential arguments on the court!


Learning about what exactly constitutes “the kitchen” in pickleball is essential for anyone looking to get serious about playing this sport competitively.

Not only do experienced players need to know about this line so that they don’t accidentally cross it during their volleys (losing their points), but understanding where and why this line exists can help inform their strategy during games as well!

With some practice and knowledge of how other players take advantage (or don't) of this valuable tool, you'll be well on your way toward mastering pickleball!

Are you looking for the right pickleball set that suits your needs and budget?

We’ve done the research and put together a list of the best pickleball sets that will fit any budget and skill level.

Check out some of our other pickleball and sports & fitness articles!

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