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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Pickleball: Explained Q & D Video

As a USAPA Pickleball Ambassador and enthusiast, I am often asked to answer the question: What is pickleball? Luckily for me, most people asking the question have heard something about the sport and have a vague idea of how it is played.

It is a difficult answer to give in a quick and concise manner. It was originally developed as a family sport and because of that it has some interesting, others might suggest strange, rules! Let me just say that it is a lot of fun! Most people who try pickleball continue to play and many become “hooked.”


Pickleball-It's Like Tennis, only Better!
Picture Courtesy of Third Shot Sports

Mark Renneson of Third Shot Sports – Pickleball, who is a tournament player, coach and commentator, has created a relatively short and concise video that gives a quick explanation of the sport of pickleball. Keep in mind that this is just an introduction and viewers may have a number of questions. If you would like more information, leave a comment or question below and I will do my best to provide an answer.

If you want to get a good idea of what pickleball is, watch the video below:

NOTE – If you like the shirt pictured above and would like to purchase one, visit Mark’s website: Pickleball-It’s Like Tennis, only Better!

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



Pickleball – What I Noticed by Watching Others Play

A number of players…

#1 – have questionable serves.

The Serve

  • The serve must be made underhand.
  • Paddle contact with the ball must be below the server’s waist (navel level).
  • The serve is initiated with at least one foot behind the baseline; neither foot may contact the baseline or court until after the ball is struck.
  • The serve is made diagonally crosscourt and must land within the confines of the opposite diagonal court.
  • Only one serve attempt is allowed, except in the event of a let (the ball touches the net on the serve and lands on the proper service court; let serves are replayed).
  •  
    USAPA Rules Summary – The Serve

NOTE – The server’s swing must be in an upward arc as shown in the drawing below (p. 18 – USAPA & IFP Official Tournament Rulebook)


Upward air serve

 
Pickleball 101: The Basics of a Pickleball Serve

Additional information:

The Ultimate Guide To Serving In Pickleball

 
#2 – take step forward after serving and sometimes they are caught moving backwards trying to hit the return of serve. It is more difficult to hit the ball forward while you are moving backward. Taking a step backward while hitting the ball will result only in an arm shot which is difficult to hit precisely and usually will not have much power. Stay back waiting for the return of serve, but be ready to move forward if the return is short!

 
#3– are facing the net, i.e. parallel when hitting a groundstroke even if they have time to set up. This is known as an open stance; not generally good for a ground stroke. A groundstroke, either forehand or backhand, has more power when you can set up with your shoulder perpendicular to the net.

 
#4– when not receiving the serve, partners are waiting near the kitchen line and they do not watch the ball as it is served to the receiver. I have noticed some facing completely forward without ever turning around, but just waiting to see the ball hit the opponent’s side of the court. The non-receiving partner should watch the ball as it is served to the receiver.

a – The ball may be out and the receiver may not have called it. You then call it.

b – If the receiver hits a bad shot, you have time to react if you are watching the ball. If it is a pop-up and it will be coming back hard, take a few steps back to gain more time to respond.

c- Watching the receiver hit the ball may enable the non-receiving partner to determine where the ball is headed and prepare for the return by facing in that direction with the paddle up.

 
I hope beginning pickleballers and perhaps others find some of these observations and associated links helpful.

Have fun on the courts!

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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 – 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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Pickleball Paddle: Get the Lead Out!


Lead Tape for Racquet or Paddle Customization
Picture courtesy of Tennis Express

I am going out on a limb here by suggesting that most pickleball players probably do not know that some of the competitive and/or professional players add lead tape to their paddles to change the weight and feel.

Of course there are rules about what can and cannot be done with a paddle and still have it qualify for USAPA certification. I understand that many people don’t play in tournaments, but my personal philosophy is that I want to play with certified and approved equipment whenever I can.

Keeping that in mind, let’s consider what the rule book says about making changes to the paddle:

“2.E.5. Alterations. The only alterations or additions that can be made to a commercially made paddle are edge guard tape, lead tape, changes to the grip size or grip wrap, and adding name decals and/or other identification markings on the paddle face. Decals, markings, and tape can extend no farther than 1.0 inches (2.54 cm) above the top of the grip nor more than 0.5 inches (1.27 cm) inside from the outer edge of a paddle or paddle edge guard if in place. Altered paddles must meet all specifications.”

