Celebrate International Women's Day with a FULL day of fun, relaxation, and sexy activities! March 8 from 8 am to 5:30 pm. (Nonmembers call to reserve your spot!)

«  View All Posts

Myths Of The Pickleball Kitchen Debunked

March 12th, 2021 | 3 min. read

By Jen Azevedo

Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports of the century and it's only becoming more and more popular. 

If you are new to the sport, as many of us are, it is important to learn the rules in all of their nuances so you can maximize your points and minimize faults.

Paseo Club is a social club in the Santa Clarita Valley that offers a comprehensive pickleball program with drop-in play, drills, leagues, and tournaments. 

In this article, we will help teach you everything you need to know about "the kitchen" on the pickleball court. Read on!

65684b2b-fe46-4574-af0b-2fb4419bb504Where is that confounded Kitchen?

I’ve heard many misconceptions and much confusion about the portion on either side of the pickleball court known as the “kitchen”.

The where is easy, it’s the box on each side of the court that extends seven feet from the net. Nobody seems to know. The actual name for that area on the court is the non-volley zone or NVZ. The term kitchen most likely comes from the game of shuffleboard. 

Most people “think” it’s a place where you don’t want to be so maybe that’s why the name kitchen was adopted. My theory is that it was derived from the phrase “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!”

Things can get hot in the kitchen but not to worry, that’s why we’re here today, to cool off those misconceptions and set things straight. Let’s get to it.

comp_6 (1)-min-1The non-volley zone

If everybody called it by its real name, the non-volley zone or NVZ instead of the kitchen it would help a great deal, but hey, it’s just way easier to say the kitchen right?

So, as the name says right in it, you cannot hit a volley from that zone of the court. A volley is a ball that is hit out of the air after it has crossed the net and has not bounced before it is struck. 

The NVZ is only the area on the surface of the court, not the three-dimensional space above the NVZ.

Therefore you may reach across the NV Line and hit the ball as a volley above or over the NVZ just so long as no part of your body or anything attached to your body touches or falls into the NVZ or touches the line. So that means if you drop your paddle, or your keys or sunglasses in the box or it touches the line it’s a fault. A fault means that play then stops and you lose the point or the serve.

DJI_0089What you can do in the kitchen

A few things you can do in the kitchen:

  • You can step into the NVZ anytime just so long as you have both feet outside the zone before And after you hit a volley.
  •  You can stand in the NVZ all the time (I don’t recommend it) just let the ball bounce before you hit it.
  • You can step in to hit the ball on the bounce before it bounces in the NVZ.
  • You can grab your partner and keep them from falling into the NVZ, just so long as you are not in or touching the NVZ.

DJI_0080What you CAN'T do in the kitchen

These are just a few of many faults that can occur in the kitchen, er, I mean non-volley zone.

  •  Hit a volley from inside or touching any part of the NVZ
  •  Have your momentum carry you into the NVZ as you or after you hit a volley.
  •  Even if you lose your balance and fall in after the ball has bounded twice or ten times, doesn’t matter.
  •  If you knock your partner’s paddle out of their hands into the NVZ as you volley.
  •  You cannot have your paddle touch the court in the NVZ as you volley.
  •  You cannot have anything attached to your body or in your pocket fall into the NVZ as you volley, like your hat, keys, or cell phone.

IMG_2601 (1)Joining the Paseo Club's pickleball community

In this article, you get some insider tips all about the kitchen or non-volley zone on the pickleball courts. Hopefully, you can apply this newfound knowledge in your next pickleball games. 

The Paseo Club has a passionate crew of pickleball players who love to jump into all of the pickleball options at the club. You can book a lesson or join a drill.  

The Paseo Club is not just for pickleball. It is a social club with over 60 fitness classes to choose from each week, tennis, and swimming. There are also awesome amenities such as a spa, childcare, cafe, and clubhouse.

If you would like to check out our courts and meet our staff, schedule a tour today! It will be worth it!

Schedule a Tour


Jen Azevedo

Jen Azevedo is a person of many talents. She is a tennis professional, pickleball professional, personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and the general manager of the Paseo Club. She loves the community at the Paseo Club and that it is also a safe and fun place for her daughter. Jen’s favorite activities are joining her tribe for trail races or her partners for tennis matches. Occasionally Jen slows down to relax with a book — she reads over 100 a year!