Skip to main content Stop all automatic animation Skip to footer site map
Page Content
> Click Here To Shop The JustPaddles Gift Guide <

10/07/2022

Pickleball Lesson Plan

Pickleball Lesson Plan. Train your game to become the best pickleball player!

There is no magic wand when it comes to improving your pickleball game. There’s no potion, pill, or perfect paddle that helps you magically “level up” - it takes blood, sweat, and sometimes tears! We’ve all heard the phrase “practice makes perfect” but like my high school basketball coach used to say, “practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent!” Practicing all aspects of your game can develop your muscle memory so that you react naturally during matches. If you’re wanting to practice, but just can’t figure out where to start, print out the below template that JustPaddles created for you. Take it to the courts and practice until it’s permanent! 

Pickleball Lesson Plan 

Before heading to the courts for a practice session, it’s important to remember you’ll need three things: 1) a practice partner, or a ball machine (but a practice partner makes it a lot more fun!), 2) at least 15 pickleballs, but the more the merrier, and 3) your favorite pickleball paddle

Serve

Practicing your serve can make a huge impact on your game. Are you limited on what you can do with your serve? Sure! But changing the spin, placement, and pace of your serves can transform your serve from a “point starter” to a weapon that you can use to start the rally. 

  • 2 sets of 25 serves - try to change the placement and speed of your serves so your opponent doesn’t become accustomed to any one serve type. 
  • 25 topspin 
  • 25 slice 

Third Shot Drop 

Arguably the most important gameplay shot in pickleball, being able to successfully perform a third shot drop is a skill that can bring you up or down a full point in skill level. 

For this drill, have one player at the kitchen line and the other player behind the baseline on the opposite side of the court. The baseline player should focus on hitting the ball and dropping it into the kitchen or near the feet of the player at the kitchen line. The player at the kitchen line should return the ball (see below) but shouldn’t make it too easy on their practice partner and shouldn’t dominate the drill. Give your practice partner “good looks” of a shot that may actually come their way in gameplay. Our recommendation is to set a number of shots you’d like to reach before moving on. This will help keep you accountable and help you reach your goal. Set your goal at 25 good third shots, and don’t move on until you get there! 

  • 1 set of 25-third shot drops 

Keeping the Ball Deep from the Kitchen Line

The best part of this drill is that it can be done on the heels of the third shot drop drill that we talked about above. As your practice partner focuses on dropping the ball at your feet at the kitchen line, you can use this as an opportunity to keep your “opponent” deep in the backcourt by returning their third shot drop back to the baseline. If you can successfully keep your opponent on the baseline in matches, you’ll be in a great position to win. 

  • One continuous round as your practice partner works on their third shot drop. 

Drives 

Pickleball is a game of soft hands and kitchen battles, but being able to drive the ball from deep in the backcourt can pay dividends whether you’re returning a serve, or your opponent is doing a great job of keeping you deep near the baseline (see above). Being able to drive the ball hard and accurately can force your opponent to return the ball inconsistently or miss it completely. 

During this drill, you’ll focus on driving the ball hard back at your opponent while making sure the ball will land inbounds (just in case your opponent chooses to let the ball fly and test your placement). Work on driving every ball, whether you think it’s “right” or not, just so your body can get used to the motion. Remember, when you’re in trouble in a match, having this in your arsenal can help you flip the momentum of the rally. 

  • 3 one-minute sessions of drives. Drive the ball consistently for one minute. Even if the ball gets loose, let it go and grab another one. In between each session, rest for 30 seconds. 

Returning Drives

The same as the drill we covered above (and many other drills) this can be as useful for the player driving the ball as the player returning the drives. This player should focus on keeping their paddle out in front of them and returning the drives deep to the back of the court. Returning drives with top spin, if possible, can kick the ball even deeper in the court, making driving the ball even more difficult. 

  1. 3 one-minute sessions of drive returns. Return your opponent’s drives consistently for one minute. Even if the ball gets loose, let it go and grab another one. In between each session, rest for 30 seconds. 

Dinks

We’ve saved the best for last. A shot that’s on the “must practice'' list is the dink. Effectively dinking is a necessity to play at any level and while dinking doesn’t have to be perfect, it does have to be placed in a relatively small window for your dink to work. In this drill, you’ll stand directly across from your practice partner and practice hitting your dinks over the net and landing the ball near the feet of your partner. Be sure to break out of your comfort zone by switching the spin you’re putting on your dinks. Do a set with topspin, and a set of slices, then have one player move to the opposite side of the court and work on cross-court dinks (while also remembering to switch your spin after every set). Keep in mind that dinks can be effective in setting up an offensive opportunity, so never dink just to dink, dink to win the rally! 

  1. 25 top spin dinks directly across from your practice partner
  2. 25 slice dinks directly across from your practice partner 
  3. 25 top spin dinks cross-court from your practice partner 
  4. 25 slice dinks cross-court from your practice partner 

There are a million different ways to drill, but this is a great start to get you going in the right direction. These drills are a great way to improve the key components of your game quickly and find success on the court! 

Lesson Plan Recap

  • 2 sets of 25 serves - try to change the placement and speed of your serves so your opponent doesn’t become accustomed to any one serve type. 
  • 25 topspin 
  • 25 slice 
  • 1 set of 25-third shot drops 
  • 1 continuous round as your practice partner works on their third shot drop. 
  • 3 one-minute sessions of drives. Drive the ball consistently for one minute. Even if the ball gets loose, let it go and grab another one. In between each session, rest for 30 seconds. 
  • 3 one-minute sessions of drive returns. Return your opponent’s drives consistently for one minute. Even if the ball gets loose, let it go and grab another one. In between each session, rest for 30 seconds. 
  • Dinks
  • 25 top spin dinks directly across from your practice partner
  • 25 slice dinks directly across from your practice partner 
  • 25 top spin dinks cross-court from your practice partner 
  • 25 slice dinks cross-court from your practice partner 

--

We hope that this article was helpful, but if you have any additional questions for the Paddle Experts at JustPaddles they can be reached via phone at 866-382-3465, email at experts@justpaddles.com, or you can click here to live chat. Don't forget, we're JustPaddles and we'll be here for you from Click To Court!

 

 

 
Chat Us
You can compare a maximum of four items.
Please remove one item to add another.
Add up to 4 items to compare.
Show Comparison
4.9 Star Rating, Google Customer Reviews