No valley zone in pickleball is a rule that is used in tournament play. This rule states that the ball must be hit in the air and not touch the ground in between the two players’ paddles. If the ball does touch the ground, the point is awarded to the other team.
Using the no valley zone wisely can be the key to success in pickleball. In this guide, we will cover what the no valley zone is, how to use it to your advantage, and some common mistakes players make in this area.
What is the No Volley Zone in Pickleball?
The no volley zone is an area of the pickleball court that has a special rule applied to it. If you are inside the no volley zone, your opponent may not hit any balls at or overhead height until they have left this area on their side of the net. Your opponents must also be outside of this line before you can hit the ball over head height yourself.
The no volley zone is as follows: on each side of the net, a line that extends from sideline to sideline and goes through both sidelines at their closest point (this forms two triangles). The back boundary of this triangle is where your opponent’s serve box will be located if they are serving. This area of the no volley zone is also where your opponent’s service box will be located if you are receiving their serve.
How can it affect your play on the court?
This can make it tricky to play pickleball, as shots that normally would be considered a “kill shot” must now either go low or high instead of overhead height. As with most rules in sports, there are some exceptions to this rule. If either player is serving, they cannot be in the no volley zone when the ball goes overhead height.
Likewise, if your opponent hits a shot that you believe is going out of bounds before it reaches this point on their side of the net (or if it comes close enough for you to question whether or not it went out), you may call no volley. If this is the case, your opponent must leave the court immediately and cannot return to hit a ball overhead height until they are back in bounds on their side of the net.
If your opponent hits a shot that crosses into the “no volley zone” but does not go overhead height, you can choose to either let your opponent hit the ball or call no volley. If you decide to not allow your opponent to hit a ball that crosses into this area of the court until they have left it on their side, then you are taking away one of their options in hitting shots.
If none of these situations apply to you, feel free to hit a ball overhead height when in the no volley zone. You can also choose not to let your opponent hit a shot until they have left this area of the court if it is on their side and they are going for a kill shot.
No-volley zones do add an element that takes getting used to, but once you have learned the ins and outs of this zone, it will make for an interesting game.