Know the Rules
Many players have been taught rules about the kitchen that just are not true. Often times someone becomes the “rules expert” at a local pickleball club, but misunderstands the USAPA rules and creates his or her own local lore. Take the time to read the rulebook, and review this post which debunks three common myths about the kitchen.
Know Your Tendencies
3 Kitchen Rules
- Kitchen Rule #1: When you are required to go into the non-volley zone to retrieve a ball, choose a shot that gives you plenty of time to get back into position. Usually, this means hitting a ball in any direction other than directly across from you. My preferred shot is crosscourt or deep to the middle. If you are unfamiliar with pickleball geometry, read this post.
- Kitchen Rule #2: Any ball that enables you to step forward means that you have more time and room to do something offensive with the ball. Being able to step into the ball, makes it easier to transfer your weight forward and hit a better shot.
- Kitchen Rule #3: This rule applies to every shot you hit in pickleball…even ones when you are in the kitchen. It doesn’t matter where you are on the court...every shot is all about you. We tend to get stuck on the “what ifs”…what is my opponent going to do. When we dwell on this we focus on defending against rather than doing what we want to do.
Changing our Tendencies
Now that we know our tendencies and we know the three kitchen rules, how do we go about changing our tendencies during a game? First, breathe. You will feel like you have more time to hit the ball if you exhale as you are hitting the ball. Second, consciously choose a target on each and every shot. Finally, extend through your contact point to guide the ball to its intended target. These things will keep the ball lower and deeper. You have a whole court to work with…make sure you use it.