Drills – Overheads or Smashing

Drills – Overheads


Overhead drills are not going to work very well until the players have first learned to lob well enough to hit a lob to the player practicing overheads! After you can lob fairly well when returning a ground stroke or volley, then you are ready to attempt these drills.


These drills are necessary not only to develop your overhead skills, but also to develop your ability to return an overhead smash with another lob. You will find that if you do these drills your lob will improve as much or more than your overhead improves.


Drill 1 is good for two players. If you have 3 or 4 players, then drill 3 is much better because the player hitting overheads can practice hitting to different areas of the court. That also gives the two players lobbing practice in a more game like situation. Hitting overheads is quite tiring and even with 4 players rotating to the overhead position, everyone should get plenty of practice.


1.Player A stands on one side of the net at the baseline and hits lobs to Player B who hits overheads back at Player A. Player A tries to hit high lobs that land between the no-volley line and 3/4 court. Player B tries to hit overheads back at player A so that it can be lobbed again. Rotate between lobbing and hitting overheads often. (For 2 players)


2.Player A and Player B stand on one side of the net at the baseline and hits lobs to Player C who practices hitting overheads to both corners and down the middle. Anytime player C manages to hit 4 overheads in a row successfully, then they can try to put the overhead away after that. All players take turns hitting overheads and should rotate often as overheads can be very tiring. If you have 4 or more players, then one or more players can sit on the bench as part of the rotation. (For 3 or more players)


3.In this drill, you have two teams on opposite sides of the net with one team lobbing and one team hitting overheads. Advanced teams should be trying to put their smashes away while the lobbers should be trying to lob high and deep. When possible, however you also should try to be consistent while doing so. More beginning teams should be considerate of what the other team is trying to do when they lob or smash. We should have lots of rallies of 5 or 6 hits for both teams to get the most out of this drill. (For 4 players)


Bob Halpin


Drills – Volleys

The simplest volley drill is for either two players or four players to stand at the no-volley line and volley the ball back and forth. Each player should attempt to hit the ball to the other player in a manner that will allow them to keep the ball going. At all levels, the goal should be to keep quite a few balls going between misses.

For beginning players, this might mean you are hitting the ball fairly slow and high and possibly even to the forehand. As you improve, you might hit the ball a little firmer and even try to hit to their backhand more often. You will find that all players at all levels will do best if you don’t hit the ball right at them.

As players improve, you can hit the ball harder at each other and intentionally hit some to the backhand and some to the forehand and some right at the other player. If you are having long rallies, you can get more aggressive. If your opponent is starting to miss too much, then you should slow the ball down until he/she is successful again.

With only two players, you should practice not only volleying the ball straight ahead, but also crosscourt using both backhands and forehands. With 4 players you will get to practice both, but you should practice both from the leftside and the rightside of the court.

Remember, the goal is to practice and keep the ball going, not to hit so hard the other player can’t get it back! However, you should be noticing any particular weakness they have in case you ever play them in a tournament.


Bob Halpin

Drills – Dinks

Drills – Dinking

Information for all Dinking Drills
Whenever you are practicing your dinks, you should try to make all balls bounce in front of the no-volley line and they should be short and low enough that the player    you are practicing with couldn’t kill the ball if he/she wanted to do so. While you    will probably have to step into the no-volley zone to hit a lot of the dinks, you    should immediately step back behind the no-volley zone line before the opposing player    hits the ball.

If you and your partner aren’t able to keep the ball going more than 2 or 3 hits, then    don’t try to keep the ball to low or to short. Its more important as a beginner to keep    the ball going so you can gradually get the feel of how hard to hit. Just keep practicing    as often as you can.

The Short Dink – all skill levels
Both players start by standing in the middle of the court and dinking the ball back and    forth nicely to each other for 3 minutes. If you have 4 players, simply have each pair    of players stand in the middle of their half of the court and each pair use their own    ball.

Both players hit cross court dinks back and forth from one side to another trying to    hit fairly sharp angles to each other. Do this for 3 minutes and then do another 3    minutes cross court in the other direction. Do not try to avoid backhands while doing    these drills as you need to begin developing your backhand dinks even if they don’t    work very well in the beginning. Again if you have 4 players, simply have each pair    of players hit cross court in the opposite direction.

