Pickleball is a fast and exciting sport that requires quick reactions and movements from the players. The faster you can move your hand and paddle, the better you can handle the different shots and situations that arise in the game. Whether you need to defend against powerful smashes, respond to delicate dinks, or adjust to sudden changes in ball direction, having a high hand speed will give you an edge over your opponents. Therefore, working on your hand speed will help you improve your pickleball skills and performance.
Here are two fun drills that you can do to increase your hand speed for pickleball:
1. Fast Volleys Drill
This drill will help you practice your volleys and improve your reaction time. To do this drill:
Find a partner and stand inside the Non-Volley Zone, facing each other across the net. You should be about seven feet apart, which is half the distance between the Kitchen Lines. This will reduce your normal reaction time and force you to move your paddle faster.
Hit the ball back and forth to each other with volleys. Try to keep the ball speed moderate so that you and your partner can maintain a rally. Most of the volleys will be backhands, since you have less time to switch to forehands, but be ready to move your feet and hit forehands if you can.
As you get more comfortable, try to challenge yourself by increasing the speed and intensity of your shots and/or switching between forehands and backhands more often, trying to keep a fast pace.
This drill will help you improve your hand-eye coordination and hand speed, as well as your control and accuracy.
2. Ping Pong Wall Drill
This drill will help you work on your hand speed and reflexes using a ping pong ball. To do this drill:
Get a ping pong ball and use your pickleball paddle to hit it against a wall above the net line (or where the net line would be).
Do as many forehand hits as you can. Then, do as many backhand hits as you can. Then, alternate between forehands and backhands.
Try moving closer to the wall to make it harder for yourself. As you move closer, you will have less time to react, so you will have to move faster. It will be especially hard to switch between forehands and backhands, so you may end up hitting more backhands to keep up.
Using a ping pong ball will really test your hand speed and reflexes because the ping pong ball is much smaller and lighter than a pickleball, so it will move faster—meaning even less time to react. Also, since the ping pong ball is smaller, it will be harder to see—in other words, you will need more focus to track the ball.
These two drills are great for developing your hand speed and reflexes for pickleball. Try them out in your regular practice sessions to enhance your pickleball game. Practicing with hand speed in mind will not only help you react faster to different shots, but also improve your overall shot-making skills.