As with all sports, practice makes perfect! You’ll find yourself playing better when you spend time developing your pickleball skills. Set aside a couple minutes to work on fine-tuning your game and have fun playing your favorite sport.
Here are several pickleball drills that can help you improve your game.
The Warmup (for all ability levels):
Walk, jog or run around the court lines to get your heart pumping. This helps you know the court better, and can diminish any confusion over which lines are for the tennis court and which are for pickleball.
The Up-and-Down (for all ability levels):
Hold your paddle in the hand you play with and the ball in your other hand. Toss the ball into the air over your paddle and begin to bounce the ball on your paddle. Keep bouncing the ball as many times as possible. This tunes your hand-eye coordination as well as helps you gather a “feel” for your paddle. Although this may be difficult for beginners, with a little practice you’ll see a noticeable improvement quickly!
Ready, Aim, Fire (for all ability levels):
Find a partner and an empty court for this fun drill! Have your partner stand directly across from you on the other side of the net, just behind the no-volley zone. Serve the pickleball so that it goes right to your partner. Your partner will catch it, and then serve it back to you. Now, each of you should find a new spot on the court to stand. Repeat the drill again, serving to each other and moving to various spots on the court. This will teach you how to accurately aim to specific areas on the court, as well as give you the ability to practice your serve.
Target Practice (for intermediate to advanced players):
For players who have mastered “Ready, Aim, Fire”, there’s a more difficult version. Using court tape or masking tape, place six 10”x10” squares on each side of the court, as shown in the diagram. Stand in the center of one side of the court and attempt to hit the ball so that it lands in each 10”x10” box. You can choose whether to serve, lob, or attack the ball. This drill practices hitting areas on the court that are difficult for opponents to return. This can either be a partner drill or individual. If playing by yourself, you only need to put targets on one side of the court. The drill can be adapted to hit areas you prefer, and you can move to various places on the court to make it more realistic. You can also change the size of the taped targets to increase or decrease the difficulty level.
Goal Setter (for intermediate to advanced players):
Find a partner and stand on either side of the net directly across from each other, behind the no-volley zone and “inside the lines”. Together, choose a number between 5 and 15. This will be your goal for the drill. You and your partner must achieve that number of touches in a rally while staying in your lines. The ball must stay between the sideline, endline, center line and no-volley zone line (as shown by the red box on the diagram). Once you achieve that number, you shift over to the other side of the center line. You repeat the drill for a second time, volleying for your goal number of touches again. Keep repeating this sequence until someone misses returning a ball, hits it into the net or out of bounds. This develops accuracy, consistency, and practices staying focused during an extended period of time.
Remember that all of these drills can be adapted for all skill levels! Have fun!