Pickleball drills to improve and level up your game

I bet you’ve been advised to practice, whether you’re a rookie or intermediate, and there you are, practicing shots with no potential outcomes. Well, the practice isn’t for the shots; it means the “drills”. Drills are an integral part of any sport, and pickleball is no different. Even if you knew to drill before, they’d be tedious, exhausting, or might not seem helpful to you. The problem isn’t in the drill, but rather in your techniques. 

So, let me solve this problem for you. How about we try some fun drills? What if I show you the door of creativity for your pickleball drills? Not just that, I’ll also teach you which pickleball drills to master and how to do that concerning the direction, proper positions, and their effectiveness on your gaming style. The drills are consistency builders in pickleball, but I also want them to be engaging, enjoyable, and memorable for your mind as they’re for your muscles.

What is a pickleball drill? 

What is a pickleball drill

Just like the drills in tennis and badminton–even if you’re unfamiliar with them–you’d have drilled in your fitness gym. Pickleball drills are regular exercises in a repetitive motion to teach your body how to react naturally. A drill is taking a shot’s action and playing it 30, 50, or 100 times, just so your muscle builds a strong memory of it. They’re like habits for the muscle. The more you do it, the more your body will normalize it. The time period can be your personal choice, depending on how much your body can stay stable. Doing a drill too much will pressurize your muscles, and you may have adverse health effects if you’re underweight. 

Get a partner first: 

Drills aren’t complicated, but they’re lengthy. 90% of the time, people give up on drills for their inconsistency, and it’s expected if you’re doing that alone. So, the key to success and building a rhythm in the pickleball drill is to have a partner. In fact, all the pickleball drills are meant to be done in a team. While most people like to do it with machines, I find it boring beyond the limit. The machine is always on the same loop, and it doesn’t even tell you your loopholes, and the fun part? Forget it! 

Getting a partner

The machine isn’t extravagant, though. The pickleball machine has no comparison for practicing pickleball shots, but of course, you need a companion with a similar mindset for drilling. Someone who shares the same fitness strength and objectives out of the game. So, first, you need the right companion that keeps up the motivation, stays regular with you, and help both of you grow and learn the game better.

Footwork and balance:

The first step is maintaining your balance, checking your stance, and focusing on your footwork. These three elements will help you identify your mistakes and strengthen your shots. A stance in pickleball is like a tennis and badminton stance. You’ve to stand your legs width apart to your shoulder and distribute your weight equally on both feet. Make sure your knees are a little bent toward the ground. This will help you maintain balance on your court. 

Footwork and balance

Now for the footwork, just keep checking your movements between the shots and analyze the absolute positioning, movements, and stance afterward the game. You aim to do as much footwork in a balanced stance as possible. And there’s no cheat code in this. Overlooking your balance, stance or footwork means exchanging your years of savings with another currency that just turns out to be blank papers–every effort will go useless. 

In addition, make your paddle always ready for the shot. Keep its face open and prepared because in pickleball, when the game gets a 360-degree change from soft shots to hard strokes, ball after ball, and yikes, a lob shot and you’re toast. So, while you’re consistent in your position and ready for excellent bodywork, let’s look into the… 

5 Best pickleball drills to improve your game: 

No, you don’t need to drill every pickleball shot. Having too many drills in your arsenal is where you start to get fed up with it. It just gets too much while acquiring the basic skills remains at zero. I always suggest having a few drills you love and sticking to them. The goal is to do them regularly, not too much in a day. While adding a bit of fun, here are my favorite pickleball drills that all my fellow mates and I love. 


Dink is a fundamental and wholesome drill to start your day within the court. This drill improves your serve, return, and third shot. How? The serve needs a ball bounce once before it can be hit, and dink is exactly the same shot that makes you do it. And don’t start at the kitchen line. Stand at the baseline, and tell your partner to go on the baseline and do the same. 

Many coaches give you the choice of whether you want to dill simple dink or cross-court. I suggest you first play the straightforward dink for 11 points and then cross-court. Make 4 sets of 11 points on the same rhythm: simple dink to cross-court, again simple, and again cross-court. You can also make your own rhythm by intermixing shot types.

Dink Drill
One Of The Top Dinking Drill.

After the serve and return, approach towards the nets. That will make your body respond to moving toward the NVZ line before the third shot. Keep in check your footwork and maintain balance. Your running toward the net shouldn’t have to make you fall or lose your balance. The transition from simple dink to cross-court teaches your mind better hand-eye coordination and changing positions. Consider hitting into the nets for straight dinks for error and renewal of rally. 

The simple dink doesn’t have to be simple. Instead, mark three points in your opponent’s court in your head and send the ball to a different spot each time and after the end of the rally, ask your partner how unpredictable you were. This practice is called triangle dink and will help you take advantage of your dinking rallies. 

