Here are four fun pickleball drills from Jordan Briones at PrimeTime Pickleball to help master that skills needed to succeed at the 4.0+ level. (These drilling games are played on one half of the court.)
- Fireball (0:40) – One player starts at the baseline and the other player starts at the non-volley zone (NVZ). The baseline player will start by hitting an aggressive serve. The goal of the NVZ player is to keep the baseline player back. Once the serve is struck, play the point through. Gamify this drill by using rally scoring to 11 points. The same person serves throughout the game and then, once one player reaches 11 points, switch roles.
- Terminator (3:07) – One player starts at the NVZ and the other player starts at the baseline. The NVZ player starts the point by feeding a high attackable ball to simulate a weak return. The baseline player will drive the ball to simulate a third shot drive attack and the NVZ player will volley the ball and attempt to keep the baseline player back. Play the game to 11 using rally scoring before switching roles. Drill can be done straight on or diagonally cross court from even side to even side or odd side to odd side.
- Survivor (5:29) – One player starts at the baseline and the other player starts at the NVZ. Baseline player starts the point by feeding the NVZ player a shallow lob. After the feed, both players will play the point. Play the game to 11 using rally scoring before switching roles. As with Terminator, this drill can be done straight on or diagonally.
- Mid-Court Crisis (7:43) – One player starts at the NVZ and the other player starts somewhere in the transition zone. The transition zone player feeds an attackable ball that lands and bounces high in the NVZ, which simulates a high third shot drop which should be attacked by the NVZ player. Once the ball is fed both player will play the point using one half of the court. Drill can be done straight on or diagonally. Use rally scoring and switch roles once one player reaches 11 points.
Some players consider drilling to be boring and so they would rather play pickleball than drill. However, drilling is a great way to improve your skills and consistency. Consistency is the key difference between an intermediate player and an advanced player. Both players know how to execute the shots but the more advanced player can execute the same shots more consistently and commits fewer unforced errors. The best way to increase consistency is to drill.
So how do you make drilling less boring? One word: gamification. Turning drills into games (as Jordan shows us in the above video) makes drilling more competitive and fun.
I hope you found the video helpful. See you on the courts!