Both players dink the ball down the line on one side of the court for 3 minutes and    then 3 minutes down the line on the other side of the court. With 4 players, each pair    uses a different sideline.

If you have 4 players, you should do this additional drill which is to use only 1 ball    and dink back and forth between all players trying to practice all of the above    directions while doing so. Try to hit 1/2 of the balls back to the player that hit it    to you and 1/2 of the balls back to the other player so you are practicing all    directions again. The more advanced players can spend more time on this drill and less    time on the others. Don’t forget to practice this from both the left and right sides of    the courts so both you and your partner practice both forehands and backhands.

The 3/4 Court Dink – Intermediate and Advanced skill levels
To practice this with 4 players, have 2 players stand at the no-volley zone line and    the other two players stand at about 3/4 court position on their side of the net. The    two players at 3/4 court try to hit soft dinks while the two players at the net position    try to hit the ball back nicely so they can try another dink. After a little while,    reverse positions and practice for an equal amount of time. This might take quite a few    practice sessions or one, but eventually you will get the feel of how hard to hit to    make a good dink. This works just as well with either 2 players or 4 players and don’t    forget that you can practice cross court dinks as well as down the line dinks with this    drill just as you did in the short dink drills.

The Baseline Dink – Advanced skill level
To practice this with 4 players, have 2 players stand at the no-volley zone line and    the other two players stand just behind the baseline  on the other side of the net.    The two players standing just behind the baseline try to hit soft dinks, while the    two players at the net try to hit the ball back nicely and near the baseline. After    a little while, reverse positions and practice for an equal amount of time. This works    just as well with either 2 players or 4 players and don’t forget that you can practice    cross court dinks as well as down the line dinks with this drill just as you did in the    short dink drills.

Dinking Game – all skill levels
To help you concentrate and have some fun while learning the dink, you can play a game    with four players where everyone has to dink and you lose the point if the ball lands    behind the no-volley zone line. You can still play to 11 points, but you have to start    the point nicely to each other for this game to work.

You could also play this game with 2 players, but you would have to agree to use only    1/2 of each side of the court for this to work. You can decide whether to practice this    from down the line sides or cross court sides.


Bob Halpin

Training and Grant Program from the USAPA

US Tennis paints the lines in SW Florida
Contact Randy 239.643.7300

Nets can be purchased from:

Training Grant Program Rules
The USAPA Grant program will provide funds to subsidize training programs for school students, local residents, organizations or individuals who are novices to Pickleball and do not belong to a Pickleball club or other organized group.




Applicants must be USAPA members age 18 and older. Training programs must observe all USAPA rules and conditions.


Federal and state government agencies other than schools and universities are not eligible. Other organizations, including but not limited to, local government agencies, housing developments, private resorts, for-profit organizations, organizations not open to the general public or any other similar entities should process their request for funds through a USAPA member. In that case, the Grant will be made to the applicable USAPA member. Exceptions will be made only for extraordinary situations.


In general, priority will be given to those individuals or organizations that the USAPA deems most in need of financial assistance.




Grants will generally be given on a first-come first-served basis and will be for reimbursement only. Grants may be approved in whole, in part, or not at all. No advances will be made.


When the Grant funding for the current year is exhausted, approvals will cease until the following year. Reimbursement requests for expenses incurred in one calendar year may be submitted the following year if submitted within 90 days of approval of the application.




Costs eligible for reimbursement include but are not limited to USAPA accepted balls, materials for measuring and marking temporary court lines, copying of lesson documents, containers for balls and equipment, and office supplies. Portable net and post equipment is allowable only if purchased from USAPA.


Paddles are not allowable because of their relatively high cost. It is highly recommended that you solicit donations of used paddles from your local players. Exclusions from reimbursement include but are not limited to paddles, temporary net and post equipment not purchased from USAPA, court usage costs, traveling expenses, labor and subcontracts, and insurance.


Maximum Reimbursement


The maximum reimbursement to any person or group is $250. Approvals will be valid for only 90 days unless an extension is specifically approved by the USAPA. Receipts after 90 days will not be honored without specific prior approval. Expenses in excess of the maximum amount may not be resubmitted under a new application for reimbursement.




USAPA reserves the sole right to disperse training funds as it sees fit. All funding and reimbursement decisions by the USAPA are final and may not be appealed.




Applications for Training Grant funds may be filed at any time. They may be submitted by completing this survey