The amount of time you put into practicing when you aren’t on the court is a major factor in developing your skills as a pickleball player. Practicing simple, repetitive pickleball wall drills at home will improve your muscle memory and reaction times during a real pickleball match.
Set Up Your Garage or Basement for Wall Drills
Identifying and setting up a practice area at home is your first step to getting started with pickleball wall drills. As long as you have a wall that’s at least six feet wide and three feet tall, along with connecting floor space that extends at least seven feet from the wall, then you have all that you need to get started with wall drills!
Ideally, both your wall and flooring will be made of hard, solid material. This will allow your pickleballs to bounce as they would while on the court. Many garages and basements will usually have some sort of concrete floor that is suitable for these drills.
Once you have an appropriate area selected, you will then need to start taping off your “court.” The idea here is to create lines that will emulate the lines of a pickleball court.
- One horizontal line taped at 36” in height along the wall running the width of a net. For these drills, you don’t need this line to run the entire 20’ width of the average pickleball. As long as you have between 6-8’ to work with, you should be good to go for wall drills.
- One horizontal Kitchen line, about 7’ from the wall.
- One horizontal line at 5’ from the wall. The area between this line and the non-volley zone line will be where you’ll be targeting most of your wall shots.
- One vertical line at the halfway point along your “net.” This will represent the pickleball court’s centerline.
Once you’ve got these lines all taped up, you should be good to go!
9 Drills You Can Do With A Pickleball Practice Wall
Now that we have our practice space set up for wall drills, it’s time to get started. The following drills will cover a wide range of types of shots and body movements. Overall, your goal with these drills should be to hone each of these particular skills so that when you’re on the court, you have the confidence and ability to perform to your best potential!
All drill directions are from the perspective of a right-handed player. Left-handed player drills will work much the same, but all references to the right or left side of the court will be reversed.
Practice Your Serve
Practicing your serve is going to be the most difficult of these drills, as the limited space will prevent you from being able to accurately strike the ball with the same amount of force you normally would.
Instead, try practicing your usual pickleball serving motion at a fraction of the speed and force you normally would at the beginning of the other wall drills. This way, you’ll be able to at least practice your serving movements before jumping into practicing your other skills.
When practicing your dinks, you’ll want to try and stay as close to the kitchen line as possible, just as you would during a normal game of pickleball.
You’ll also want to make sure to hit your dinks with enough force to make it into that target zone between the kitchen line and the “target” line that you set at around 5’. This will represent the area in which you’d normally want to be hitting your ball on your opponent’s side of the court.
Dink wall drills are very straightforward and highly effective.
- Your body should be just behind the kitchen line and on center with the centerline.
- Start with your forehand swing, hitting the ball against the wall above the net line.
- The ball should return on the right side of the court between the kitchen line and the “target” line.
- Continue this process repeatedly until you feel confident moving onto your backhand.
Utilize the same approach for backhand dinks, except the ball will be returning to you from the left of the centerline. Finally, once you’re comfortable with both forehand and backhand dinks, try alternating the shots repeatedly from one to the other.
Two-touch dinks are very similar to regular dink drills, just with a small twist. As the ball comes back to you and after it bounces in the target zone, you’ll want to gently tap the ball up into the air once and allow it to bounce on the ground again before making your next dink shot.
The purpose of this drill is to give you more control over the ball, and the slight pause in between dinks will create a natural rhythm that is important to understand during a game of pickleball.
Once you’re confident enough with your two-touch dink drills, try doing them without allowing the ball to hit the ground after you pop it up into the air between dinks. This will add a certain sense of urgency in needing to hit the ball before it touches the ground and will also improve your dink shot’s accuracy.
Practice Hitting Above the Line
With whatever swing you are most comfortable with, simply try and hit the ball above the net line on the wall. This is the simplest of the drills but certainly one of the most important.
In pickleball, your first and foremost goal is to hit the ball over the net. Your accuracy, power, and consistency with your shots will come with practice, and all of those attributes are dependent upon your ability to get the pickleball over the net with every single shot.
Drills with Small Targets
After you’ve gotten comfortable with the dink wall drills, try placing small targets in between the kitchen line and that 5’ “target line.” Small cardboard shoe boxes and plastic cups make perfect pickleball targets.
Repeat the dink wall drills for both forehand and backhand, except try to hit the ball off of the wall and into one of the small targets you have set up. This drill will drastically improve your shot accuracy when you’re on the court.
Forehand Drop Shot Into a Shoe Box
The third shot drop is considered one of the most important pickleball shots to master, as it is typically the turning point in setting up a successful rally for your team.
A good way of practicing your drop shot is to set up a small shipping or shoe box just above the net line on the wall. After setting yourself up with a return shot, try to carefully drop shot the ball directly into the box.
This drill emulates the angle and force you need to successfully perform a well-placed drop shot. While forehand is typically recommended for this shot, you can also attempt backhand drops if you prefer.
Switch to a Smaller Target
Once you’ve got your drop shot locked in with the shoebox, create an even smaller target by taping a plastic cup 2” above the net line. Attempt to return drop shots into the cup until you are at least consistently hitting the cup.
It’ll be difficult to get your drops in the cup at first, but keep going! Trying to aim your shots at small targets will improve your shooting precision and accuracy.
Wall volley drills are all about building your confidence by hitting the ball fast and building up your momentum during high-paced levels of play. Essentially, you’ll be hitting the ball repeatedly in the air off of the wall, keeping a rally going with yourself for as long as you can.
Switch off between forehand and backhand shots in order to keep both swings in practice. Start your wall volley rallies at the 5’ line, and then eventually move back to the 7’ non-volley zone line.
Two-Touch Volley Wall Drills
These are similar in principle to the two-touch dink wall drills. In between each volley, lightly hit the ball into the air before continuing with another volley.
The primary goal with these two-touch drills is to build your control over the ball and better understand how your paddle affects ball movement. Tapping the ball into the air between volleys is a good way to control the pace of the rally and give you a better feel for the rhythm involved with rallies.
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