Pickleball: Kitchen (NVZ) Help

After a pickleballer plays their first several games, they soon understand that the Non-Volley Zone (see diagram below) is often referred to as the Kitchen.


NVZ or Kitchen in Pickleball
Picture Courtesy of School Specialty – Modified for this post.

It is interesting to me that I will often be approached by a pickleballer who asks me: “Do I have to wait until the ball bounces to go into the kitchen?” or “When can I go into the kitchen?” At times, these are people who have been playing for years. Somehow a number of players are under the impression that it is a fault just to step into the kitchen; anytime.

As always, let’s check to see what the rulebook tells us about this situation. SECTION 9 of the 2019 USAPA & IFP Official Tournament Rulebook (pp. 36-37) goes into detail about the non-volley zone rules.

It seems to me there are four important subsections regarding this discussion.

9.A. All volleys must be initiated outside of the non-volley zone.

It is a fault if a person volleys the ball (hits it in the air. i.e without a bounce) while standing inside the NVZ. NOTE: It would also be a fault if a player volleys a ball and their foot is touching any part of the NVZ line even if the rest of their body is not in the kitchen.

9.E. A player may enter the non-volley zone at any time except when that player is volleying the ball.

It is not a fault to enter the NVZ at any time as long as that player does not volley the ball. A player can remain the NVZ the entire game if they wish. Of course this is not a good strategy and would be a rather absurd behavior, but there is no rule against it.

9.F. A player may enter the non-volley zone before or after returning any ball that bounces.

A pickleballer is allowed to enter the NVZ to return a ball that bounces. They may enter either before or after the ball bounces to return a ball that has bounced in the NVZ.

9.G. A player may stay inside the non-volley zone to return a ball that has bounced. There is no violation if a player does not exit the non-volley zone after hitting a ball that bounces.

A player may remain inside the NVZ after a bounced ball is returned. They do not have to exit the NVZ at any specified time interval.


NVZ Best Practice in General

Most accomplished players remain very close to, but not in, the NVZ during much of the game. If a ball falls into the NVZ and bounces, they quickly go after the ball, return it and then step back out of the NVZ. This enables the player to volley a ball that comes their way because they have vacated the NVZ.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out another important, and often misunderstood nuance about the NVZ highlighted below in section 9C.

9. C. – It is a fault if the player’s momentum causes the player to contact anything that is touching the non-volley zone, including the player’s partner.

9.C.1. It is a fault even if the ball is declared dead before the player contacts the non-volley zone.

A player’s momentum cannot carry them into the NVZ after a volley or it is a fault. Even if the ball is dead at the time, their momentum cannot cause them to step into the NVZ after a volley. A player may not touch their paddle down in the NVZ or drop anything into the NVZ or that too is a fault if it is done in the act of volleying.

NOTE – These are not the ONLY rules regarding the NVZ. I only selected those sections that help to answer the underlying basic question of when a player can enter the NVZ without creating a fault.

I believe any serious pickleball player can learn quite a bit by reading the USAPA & IFP Official Tournament Rulebook. You can order your copy HERE! You can also download a free PDF HERE.

If you have questions, leave them in the comment section and I will do my best to answer them.

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©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2019 – JBRish.com



Pickleball – You Make the Call – NVZ Partner Grab Answer

Original Scenario Posted on 20181016

The Scenario:

You and your partner are involved in a multi-shot exchange at the non-volley zone with the other team. After a couple of back-and-forths a ball is hit to your partner and he volleys it. In the act of the volley he begins to “teeter” toward the NVZ and it becomes apparent that he is going to step into the NVZ.

According to USAPA rules, it would be a fault if a player’s momentum forces him to step into the NVZ after a successful volley.

Would it be legal, according to USAPA rules, for you to grab your partner to pull him back to avoid his entering the NVZ after such a volley?

The Answer according to USAPA Rules:

It would be “legal” for a player to grab or pull their partner to prevent them from entering the NVZ and avoid causing a fault AS LONG AS the partner doing the grabbing is not themselves in violation of the NVZ rule, i.e. remains outside the NVZ during the maneuver.

