Many people who play pickleball for the first time find themselves unexpectedly addicted. They start to eat and sleep America’s fastest growing sport. And part of that process often involves finding pickleball drills that will help take their game to the next level.
While there are pickleball drills for players of all skill levels, this article will focus on pickleball drills for beginners. After all, if you’re just starting, you need to master the basics before moving to more advanced techniques. So grab your pickleball paddle and let’s get started.
Forehand Drop Shot
One of the most important pickleball drills for beginners is what’s known as the “forehand drop shot.” This is an excellent drill for pickleball players of all levels, but it’s vital for beginners. The reason is that it helps you develop proper stroke technique and teaches you to place the ball where your opponent can’t reach it.
To perform the forehand drop shot pickleball drill, start by standing at the non-volley zone line, which is seven feet from the net. From there, hit a series of forehand drop shots over the net, making sure the ball lands within pickleball court boundaries. If you have a pickleball buddy to play with, you can have them feed you shots, and you can master consistently slicing low cross-court shots over the net into the kitchen. If you’re alone, you can use the Lobster or similar ball feeder and develop the shot further.
Backhand Drop Shot
Another great pickleball drill for beginners is the “backhand drop shot.” This pickleball drill is similar to the forehand drop shot, except that you hit the ball with your backhand instead of your forehand. As with the forehand drop shot, the goal is to place the ball where your opponent can’t reach it, and the closer it lands to the net, the better. Mastery of this pickleball shot will allow you to pull your opponent “off” the court and give yourself a wider surface area to put them away for the point.
Some pickleball players like to conduct drills using a wall or a rebounder. A rebounder is a pickleball training device that allows you to hit the ball against a wall or net and have it come back to you. This can be a great way to work on your pickleball skills, especially if you don’t have anyone to play with. If you do not have a rebounder, you can utilize any wall to practice your shots. Just keep in mind that repeated abuse against a wall will speed up the demise of your pickleball ball.
Another pickleball drill you can conduct is to practice your pickleball serve toss. A pickleball serve might seem like an innocent part of the game, but it can be the difference between winning and losing.
You want to be able to place your pickleball serve where your opponent will have a difficult time returning it. Of course, that varies by player. One of the best pickleball skills you can develop is being able to place your service where you want it. Grab a bucket of balls and practice different types of pickleball serves–placement is king! This pickleball drill will help your muscle memory through repetition, which will allow you to target different parts of the court on demand, praying on your opponent’s weakness. Unlike in-game action, how you serve is under your full control.
Another popular pickleball drill is the “Sweet Spot” exercise which helps you figure out the best place to hit the ball on your paddle. While you might think that the sweet spot is in the dead center of your pickleball paddle, that’s not always the case. Finding the sweet spot on your pickleball paddle can help you maximize power and control with each stroke. To conduct this pickleball drill:
- Grab a pickleball ball and try to keep the ball in the air by dribbling it upwards.
- Pay attention to where on your paddle the ball makes contact.
- Be aware of the sound, vibration, and most importantly, the feel. You might find that the sweet spot is slightly off-center, or higher or lower than you thought.
- Experiment with different strokes and speeds.
The sweet spot is hard to explain, but you know it when you find it!
Pickleball is a fast-moving sport that requires excellent hand-eye coordination and hand speed. To improve your reaction time, try the “ball-on-a-string” pickleball drill. This exercise is conducted by attaching a pickleball ball to a string (or a long elastic band) and tying the other end to a stationary object. Then, hit the ball with your paddle, keeping it in the air. As you get better at this pickleball drill, increase the speed you hit the ball. This pickleball drill will help improve your hand speed and coordination.
Pickleball is a great sport for all ages and skill levels. With a little practice, anyone can become a pickleball pro!