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  • Writer's pictureBen Lacy

Someone's in the kitchen with...

So....the big question is always "When can I go into the non-volley zone?" We all know pretty well that being in the 'kitchen' AND hitting a volley is a fault for the team that strikes the ball. BUT a major misconception I have encountered during my time as a referee and coach is when you allowed as a player to step onto the part of the court defined as the NVZ (kitchen).

And the most common misconception is "The ball must bounce before I can step in." WRONG...WRONG...WRONG. The example I use with my students is regarding the ball that rolls along the top of the net after being struck by the opponents, then falls straight down onto your side of the net. The top of net is 36 inches from the playing surface. How long does it take for a ball to drop three feet?

Less than 0.5 seconds! If a player had to wait for the ball to bounce before being allowed to step into the NVZ, you could never reach that.

The simple answer is "YOU MAY STEP IN ANYTIME!" There are no rules restricting when a player may enter the NVZ. The restriction is what you can do once you step in.

Section 9 of the USAP rulebook is entirely dedicated to the NVZ, but let's look at one rule in particular. That is rule 9.E

A player may enter the non-volley zone at any time except when that player is volleying the ball.

So, from a referee's perspective...hang out in the kitchen all you want! Just don't volley the ball.

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