Pickleball Games and Drills to Improve your Game

Pickleball Games and drills to have fun with as you practice with the sole purpose to improve your game.

As with any game, it is not practice that makes perfect but perfect practice that makes perfect. Yes it will take time to perfect but it means that you must practice what is right not what is wrong.

In pickleball or any ball sports for that matter it means the correct form or the right way to hit a ball is where it starts and then it is a matter of practicing that form when hitting the ball. These pickleball games and drills are not about teaching you proper form which is too hard to do in words and much easier to do face to face with someone who can show you how to hold a paddle, how to stand or approach and how to hit a ball.

So assuming you have mastered the how of what to do, you can then practice those motor skills so that they become reliantly repetitively good.

Now there are pickleball games that you can play that purposefully employ any drill that you want to practice and master. And literally you can just make them up so that you both (singles play) or all of you (doubles play) play under the same rule.  For example, you might what to spend some time doing some dinking drills or lob drills and then apply those skills in a game.

Pickleball Games

So you might simply play a game that requires you to dink (into the kitchen) from the 3rd shot on until you win the point by dinking. That is, no other shot to win the point is allowed.

Effectively it would be, serve, return of serve, dink, dink, dink, dink etc to win.  You will only win from you dinking a shot inside your opponents kitchen and they fail to return it or indeed if they dink a return that lobs outside of your kitchen.

You might then do the same sort of thing with the lob shot. Again simply play a game that requires you to lob from anywhere on the court (but NOT into the kitchen) from the 3rd shot on until you win the point by lobbing. That is, no other shot to win the point is allowed.

Effectively it would be, serve, return of serve, (no dink into kitchen), lob, lob, lob etc to win.  You will only win from you lobbing a shot inside your opponent’s court of play (but not in the kitchen) that they fail to return or indeed if they lob a return that lobs inside the kitchen or outside of your court.

The same thinking can be applied to making up all sorts of modified pickleball games that emphasizes the skill that you want to practice.

So let’s look at how you might practice some skills with drills?

Pickleball games and drills are about making practice fun because as soon as the fun disappears so too does the practice. Pickleball Games should be about fun first, drill second. So let’s look at some simple challenges that put fun into practice with 3 common skills that you will need on any pickleball court.

·         Dinking 
·         Serving
·         Return of service

Again this is not about teaching you proper form but how to practice or at least put fun into practicing that form.

DINKING DRILLS:

·         Dink with a partner on half the court standing at the junction line of the centre line and the kitchen line 

·         Start and dink two to the right and two to the left of centre. Ie use your forehand for two dinks on the right side and then your back hand for two dinks on the left side. Then 2 dinks left side to left side and then right side to right side using the backhand and then the fore hand.

·         You could practice until one player fails to execute the shot or play to an ever increasing given number of dinks in this format pattern or (whatever format pattern you want to use for this practice).
If it is your backhand dink that you want to practice then only do back hand dinks or maybe it is a dink that is hit to your feet that you want to practice. The choice is yours.

SERVING DRILLS:

I have found a very good drill to practice is to simply see how hard you can hit a serve and still have it land in court. It is a very easy concept to practice. Hitting the ball hard is the easy part but the hard part is getting it in. How you achieve it will be up to you but you will likely come off the pace a little to start getting the serve in on a regular bases.

You can then experiment with hitting the ball a little lower on your serve or standing back a little from the service line to discover at what height and at distance you need to stand back from the line if any to get the ball in at a given pace.

This really is a great exercise drill to really discover a new serving skill.

RETURN OF SERVICE DRILLS

I see many players return of service that leaves a lot to be desired. First and for most this shot has to be long for the express purpose of giving you time to get to the net and to keeping your opposition at the back of the court.

It means that a looping slow return near the base line is a good return. You can increase that difficulty of it for your opposition by directing it at the return of servers backhand side but close enough to their partner to further confuse them into who might actually hit the ball, or you could hit to a players weakest link.

You could also up the ante occasionally by driving a hard low trajectory shot to land in the same spot. (You could also keep them guessing with a short one to the front corner.. but let't not get off track here).

So, to practice this drill, simply mark out with tape or chalk or put something on a selected spot on the court that you want to hit your return of service to and make it a best of ten or best of twenty return of serves to hit the spot. Pickleball games like this are great fun and a real realization that when you can place a return of serve to a selected place on the court on a consistent basis, your game will definitely improve.

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