The Pareto Principle, 20% of your actions will account for 80% of your results. Today, I’m going to take you through the 20% of drills that will skyrocket your pickleball game to new heights and as little as 10 minutes per session. You can use these as a warm-up or just as a means of drilling either way. These are drills that every pickleball player should know.
Read this full article and you’ll have a way better understanding of how to effectively practice so that you can dominate wreck play. I guarantee that if you’re stuck in 3.0to 4.0 prison using all these drills together, it will be your ticket out. To start, I want to go over the most important shot in pickleball to practice. If you’re a player in the 3.0 to 4.0 range, odds are you struggle with this to a certain extent.
Drill Number 5
At number five on our list. I want to go over the most standard way to drill our drops. The best way to do this, in my opinion, is to have one player back and one player up. The player who’s back should try to use their drops to make the ball land in the kitchen while the player that’s up trying to hit consistently deep volleys that allow the back player to do this. The higher level that the back player is, the more difficult the net person should make their volleys so that it’s challenging.
Some key things to consider here are that if you’re back, you’re focusing on your positioning. It’s very difficult to hit an effective drop If you’re out of position, try to take as many adjustment steps as necessary so that you can always move forward through the ball.
I’m not going to go too much into the technique of the drop, but just know that this is one of the most difficult shots to get the hang of in pickleball.
If you’re newer, then there’s a good chance you don’t make it consistently. The key is that when you drill, whenever you hit a good one, you try to replicate it on the next shot. You really need to be intentional in order for this to work. Even if you’re missing most of them, you’ll still make progress and be better when you do it the next time. It sounds cliche, but this is really the type of thing where you need to trust the process.
In terms of specific ways to do this drill, you should go cross-court as well as down the line. Theoretically, it should be easier to drop cross-court, so make sure to practice these as well. An important thing to consider is that if you’re the net person, you focus on hitting consistently deep and low volleys at your partner’s feet. This drill is beneficial for the volley too, so don’t neglect your net game just because you’re eager to work on your drops.
But focusing on drops again, the shot will be most critical to your success in our final drill. So make sure that you have the shot down. If you want to do all these drills in sequence. Trust me, guys, getting your drops down can be the difference between being a 3.5 and a 4.5 player.
So if there’s one drill to implement from today, it’s this one that said your effective drops won’t matter if you can’t dominate at the net. In my opinion, once you have effective drops, your net game will be the most important thing to practice.
Drill Number 4
At number four on our list, we have a quick hands and volley drills. Everyone knows that one player that has ridiculously fast hands there at the net, you might as well just play it safe and hit to the other player. The drills I’m about to go through will get you one step closer to becoming that player.
Usually, we want to do volley drills with both players directly in front of each other at the kitchen. There are a bunch of different variations that we can go through, but the most common is just to go back and forth with each other like this.
In the beginning, start off slow. Then as you get warmed up, you can increase the speed so that you can get more comfortable at the higher pace.
After a while, you can start off each rally with a few balls back and forth, then go into a half-court hands game where you practice winning real points. It’s pretty simple, guys. As long as you have the right technique, your hands will get faster the more you do these drills, it’s all about repetition.
An important thing to keep in mind is that we almost always use volleys in combination with dinking. Don’t worry, we’ll go over how to drill these together later in the article. But realistically, you do need an awesome partner to do these volley drills with. So make sure to send this article to your main pickleball buddies.
Drill Number 3
If you don’t have a partner to drill with all the time, which unfortunately most of us don’t, then I have the perfect solution for you. I personally believe that this next way of practicing can be the difference between improving and plateauing for many players. That’s right. I’m talking about wall drills.
The bottom line is that it can be tricky to set up drilling sessions with other players. The wall never cancels and you don’t need to schedule a time that works for both of you. When you’re drilling on the wall, you can go through volleying, dinking and any other pickleball shot that you can think of.
That said, I think dinks and volleys are the main shots that you can improve on the wall. Looking at Dinks one of my favorite drills is to intentionally hit the ball to myself in uncomfortable positions so that I have to work on my tolerance to these more difficult balls.
You can see here that I’m intentionally going at my feet so that I either can decide to go for a volley dink or to pivot back and take it off the bounce. Looking at volleys, my favorite thing to do on the wall just goes as fast as I can and increase my threshold for how quickly I can react to these shots. You can go side to side and you can also alternate between patterns that train your control.
The most important thing when you’re doing wall drills, is you have references for keeping the ball low and target so that you can work on your placement. The ding pad is the perfect way to enhance your wall drill experience with perfectly positioned references that translate proportionately to a real court. The dink Pad can help you take your game to the next level. But actually guys, wall drills can be a simple way to get thousands of more reps per week.
They also can be incredible for firing up your reflexes as a warm-up for a rec game. Regardless of what you use them for, just know that they’re an awesome way to improve on your own. That said, while wall drills are great, you still need to practice on the court with a real player. If you want to fully prepare yourself for competition.
Drill Number 2
The next type of drilling is where I see most players getting it wrong. An important thing to consider is that practicing only makes us improve when we’re pushing our limits and putting forth the highest quality of intensity. At number two on our list, I want to go over how to intentionally drill our dinking. Most players can dink back and forth easily, but how many times have you been at the kitchen and accidentally popped the ball up because you were unprepared for a more difficult shot?
The main thing to work on while dinking is hitting more difficult dinks and responding to more difficult dinks. To do this, you want to work on them both cross-court and down the line. All you want to do in this drill is work on moving your partner around the kitchen with push dinks, where you go deeper into the pressurized zone of the kitchen to your opponent’s sides. These are their weak points.
If they hit you a difficult, deeper dink, you should either take it out of the air or pivot back and take it off the bounce. When it’s tougher like this, this is where you should work on using more defensive dinks that land shorter in the box. What we want to avoid are dead dinks that sit up too much and give our opponents the opportunity to kill us.
Top players never just dink for the sake of dinking, you need to learn how to put your opponents under pressure and respond to the more difficult dinks that they use. Remember, this is also something that you can do on the dink pad if none of your friends want to drill, or you just want to seek your way to improve faster than your peers. This could be the method for you. You can also do drills that combine both dinking and volleys.
Here we start off in a dinking situation and after the first few shots the point is live and you can play it out half-court. This is hands down one of the best ways to drill your short game.
Drill Number 1
Our last method of the day ties everything else that we just went through together. You can think of this next drill as a way to simulate all the shots of a real game, but in a coordinated way that lets you focus on each shot individually. Our top way of drilling is skinny singles. This could be the best method of drilling minute-by-minute in terms of developing an advanced playing style.
The main way people play skinny singles is crosscourt. Essentially, you’re playing with all the rules of a normal game, but every ball needs to land on the right or left side of the court. You’re pretty much-simulating everything that happens in a normal point, but in a one-on-one format, this is where you can force yourself to use the advanced playing style of using drops to come in and get into a dinking situation.
If you don’t force yourself to come in here, it’ll be nearly impossible to win. Technically, you can also do this down the line. You’ll just need to serve down the line in order for this to work. You don’t need to do all these drills much to see incredible results. Even just a few ten-minute sessions per week can make a huge difference. I personally believe that the best time to do these is right before your rec games as a warm-up.
This way you go out to play having already practiced the key shots that you need. You can’t do most of these drills on your own, so remember to send this to your training partner. Except for wall drills with the dink pad, that is. And if you want to learn five of the most effective tactics to win games, watch the below video.