By: CJ Johnson | July 3, 2018 |

Playing Tip: Just Cause It’s Legal

Just because something is legal, doesn’t mean it is smart.


You are permitted to stand in the kitchen, but doing so will only get you in trouble. When you are in the kitchen, you can’t do anything until the ball bounces. And, you become a big target for your opponents to aim the ball at. If you get hit, you lose the rally.

When you are receiving serve, it is legal to stand inside the court or outside the baseline, or anywhere else. The smart money is on standing just behind the baseline, allowing room for a deep serve to bounce in bounds before you strike it.

When your partner is receiving serve, there are many places you might choose to stand. Most players stand behind the kitchen line on their side of the court where they can pivot to watch whether the serve is in or out of bounds.  Being up front gives you a good chance to block the opponents’ next shot. Some players at the kitchen line choose to move wide while their partner is receiving, giving their teammate a full view of the oncoming serve. Others like to crowd the center line, blocking part of the server’s landing area view.

Smart players learn what works for them and adjust their position based on their partner’s and their opponents’ skill levels.

Bev writes a weekly email blast for our pickleball club. She delivers the rules with clarity and a sense of humor. If you have a rules question post it in the comments below.

CJ Johnson

Hey there — I’m a professional three-sport athlete and coach who has spent my entire adult life earning a living from playing and coaching sports. Since I started coaching more than three decades ago, one thing has remained the same: My commitment to see students not as they are but as what they can become and to move heaven and earth to help them realize their untapped potential. You should know that when it comes to helping pickleball players over 50 live their best lives on and off the courts, I'm an expert. Good pickleball is not just technique; it's the mind and body working holistically. That's why I'm also a personal trainer and weight management specialist. When I’m chillin', you'll find me watching Star Trek with my husband John and our two fur babies, Shirley and Ralph. (Yes, Happy Days)