My friend Bill from Laguna Niguel, CA asks: “I currently play pickleball at the 4.0 to 4.5 level and want to get to 5.0. What drills would you recommend to help me get there?”
Hello Bill, great job at being at the 4.5 level and striving to do more. One of my favorite drills is called the Hot Hands Drill which can increase your speed, power, balance and footwork. Actually, I must say that when I first did this drill years and years ago with my dad for tennis it definitely was not my favorite – I was a bit scared. My dad would blast tennis balls at me and either I had to move to hit it or be hit. So I must say that this drill did give me the quick hands I have today.
Hot Hands Drill: Stand at kitchen line and have someone on the opposite side of the court feed hard pace balls to you from the baseline – vary from left to right. This will help increase your hand speed and reaction time. Start slow and progress with pace.
Another pickleball drill that is simple and usually overlooked is practicing a variety of serves. Practice serving both deep and short varying from left to right sides. The ability to “mix” it up can pay dividends.
It’s subtle improvements and consistency that will take you to the next skill level.