Pickleball drills to get to the next level

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.

3 comments on “Pickleball drills to get to the next level”

  1. I love your blog website! I am always looking for ways of improving my game and keeping my energy level high everyday that I play and avoiding injuries. The plantar facitis has been a burden for me and so far the best thing for me is some deep massage to the area and keeping the area stretched and rest it occasionally.
    Thanks for all your effort in making this sport so fun!

  2. We do a “hot hands” drill when we warm up. We both stand at the kitchen line and volley,…slowly at first then harder and harder until it becomes a reaction. You’d be amazed how that helps. We also work on hitting a hard groundie then a soft shot to the kitchen next,….mixing it up from shot to shot is important. I think being able to consistently hit that soft shot from the back court into the kitchen is huge in advancing your game.

    1. I agree with everything you’ve said here. In addition let me tell you what we do here where we play mostly indoors.
      During warmup/practice I actually stand in the kitchen doing volleys for players on the other side to practice their timing for ground strokes. Much like we do in tennis. It really helps both players, net and backline(baseline), tremendously. Yes we mix it up with soft drop shots too. Have fun!

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