Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, practicing pickleball alone can help you improve your skills and technique.
Pickleball drills that you do alone are one of the best ways to help you develop your footwork, agility, and reaction time.
Practicing alone is a great way to improve your skills and techniques. Several of the drills that I describe in this article helped me become a better pickleball player.
But, the key is to do these drills consistently if you want to notice a visible improvement.
In this article, I share some of my favorite pickleball drills to do alone.
Some of these drills can be done on a pickleball court or on a practice wall.
Table of Contents
Pickleball Drills To Do Alone
Hand-Eye Coordination & Ball Control Drills
DRILL #1 – Tip to Grip or Paddle Bump
- Number of Players: solo drill
- Skill Level: 1.0+
- Skill Focus: hand-eye coordination, paddle control, ball control, hand speed
- Drill Name: Tip to grip or paddle bump
The tip-to-grip drill also called the paddle bump, is one of the best ways to get a good feel for your paddle and how the ball bounces off it.
In fact, it’s one of the first drills you’ll learn in beginner lessons.
Hold your pickleball paddle horizontally to the ground and bounce the ball on your paddle face.
Continue to bounce the ball gently to ensure you don’t lose control of the ball.
Once you’ve developed a good feel and rhythm, start switching the paddle face from top to bottom so you’re alternating which side of the paddle face connects with the ball.
Once you’re consistent, start bouncing the ball from the tip of the paddle face to the base of the paddle face.
Another twist to the paddle bump is to bounce the ball twice on your paddle face and then turn your paddle so that it’s perpendicular with the ground and bounce the ball twice on the paddle edge.
This drill should help you better understand the sweet spot and get a better feel for the deader areas typically around the edges and the base of the paddle.
Such an easy drill but with huge benefits and is worth including in your regular pickleball practice.
DRILL #2 – Selfie Ball Bounce
- Number of Players: solo drill
- Skill Level: 1.0+
- Skill Focus: paddle control, ball control, hand speed, drop shots
- Drill Name: Selfie ball bounce
The selfie ball bounce is a great solo drill.
To do this drill, hold your paddle horizontally to the ground, bounce the ball off your paddle, and then let the ball bounce off the ground.
And repeat. Keep your knees bent and your body as square as possible.
It’s okay to move your feet but to make this drill a bit more challenging, keep your feet in one place.
Try to use enough control when hitting the ball that you can keep your knees bent, posture square, and the ball within easy reach of your paddle.
Another variation of this drill is to incorporate a side-step as you are bouncing the ball.
DRILL #3 – Dink Shuffle Drill
With the dink shuffle drill, hit the ball in front of you while shuffling from side to side.
Move your feet to meet the ball.
Use soft shots with control so that you can comfortably shuffle side to side for as many hits as the space you’re using will allow.
On your way back to where you started, do the same thing but with your backhand.
Repeat this drill and you’ll be amazed at how your dink shot improves, your ball control gets better and you’ll get a bit of cardio.
This is also a great drill for improving your lateral movements.
DRILL #4 – Backhand – Forehand Dink Drill
When doing the backhand dink drill, start by dinking the ball from your forehand to your backhand.
And then move laterally to return the shot with your backhand and continue to move back and forth laterally while repeating your forehand to backhand shot and backhand to forehand shot.
Not only will this drill help improve your dink shot, but you’ll be working on improving your side-to-side movement and you’ll be doing good footwork.
DRILL #5 – Serve Repeats
- Number of Players: solo drill (or 2)
- Skill Level: 1.0+
- Skill Focus: serve consistency
- Drill Name: serve repeats
With the serve repeats drill, you practice serving to specific spots on the court, such as the back left corner or the back right corner of the receiver’s court.
Practice getting the ball to land just inside the pickleball court but right in the corner of where the sideline and baseline meet or right inside the corner of where the center line and the baseline meet.
Make this drill more challenging by giving yourself a goal of hitting 10 serves in a row without a fault.
If a serve goes outside the service area, then you start over.
Depending on your skill level, this drill could keep you busy for quite some time.
You can do this drill with a partner as well. Here are more drills for 2 pickleball players.
Pickleball Wall Drills
- Number of Players: solo drill
- Skill Level: 1.0+
- Skill Focus: eye-hand control, paddle control, ball placement, fast hands
- Drill Name: Pickleball wall drills
Wall drills are simple drills and they’re also one of the best ways to improve.
More advanced players know that improving their pickleball game requires constant practice.
DRILL #6 – Pickleball Wall Drill Setup
To setup a pickleball wall for drilling, find a wall that you can use for hitting a pickleball ball against and one that you can stick tape to.
Run the tape on the wall, 34” off the ground, or if possible, put it so the tape runs 36” off the ground on the outside edges where the net poles would be and 34” in the center.
Measure 7 ft outwards from the wall along the ground and then put tape along the ground, horizontal to the wall. This is the kitchen line (non-volley line) and the distance of 7 feet represents the depth of the non-volley zone.
The width of a full-size pickleball court is 20 ft. You don’t need to make your lines this long – 10 ft or even less will work.
Next, tape out a square that uses the existing tape line on the wall as the bottom of the square. You can create more than one square (1 on the far left, middle, and far right) and use each one as a target.
DRILL #7 – Dink Wall Drill
Use the wall targets that you’ve just created to practice your dink shots, soft shots, and ball placement skills.
Stand 7 ft back from the wall (the depth of the kitchen line). The goal is to consistently hit the ball inside the square.
