When Can You Go To The Kitchen In Pickleball?

You're not alone if the “Kitchen Rules” of pickleball are all Greek to you, as every pickleball enthusiast has been confused by the intricacy of these rules at the start of their career. Kitchen rules are applied on the special zone in the court of pickleball that is officially known as the “non-volley zone”. NVZ aka kitchen is a 7 ft area around the net on both sides where players can't volley the ball. The complicated kitchen rules should be at your fingertips to avoid the fault in the game, and for that, you’ve landed in the right place!

Misconception About The Kitchen

A misconception about the kitchen is it’s considered a ‘’no go area’’, and a player’s stepping in it is always considered a fault. Another myth people believe is that a player can visit volley in a non-volley zone, and they can save themselves from fault by jumping, though it’s nothing close to legal practice.

Kitchen 2

1- Is Entering The Kitchen Allowed?

Entering the kitchen area while playing pickleball is legitimate under certain conditions. If you’re a rookie, you need to learn these rules to avoid faults, however, if you’re already familiar with these kitchen rules, you need to pay close attention to how you can strategize your play by correctly following these rules.

2- When Is It Illegal to Enter the Kitchen

The kitchen isn’t a zone for players to move freely. Your movement as a player in the kitchen area is monitored by keeping in view these few rules:

  1. Entering the kitchen is illegal when you step in this zone to hit the volley- a shot that doesn’t touch the ground.
  2. It's illegal to enter the kitchen area when you’re not able to stabilize yourself after hitting a volley outside the kitchen, but the imbalance of your body makes you lean forward, and step in the kitchen zone.

Legal Stepping In Kitchen

As per the rule book of the US Pickleball Association, stepping in the kitchen is legalized, and need of the hour in certain conditions that are cull down here for you:

Hitting The Bounced Ball

Sometimes, in pickleball, your opponent initiates a rally this way that the ball bounces in the non-volley zone, and right after the ball bounces you can hit the ball, and to play this groundstroke shot, you can enter the kitchen zone.

However this rule confuses people, and they often ask ‘’Can you step into the kitchen before the ball bounces?’’ Well, the answer is yes! You can step into the kitchen, but if you hit the shot before the ball bounces, it’ll be considered a volley, and hitting a volley while you’re inside the kitchen is considered a fault that causes either a loss of a serve or winning of a point by the opponent.

Kitchen 3

Suggested Post: Can You Hit Overhand In Pickleball?

Can You Step Into The Kitchen After Hitting the Ball?

You can step into the kitchen but there are certain set rules to follow. If you’ve just hit a volley, then your entering the kitchen will be considered a fault. To step in the kitchen legally, you have to wait for the ball to bounce in your kitchen area. Thus, it’s very important to strategize when to enter, and when to leave the kitchen zone.

What Draws A Player Into The Kitchen?

Mostly, a question rears its head in beginners’ minds: ‘’Why is it important to move near the kitchen?’’.The answer lies in the fact that placing yourself in the kitchen zone is a strategic move. You can force soft shots or ‘’dinks’’ on your opponent, and the rhythm in their deep shots.

But there are dangers in the kitchen that you should be aware of. It exposes you to lobs, in which your opponent hits the ball over your head, requiring you to rush back. Also, volleying the ball with both feet in the kitchen is an obvious error. Stilled footwork is important to manoeuvre

Pickleball Kitchen Momentum Rule

As per 3.A.20 rule of the US Pickleball Association, momentum is defined as:

A property of a body in motion, such as a player executing a volley, that causes the player to continue in motion after contacting the ball. The act of volleying produces momentum that ends when the player regains balance and control of their motion or stops moving toward the non-volley zone.

In the 9.C. rule, it’s said that if the momentum of a vollying player causes him to come in contact with a non-volley zone, or anything touching NVZ is considered a fault. Players avoid this fault by balancing their bodies either by jumping from their position or stepping back.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Can You Step In The Kitchen In Pickleball?

Stepping in the kitchen in pickleball is allowed but under certain rules. If your opponent strokes in such a way that the ball bounces in the kitchen area, you’re allowed to step into the kitchen to hit the ball and deliver it back to your opponent. Thus, you can step into the kitchen to hit this groundstroke.

Can I Go Into The Kitchen In Pickleball?

Of course, you can go to the kitchen in pickleball as the kitchen is a ‘’non-volley zone’’, not a " no-go area’’. You can go to the kitchen to hit a bounced ball and step back to volley the ball. However, if you volley while both your feet are in NVZ it’s considered a fault then.

Can I Enter The Kitchen Before The Ball Bounces?

You can enter the kitchen if the ball you’ve just hit before wasn’t a volley. Stepping in the kitchen after hitting a volley is considered a fault. So, keep this in view to step into the kitchen to hit the ball that has yet to bounce. Thus, it’s preferred to enter the kitchen when the ball has bounced.

How Can I Get Up In The Pickleball Kitchen?

The non-volley zone line, also known as the kitchen line, is where you want to be if you want to get a good start in kitchen pickleball. It is against the rules to enter the kitchen before hitting the ball into the air. The goal is to get in close enough to play dinks and other easy soft shots and to react swiftly to your opponent's play.


You can go to the kitchen in pickleball to hit the bounced ball, and if you have to volley, keep your both feet outside the kitchen, don’t come in contact with the kitchen line, and do not let your racket invade the kitchen zone, as it’s considered a fault. Thus, you can earn points, and learn strategic seamless play by being a pro in the kitchen zone rules.

Sophia William

An accomplished author with an impressive history of 6 years of contributions to renowned informational websites.

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