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Want to take your pickleball playing to the next level? Of course you do!
When it comes to improving your pickleball skills, there’s only one way to do: practice, practice, practice!
We realise it’s not always easy – or possible – to play pickleball when you want to, though. After all, we’d be playing all the time if we could.
So, should you give up on practising pickleball when nobody else is around to play? Of course not! As long as you have a pickleball paddle and a ball, there’s always a way to get your pickleball practice in.
Can you play pickleball by yourself?
Sometimes you can’t get to the court.
Other times no one else is available at the court to practice with.
Or perhaps you just want to practice pickleball alone to improve your skill level faster.
While you can’t play pickleball by yourself – that would be taking singles to a whole new level! – you can certainly don’t need anyone else to improve your pickleball shots and serves.
Whether you’re heading to the court solo or want to get in some training at home, here is how to practice pickleball by yourself.
How to practice pickleball alone
While you need at least an opponent to play a full game of pickleball, there are plenty of ways to practice pickleball alone.
So, what should you practice when you have no partner to play with?
First of all, the shots you can practice will depend on the space you have. Do you have a court to yourself? Or are you practicing pickleball at home?
Secondly, you’ll want to think about what would be the best use of your solo pickleball practice time. Is there a drill your usual partner doesn’t like practicing? Is there a shot you need to improve?
Below, we’ve laid out some ideas for solo pickleball drills you can practice all by yourself, broken down into categories. There are plenty of ideas in there, divided into ideas for the court and pickleball drills you can practice at home.
One thing is for sure: you’ll never be stuck for ways to practice pickleball alone ever again!
Solo pickleball drills for one person
All of the following pickleball drills can be practised alone. Since we know you might be restricted by the space available to you, we’ve split them into solo pickleball drills you can do on the court and some that you can do anywhere at all – even at home!
Solo pickleball drills to practice on the court
When you have a pickleball court to practice on, there are endless pickleball drills you can practice by yourself. And, if you don’t have a pickleball court to practice on, you could also use a tennis court for most of these solo drills.
1 – Practice your serve
Given that your pickleball team can only score when you’re serving, it makes sense to put as much practice into your serve as possible. Luckily, that’s fairly easily to do alone!
Practising your pickleball serve solo is one of the best ways to increase your confidence and accuracy on the court. If you’re new to the game, you might want to practice simply hitting the ball accurately. You can do this by aiming for a certain point on the line or, if you have something can put down, hitting a target.
If you’ve been playing pickleball for a while, now is a great time to practice your depth. As well as aiming for a target, try to increase the speed with which you hit the ball. While this solo pickleball drill might not be as fun as the game itself, it will set you up well for the next time you play!
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2 – Get more comfortable on the court
Learning to play pickleball well is a bit like learning to play an instrument. When you first start, there’s a whole to think about – and you feel like you’re doing everything in slow motion! As you practice, though, you begin to do things without even thinking about.
The same is true for anybody who’s played pickleball for a while. At first, you may have been overwhelmed by everything that goes on in a game: watching you opponent, knowing where to stand, using the right shot, being aware of your partner’s position – the list goes on. As you improve, though, these things become second nature.
One of the best ways you can speed up the process is to simply practice getting a feel for things without the pressure of the game. By removing most of the things you need to think about – the opposing team, your partner, the type of shot coming your way – you can focus on getting to Mozart levels on the others. Use this precious solo time to step around the court and get a feel for how far away the kitchen is. You’ll never need to worry about accidentally stepping in the non-volley zone ever again!
3 – Advanced solo dinking practice
Advanced players can still benefit from hitting the courts alone. You might think you need a drill partner to practice one of pickleball’s most important techniques, dinking, but it is possible to dink alone! Simply stand right at the end of the net, dink the ball over the net and run to the other side to dink it back.
Admittedly, this one will have you working up a sweat – and leaving you with no doubt that pickleball can be great exercise! And, while beginner pickleball players can practice this dink drill solo, it’s probably more beneficial to intermediate and advanced players.
Pickleball drills for one person that you can do anywhere
These solo pickleball drills need nothing more than a wall. Ideally, you want to place some tape at the height of a pickleball net on the wall. If not, you can simply use these drills for some lighter practice.
1 – Volley accuracy drill
How often does the ball not go exactly where you want it to? If you’re like us, all the time! Nobody gets the ball to go exactly where they hope 100% of the time, but this solo drill can help you increase your accuracy.
Simply mark a square or spot on the wall using tape. Then, standing just outside the kitchen, see how many times you can hit the target. After a little bit of practice, you may be amazed at how quickly your accuracy improves! Don’t forget to move around and take your shot from different angles, and feel free to move the target once your accuracy gets high.
2 – Forehand/backhand volley
Upping your pickleball volley game requires quick reflexes and reaction times. To improve your pickleball playing, you need to be able to deliver both forehand and backhand shots accurately – and that is what we’ll practice here.
Stand at least seven feet from a wall (that’s a kitchen size away, in case you’re wondering). When you’re ready to begin, serve to the wall with a forehand shot, as you would when it’s your turn to serve in a real pickleball game. Then, when the ball bounces back, hit it back to the wall using a backhand shot. Continue until you miss.
These fast-paced drill will help you improve both the speed and the accuracy of your groundstrokes. If you can, use tape to mark a net line on the wall for even greater accuracy and more realistic practice.
3 – Legwork Practice
While most pickleball practice focuses on your shots, serves and other armwork, it’s important not to forget about your legs. Doing the exercises for pickleball When you’re practicing pickleball alone, take some time to work on your leg movements for when you’re back on the court.
Even though you can’t easily practice dinking alone, you can practice the lateral movements needed in the non-volley zone. Dinking is crucial as you begin to advance as a pickleball player, so don’t underestimate the impact this practice can have. You can improve your kitchen play by practising your lateral movements – a pickleball practice that you can do absolutely anywhere!
When you’re finished, you may want to try these other pickleball exercises!
4 – Shadow Swing
A shadow swing is when you swing the pickleball paddle without hitting anything. Doing this will help you perfect your form with the paddle, so you can have even greater control on the court.
Do you have any ideas for solo pickleball drills or know of any other ways to practice pickleball alone? Drop a comment below or come and say hi in our Pickleball Players Facebook group!