You can let it bounce and then hit it or you can volley it into the square. Pick one or the other and then focus on it. And then switch to the other shot.
Remember to hit the ball above the tape line and inside the square using both forehand shots and backhand shots. Alternate between using these two shots.
Since the squares sit just on and above the net line, hitting the pickleball ball into the square is like practicing dink shots only without the net.
Hit the ball consistently for 10 shots and then move on to the next square.
Set whatever number of successful hits makes sense for you and your skill level.
This is a good way to practice dink shots and improve your reaction time. In fact, I found that practicing wall drills significantly improved my reaction time.
DRILL #8 – Overhead Smash Wall Drill
The overhead smash is a powerful shot that can help you win points.
Stand about 5-10 feet away from a wall and hit the ball up high. Then, run up to the wall and hit an overhead smash as the ball is coming off the wall.
Repeat this drill, alternating from the left to the right side of the court (left or right side of the wall).
DRILL #9 – Speed and Footwork Wall Drill
This wall drill is good for practicing hitting and receiving high shots or lobs.
Hit the ball high above the tape line. It will bounce out, well beyond the kitchen line that you taped on the ground.
And then turn around run and hit the ball against the wall, above the kitchen line. This is a great workout and a really good way to practice your footwork.
This is another drill that I found made a noticeable difference in my game and fitness level.
DRILL #10 – Volley Wall Drills
Improving your volley shots is key to winning points in pickleball.
To practice volleys alone, stand about 2-3 feet away from the wall and hit the ball continuously back and forth off the wall without letting it drop to the ground and without hitting it below the net line.
Practice a forehand volley and then practice your backhand volley.
The goal is to consistently hit soft shots off your practice wall. Hit the ball against the ball and when you go to return the shot, slow the ball down on your paddle to ensure your gaining control before you hit back off the wall.
Learn more pickleball drills for beginners.
DRILL #11 – Third Shot Drop Drills
For intermediate players or advanced players who are looking to improve their skills, there are plenty of drills you can do alone.
These drills will help you work on your third shot drop, drop shots, volleys, and overhead smashes.
One of the most important shots in pickleball is the third shot drop.
To practice your third shot drop, you’ll need a bucket of balls to save you from constantly running to retrieve balls that you’ve hit.
Pickleball machines are great if your local club has one. Or here’s a pickleball machine that’s reasonably affordable compared to the larger models.
Program the machine to throw deep into the court.
If you’re using a ball machine, stand at the baseline and return the ball to your opponent’s non-volley zone.
If you’re not using a ball machine, have a bucket of balls (or at least several balls) handy, and hit the balls over the net into your opponent’s non-volley zone.
When you hit the pickleball ball, you want the apex (the highest point of the ball) to be on your side of the court before it goes over the pickleball net and drops down into the other side of the net – your opponent’s non-volley zone.
Rinse and repeat.
Of course, if you have a partner, you can practice this drill with 2 players.
Tips for Doing Pickleball Drills Alone
As someone who loves to play a game of pickleball, I know how important it is to practice regularly to improve my skills. However, it’s not always easy to find a partner to practice with. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of tips for doing pickleball drills alone:
- Use a wall: One of the best ways to practice pickleball alone is to use a wall. You can hit the ball against the wall and work on your accuracy, speed, and control. Make sure to position yourself at different angles to the wall to simulate different shots.
- Use a ball machine: If you have access to a pickleball machine, use it to practice alone. You can adjust the settings to simulate different shots and work on your footwork and reaction time.
- Focus on your weaknesses: When practicing alone, focus on your weaknesses. If you struggle with backhand shots, for example, spend more time practicing those shots until you feel more confident.
- Record yourself: Set up your phone or camera to record yourself practicing. This will allow you to see your form and technique and make adjustments as necessary.
- Set goals: Before starting your practice session, set specific goals for what you want to achieve. This will help you stay focused and motivated.
- Make it fun: Practicing alone can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Play music or set up challenges for yourself to make it more enjoyable.
The Importance of Pickleball Drills
As a pickleball player, I know that the key to improving your game is through practice.
And one of the best ways to practice is through drills.
Pickleball drills help you to hone your pickleball skills, increase your agility, and improve your overall game.
Here are some reasons why pickleball drills are so important:
- Build Muscle Memory: Pickleball drills help you to build muscle memory, which is essential for developing good technique. By repeating the same movements over and over again, you train your muscles to perform the movements automatically, without having to think about them.
- Improve Footwork: Footwork is a crucial part of pickleball, and drills can help you to improve your footwork and agility. By practicing footwork drills, you can learn how to move quickly and efficiently around the court, which can help you to get to the ball faster and make better shots.
- Develop Consistency: Consistency is key in pickleball, and drills can help you to develop consistent shots. By practicing the same shots over and over again, you can learn how to hit the ball with the same speed, spin, and placement every time.
FAQ – Top Pickleball Drills To Do Alone
How Can I Practice Pickleball Byself?
You can practice pickleball by yourself by hitting the ball against a wall. I have a wall in my garage setup to practice.
Put a piece of tape on the wall, running laterally with the floor, at either 34″ which is the height of the net in the middle or 36″ which is the height at the posts.
Put tape on the floor, running laterally with the tape on the wall, 7 feet from the wall. This simulates the non-volley zone.
This is a great setup for practicing dinking the ball or volleying the ball.
Can pickleball be played solo?
No, pickleball can’t be played solo. You can practice pickleball by yourself using a wall for drills or practice some hits such as serving, on an empty