The No-Volley Zone (NVZ) a.k.a The Kitchen
Can you stand in the kitchen while waiting for the ball to bounce?
“Hi! We have some confusion in our new pickleball league about the no volley rule. I know you have to wait until the ball bounces in the no-volley zone before you can play it. But my question is – can you be standing in the no-volley zone whilst waiting for the ball to bounce? And then hitting it? Just wondering because it would be impossible to return a ball that came off the net and bounces straight down near the net if you had to wait outside the no-volley zone until it bounced first. Most of the time you can’t get to it. ”
Great question! This is confusing to a lot of new players. (Please note: I use the terms NVZ and kitchen interchangeably in this explanation.)
Technically, the rule is, you cannot be in the NVZ WHILE volleying the ball. Therefore, to answer your question, a player CAN be in the NVZ before they hit it and while waiting for it to bounce, whether the ball “dribbles” over the net or bounces deeper in the NVZ.
In fact, theoretically, as long as you never volleyed a ball, you could spend all day in the NVZ.
Here’s the catch though: If you ARE standing in the kitchen and your opponent hits the ball at you fast (so that it’s NOT going to bounce in the kitchen), you are NOT allowed to volley the ball (as per the NVZ rule), so you would most likely lose the point.
That’s why the trick is to get OUT of the kitchen as quickly as possible after hitting a ball that has bounced in the kitchen.
At the higher levels, if a player is slow to get out of the kitchen after hitting such a shot, their opponents will most likely hit the ball directly at the player, forcing them to fault because the player is unable to get out of the NVZ in time to volley the ball.
If the ball hits (or is caught by) the receiver’s partner on the serve, whose point is it?
The opponent was serving to my partner. I was at the NVZ net and the server almost hit me with his serve. I said, “Did you realize that if you hit me, it would be your point.” He said I was not correct. What do you say?
Also if I am still at the net, and the serve goes astray, and I catch it in the air, I say it is their point. Am I correct?
Officially, you are absolutely correct on both questions. In tournament play, if the server’s partner (or the server, for that matter) gets hit by or catches the ball before it bounces, the point is automatically warded to the server. In recreational play, however, if a served ball is obviously astray, it is common practice to catch the ball simply to save the time/energy of chasing it.
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