Pickleball Drills: Wall, Footwork, For Beginners & Advanced Players

Pickleball Drills

Pickleball drills can be used to improve your pickleball skills without the pressure of competition. There are pickleball drills you can do alone, with a partner, or with the help of a wall. Pickleball drills are something that you never get too good for. Even the pros use drills to maintain their pickleball skills. If you want to start incorporating pickleball drills and aren’t sure where to start, you have come to the right place!

Pickleball Wall Drills

Target Wall Drills

Placing targets on a wall with tape or chalk makes wall drills easier because you have a stable reference point. This video shows how to use multiple targets to control where the ball is going. If the ball starts to go out of the target zone, correcting is easier than it would be on the court with another player.

Wall Dinks

Dinking is a critical part of any good pickleball game. This wall drill will improve your cross-court dinking skills. Once you’ve mastered it on the wall, you’ll be ready to take it to the pickleball court.

Wall Volleys

Improving your volley skills gives you a better chance of getting ahead and winning a rally! Volleying is when a ball is hit in the air before it hits the court during a rally. This video demonstrates how to practice wall volleys forehanded and backhanded.

Pickleball Drills for Beginners

Skinny Singles

Skinny singles is a way to play pickleball that only involves half the court. Playing skinny singles is one of the best pickleball drills you can do to improve your doubles gameplay. 

The moves used to make shots in skinny singles closely mimic those used when you’re playing doubles, but you only need one other player to practice the drill. This drill is also called the skinny pickle by some players.

Sweet Spot

When you’re playing pickleball, finding the sweet spot on your paddle is the key to improving your game – the sweet spot is the ideal spot on your paddle for the best combination of power, speed, and control. 

Finding the sweet spot takes time. Once you’ve found it, the goal is to hit the sweet spot as many times in a row as you can for great power and control of the ball. This skill also tests your hand-eye coordination. Remember, practice makes perfect!

Cross Court Dinks

Hitting cross-court dinks is one of the best things you can do when you find yourself stuck playing defense on the pickleball court. Having practice sessions that focus on improving your cross-court dinking skills will give you the confidence to pull it off when it counts.

If you feel like you’re always scrambling around the no-volley zone, add this pickleball drill to your next court time!

Drills for Two

Triangle Dinking

Photo Credit: pickleballuniversity.com

The triangle dink drill teaches you how to control where your dinks go. Players often make the mistake of dinking to the same spot each time, making it easy for their opponent to get the upper hand. Hitting dinks in a triangle dinking pattern will improve your hand-eye coordination and control over where the dink will land.

Ground Stroke

A good ground stroke is one of the things that sets pickleball and tennis apart. Tennis players aim to put a good topspin on the ball, while that’s not always the best move in pickleball. Adding a ground stroke drill to your next pickleball practice will help you and your partner know what to do when it’s time to hit the ball.

2 Ball

2-ball is a pickleball drill that uses two balls at the same time. Stand on each side of the net with a partner at the kitchen line. You each should have a ball. Start dinking your balls at the same time.

As soon as you hit a dink, you’ll have to be watching for your partner’s ball coming your way. The two-ball technique speeds up the learning process and better imitates what to expect in a real, fast-paced rally.

Drills to Do Alone

Paddle Bump

The paddle bump is one of the easiest pickleball drills to practice alone. The purpose of this drill is to get comfortable keeping the ball up using your paddle. You don’t need a court or even a wall, just your paddle and a ball! You’ll use all areas of the paddle to practice bumping the ball, not just the sweet spot.

Serve to a Target

Serving to a target is something that benefits new pickleball players more than advanced players. It’s a simple drill that will improve your skill level in no time! To do this drill correctly, place three targets inside the non-volley zone—one in the middle and one on each side. 

Next, practice serving the ball to a specific target. You might be surprised to see how far off target you are at first! Consistent practice will improve your control, and soon you’ll be hitting the target every time.

Solo Dinking

If your dinking game isn’t up to par, constant practice with solo dinking is a must. To use a solo dinking drill, players stand to the side of the net so they can easily move from one side of the court to the other. Dink the ball over the net, then hit a dink back from the other side. Continue to switch sides until the ball is out of reach or you’re exhausted!

Moving back and forth is a great drill to improve the speed of your dinking, and you’ll become more aware of where the ball is going. If you dink too hard, the ball will be too far away to reach before it hits the ground.

Pickleball Footwork Drills

Get to the Kitchen

One of the worst moves you can make when you’re playing pickleball is to get stuck behind the kitchen line playing defense. This footwork drill will improve your time and accuracy, getting you into the kitchen faster! Getting to the kitchen allows you to start a rally with your opponent and hopefully score a point.

Split Step

A split step is one of the most important pickleball lessons to help your balance and control the court. By using a split-step motion before you hit the ball, you’ll be in control of your body instead of letting your body lead how you hit the ball.

Speed & Agility

This is one of the few pickleball drills that doesn’t require any pickleball equipment. You will need a court, though. Running through sport-specific exercises that imitate the movements you’ll use when you’re playing will prepare your mind and body. The more you make those motions, the quicker and smoother you’ll be able to move during a game.

Drills for Advanced Players

Two Touch Drills

Two-touch drills are just what they sound like – hitting the ball twice before returning it to the other side. Two-touch drills are advanced moves that allow you to get the ball exactly where you want it before dinking it to your opponent. This drill will improve your dinking accuracy and overall confidence during a real game.

The Side Burns

The Side Burns
Photo Credit: backcourtpickleball.com

This drill can help two players work on two different skills at the same time. One player will hit the ball cross-court, down the line, and in any other direction they want. The job of the second player is to remain stationary in a ready position to hit every ball back. The serving player gets to focus on their control by sending the ball in different directions.

Hitting the ball high and hard enough to make it back without moving your body is harder than you think! If you’ve never practiced this skill before, don’t get discouraged. Just keep trying. It takes a lot of muscle strength and sheer skill to pull off this drill successfully.

Third Shot Drop

Third Shot Drop
Photo Credit: pickleballkitchen.com

The third shot drop is the shot that happens after the serve has been returned. The drop shot is meant to land near the net in the opponent’s no volley zone. Drop shots give you time to get close to the net yourself, so you’re in a better position to rally. 

Longer rallies happen when the third shot drop is well-executed, so practicing this skill is a no-brainer!

Bottom Line 

Start incorporating drills into your routine ASAP if you want to continue improving your pickleball skills. Having the right pickleball gear to play a comfortable, confident game is important too. You’ve come to the right place! View more of our pickleball content for specific product recommendations, pickleball knowledge, and updates on your favorite players.

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