Pickleball paddle and ball

Kitchen Rules – Learn to play in the NVZ

One of the things that pickleball players have to master is how to play around the kitchen–the 7-foot area extending from both sides of the net.  Most people know it as the area that you can not step into and leave it at that.  But knowing what you can and can not do around the kitchen will help you strategize better. Learn the basics of kitchen rules and improve your game.

Kitchen Rules Violations

The only time you can enter the kitchen is if the ball bounces in the kitchen first. Everyone knows that you can’t volley inside the kitchen.  On top of that, you can’t hit a volley outside the kitchen and then land in the kitchen. What if you manage to land outside the kitchen? It is still a fault if you let your momentum lead you to step into it. And it is not only stepping into the kitchen in that situation that would count against you. No part of your body or anything that you are carrying or wearing may enter the kitchen. So, don’t try using your hands or your paddle on the court to break your momentum.

You may find yourself in a situation where you’re trying to keep from falling into the kitchen.  You can hope for your partner to rescue you and pull you back. Or you can try and jump so that you land outside the kitchen.  Try this if your footwork is good enough and you are close enough to the sidelines, .

Kitchen Strategies

The kitchen or non-volley zone on your side of the court is clearly a limitation on your gameplay.  It keeps you from playing near the net.  On the other hand, you can use the non-volley zone on your opponent’s side of the court to your advantage.  If you are on the serving team, you have to fight your way to the kitchen line.  Hitting a third-shot drop into your opponent’s non-volley zone will give you time to move up to your side of the kitchen line.  Getting caught in a firefight is another example.  You can hit a reset shot into the opponent’s side of the kitchen to help ease the pressure and get yourself into a better position.

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