Mastering the Kitchen: Pickleball Kitchen Rules


Today, we’re diving deep into the fascinating world of Pickleball, specifically focusing on the all-important “kitchen” rules. You may be asking, “Why the kitchen?” Don’t worry, we’re not talking about where you whip up your famous spaghetti Bolognese.

In Pickleball lingo, the “kitchen” refers to the non-volley zone, and it’s an area that’s loaded with potential game-changing strategies. Let’s explore pickleball kitchen rules.

What is the Kitchen in Pickleball?

In the wild and wonderful world of Pickleball, the “kitchen” isn’t where you scramble eggs or bake cookies. The kitchen, my friends, is actually a 7-foot zone on both sides of the net. Officially, it’s known as the non-volley zone, but let’s be honest, “kitchen” is way more catchy.

This is where the game heats up and where you’ll need to tread carefully, because volleying (hitting the ball without letting it bounce) in this zone is a big no-no. But don’t let that scare you! The kitchen is where strategy gets cooking and games are won or lost.

If you step into the kitchen, there are a few essential rules you need to know.

a diagram of the dimensions of a pickleball court in meters with lines of play

Pickleball Kitchen Rules You Need to Know

Rule 1: No Volleying in the Kitchen

The fundamental rule of the kitchen is straightforward: You can’t volley the ball (hit it in the air without letting it bounce) if you’re standing in the kitchen. It may seem simple, but this rule can lead to some pretty exciting gameplay!

Rule 2: The Kitchen Dance

Now, this is where things get a bit more complex. You can enter the kitchen after the ball bounces in it. But once you have volleyed a ball, you need to make sure both your feet are entirely out of the kitchen before you can return another volley. It’s a delicate dance, and mastering it can give you a real competitive edge.

Rule 3: The Double Bounce Rule

Another crucial aspect of kitchen rules is the double bounce rule. This rule states that when the ball is served, the receiving team must let it bounce once before returning, and then the serving team must also let it bounce before volleying. The double bounce rule often leads the ball into the kitchen, which can make for some very intense exchanges!

Rule 4: Faults in the Kitchen

Just like in any game, mistakes happen, and in Pickleball, we call these “faults”. Stepping into the kitchen to volley a ball or volleying the ball while you’re in the kitchen will result in a fault. That means the ball goes back to the other team, and you lose your serve.

Mastering the Kitchen: Strategies

Now that you’re familiar with the kitchen rules, it’s time to cook up some strategies. Understanding when to step into the kitchen or when to let the ball bounce can be the difference between winning and losing a point.

The kitchen is a unique element that sets Pickleball apart from other racket sports, adding a layer of strategy and excitement. So grab your paddle, embrace the rules, and let’s meet in the kitchen!

Absolutely, let’s serve up some hot Pickleball kitchen strategies!

  1. Master the Kitchen Dance: Practice moving in and out of the kitchen. You’re allowed in the kitchen after the ball bounces there, but you need to exit before volleying again. This in-and-out movement is fondly referred to as the “kitchen dance”.
  2. Utilize Drop Shots: If you’re in a position to do so, try to aim for a drop shot into the kitchen. This can force your opponents to step into the kitchen to hit the ball, limiting their ability to volley and potentially giving you an advantage.
  3. Patience is Key: Don’t rush to volley the ball if it’s heading towards the kitchen. It’s often better to let it bounce, step into the kitchen, and then return the shot.
  4. Capitalize on the Double Bounce Rule: Remember, the ball must bounce once on each side of the court at the start of each point. Use this rule to your advantage by making the second bounce land in your opponents’ kitchen, forcing them into a tricky return shot.
  5. Avoid Faults: Be mindful of your footwork. Stepping into the kitchen for a volley or not entirely exiting the kitchen before volleying again results in a fault.
  6. Practice Dinks: A dink is a soft shot that just clears the net and lands within the opponent’s kitchen. It’s a valuable tool to keep your opponents hard shots at bay and control the pace of the game.
  7. Third Shot Drop: Mastering the third shot drop can be a game-changer. It’s a soft shot that drops in the opponent’s kitchen, ideally forcing them to hit the ball up and providing you with a chance to attack.

How Big is the Kitchen in Pickleball?

The kitchen is a rectangle stretching across your side of the court, right up to the net. This special zone is a total of 14 feet wide (matching the width of the court) and 7 feet deep, extending from the net into the court.

It’s a sizable space, almost like a roomy country kitchen! Navigating this 98-square-foot area is a crucial part of the game, adding a hefty dash of strategy to the Pickleball recipe. So, get familiar with the size and learn to use it to your advantage! Find pickleball court dimensions here.


So there you have it, your complete guide to the Pickleball kitchen rules. With these tips in your arsenal, you’re ready to take on any opponent. Remember, practice makes perfect, and the more you play, the more naturally these rules will come to you.

Now, it’s time to take these rules from the page to the court. Grab your favorite pickleball paddle, portable pickleball net, and we’ll see you in the kitchen!


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