Top 10 Pickleball Drills to Improve Your Game

Top 10 Pickleball Drills to Improve Your Game

Pickleball is an exhilarating yet tactical sport which demands agility, precision and coordination from its players. Here are 10 drills designed to elevate your pickleball game! Drills are an invaluable way of honing skills and performance on the court; here is our top ten collection designed to sharpen different areas of your game!

Purpose of Dinking Drills

Purpose: Improve control and precision within the non-volley zone (NVZ).

Drill: Stand at the NVZ line with your partner and engage in a dinking rally, keeping the ball low and soft as it travels back over the net.

Version: Incorporate movement by dinking cross-court or along a sideline - which helps improve footwork and positioning skills.

Third Shot Drop Drill

Purpse of This Exercise is to establish and practice an efficient third shot drop technique.

-Drill: To practice third shot drops that land softly into the NVZ from a standing baseline position with a basket of balls, focus on using an upward swing in your swing action for third shots and use soft hits when hitting them back out to simulate game situations with partner at the NVZ returning them as drops are hit back into play by your partner at the NVZ. - Partner Variation: Have someone at the NVZ return dropped balls like in real game situations for more realistic practice sessions

Purpose of Volley Drill

Wanting to improve my reflexes and control during volleys? To achieve that goal I recommend developing this drill! **

Drill:  With one partner at the NVZ line, engage in rapid volley exchange, keeping the ball airborne without letting it bounce. For advanced variations use only one hand or smaller paddle to increase difficulty and improve precision.

Deliver and Return Drill

Purpose of Service Improvement Program: Increase serve accuracy and return consistency.

Drill: Practice serving into various parts of the service box while targeting depth and placement, using partners to return them with consistency and depth.

Solo Variation: Place targets such as cones or hoops within your service box with an aim at striking them down with accurate shots.

Cross-Court Dink Drill

Purpose of Class: Enhancing cross-court dinking accuracy and footwork.

For this drill: Step to the NVZ line with your partner. Dink the ball across-court toward one corner of the NVZ.

 Variation: Add more movement by including side-to-side shuffles between shots.

Overhead Smash Drill

Purpose: Improve power and accuracy during overhead smashes.

For this drill, partner up and practice hitting overhead smashes while trying to place them in the backcourt.

As an alternative or solo variation: Utilise a ball machine or self-lob to practice smashes.

Footwork Drill

Purpose of: Enhance agility and positional abilities.

Set up cones in a zigzag pattern. Practice quickly moving through them while keeping a low stance and balanced movement pattern. For advanced variations, incorporate hitting shots while moving quickly between cones as part of an advanced variation drill to simulate game scenarios.

Purpose of Wall Drill: 

Improve consistency and control while drilling walls.

Drill: To improve accuracy and consistency when hitting against walls or backboards, locate one near a wall or backboard and practice hitting against it while keeping a consistent rhythm and controlling pace and height of shots. 

Varying: Incorporate forehand and backhand shots as variation for improved versatility and skill.

Partner Shadowing Drill

Purpose of Course: Enhance doubles coordination and positioning.

For this drill: Once standing with your partner on either side of the net, move in unison as one player mimics shots while the other shadows them. 

To add variation: Add an opponent for additional practice responding to real game scenarios.

Target Practice Drill

Purpose of Device: Improve Shot Accuracy and Placement.

Drill: Create targets (cones or hoops) at various areas of the court and practice hitting specific shots to these targets, like cross-court dinks, baseline drives or NVZ drops.

Partner Variation: Have one partner call out target locations as you simulate in-game decision making by simulating in-game decision-making scenarios.


Implementing these drills into your practice routine will enable you to build an extensive skill set, sharpen reflexes and enhance strategic thinking on the court. Committing time and dedication towards these drills can not only elevate your game but also boost confidence during matches - so grab your paddle, find an opponent to practice with and begin drilling your way to pickleball success!

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