Relishing Pickleball

David Zapatka

Reader Liz Houser writes, “I just moved to SaddleBrooke in April and learned to play pickleball in early May, thanks to my enthusiastic neighbor Shawne. I just read your article about Common Mistakes 11 and 12. I found them to be very helpful. Would you be so kind as to send me the list of all 12, or are they on the pickleball website? I really enjoy the game and am trying to improve my play.”

Reader Vince Richey writes, “A pickleball player friend of mine said she was told that one could stand in the kitchen the whole game if they choose. She went on to describe different scenarios. I questioned that strategy, but because she was so adamant, I said I would find out if anyone else knew about this strange strategy. David, have you ever heard of this?”

No, I know of no one who would employ this strategy. Of course, you can play the entire game in the kitchen, but why? Pickleball players learn early they cannot hit a volley while standing in the kitchen or touching the kitchen line. Opponents could just hit the ball at you and win every point.

Vince’s question brings us to three common kitchen myths:

Myth #1: You can’t step into the kitchen until the ball bounces. Actually, you can be in the kitchen anytime you wish. You do not have to wait for the ball to bounce.

Myth #2: You must get out of the kitchen right away. Actually, you can stay in the kitchen as long as you wish; all day if you want.

Myth #3: Only one person can be in the kitchen at a time. Actually, you can both be in the kitchen at the same time and stay in there as long as you want.

In all three scenarios, however, if you hit a volley or are hit by a ball, it’s a fault.

There’s one more important rule to note. If you volley from behind the kitchen line then touch the kitchen with your paddle, step into the kitchen with your forward momentum, or drop any article of clothing or gear into the kitchen, it’s a fault.

Want to know more about the sport, the rules, equipment, or have some pickilicious news you would like to share? Email David Zapatka at [email protected]