The 10 Best Pickleball Drills for Players of All Skill Levels

The 10 Best Pickleball Drills for Players of All Skill Levels

Posted by Glen on

Top Pickleball Drills to Help You Dominate the Court

Pickleball is a fast-paced, dynamic sport that requires a combination of physical fitness, focus, endurance, and strategic thinking.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced player, incorporating these ten best pickleball drills into your training routine is an essential aspect of improving your skills and enjoying the game even more than you already do. Aside from playing matches, constant practice is the only way to improve your skill level - there's no two ways around it.

If you're ready to go from casual baller to pickleball pro, or take your professional pickleball skill level to the stratosphere, you're in the right place.

In this ultimate guide, we'll list ten best pickleball drills, explain how to do them, and end with some FAQs.

I guarantee that if you practice these pickleball drills, have it be the simple drills or more advanced pickleball drills, your game will significantly improve. Let's get right to it.

Drill #1: Dink Shot

This Drill is Good For:

Kitchen | Control | Finesse | Pace | Dinks

Sometimes called the triangle dink drill, this dink shot drill is a classic pickleball drill that focuses on controlled , soft shots in the non volley zone.

This drill is for improving your touch and finesse at the non volley line as well as your ability to control the pace of the game.

How to Practice the Dink Shot Drill

  1. Have you and a partner stand on either side of the net in the non volley zone.

  2. One person should stand at the baseline

  3. The other person practicing their dink shots should stand the opposite kitchen line

  4. Hit controlled, soft shots back and forth.

  5. The goal is to keep the ball low and slow, and to maintain control over the shot.

Drill #2: Lobbing

This Drill is Good For:

Power | Dominance | Court Control | Doubles Play

While this is one of the more advanced pickleball drills we have to offer, this lobbing drill is a great way to practice hitting the ball high and deep so you can force your opponents back to the baseline.

This drill is especially useful for doubles play, where you can use lob to  create space and set up your partner for a winning shot.

How to Practice the Lobbing Drill

  1. Stand on either side of the court with a partner and hit high, deep shots back and forth.

  2. The goal is to hit the ball high enough that it lands deep in the court, but not so high that it goes out of bounds. 

Drill #3: Serve and Return

This Drill is Good For:

Serving | Return Shots | Accuracy

The serve and return drill is an essential drill for pickleball players of all skill levels. This drill focuses on improving your ability to serve effectively and return your opponent's serve with precision.

How to Practice the Serve and Return Drill

  1. Get a partner and stand on opposite sides of the court at the serving line.

  2. Take turns serving and returning the ball.

  3. Focus on building the muscle memory for hitting straight where you want the ball to go.

  4. The goal is to hit your serve with accuracy and power, and to return your opponent's serve with control and placement. 

Drill #4: Third Shot Drops

This Drill is Good For:

Kitchen Practice | Court Control | Precision

Third shot drops are a key shot in pickleball; some may say it's the most important shot in the game.

Regardless, this drill is designed to help you master hitting the ball in regards to these shots.

What is the Third Shot Drop?

The third shot drop is a drop shot that gently lands in the opponent’s kitchen with the intention of getting your team to the net.

How to Practice the Third Shot Drop Drill

  1. Start at the baseline and hit a deep shot to your opponent's court.

  2. Your opponent will then hit the ball back to you, and this is where you practice the third shot drop.

  3. Learn how to control the ball so that it lands just over the net into your opponent's non volley zone, forcing your opponent to run to the non volley zone line and hit up.

  4. If your opponent manages to hit the ball  back to you, try to stay close to the non volley zone line to practice your dinking game and other non volley zone shots.

Drill #5: King of the Court

This Drill is Good For:

Endurance | Confidence | Overall Skill

The King of the Court drill is a fun and competitive way to improve all of your pickleball skills against different playing styles seeing as the goal of this drill is to remain "king of the court" for as long as possible and play against everyone involved.

How to Practice the King of the Court Drill

  1. Gather a group of four or more players

  2. Designate one as the "king" court and another as the opponent

  3. The player who wins a point on the king court stays on the court, while the loser rotates out and is replaced by the next player in line.

  4. The drill continues until every player goes up against every player.

  5. The goal is to stay on the king court for as long as possible and play against different styles and skill levels, while the other players try to knock you off and take your place. 

Drill #6: Footwork

This Drill is Good For:

Endurance | Lateral Movements | Forward Movement | Speed

Footwork is essential in pickleball, and this drill is designed to help you improve your lateral movements, forward movements, agility, and speed on the court. This can also be viewed as a back and forth drill.

To further improve your footwork, be constantly running when practicing this drill. It will also boost your endurance and stamina.

Pro-tip: One of the best ways you can improve your footwork is to always keep your knees bent, and never ever fully or hyperextend your legs. This not only slows you down, but increases risk of injury.

Why is Footwork Important for Pickleball?

Footwork is crucial in pickleball as it enables players to move quickly around the court, reach the ball effectively, and maintain balance while hitting shots.

Good footwork allows players to stay in position and react quickly to the ball, which is essential in a fast-paced sport like pickleball.

