Here is a great pickleball warm-up routine and drill that you can do with your partner as you are getting ready to play your first rec game of the day or tournament match. In tournament matches, teams will typically be given only approximately 5-10 minutes to warm-up. These pickleball drills will give you the warm-up necessary for executing all the shots that you will likely hit during a match. This warm-up routine can be completed in approximately 5 minutes.
How Are Pickleball Players Positioned During a Warm-Up?
In pickleball, both players from the same team generally warm up together – with each typically positioned straight across the net from each other.
Warm Up your Dinks
Start your warm-up positioned directly across the net from your partner at each of your respective non-volley lines. Collaboratively, dink back and forth to each other – making sure you are executing each dink with purpose. Dink some wide and some towards the middle. Make sure you also vary the depths of your dinks. Land some close to the net and others at the feet of your partner.
Progressively Work Back from the Non-Volley Line to the Baseline and Back Up Again
After about 30-60 seconds of straight-on intentional dinking, it’s time to warm up the drop shots from all areas on the court. With one partner feeding balls from the non-volley line, the other should take a few steps back and progressively work backward from the non-volley line to the baseline – all while hitting drops into your partner’s non-volley zone.
The person doing the feeding should begin with some “easy” feeds and progress to making the feeds more difficult to handle. How challenging the feeds are simply depends on the skill level of your partner.
Once the person hitting the drop shots has reached the baseline they should work their way back up to the non-volley line – all while, once again, hitting drop shots. This should take about 60 seconds for each partner.
Now have your partner do the exact same thing so that they can also practice executing the drop shots from all areas on the court. As you are hitting drop shots and moving – either forwards or backward – remember to split step so that you remain balanced and can move quickly in any direction.
For the next 60 seconds or so, volley the ball back and forth to each other. Do some rapid-fire volleys so that you can adjust to the speed of the volleys during gameplay. Do some block volleys. Make sure you are alternating forehand and backhand volleys so that you get practice on both sides. Also, make sure you are hitting a handful of drop volleys from the transition area and into your partner’s non-volley zone.
Overheads & Lobs
Before gameplay begins, you will want to make sure that you are thoroughly stretched out. Have your partner hit you a couple of lobs so that you can hit some overheads and loosen your stomach muscles. Start off hitting the overheads “easy does it.” As you get stretched out, begin hitting the overheads with more pace.
While you are hitting the overheads, make sure you are aware of the sun and wind conditions. You may even want to quickly change sides with your partner so that you can practice on both sides if the sun and wind are, indeed, factors.
Serves & Returns
Don’t forget to practice serves and returns. This is often neglected when I see teams warming up. You can practice these straight on. Alternatively, one of you may want to ask your opponent if they wouldn’t mind rotating sides with you so that you can practice the serve cross-court. After one person serves the ball, the partner can, and should, work on their return of serve – focusing on keeping the return deep.
If there’s any time remaining, work on any other skill that you would likely execute during a game.
This is a simple warm-up routine that you can do at any time. It doesn’t even have to be prior to a rec game or tournament match.
See you on the courts.