If you would like to ignore the following rant, and go direct to the drills, please go here.

Rant follows: it’s a particular pet-peeve of ours that we invest tons of energy in our clubs building robust training programs only to observe that nobody ever goes out and practices the skills they’ve supposedly learned. There’s an urban legend created around learning that says that you will forget 80% of what you’ve learned in the first 24 hours after first learning the skill if you do not practice it during that time – but that urban legend, while undoubtedly not accurate, is certainly true in concept. We’ve seen, over and over, that people will take a learning class (say, for argument’s sake, a 3.5-level drop shot class) and will immediately thereafter go into a 6-game Round Robin event and not try to hit a single drop shot in that entire two-hour span. Yes, literally true – we have watched to see. And yet these same people, if queried, know perfectly well that in order to become better players they must have a consistent drop-shot as one of their third-shot choices (among other reasons).

So what is the answer? Drilling. Practicing what they’ve had preached to them. But within either of the two clubs we are in today, we are positive that no more than 5% of players drill regularly, by which we mean something beyond the two minutes of dinking and dropping we all do as part of our warm-ups before we play.

Does drilling work? For many, perhaps most of us, it does. For some, especially the gifted athletes, we have come to believe it’s perhaps not as necessary. We have several examples – at Palm Creek, only perhaps two of the 5.0 players drill at all (of about a dozen). Of the 4.5-level players, the sample size is a bit larger but again only 3 or 4 players drill. Irene and AJ are among these four.

So..is drilling always successful? No, it is not. After all these years of playing, drilling and thinking about this cool game, we both believe we are making some of the same mistakes we’ve been making since we knew enough to start making them in about year two.

However, again, it could be because we are drilling poorly, or without enough variety, or we are not coming close enough emulating true game conditions when we drill, or maybe it’s just something we ate. In any case, drilling has “solved” many of the playing problems we do have, just not all of them. We suspect with all the stuff that is going to be in this section we will find many more opportunities to drill differently and hold out some hope that one or two of these drills will contribute to a better result.

So,OK, the rant is over. Here are some nifty resources for you to check out.

Here’s The Staubs (Brian and his son Matt of Pickleball 411) on the third shot drop-shot drill:

This article, (opens in a new page) is a good, brief explanation about the importance of drilling on drop shots. The site contains other good training articles as well.

AZPickleballFun.com (opens in new window) is an interesting site with a variety of drills on many subjects. Most of the drills are basic, which means they probably are just what most of us want to practice. There’s also some interesting stuff about training and strategy on this site. 

Here’s a link to Prem Carnot’s site and specifically to his brief section on drills. (note: opens in new window) Prem is always worth reading; he definitely has a different take on things in many cases.

Here again are Matt and Brian Staub of PoachPB.com, (a YouTube channel), aka: Pickleball 411, who are relentless drillers, practicing dinking. We have OK knees and don’t know we can do what they do, but the concepts are outstanding.

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