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The non-volley zone in pickleball is the area that is bordered by the court’s net, a line that is parallel to the net, and the sidelines.

The kitchen line itself and the sidelines are all considered to be inside the non-volley zone. This is the zone from which you are not allowed to volley the ball.

Firstly, in order to know what the non-volley zone is, you need to have an understanding of what a volley is.

A volley is a strike that occurs when a ball has not bounced prior to hitting it.

Thus, the non-volley zone is the area from which you cannot strike the ball without it bouncing first.

The following is a list of what you cannot and can do within a non-volley zone, you should note that a valley is considered to occur whenever a ball is struck without bouncing first:

  • You are not allowed to step on the kitchen line (see also ‘How Big Is The Kitchen In Pickleball?‘) or into the kitchen line while volleying the ball OR during your follow through. You are also not allowed to step on the kitchen line as a result of your momentum.
  • You will also have committed a kitchen fault if you run into the kitchen area to hit the ball prior to it bouncing.
  • You commit a kitchen fault if you step forwards and cross the kitchen line whenever you swing for the ball.
  • No equipment is allowed to touch the kitchen surface when you are volleying.
  • If you reach to hit a low ball and your paddle hits the surface of the court prior to or after you have struck the ball, you will have committed a fault.
  • You will have committed a kitchen fault if your personal items fall off when you are hitting the ball and land within the kitchen area also.
  • A kitchen fault is able to be called if the ball is declared dead (see also ‘What Does Call The Ball Mean?‘).
  • You will also have committed a kitchen fault if you strike a hard volley at your opponent and they then hit their shot into the net, and you have been unable to establish your balance and fall into the kitchen area from the momentum of your shot.

Where Can I Legally Stand On The Court?

It is a false belief that you are not allowed to enter the kitchen area at all.

You are allowed to be within the kitchen at any time that you want to be so long as you do not volley the ball from this area and abide by the non-volley zone rules.

To summarize, so long as you allow the ball to bounce, you are able to step into the non-volley zone in order to strike it back towards your opponent.

However, In those instances where you need to reach for a ball, you should remember that you need to be completely out of the kitchen area in order to be considered legally out of the kitchen.

Thus, if your opponent hits the ball back towards you prior to you landing both your feet behind the line, you will be considered at fault.

It is crucial to remember that pickleball is a game renowned for its integrity and honesty. Thus, all faults should be called by yourself.

The bonus of playing pickleball is that it is your sole responsibility to immediately stop playing if you see yourself or your partner commit a fault.

Therefore, it is known to be one of the fairest sports in the world.

Whenever you call out your own faults, it also improves your game overall, as you will become far more aware of your position on the court and you will not make as many faults inherently.


To conclude, pickleball is a game of integrity that implements many elements, rules, and strategies.

If you are serious about playing this sport, you should be aware that this is not a sport where you can get away with any faults.

You will need to confess your own faults whenever you are in an incorrect position.

When playing pickleball, you can legally stand in any area of the court.

However, it is important that you do not volley the ball when you are within the non-volley zone.

This means that you will need to allow the ball to bounce within this area prior to striking it back to your opponent. Failing to do so will result in you being at fault.

You will also be considered at fault if your momentum carries you into the non-volley zone prior to striking the ball.

Thus, you should carefully pick your shots and ascertain where the ball is landing prior to swinging at it hastily.

You will be considered to be at fault if any of your equipment or clothing falls into the kitchen area when you are sticking the ball.

Overall, pickleball is definitely worth playing, regardless of all of the rules and regulations that may be off-putting to some people.

If you are looking to play a sport that has the utmost integrity as its core essence, then this is the sport for you.

Ensuring that you do not volley the ball within the non-volley zone is not as hard as it sounds.

The only difficult aspect related to the non-volley zone relates to the positioning of your feet whenever your opponent returns a shot to you.

You will need to ensure that your feet are out of the kitchen area when the shot is returned.

The space that is considered to be the kitchen area has been outlined above, and you should become familiar with this to ensure that you avoid making any mistakes during a match.

I hope that you have found this article insightful and informative. Thank you for reading.