How to Practice the Footwork Drill

  1. Place cones or markers around the pickleball court.

  2. Practice  moving quickly and efficiently from one cone to the next. 

  3. Time yourself and work to beat your previous times

  4. It's also a good idea to practice shuffling, backpedaling, and pivoting.

Drill #7: Multi-Shot

This Drill is Good For:

Adaptability | Forehand and Backhand Shots | Reflex Training | Timing

The Multi-Shot is a great drill to practice a variety of shots and different strokes with a strong focus on forehand and backhand dinks. 

It will also improve your reflex training and ability to transition from one shot to the next.

What are Forehand and Backhand Dinks and Shots?

The opponent's forehand and backhand refer to the sides of the court that are to their right and left, respectively, based on their current position on the court. The forehand is the side that is facing the net, and the backhand is the side opposite the net.

Forehand and backhand dinks refer to forehand and backhand shots in the non volley zone.

Understanding your opponent's backhand and forehand shots can help you to strategically place your shots and gain an advantage on the court.

How to Practice the Multi-Shot Drill

  1. Start at the baseline and hit a deep shot to your opponent's forehand and backhand.

  2. Your opponent will then hit the ball back to you

  3. Return with a third shot drop, followed by a dink shot, then a lob, and finally a drive.

  4. Your opponent will then hit the ball back to you, and you'll  repeat the sequence, focusing on accuracy, control, and timing.

Drill #8: Cross-Court

This Drill is Good For:

Adaptability | Reflexes | Accuracy | Placement

The Cross-Court drill is a great drill to practice hitting shots to  different parts of the court and improving your ability to adjust to your opponent's positioning.

It's also an excellent opportunity to practice hitting cross court dinks.

How to Practice the Cross-Court Drill

  1. One player stands on one side of the court while the other player stands on the opposite side.

  2. Each player hits shots to different parts of the court,  including the corners and the middle.

  3. Your partner will then hit the  ball back to you, and you'll repeat the sequence.

  4. Maintain focus on accuracy, placement, and versatility.

Drill #9: Wall Drills

This Drill is Good For:

Hand-Eye Coordination | Endurance | Stamina | Muscle Memory

Wall drills are a simple but effective way to practice a variety of shots and improve your hand-eye coordination.

This can be an easy drill or one of those advanced pickleball drills - it's up to you and how bad you want to improve.

How to Practice Wall Drills

  1. Find a wall or solid surface and hit the ball against it repeatedly.

  2. Focus on practicing a variety of shots, including drives, dinks, and lobs.

  3.  You can also practice your footwork at the same time by shuffling and pivoting as you strike. 

Drill #10: Blindfold Shots

This Drill is Good For:

Focus | Reaction Time | Intuition

The blindfold shot drill is a challenging yet fun drill to practice with advanced players.  It's a great drill to improve your focus and reaction time while also honing key skills in your other senses.

How to Practice the Blindfold Shots Drill

  1. Put on a blindfold and have a partner hit balls to you.

  2. You'll have to rely on your  other senses, especially your sense of hearing and touch, to anticipate and  react to the ball.

  3. It will also develop your intuition and connection to the game, an often overlooked yet extremely valuable asset to any athlete.

  4. This drill can help you to improve your overall  awareness and reaction time on the court. 


Are these pickleball drills suitable players of any skill level?

Yes, these ten best pickleball drills are suitable for pickleball players of any skill level, from beginner to more advanced players. Each drill is designed to help you improve your skill level and become a better pickleball player.

What kind of results can I expect from doing these drills?

By doing these ten best pickleball drills regularly, you can expect to see improved accuracy and power in your shots, better court positioning, improved footwork and coordination, and a greater understanding of the game.

What are the best exercises to train for pickleball?

To train for Pickleball, some of the best exercises include cardio workouts to improve endurance, plyometric exercises to improve footwork and agility, and resistance training to build strength and power.

What is the best way to practice pickleball?

The best way to practice playing pickleball is by playing games. You can also spend your time practicing only the best pickleball drills, and challenges with a partner or group, and focusing on specific skills and techniques that you want to improve.

What are the three key things you should focus on in pickleball?

The three key things to focus on in Pickleball are footwork, shot placement, and strategy.

What’s the #1 mistake beginner pickleball players make?

The #1 mistake beginner Pickleball players make is not focusing enough on their footwork, which can negatively impact their ability to get to the ball and make accurate shots.

What are the benefits of pickleball drills?

Pickleball drills are a great way to practice the fundamentals of the game and become a better player. They can also help you build your overall fitness and skill level, increase your endurance, and sharpen your reflexes.

What is the best pickleball paddle?

The best paddle for your pickleball game is the Quantum Pro 2.0™ Carbon Fiber Paddle. It remains the top choice for all skill levels, ranging from beginners to experts.

Made with a carbon fiber paddle face with an enlarged sweet spot, the Quantum Pro 2.0™ provides exceptional control and premium performance without the premium price tag.

As you can see, the secret to smashing shots out on the court is to incorporate these ten best pickleball drills into your practice routine. Doing so will help you to improve your skills, refine your technique, build muscle memory, and hone in on your senses.

Whether you're a brand-new to the sport or weathered as a walrus in a winter wind, practicing these beginner and advanced pickleball drills more regularly can help you to build your confidence and become a more well-rounded player.

Keep in mind that when you're practicing these novice and advanced drills, be sure to incorporate a variety of shots such serves, returns, dinks, lobs, and drives. 

So... why are you still here? Grab a partner or find a wall and get to work!

Thanks for stopping by,

Glen | Paddleballers

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