Pickleball is a fun sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. It is played with a wiffle ball and paddles on a badminton-sized court.
One unique aspect of pickleball is the non-volley zone located near the net. This area is called the “kitchen.” Players are not allowed to hit volley shots while standing in the kitchen. A volley shot means hitting the ball out of the air before it bounces. So volley shots can only be taken behind the non-volley zone line.
When a player incorrectly hits a volley while standing in the kitchen, it is called a “volley llama.” Volley llama is slang used in pickleball for this illegal shot.
What is a Volley Shot?
A volley in pickleball means hitting the ball back to the other side of the court before it bounces. Usually volleys are hit when the player is near the net.
Volleys require quick reaction time and good hand-eye coordination. The paddle needs to make contact with the ball mid-air.
Volleys can be hit softly to just drop over the net. Or they can be smashed down with force.
Why Hit Volley Shots?
Volley shots are useful for a few reasons:
- Volleys can catch the opponent off guard. They don’t have time to react.
- Volleys hit downwards can be very difficult to return.
- Volleys hit near the net can have sharp angles. This makes them hard to reach.
- Volleys keep the ball moving quickly. This increases the pace of the rally.
- Good volley skills allow a player to move towards the non-volley zone. Being close to the net is an offensive position.
So volleys are an important attacking skill in pickleball when hit from behind the kitchen line.
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What is the Non-Volley Zone or “Kitchen”?
In pickleball, an area about 7 feet from the net on each side is marked off. This section near the net is called the non-volley zone or “kitchen.”
The non-volley zone extends completely across the court from sideline to sideline.
Non-Volley Zone Rules
It is against the rules in pickleball to hit a volley shot while standing inside the non-volley zone.
To make a volley shot, both of the player’s feet must be outside of the lines.
If any part of the foot touches the non-volley zone when hitting a volley, it is a fault.
The non-volley zone line is sometimes called “the kitchen line.”
Why is There a Non-Volley Zone?
The non-volley zone exists to prevent players from camping out at the net. Without it, games could become boring stalemates.
Keeping volleys behind the line encourages athleticism and rallies. Players have to move back and forth between offense (volleys) and defense (groundstrokes).
The non-volley zone helps create the fun, fast-paced gameplay pickleball is known for!
What is a Volley Llama?
Now that we understand volleys and the non-volley zone, what exactly is a “volley llama”?
A volley llama is when a player incorrectly hits a volley shot while standing inside the non-volley zone.
This is an illegal move and results in a fault.
Why is it Called Volley Llama?
“Volley llama” is slang used by pickleball players. It’s a silly name for hitting a volley from the forbidden kitchen area.
No one knows for sure how “volley llama” started. Here are some theories about this quirky pickleball term:
- “Llama” rhymes with “volley” – it’s a fun, catchy phrase.
- Llamas spit, and volley llamas represent “spitting” out illegal volleys.
- It relates to the idea of a “drama llama” – causing drama by breaking the volley rules!
- Llamas are uncoordinated animals. Volley llamas demonstrate poor coordination and positional skills.
So “volley llama” is now commonly used in the pickleball community to describe these incorrect volleys in the kitchen.
How to Avoid Volley Llamas
Volley llamas often happen by accident. In the heat of a rally, players may briefly forget about the non-volley zone boundaries.
Here are some tips to help avoid volley llamas:
- Know the non-volley zone lines. Be aware of your proximity to the kitchen area.
- Move back from the non-volley zone to hit volleys. Don’t get too close to the line.
- Only move forward toward the kitchen when the ball bounces. Then you can transition to non-volley shots like dinks.
- Call “kitchen” loudly if your opponent is close to the line, as a helpful reminder.
- If you make a volley llama by mistake, call the fault on yourself. Don’t wait for the opponents to notice.
With good court awareness and positioning, volley llamas can be prevented.
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Volley Llama – The Pickleball Lifestyle Brand
Beyond the slang term, Volley Llama is also a popular lifestyle brand for pickleball enthusiasts.
Volley Llama sells apparel, gear, accessories and more aimed at the pickleball community. Their products feature fun, trendy designs related to the sport.
The Volley Llama brand helps unite and define pickleball players and fans. Their products allow you to display your passion for pickleball.
There are also physical Volley Llama retail stores located inside some Chicken N Pickle restaurant/entertainment venues. For example, the Overland Park, KS location has a Volley Llama shop.
So the Volley Llama brand name represents the culture, community, and love of pickleball in a stylish way.
To summarize, a volley llama in pickleball refers to an incorrect volley shot made from inside the non-volley zone, near the net. This illegal move results in a fault.
The quirky term “volley llama” is slang used by pickleball players, combining “volley” and “llama” for a fun phrase. By learning proper court positioning, volley llamas can easily be avoided.
Volley Llama is also a retail brand that celebrates the pickleball lifestyle with their products and stores. As pickleball grows in popularity, you can be sure the “volley llama” name will stick around!