Why Is It Called The Kitchen In Pickleball? 3 Theories

It’s natural that a person’s mind can immediately go to the room where food is prepared” when hearing the word “kitchen”. Well, pickleball strikes again with using the term “kitchen”. Though, it is not new that it confuses the new players with these weird terminologies. So, today we came up with all the information that you need to know what is the kitchen, and why in the world it is called the kitchen in pickleball. 

Though, there are many theories that explain why the non-volley zone has such a strange name. Surprisingly, none of this theory is factual. This means that these just are made to understand and clarify “the kitchen concept” in pickleball. Since there’s no legal reason for using this name, it’s fun making theories and finding surprising facts related to it.

Kitchen in Pickleball:

Before we get into the question of why, you need to get an understanding of what is the kitchen in pickleball is?

“This kitchen is an area of the pickleball court present on both the sides, which can also be called the no volleying zone. Basically, it is similar to the no-service zone of the badminton court. It simply means that you cannot hit the first ball of the game or the first shot after a point standing in this area, and if you do, it is considered a foul and the point goes to your opponent.”

Kitchen in Pickleball
Kitchen in Pickleball

Not only that, but it is also a foul if you play the ball standing in the kitchen. In simple words, we can say that the kitchen is a no-hit zone, whether you are starting or playing, if your foot is anywhere on the line or beyond the kitchen, you just made a foul and lost a point to your opponent.  

However, you can play a shot in the kitchen if the ball has been bounced in your court before in that same play. You can use this trick so that you can bring your opponent so close to the net and then throw a long shot so that they fail to play, and you can get the point.

Why Is It Called The Kitchen In Pickleball?

There are possibly 3 theories why is it called kitchen in pickleball.

  • Theory of “if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.”
  • The shuffleboard’s kitchen zone is a “10-off” area where players lose points. The pickleball’s kitchen is taken from that. 
  • The founders had nothing left, so used the term “kitchen” making it easy to understand for the kids.

Let us simplify it for you. Taking the first theory “if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” it’s used because the kitchen rules are strict and that is related to the “heat word in the first phrase. It usually restricts players from going to that area, and similarly, the kitchen is the area where people need to be careful. Hence, it pretty much fits why the non-volley zone is referred to as the kitchen. 

Let’s come to the next theory that suggests that the word kitchen might be copied from the kitchen in the shuffleboard (you might know of it as the ‘10-off’ zone). This theory was developed because as we can clearly see that pickleball is a game created by borrowing stuff from other games such as ping-pong, badminton, and tennis, so it will not be as shocking if it uses borrowed terminologies as well.

Why Is It Called The Kitchen In Pickleball
Why Is It Called The Kitchen In Pickleball?

Finally comes the last theory that says that since the game was invented by three dads on a random evening, they did not give any thought and used random words to create interesting and unique terminology for the game and no one bothered to change and it has been like that ever since.

While these theories make sense, we will still give a little edge to the last one, because dads wanting to make the game interesting for their kids to play is the most reliable and reasonable justification for adding a kitchen in the game. Well, sadly, none of these theories are proven and people keep coming up with more. Though, you may also add up yours in the comment section, if you have heard any.


If you are Volleying or hitting a Volley, Yes! It is a foul. You must not be anywhere near the kitchen or as a matter of fact the kitchen boundary. It will automatically give the point to your opponent.

No! If you serve the ball and it lands in the kitchen of your opponent’s court, is it called an illegal serve and you will be charged a foul and lose the point. The serving power will be directed at your opponent for the next round. You need to make sure while you serve; you hit the ball enough hard that it crosses the kitchen, but not too much that it goes on the outside boundaries.

Well, if the game is being played officially, there must be a neutral umpire just like in cricket or any other sport, who has the power to call all kinds of fouls and violations in the game, including the kitchen violation. However, if you are playing unofficially, according to the rules of pickleball, any player on either team can call a violation and if it turns into an argument, according to the rules, the team who calls the foul will be given priority.

Final Verdict

Coming to an end, we have presented to you all the theories and all the information on them that have been providing the reason “why it is called the kitchen in the pickleball”. Even though it’s not clear which of these theories is the correct one, we still think using the term kitchen in a sport is weird. But at the same point, it also makes it unique and interesting, and we think it might not have gotten as much attention as it has if it were made of just simple sports vocabulary.

Let us know what you think about this, and which theory you believe in. And even if you have a theory of your own, let us know. Who knows? Your theory might fit the best. Till then, make sure if you ever play pickleball, don’t get into the kitchen because there’s no food there, but you might get a foul.

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