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Practicing pickleball drills is an important way for pickleball players to improve performance and increase stamina. Drills might seem tedious, but they lead to many benefits on the court.
Pickleball wall drills, footwork drills, volley drills, groundstroke drills, and backhand drills are essential for players of all skill levels.
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Pickleball Drills for Beginners
Mastering basic pickleball footwork, volleys, groundstrokes, and backhands is crucial for beginners’ success.
Drills teach beginners how to keep the ball moving across the court and train players’ reflexes to respond quickly to movement. This practice also trains hand-eye coordination.
Playing pickleball requires high stamina. Performing drills improves stamina and cardiovascular fitness. Practicing with drills before a match is also a good way for players to warm up.
The following drills will improve a player’s ability to hit the ball and move across the court in a game.
Pickleball Footwork Drills
Many pickleball drills focus on the paddle or the ball, but neglect footwork. However, the feet control the power and speed of a player’s whole body, so mastering footwork improves a pickleball player’s total performance.
Toe Twisting Drill
Correctly positioning your feet and body to hit the ball improves your pickleball performance.
To practice this drill, start by facing forwards. Slowly twist your right knee and toes to the right, with your left knee and toes following.
Keep your left toes flexible, allowing for easy rotation. From that position, practice raising your paddle to hit the ball. Repeat the activity, but this time, twist to the left.
Pickleball Volley Drills
A volley is a shot taken at the net when the ball doesn’t bounce. The majority of points in a game of pickleball are won or lost at the net, so improving your volleys increases the chances of scoring points and winning games.
Volley Battle Drill
Performed with a partner, a volley battle involves hitting the ball back and forth to another person over the net without letting the ball touch the ground. This drill will improve your hand-eye coordination and speed.
Once you’ve mastered a simple volley back and forth over the net, practice volleying the ball to your partner from the right-side corner of the court to the left-side corner.
Wall Bounce Drill
This drill is ideal for practicing by yourself. Bounce the ball off a wall and catch it with your paddle before aiming at the wall again. This way, you’ll get used to responding to the ball coming toward you at various angles.
Don’t let the ball bounce before you return the shot. If the ball bounces, the activity will become a groundstroke drill.
Pickleball Groundstroke Drills
A groundstroke in pickleball refers to a shot made after the ball has bounced off the floor. Groundstroke drills help improve a player’s speed and ability to hit the ball accurately after one bounce, even at a challenging angle.
Wall Groundstroke Drill
For an easy way to practice your groundstroke as a single player. Hit the ball at the wall at an angle that causes it to bounce. Once the ball has bounced, use your paddle to catch the ball and hit it toward the wall again.
Partner Groundstroke Drill
To practice your groundstroke with another player, begin on opposite sides of the net and hit the ball to one another, making sure it bounces before you return the shot.
Pickleball Backhand Drills
A successful pickleball player must use a range of shots. Players aren’t always able to get into the perfect position to return a shot, so being able to use a backhand shot when needed is extremely useful.
Practicing backhand drills will make pickleball players more versatile and improve their chances of returning a shot.
Backhand Volley Battle Drill
This drill requires two players. Similar to the volley battle drill, both players start on opposite sides of the court and hit the ball back and forth without bouncing.
With the backhand volley bottle, there’s a twist. Instead of returning the volley with a forehand grip, return the shot with your backhand.
If you’re practicing without a partner, use a wall instead.
Pickleball Drills for Advanced Players
Once a player has mastered the basics of pickleball, the player will need to refine skills such as spin and accuracy, to be able to land the ball in exactly the right spot. One of the most effective ways to enhance these skills is with dink shot drills.
A dink shot is a controlled shot, executed from your own kitchen line, that aims to move downward after clearing the net and land near your opponent’s feet in the no-volley zone.
Dink shots make it difficult for the other player to return the ball because the player will have to let the ball bounce and then attempt to return it with an upward shot. This reaction is very difficult in pickleball.
Pickleball Dink Shot Drills
Cross-Court Dink Drill
This drill requires two players. Practice dink shots from one side of the court to the other, allowing you to refine the footwork and positioning necessary to perform this type of shot.
Triangle Dink Drills
Dink shots are useful in pickleball, but dinking the same spot repeatedly can alert your opponent to your tackle.
Draw three dots in a triangle around your practice opponent. Aim to dink all three dots, one after another. This drill will help you practice hitting various dink shots to keep your opponent guessing.
Best Pickleball Drills for One Person
Even without a partner, you can practice pickleball. One-player pickleball drills improve your hand-eye coordination, bodywork, and ability to control the ball.
Keep Up Drill
This simple drill improves hand-eye coordination and helps you find your paddle’s center of gravity. Hold your paddle parallel to the ground and place the ball on the paddle.
Hit the ball into the air and catch it with your paddle repeatedly. The aim of the game is to hit the ball into the air without ever letting it touch the floor.
Pickleball Wall Drills
Using a wall for pickleball drills is an effective way to practice your technique. Simply hit the ball against the wall and either let it bounce to balance your groundstroke or hit it before it bounces to practice your volley.
For an extra challenge, practice alternate forehand and backhand wall drills. Hit the ball at the wall using your forehand shot, then switch to backhand, and repeat.
Best Pickleball Drills for Two People
Pickleball drills using two players simulate a real game of pickleball against an opponent. Two people drills improve your stamina because you have to run across the court to return a shot.
These drills also help you practice using strategy against an opponent.
Skinny Pickle Drill
The skinny pickle drill is an excellent activity for advanced players wanting to improve their stamina. To practice this drill, play a regular game of pickleball, but only use one side of the court.
You’ll have to hit more accurate shots because you’re limited to a smaller area of play.
Transition After Serve Drill
This drill helps with speed and agility. Serve from the back of the court, then have your partner return the shot to just over the net on your side.
You’ll have to run back and forth across your side of the court, which will improve stamina, speed, and your ability to return a challenging shot.