Skills and Drills

What You Will Learn During Pickleball Clinic Trips

Are you looking for a fun way to improve your pickleball skills, meet new players, and learn from the pros? Look no further than Pickleball in Paradise clinic trips! Our experienced instructors will guide you through a variety of drills and exercises designed to enhance your technique, strategy, and overall game. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, you will learn new skills while enjoying an epic vacation to an all-inclusive Caribbean resort. You are guaranteed to have an amazing vacation exploring new destinations and honing your pickleball skills. Here is an example of pickleball skills and drills that you can learn during your pickleball clinic trip.

1. Serve: A professional pickleball player has mastered the art of serving with accuracy and precision.

Pickleball serve is the first shot of a rally in pickleball. The server stands behind their baseline and serves the ball diagonally over the net into the opponent’s service court. The goal of serving is to start a rally with an advantageous position and ideally win a point outright or force a weak return from the opponent. There are certain rules that govern how to serve properly in pickleball, including standing outside of the court boundaries, hitting underhand, and not touching any part of the non-volley zone during or after serving until there has been at least one volley on each side.

  • Create a routine for your serve and utilize each serve
  • Serve deep
  • Vary the pace of serve
  • Move serve around (to returners backhand, forehand, etc.)
  • A high percentage of serves should be “IN”
  • Serve Return – position yourself in the middle of the return area. Do not favor your forehand/backhand
  • A good place to return is the middle of the court to create confusion on the serving team
  • Never miss a return of serve!!!

2. Dinking: A pro can teach you how to dink effectively and make it difficult for your opponent to return the ball.

Pickleball dinking is a strategy used in the game of pickleball where players hit soft, low shots over the net to their opponent’s side of the court. The goal of dinking is to force the opposing team to hit high and give up control of the point. Dinking requires accuracy and finesse, as players must hit with just enough power to clear the net but not too much that it allows for an easy return. It is often used in doubles play and can be an effective way to slow down the pace of a match and create opportunities for winners at the net.

  •  Relaxed/loose grip (strength) on the paddle
  • Consistent Swing Path. Start the dink low with a very short backswing and end with a short follow-through.
  • Use Your Legs – get low with bent knees and a straight back so you can push from your legs. Do not bend at the waist with straight and stiff legs. Use the energy from your legs and let that be what pushes your paddle forward.
  • Clearance and Compromise – keep your dink soft and short.  You do not have it hit it low to the net to accomplish this.  You can hit excellent dinks that get good/high-margin net clearance.  It is always great to compromise with your opponent. Do not continue to dink to the same spot or person.  Try to move your opponent/s side to side, hit to the backhand, add spin, force, etc.
  • Take the ball out of the air when possible – do not step backward. Keep your energy and power moving forward.  Important to maintain the loose/relaxed grip as with your normal dink.

3. Third shot drop: The third shot drop is a crucial skill in pickleball, and learning it from a pro can improve your game significantly.

The 3rd shot drop is a type of shot in pickleball that is used to start the game’s third volley. It involves hitting a soft, low shot over the net that lands just inside the opponent’s kitchen or non-volley zone. The purpose of this shot is to force your opponents to hit up on the ball, allowing you and your partner to move forward into a better court position and potentially set up for an offensive play.

4. Volleying: Volleying requires quick reflexes and good hand-eye coordination, which are skills that pros excel at.

Volleying in pickleball refers to hitting the ball out of the air before it bounces on the court. It is a common tactic used by players who are close to the net and want to put pressure on their opponents. Volleying requires quick reflexes and good hand-eye coordination, as well as an understanding of how to generate power and control using only your paddle. Skilled players can use volleying to dictate the pace of play, create angles that force their opponents out of position, or set up shots for winners.

5. Blocking: Learn to block like a pro!

Blocking is a crucial defensive technique in pickleball where a player uses their paddle to deflect an incoming shot back over the net without swinging. The goal is to block the ball while keeping it low and placing it strategically on the opponent’s side of the court, making it difficult for them to return or set up a powerful offensive shot. Blocking is typically used when players are positioned close to the net and do not have enough time or space for a full swing.

  • Utilize Continental Grip – the best grip to accomplish the block.
  • Good athletic stance – bend at knees, weight on balls of feet, move feet to keep the ball in front of your body.
  • Paddle Position- utilize backhand side- keep paddle up, out in front of the body, soft grip.
  • Compact Stroke – the less you swing the better- it is a short motion- paddle comes slightly back and forward- push the ball·      Do not turn your body – stay squared up to net/opponent. Relax and do not panic!

6. Drills: Practice and master your skills!

Improve various aspects of your game including footwork, shot accuracy, power, strategy, and teamwork. Drills help players develop specific skills through repetition and practice so that they can perform them more confidently and effectively during games. Drills can also be used for conditioning purposes to increase endurance and stamina on the court. During your pickleball trip, your Pro will help with plenty of fun drills for you to practice to hone your skills. Examples of pickleball drills from one of our past trips:

  • Dink-Dink-Hard – two players dink several times then one player hits a harder “attacking” volley over the net and the other player attempts to reset (drop) the ball back into the player’s kitchen area.
  • Mid-Court Reset – one player hits to the other player positioned at mid-court. The feed can be in the air (use Volley), or bounce (use Half Volley or drop) and the player will attempt to reset the ball (drop) softly back into the other player’s kitchen area. Continue to stay mid-court as other player feeds.
  • 2-Points Game – one team at the kitchen line and another team at their baseline. The goal is for the baseline team to get to the kitchen line and win 2 points in a row – once done – they take control of the kitchen and the other team goes to the baseline…repeat. 

7. Strategy: Learn effective strategies from your pros!

Strategy in a pickleball game allows players to plan and execute their shots effectively while anticipating their opponents’ moves. A well-planned strategy gives players an advantage by reducing errors, increasing efficiency with energy consumption, and maximizing the chances of scoring points. When creating a strategy for pickleball games, factors such as court position, shot selection, and communication with partners are taken into account to maximize success rates during gameplay. Your pickleball instructor will recommend strategies for you to try with your partner to improve your game.

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