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More Pickleball Videos and Information

To See additional Pickleball Videos & Information Click Here (primarily for beginners and less experienced players)

Check out Additional Pickleball Information and Videos! (for all players including average to more experienced players)


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2018 – JBRish.com



Pickleball – You Make the Call – 20181016 – NVZ Partner Grab

You and your partner are involved in a multi-shot exchange at the non-volley zone with the other team. After a couple of exchanges a ball is hit to your partner and he volleys it. In the act of the volley he begins to “teeter” toward the NVZ and it becomes apparent that the is going to step into the NVZ.

According to USAPA rules, it would be a fault if a player’s momentum forces him to step into the NVZ after a successful volley.

Would it be legal, according to USAPA rules, for you to grab your partner to pull him back to avoid his entering the NVZ after such a volley?

Leave your answer in the comment section! The answer will be presented next week (+/-) in a follow-up post.

 

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Pickleball Video: After the 3rd Shot – Then What?

To the net? Not to the net? That is the Question!

Pickleball players are taught from the very beginning that the “best” place to be is close to the net just behind the non-volley zone (NVZ) line. This is often true, but it isn’t always the case.

The serving team puts the ball in play (Shot 1) and stays back because of the two bounce rule. The opposing team will try to hit the ball deep (Shot 2) so the player returning the serve has an opportunity to advance to their NVZ.

As the video below points out, now comes the question – What does the serving team do after the third shot? Mark Renneson of Third Shot Sports explains: “That depends.” And he is so right.

Beginning players often run to the NVZ willy nilly no matter what, but that could be a big mistake. Watch the video to find out what you should do after the third shot. Read the note below the video which may also be very helpful.

 

NOTE – Did you notice the point Mark was making about how the players on each team should generally be at the same relative depth on their side of the court? Having one player back and the other up creates an angled zone with a big hole that is very hard to cover. Ideally, both players should be at, or very near the same depth on their side of the court.

More Pickleball Videos

To See additional Pickleball Videos Covering Many Aspects of the Game Click Here (primarily for beginners and less experienced players)

Check out Additional Pickleball Info and Videos! (for all players including average to more experienced players)


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017


Pickleball – You Make the Call – 20160121 – Answer

The Question:

A pickleball player is standing at the Non-Volley Zone (NVZ) and the front of his shoes curl up in such a fashion that they are actually beyond the NVZ line, but because of the curl, they are not touching the line.

A ball is hit to that player and he makes a return volley back to the opposing team. If an imaginary line was extended downward from the tip of his shoe to NVZ line his foot would have been over that line; is this a fault?

 

The Answer according to USAPA Rules Chairperson:

“The NVZ, including the NVZ line, is a two dimensional part of the court. So, the tip of the shoe can overlap the line, but if it is not touching the line at the time the player is volleying the ball it is not a fault. The shoe must contact the line in the process of volleying the ball for it to be a fault.” [emphasis mine]

 

To See Pickleball Videos Covering Many Aspects of the Game Click Here

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JBRish.com originally published this post

Pickleball – You Make the Call – 20160121

A pickleball player is standing at the Non-Volley Zone (NVZ) and the front of his shoes curl up in such a fashion that they are actually beyond the NVZ line, but because of the curl, they are not touching the line.

A ball is hit to that player and he makes a return volley back to the opposing team. If an imaginary line was extended downward from the tip of his shoe to NVZ line his foot would have been over that line; is this a fault?

Leave your answer in the comment section! The answer will be presented next week in a follow-up post.

 

To See Pickleball Videos Covering Many Aspects of the Game Click Here

Check out Additional Pickleball Info and Videos!

Pickleball: Run Do Not Walk to the NVZ (Video)

Every once in a while I find myself playing Pickleball (PB) with a player who does not feel comfortable playing at the net, i.e. near the non-volley zone (NVZ) line. Often these players are beginners so that can be understandable. When questioned, they report that they are not “good enough” or they can’t handle the fast balls.

Unfortunately, the best chances for winning the point are at the NVZ. Watch the expert matches, all four players will be at the NVZ as much as possible. Yes, a point can be one every now and then from the back of the court, but not consistently.

If a PB player wants to improve, they need to gain confidence at the Kitchen and what better way than by playing there? The brief video emphasizes this point.

>Mark Renneson breaks down the movement patterns of the best pickleball players after returning a serve.