Pickleball Rules-Myths and Facts

I recently did a Pickleball Rules AMA -Ask Me Anything with Certified Referee and Referee Trainer @donstanley7189

Of course, there was a multitude of questions about the non-volley zone. One that always comes up is “When Can I Step in the Kitchen?”

What you didn’t see is after the segment was over, Don and I continued to talk about all the myths surrounding the non-volley zone. It seems we hear the same misconceptions and repeated questions. That’s when we decided it was time to do some MYTH BUSTING!

What other rules myths should Don and I try busting? Hit reply and tell us what you’d like us to tackle.

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I think that is one of the biggest debates I hear from different pickleball groups playing nearby and sometimes those I’m playing with.

I’ve actually been the culprit of spreading the pickleball myth that if you step in the non-volley zone (kitchen) any time until the next point begins… that it’s your fault that loss of point/serve. I’m pretty sure I saw this debate on another forum and that ended up being the conclusive answer. I feel like they even referenced a rule from the official USAPA rulebook, but I can’t recall.

One thing I’ve wondered about is about the pickleball serve. I’ve heard it said that it must be below the hip when the connection between the ball and paddle are made. I’ve played pickleball with a countless number of people and there have been a couple that have some funky serves… some of which the contact with the pickleball is very high. I’ve also seen the contact like a side-arm serve.

I’d like some clarification on that!

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@donstanley7189 would you like to weigh in on the serve?

This is a follow up to CJ’s latest video on “MYTH.” If I hit a volley at the NVZ and do not regain control of my body following my shot, but my shot is returned to me immediately by the opponent before I regain control of my body and the pickleball bounces in the kitchen, am I allowed to go into the NVZ to get the ball?

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Great question as many people believe if the opponent hits my shot back to me, this somehow “frees me up” to go into the zone. A key phrase in your question is “, , , and do not regain control of my body, , ,” Basically, some force has control of a player’s body: either momentum or the player themselves. So when you do regain control of your body, this means that momentum no longer is controlling your body and NOW you are free to enter the non-volley zone for any subsequent play. The specific rules covering this action are 9.B and 9.B.1.

Keep in mind that this “regaining of body control” is a judgement call by the referee and can involve many factors.

I hope this helps and I am always here to help.

Take care,


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@jordan Hey Jordan! Great question about the serve. They are tricky and it can be hard to detect an illegal serve! There are a couple key components that go into a legal serve:

a) Contact with the ball must be made below your waist
b) The top of the paddle head must make contact with the ball below your wrist

Sometimes people serve a little “cock-eyed” (their paddle isn’t straight up and down- it’s bent outward). That is getting closer to being an illegal serve, but again, so long as they are making contact with the ball below their waist and their paddle head isn’t “plateau-ing” level with your their wrist- it’s solid. Hopefully that helps provide some clarification. :slight_smile: You can also check out page 18 of the 2020 USAPA Rulebook for some neat-o graphics.

One more comment to add to the kitchen discussion. If you haven’t regained control of your momentum and your opponent hits a dink that “forces” you to go into the kitchen- that is still a fault. It is similar to being tagged because you couldn’t get out of the kitchen quick enough. Either let your partner attend to the ball while you regain control, or wait until it bounces close enough that you can hit it. Basically: It’s not safe to enter the kitchen until you are in control!

Great discussion about pickleball rules! I love it!

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Good points and please and one more component: “The server’s arm must be moving in an upward arc at the time the ball is struck…” 4.A.5.