These drills are designed for you to use during the first 5-10 minutes on the court to help you “warm up” your pickleball shots. They were specifically chosen for the situation when you’ve got 4 players on the court and you are warming up with the opponent opposite you. Obviously you can
always adjust the number of practice shots based on the amount of time you have to warm up! I highly recommend that you do some basic muscle stretches & warm ups off-court, prior to beginning these drills.
Remember to always start every warm up session at the kitchen line and work your way to the back of the court, so you’ll be in position for the start of the game.
Drill #1: Split-Step
No, this isn’t a new dance, although if you’re moving well on the pickleball court it can almost look like dancing! A split step, if you aren’t familiar with the term from tennis, is a quick hop, with your knees bent and feet shoulder-width apart. Make sure you are on the balls of your feet with your weight distributed equally between your two feet and bring your paddle up to the ready position as you do it.
This is a great “neutral” position, which will allow you to move whichever the ball goes. As you do the rest of the drills, practice doing a split step each time your opponent is about to hit the ball. Once you get in the habit, it will go a long way toward making sure that you’re never caught
Goal: Split step every time your practice partner hits the ball.
Drill #2: Dink-Volleys
Standing at the kitchen line, dink the ball back and forth with your opponent. If they pop the ball up, hit a volley or put-away shot. (But try not to be too obnoxious about it, these are only warm-ups after all!)!
Remember, your goal is to make sure that the ball is alway coming off your paddle at a downward angle over the net. Hit about 10 forehand dinks and then do 10 backhand dinks!
Goal: Don’t give your opponent an opportunity to hit a put-away shot at your feet.
Drill #3: Mid-Court Power Shots + Drop Shots
It’s always best to play at the kitchen line, but it often requires hitting a few shots from mid-court “in the mean time” as you work your way up! After drilling at the kitchen line, take a few steps back to mid-court and practice hitting 5 power shots on your forehand side, then 5 on your backhand side. Then switch to 5 drop shots on your forehand & 5 on your backside. You know it’s a good drop shot if you have forced your opponent to let the ball bounce in the kitchen!
Goal: Make sure that every drop shot you hit forces your opponent to let the ball bounce!
Drill #4: Baseline Power Shots + Drop Shots
From the baseline, repeat the previous drill. Hit 5 power shots on your forehand side, then 5 on your backhand side. Then switch to 5 drop shots on your forehand & 5 on your backside!!
Goal: Get all but 2 shots over the net!
Drill #5: Serves & Returns
Hit approximately 3 serves & 3 returns, aiming to place the ball within 2-3 feet of your opponent’s baseline!!
Goal: Hit all your serves & returns high, deep, and slow.