You may have the impression that drills are boring and that you just want to get playing! But, seriously, drills can be fun and are an excellent way to improve your game, get loosened and warmed up and get focused before a game.
The below drills will help a range of areas including speed, accuracy, endurance, hand eye coordination and reflexes.
Pickleball Drills for One Person
Let’s get warmed up shall we? If you’re all by yourself, don’t worry you can still do some great pickleball drills that will up your game.
For this simple drill you’ll just need a pickleball and a paddle. Start by bouncing the ball lightly on the face of the paddle up in the air.
- First, keep it low and in control and bounce it for a while until you get the feel for it
- Next bounce the ball higher and higher, straight up on the same side of the paddle, always keeping it in control.
- Switch the paddle face on each hit
- Bounce the ball from the tip of the paddle up to the grip and back and forth
Okay for this next set of drills you’re going to need a WALL. Preferably a wall onto which you can either draw a chalk line or put up tape to simulate where a pickleball net would be.
Remember as we learned in How high is a pickleball net? the net is 36 inches at the posts on the side and goes down to 34 inches at the center.
One very simple drill that is great for building up your accuracy and stroke consistency is to create a box above the line you created in the previous step. Now stand back (might want to draw line or tape a spot) 7 feet away from the wall.
Hit the ball at the box target you created and let it bounce back at you and try to get it as consistently in the target as you can.
Alternatively you can keep the ball in the air after hitting the target and continue to hit it back to the wall in the air as you get closer to the wall. Now try doing it by switching back and forth between forehand and backhand. Check out the details in this video:
Now that you’ve got that down. Check out these additional variations you can try on the wall using a similar setup. You can hit it hard high up to lob it back and chase it down. You can also take a few steps back and work on your powerful groundstrokes. You’ll need to chase the ball down as it bounces back every which way.
Now vary your shots:
- Start hitting it high up the wall and let it go lower and lower (and faster and faster)
- Focus on back hand for a while
- Switch to fore hand.
- Switch back and forth between fore hand and back hand.
You really want to get fancy? Buy your own personal pickleball machine to serve you a variety of shots. The most reasonably priced one (though still expensive in my book) is the Lobster Sports Pickleball Machine (affiliate link). It holds up to 135 balls and can serve up a variety of shots for you — going up to 60 miles per hour!
Pickleball Drills for Two
So now you’ve got someone else to drill with, great! Here are a bunch of options for getting warmed up and drilling to improve your game with a partner.
Diagonal kitchen volley, cross-court dinks: Set up diagonally across the kitchen (if you’re new to the game, that means, one player stands on the right hand side of the court just behind the line that is 7 feet from the net — the kitchen line). Now each of you stay generally where you are and play diagonally across to each other. Play both forehand and back hand. Then switch sides so you are both on the left. See how many times you can get it over the net.
Straight across the net: similar to the above, but this time set up right across from each other at the center of the net at the kitchen line. Volley back and forth without moving too much from your position. See how many times you can volley it back and forth without stopping.
Ground stroke to kitchen line: One player stands back on the base line and hits strong ground strokes to the opposite player who is standing at the kitchen line. See how many you can do and then switch positions.
If you want some visual instruction for these drills for 2:
Keep it in the air: Both players stand at the pickleball line and hit it back and forth over the net always keeping it in the air. Again, try to get a rally going as long as you can.
Got any other drills you love? Drop me an email or add a comment below.