The general rule of thumb on the pickleball courts is to work your way to the Non-Volley Zone line as soon as possible, as most points in pickleball are won there. However, you can put you and your partner at a disadvantage if you move into the Non-Volley Zone line too early because of pickleball’s “2-bounce” or “3-hit” rule – in other words, the serve must bounce and the return of serve must bounce or, another way of putting it, the pickleball must be hit three times before you can volley it (a volley is a shot where you hit the pickleball in the air, with no bounce). With that said, when should you start moving in to the Kitchen line?
When you are the serving team, you should stay back at the baseline to prepare for the return of serve, since you are not allowed to volley a return of serve. By staying back at the baseline, you will give yourself plenty of room for the return of serve to bounce. One of the worst things you can do is move in after the serve, only to then quickly retreat in order to hit your opponents’ deep return of serve. Plus, remember, you always want to hit the pickleball out in front of your body, so do not unnecessarily jam yourself by coming into the court after your serve. So, stay at or slightly behind the baseline. After the third shot, you and your partner, as the serving team, should immediately move in to the Non-Volley Zone line.
Bottom line: Stay back after the serve and expect a deep return of serve from your opponents.