Whether you are just starting out playing pickleball or you are a pickleball pro, you will be familiar with the non-volley zone that’s called the kitchen.
This area stretches all along the net, preventing players to volley a ball right by the net.
In this article, we find out more about the specific dimensions of the pickleball kitchen and we explore some of the most important kitchen rules.
How Big Is The Kitchen On A Pickleball Court?
The kitchen in pickleball (see also ‘What Is The Kitchen In Pickleball?‘) is the area stretching along the net all the way to both sidelines. This makes a pickleball kitchen 20 feet wide and 7 feet deep.
This is just one part of a typical pickleball court which is made up of the kitchen and two equal parts on each side of the net.
The overall pickleball court dimensions are 20×44 feet. This is exactly the same size as a a doubles badminton court.
With the two playing areas of a pickleball court side being 20×22 feet each and the kitchen 20×7 feet, this means that there is a playing area of 20×15 feet.
Why Is The No-Volley Zone In Pickleball Called The Kitchen?
A kitchen in pickleball is also officially known as a non-volley zone. This is because you are not allowed to volley the ball in this area, or your opponent will receive a point.
The non-volley zone is 7 feet from the net and it runs parallel to the net on both sides for 20 feet.
Prevent Smash Hits
One of the reasons why the founders of pickleball introduced a no-volley zone is the prevent players from smashing the ball across the net, similar to badminton or tennis.
These smash hits are only possible when a player can hit a ball midair right by the net.
While this games, such as tennis and squash, faster, it doesn’t work for the medium-paced pickleball games.
The pickleball inventors wanted the game to be easy and accessible for everyone without too much physical exertion.
This meant that they had to introduce an area on the court where players couldn’t hit a ball with too much force.
Pickleball isn’t all about hitting the ball but you need to play strategically to win. Using the kitchen area to your advantage can mean you will play a successful game.
The non-volley zone allows you to ink hit the ball which means you just get the ball over the net when it’s close.
This could be from behind the kitchen line or in the kitchen when the ball has bounced. This sort of strategic play can make pickleball a lot more interesting.
Rules Of The Kitchen In Pickleball
There are essentially three important rules that apply to the non-volley area in pickleball. Here are some of the non-volley zone rules and things to remember about the kitchen.
One of the most important rules to remember when standing in the kitchen zone is that you are not allowed to volley.
No part of a player’s body should make contact with the kitchen when they hit a ball in response, unless it has bounced before.
Saying this, this rule only applies to anything on the ground. When you hit the ball in midair while you are standing behind the line, then you won’t get a penalty point.
It’s also worth remembering that some ball shots may push you into the kitchen area. Even if you accidentally end up in the kitchen through momentum, all the rules still apply.
Don’t Drop Anything
Another rule that even some experienced pickleball players forget is that you are not allowed to drop anything while you are standing in the kitchen.
This applies to anything you are carrying or wearing, including sunglasses, hats or even your paddle.
The rule also applies when something accidentally falls out of your pocket. Then, the opponent team will get a point.
Hit The Ball After It Bounced
You are not allowed to hit the ball before it bounced, but you can stand in the kitchen and safely hit the ball once it bounced off the floor.
It’s a good idea to stay just outside of the kitchen area to play a more strategic game and take advantage of your opponent’s shot.
While you can stay in the kitchen for as long as you like, it’s best to stay with both feet outside of the kitchen lines for most parts of the game.
What Happens If A Players Breaks The Kitchen Rules?
When you look at the extensive rules devised for the non-volley zone, you might wonder what will happen if you eventually break one of the rules, such as touching the kitchen line when volleying the ball.
When a player breaks the pickleball kitchen rules, then the same applies as in tennis. Your opponent or the opponent team gets a point.
This may not sound so bad but when your game is tight, then even the smallest mistake can make a big difference and keep you from winning.
Plus, it’s very demotivating to give your opponent a point just because you made a mistake.
That’s why, it’s important to stick to the kitchen rules and remember not to get too close to the 7-feet area near the net.
However, you don’t need to avoid the no-volley zone all the time. As long as you don’t hit the ball before it hasn’t bounced, you can do anything in the kitchen.
The kitchen is the small seven-feet wide area on either side of the net. Both teams must be aware of the rules that apply in this non-volley zone.
Despite the strict rules, this is what makes pickleball so interesting and also different from other racquet sports, such as tennis or badminton.
The kitchen in pickleball requires careful consideration when you place your feet and where you should stand.
You will also need to think strategically about how you respond to your opponent’s next hit.