For the cross-court dink, the fault will be hitting into the front court. Also, you can end the rally with an ATP serve in cross-court; that way, you’ll have better shots in your arsenal. This will also make you work on your faults and reduce them when trying advanced shots. 


Fireballs are groundstroke and volley from the baseline. This is one of the most advanced and thrilling pickleball drills to practice with your partner(s). The purpose of practicing this drill is to play aggressively and defensively. The fun part of this drill is that your partner plays the rival’s role, and that’s where things get fired up. 

The fireball drill starts with you and your partner pinned to the baseline at the start. The server will either serve a volley or groundstroke as hard as possible while not messing up the control and shot placement. Speed is the main ingredient to keep your opponent on the baseline. You can play the rally for 11 points or decide the win by whoever reaches the kitchen line first. 

Fireball Drill

Plus, use half-court only for one rally if you’re playing 1o1. Then go cross-court and block the sides of your court, so the ball goes only diagonal. You can try hitting in the center too. After each set, switch positions. 

This drill is full of faults. In the start, you’d have your ball stuck in the net 9 out of 10 times, and don’t be pissed off about that. It’s not the lack of skill. It’s just the drill is demanding a little too much, but once you get perfect in that, you’re not far from achieving a 5.0 rating in your game. On the top, it’s a great drill to practice approaching the nets while you’re under attack and playing hard strokes with pinpoint accuracy. 

Back and forth:

Back and forth drill targets two main components of pickleball: 3rd short drops and taking your opponent from the kitchen line to the baseline. First, you’ll divide the roles, a server, and a returner. You’ll serve the ball with a soft dink, and the returner will take steps backward and hit it harder and deeper. 

When the returner is at the baseline, you’ll start the third shot drop, and that’s how you’ll practice the distance and overcome the fear of hitting the nets. The returner won’t stay at the baseline, though, he’ll march towards the net after the third shot drop, and once you complete one set, you’ll change the roles. 

Back and forth

The most critical aspect of a back-and-forth drill is to improve your posture and footstep. When you step back, you’ve to keep your composure still and your body flexible, which might be more challenging for many of you initially, but remember, you’re not here to give up on anything. Try singing a rhyme, something that keeps your body and stepping back connected. You can count the steps you’d take to reach the baseline and return from it. Whereas you may whisper “ready” to maintain your stance. Do this at the start and try it naturally when you get habitual. 



Survivor drill is all about lobs and smashes. It improves your lob shots and makes you return them better. To do this drill, one player will be at the baseline, while the other will be on the NVZ. the baseline player serves the lob, and the NVZ player will smash it instead of running after the ball. Now it’s for the baseline player to play this ball while he was on the baseline. This drill isn’t about getting better at returning the lobs; instead, how you will survive when you serve the lob. 

You can use the entire court for this drill, one-half of the court, even-even, or odd-odd—just how you and your partner like. Just like all the drills above, play this to 11 points too.

Sweet Spot drill: 

Sweet Spot drill

My last drill is perhaps very underrated, and only a few have heard of it. The sweet spot drill focuses on your hand-eye coordination with your paddle. You don’t need a partner to do the drill. Just get on your own. Drop the ball in the air and catch it with your paddle. You can choose any height you’re comfortable in, as long as you’re not disarraying the ball in different directions. Your only goal is to make the ball land in the central part of your paddle. That’s how can serve a ball more lethal. 

Are pickleball drills important? 

Other than training your muscles, pickleball drills are a crucial cardiac exercise because it keeps your heart pumping at an increased rate. 30 minutes of drilling with pickleball shots will give you a full active day at work, keeping you healthy and fit. 

Other than health benefits, the drills make you consistent and confident in your game. Even the beginner’s tournaments today are fast and brutal, and you can lose the rally in a blink of an eye. While if you drill in your daily routine, your body will react to the ball and send it back even before your mind receives the sense. 

It also creates a better mind and body understanding and gives you better exposure to intermix a variety of shots, strategizes your game, and reduces your faults. During my hectic Feb-March survey of LA courts, I talked to the players, and almost 80% of them have worked on their faults with the help of drills. 

A pickleball drill isn’t the confidence that says you can do it. It rather gives a belief. And no force on the earth can stop you when you believe in something you can do. 

That’s what she said! 

This is from my side for the pickleball drills. These are one of the finest ones and remember my key points, mate. Don’t overburden yourself with them. Take one drill and master it, then move to the other. Make your body comfortable with new changes before it reacts back and makes you pay for the extra work. So, be calm, consistent, and have a rhythm. Once you’re consistent in pickleball drills, you’ll nail it all. 

I hope you like the article. Let me know your favorite in the comment box, and get me acknowledged if I miss any vital drill. Happy drilling! 

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