One of the professional players I follow, Sarah Ansboury, uses quite a bit of lead tape on her paddle. She has written an essay explaining why she does it and what some of the advantages might be.

She ends her blog post with encouraging players to try different things and experiment. Sarah says:

“You can buy 100″ of lead tape on Amazon for under $13, so experimenting won’t break the bank. You may find altering your pickleball paddle just feels more comfortable. And we all know comfort is a key to playing better pickleball.”

Read the entire blog post at the link below. Even if you don’t try it, I think it is an interesting option that many players don’t appreciate.

Should You Add Lead Tape to Your Pickleball Paddle?

 

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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 – 2018 – JBRish.com



Pickleball Video: All the Non-Volley Zone Rules and No No’s

VIDEO: Jennifer Lucore and Alex Hamner explain and clarify Non-Volley Zone faults.

This is the paragraph that accompanied the Pickleball 411 video above.

“Ever heard someone disagree about a non-volley zone foot fault? Look no further! This fun video is the most complete pickleball non-volley zone rule video ever! Packed full of information, it is a one-stop shop for you to have all your questions answered and learn more about the multi-faceted non-volley zone rule in pickleball. Hear from pickleball champions Alex Hamner and Jennifer Lucore alongside our host Rusty Howes, as they break down the non-volley zone rule in its entirety as well as show some helpful real-life examples of actual NVZ faults. Reviewed by the USAPA, this video is a necessity in understanding this fun game of pickleball!”

More Pickleball Videos and Information

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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 – 2018 – JBRish.com



Pickleballs: Condition Before Play

Onix Pure 2 Pickleball Package

Did you know that Pickleballs by various manufacturers MUST meet specific standards in order to be approved/sanctioned by the USAPA?

Here are some of the requirements for approved pickleballs:**

Size. The ball shall be 2.874 inches (73mm) to 2.972 inches (75.5mm) in diameter. The maximum out-of-round diameter variance shall not be greater than +/-0.020 inch (0.50mm). (revised Nov. 1, 2015)

Weight. The ball shall weigh between 0.78 and 0.935 ounces (22 and 26.5 grams). (revised Nov. 1, 2015)

Bounce. The ball shall have a bounce of 30 to 34 inches (76.2 to 86.4 cm) when dropped from a height of 78 inches to the top of the ball onto a granite surface plate that is a minimum of 12” x 12” x 4”. The test is to be performed at an ambient temperature of 75 to 80 degrees F (24 to 27 degrees C). (revised Nov. 1, 2015)

Hardness. The ball shall have a hardness of 40 to 50 on a Durometer D scale at a temperature of 75 to 80 degrees F (24 to 27 degrees C). (revised Nov. 1, 2015)

Design. The ball shall have a minimum of 26 to a maximum of 40 circular holes, with spacing of holes and overall design of the ball conforming to straight flight characteristics. The ball must have a manufacturer’s or supplier’s name or logo printed or embossed on it. (revised Nov. 1, 2015)

** International Federation of Pickleball (USAPA) Official Tournament Rulebook, Section 2D Ball Specifications – pp. 5-6

WOW! Aren’t those very specific and precise? Naturally there is a good reason for all of these regulations. The governing bodies want to make the sport as consistent as possible. There has recently been a series of ball approvals and when playing indoors in the Phoenix, AZ area, I notice that many of the players now prefer the Orange, Onix Pure 2 ball because it is easy to see in many of the gymnasiums which have uneven lighting conditions.

I am not sure all of those who purchase the balls have noticed the recommended conditioning on the side of the package. It is my guess that the manufacturer is recommending the procedure so the ball will behave in a manner consistent with the rules and regulations and provide uniform play. Without the conditioning noted above, the ball may bounce too high until it is used for several games, etc.

If you use the new Onix Pure 2 balls, it might be advisable to read the side of the packaging to make sure you are playing under optimal conditions. Here is what it says [Yellow outline supplied by me – not on the package ]:

Onix Pure 2 Conditioning Instructions

NOTE: You might want to check with other manufacturers if you use different pickleballs and this is important to you.!

DISCLAIMER: If you are a club player, and this doesn’t make a difference to you, then have fun and play on!

JBRish.com originally published this post

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