How Big is the Kitchen in Pickleball

For those new to the exciting world of pickleball, you may have heard the term “kitchen,” but you may be wondering what it means and how big is the kitchen in pickleball. In this article, I’ll demystify the role of the kitchen in pickleball by giving you key information to help you understand it better.

How Big is the Kitchen in Pickleball

Specific rules regulate each sport to promote fair play, pleasure, and healthy competition. Pickleball adds a unique touch with the “kitchen,” also known as the non-volley zone. It’s not a terrifying place; in fact, some people perceive it as a place full of game-winning opportunities.

So, let’s get started. Learn about the pickleball kitchen, its size, rules, and how to make it work for you in your next game.

What is Kitchen in Pickleball?

The non-volley zone also referred to as the “kitchen,” is simply a defined area where you are not permitted to volley the ball. That is its main goal.

What is Kitchen in Pickleball?
What is Kitchen in Pickleball?

Here’s an odd thing about pickleball: they have some weird phrases, one of which is “kitchen.” But where the name comes from is a mystery. Some people associate it with shuffleboard, a game in which landing your puck in a zone known as the “kitchen” or “10-off” loses you ten points. However, the actual origin of the term is unknown; no one knows where it comes from.

How big is the kitchen in Pickleball? Strategic Dimensions

So, you want to know how deep is the kitchen in pickleball, right?

The non-volley zone (NVZ), commonly known as the pickleball court kitchen, is delineated by court lines with particular pickleball kitchen dimensions. It is 7 feet back from the net and 20 feet wide, running parallel to the net. Remember that these measures include the width of the line marks, which are typically around two inches wide.

Safety Area
Safety Area

Let’s go into the specifics of its size now. The Pickleball Kitchen is 44 feet long and 20 feet broad by regulation. This makes it the smallest room on the pickleball court, but don’t let its tiny dimensions mislead you; it plays an important strategic function. It spans both sides of the court, spanning a 7-foot stretch from the net to the opposing sideline.

This provides a rectangular space of 140 square feet in which players must adhere to strict volley regulations. Despite its small size, the Kitchen is an important part of the game, requiring players to demonstrate elegance, precision, and tactical skill sets. Many consider it the stage for pivotal moments and good scoring possibilities in a pickleball match.

Kitchen Rules in Pickleball

Newcomers to pickleball may find the official kitchen rules perplexing.

This is something to consider like can you be in the kitchen in pickleball if you’re a tennis player who is used to going towards the net for volleys. When playing pickleball, it might take some time for this engrained behavior to change.

Kitchen Rules in Pickleball

However, there are only two occasions in which you must follow the kitchen regulations. When you understand these two rules, dealing with the non-volley zone becomes much easier.

Non-Volley Zone Rules

There are only two situations on the court where you aren’t allowed to volley the ball right away after making a shot. They are as follows:

  • If you smash the volley while standing in the kitchen or waiting in a queue in the kitchen.
  • If you volley with power from behind the pickleball kitchen line line, yet you have to walk into the kitchen to restore balance due to the force of your stroke.

Now, let’s go over some more regulations for volleying in the pickleball kitchen:

Non-Volley Zone Rules in Pickleball
Non-Volley Zone Rules in Pickleball
  • When volleying, keep both feet outside the kitchen (non-volley zone).
  • Make sure you stay outside the non-volley zone both before and after you strike the volley.
  • No part of your body, not even your fingers or toes, may come into contact with the non-volley line or non-volley area.
  • While volleying, your paddle, clothes, or other accessories must not come into touch with the non-volley zone or line.
  • It is referred to as a volley if you hit the ball immediately after it crosses the net and is moving in the direction of the receiving player.

What to do in the Kitchen (Non-volley) Zone

Controversy frequently swirls about whether or not can be in the kitchen in pickleball and what you can do, despite the rules openly saying what is restricted. The following activities are permitted in the kitchen zone:

What to do in the Kitchen in Pickleball
What to do in the Kitchen in Pickleball
  1. Momentum Move: After a volley, you can enter the non-volley zone if your momentum naturally takes you there.
  2. Stepping Through: You may walk through the non-volley zone and volley outside the court as long as both feet are outside the non-volley zone before smashing the ball.
  3. Crossing Over: You can walk or even jump beyond the non-volley zone to make a volley and land outside the court.
  4. Above-the-Zone Play: It is acceptable to volley a ball over the non-volley zone without touching it, as long as you do not go inside the zone.
  5. Bouncing Ball Play: Entering the kitchen to play a ball that bounces inside the non-volley zone is permissible since the non-volley zone restrictions only apply to volleys.
  6. Immediate Entry: Contrary to common perception, you do not have to wait for the ball to bounce before entering the kitchen. You can go in right away or, if you want, wait for the ball to bounce.
  7. No Time Limit: The non-volley zone can be used for as long as you need it. The only condition is that you cannot hit a volley while in the kitchen, so it’s best to leave before your opponent returns the next shot.

Bottom Line

The non-volley zone, fondly known as the kitchen, is crucial in pickleball, adding complexity and strategy to the game. Understanding pickleball kitchen size and regulations is a key requirement for all players, regardless of skill level. By adhering to these basic rules, players can engage in matches that are not only fair but also exciting, displaying their distinct skills and collaborative effort.


Is the kitchen the same size for singles and doubles play?

Yes, the kitchen dimensions stay the same for both singles and doubles matches in pickleball.

Can players step into the kitchen during a rally?

Yes, players are allowed to enter the kitchen, but they must stay away from hitting the ball on the full (volley) if their feet are in the non-volley zone.

Can players bounce the ball in the kitchen and then hit it?

No, bouncing the ball in the kitchen and then smashing it is not allowed. Before hitting the ball, players must ensure that both of their feet are outside the non-volley zone.

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