Unleash Your Pickleball Potential: The Surprising Path to Game Improvement Beyond Just Playing More Matches


When I first embarked on my pickleball journey, all I could think about was playing as many games as possible. It seemed like the logical way to improve my skills and become a better player. However, as I delved deeper into the world of pickleball and started competing in tournaments, I discovered a common trend among high-level players – they prioritize drilling over playing games.

If you truly want to take your pickleball game to the next level, it’s time to incorporate drills into your training regimen. And who better to learn from than Simone Jardim, one of the top women’s players in the game? Simone has graciously shared some of her favorite drills that can help elevate your skills and enhance your overall performance on the court.

Cross Court Dinking – Forehand and Backhand

Dinking is a crucial skill in pickleball, and mastering the art of cross court dinking can give you a significant advantage during rallies. Simone recommends focusing on both your forehand and backhand dinks to develop a well-rounded game. By practicing cross court dinking, you’ll improve your control, accuracy, and ability to keep the ball low over the net, making it challenging for your opponents to attack.

Cross Court Dinking with Attacks – Forehand and Backhand

Taking your cross court dinking skills to the next level, Simone suggests incorporating attacks into your drills. This drill involves dinking cross court and then transitioning into an attacking shot, either with a forehand or backhand. By adding this element of aggression to your dinking game, you’ll keep your opponents guessing and put them on the defensive, giving you the upper hand in the rally.

Transition Zone Resets

The transition zone is a critical area on the pickleball court, and being able to reset the ball from this position can be a game-changer. Simone emphasizes the importance of practicing transition zone resets to improve your ability to handle fast-paced shots and maintain control of the rally. This drill focuses on quick reflexes, precise shot placement, and the ability to transition smoothly from defense to offense.

Transition Zone Defense

In addition to resets, it’s equally important to work on your transition zone defense. Simone recommends dedicating time to drills that simulate scenarios where you find yourself in the transition zone and need to defend against aggressive shots from your opponents. This drill will enhance your footwork, reaction time, and defensive skills, allowing you to effectively counter your opponent’s attacks and regain control of the rally.

Skinny Singles

Skinny singles is a drill that challenges your accuracy and ability to hit tight shots down the sideline. Simone suggests setting up a singles court and practicing hitting the ball close to the sideline, forcing yourself to be precise with your shots. This drill will improve your sideline awareness, shot placement, and overall control of the ball, making you a formidable opponent on the court.

By incorporating these drills into your pickleball training schedule, you’ll not only improve your skills but also gain a deeper understanding of the game.

Remember, playing games is undoubtedly essential for applying your skills in a competitive setting, but drilling is where you refine those skills and build a solid foundation. So, take the advice of the top players in the game and make drills a priority in your pickleball journey. Your game will thank you for it!

What do you think?

Written by Billy Pickles

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