As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. As pickleball hype grows, competitions are becoming popular by the day. If you are like me, you love winning – trust me, I do. So how do you become a pickleball pro within no time? The answer is pickleball training aids.
Notably, pickleball training aids do not replace a coach. They simply help you master skills like body balance, serves, and much more. Lucky for you, there are several training aids you can make use of. We shall be talking about them in this article and answering some frequently asked questions about the game.
1. Pickleball Tennis Net Adjuster
We can all agree that we have more tennis courts than pickleball courts, rightfully so, because pickleball is still a relatively new sport. The good thing is that you can learn how to play pickleball even if no designated courts are available. All you need is a pickleball tennis net adjuster, and voila!
The tennis court is now a pickleball court. This adjuster is incredibly easy to use, and you can set it up in under 2 minutes. Ideally, a pickleball net is two inches shorter than a tennis net.
2. A Pickleball Rebounder Net
A pickleball rebounder net is an excellent aid for training alone. The net bounces the ball back in a way that mimics an actual game while allowing you to set the pace. If you have a coach, they can use the pickleball rebounder net to train you for speed and agility. The coach can manipulate the bounce.
For instance, they can use a double-layered net to tweak the bounce. You can also find handheld rebounder nets, allowing the coach to bounce the ball in different directions and speeds.
3. Pickleball Guide Books
Improving your pickleball skills sure needs practice on the court. But I’ve got to tell you, some reading goes a long way. Pickleball literature forms a foundation for skill. Even though books can’t replace hours of practice or a trainer, they complement your efforts. If you don’t fancy perusing through pages, you can get audio book versions of these books.
One of the most important books you can lay your hands on is the Pickleball Official Tournament Rulebook. This rulebook was composed by the United States Pickleball Association and the International Federation of Pickleball. It explains in detail equipment regulations, serve rules, court dimensions, and other necessary game rules.
Even better, this book is lightweight and concise, so you can carry it for reference when going for routine training. Other popular pickleball books include How to Play Pickleball: The Complete Guide from A to Z by Joe Baker and Coach Mo and The Pickleball Bible by Dr. Rick Lambson and Tim Finger.
4. A Grip Trainer
One of the issues facing new pickleball players is learning how to grip the racquet. I know it can be frustrating, especially since there are different grips to learn. With a grip trainer, you learn how to correctly separate the index and middle fingers. It also trains you on how to hold the racquet handle at the proper height.
5. Pickleball Ball Machine
If you have already mastered the fundamentals of the game and would like to take your skills a notch higher, a pickleball ball machine might be what you need. It goes a long way in helping you work on your stamina and endurance. It can also help you improve shot placement and speed up muscle memory improvements.
With a ball machine, you can practice all types of strokes, such as dinks, slams, lobs, and so much more. You can also practice your footwork patterns without competitive pressure. Pickleball ball machines have several settings for players with any skill level and are light enough for you to carry around when going for training.
6. A Pickleball Eye Coach
“Watch the ball.” You have probably heard this phrase hundreds of times during pickleball training. But it’s easier said than done. However, you can get better at it using a pickleball eye coach. This training aid teaches you to keep your head still, focus on the ball, and simultaneously strike the ball in the correct rhythm.
In fact, studies show that using an eye coach for five minutes at home translates to more than an hour of increased focus on the pickleball court. Notably, a pickleball eye trainer is nearly similar to the tennis one. The only difference is that the pickleball trainer has a lighter hitting arm and uses a spinning pickleball.
7. A Backswing Training Aid
Learning how to maintain the correct position while playing pickleball is incredibly important. A backswing training aid is a stick that helps you synchronize your loop and the right and left hands when executing different strokes. It also helps you not take a big backswing on your volleys.
The stick also helps bend your wrists at the right angle, which comes in handy for fluid groundstrokes. Besides, the stick enables you to use your legs when returning a serve. Therefore, you hit from a position of strength and balance.
8. Pickleball Arrow
A pickleball arrow is a double-headed foam arrow training aid that helps you visualize how the point of contact creates the pickleball’s direction and arc. All you need to do is finish your shot with the arrow pointing in the direction you just hit the ball. The good thing about this aid is that it fits on any paddle. It is excellent for serves, dinks, lobs, slice shots, and volleys.
9. Space Aid
Do you usually find yourself hitting the ball too close to your body? When you do that, you bend your elbows too much, which makes your swing a little too tight. The result is slow ball speeds, which is not something any player wants. Such swings might also lead to injuries.
To prevent such, you can make use of a space aid. This training aid helps you work on that space between the ball and your body. You can use it when playing with someone else or practicing on your own with a ball machine or backboard.
10. Healthy Nutrition
There is no denying it; healthy nutrition is a crucial part of the performance in pickleball – and any other sport. Did you know that a 30-minute pickleball match will have you burn 400 calories or more? That’s why paying attention to what you eat is essential, especially on training days. Ensure that your meals contain lean meats, fruits, whole grains, and vegetables.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the commonly asked questions about pickleball training.
Which exercises are good for pickleball players?
Apart from using pickleball training aids, it would be best if you had an exercise routine. While the game doesn’t call for a lot of strength or stamina, exercise helps you make quick flexes and have good hand-eye coordination. Here are some exercises that you can do to get better at pickleball:
Pickleball involves running up and down the court. That’s your sign to start cardio exercises. It could be jogging, swimming, biking, walking, or any other cardio exercise you fancy.
You need strength training to enhance your muscle power. That means exercise like lifting weights and using resistance bands.
It’s vital to incorporate agility drills into your pickleball training routine. They will help you become more responsive on the court. One of the most popular agility drills among pickleball drills is the snake drill. It involves zigzagging back and forth on the pickleball court.
Can I make room for pickleball at home?
If you can’t make it to a pickleball training court, or there isn’t one near you, don’t worry. You can create one at home. Whether it’s just for you or you play with family members, you don’t need much to bring the court to your home. If you have limited space, you can get a mini net.
Mini nets are usually around 10’ wide (half the size of a standard net). But if space is not a problem, you can get the standard net. Then you can get yourself some training aids and set the ground rolling.
How do you mark a pickleball court in your driveway?
Your driveway can double as a pickleball court in straightforward steps. First, let’s talk about regular pickleball court dimensions. The court is usually 44 feet long and 20 feet wide. The non-volley zone is 7 feet wide. Each line is 2 inches thick. When making your court at home, you need utmost patience because, I can assure you, the measuring is tedious. And a slight mistake can result in a crooked court.
The easiest way to mark the entire court is by having three tape measures. Ensure that one of those tape measures can extend up to 50 feet. Mark your starting point, then extend two of your tape measures, one across the length and the other across the width.
Then place the third tape measure across the court diagonal. Use chalk to mark your points, and keep the two inches thickness rule. Then draw the other half of the court.
What is a sweet spot on pickleball paddle?
A sweet spot refers to the spot on your pickleball paddle where you get the best, most accurate response from the paddle. It is the equivalent of the bullseye of a target, especially since it’s usually in the center of the paddle. Do all paddles have a sweet spot?
Yes, the only question is how big it is. When buying a paddle, ensure you get one with high-quality honeycomb polymer. You can also get a sweet spot training aid to improve your game.
How can I prevent injury when training for pickleball?
Like any other sport, pickleball training exposes you to the risk of injuries. Most injuries occur in the foot, ankle, and knee. Watching your progression is one of the most effective ways to prevent injury in pickleball training. I understand you want to become a pro as soon as possible, but it would be best to slow down.
I usually set weekly goals and stick to them. It could be something like, “I want to get 5 out of 10 serves to land on the court.” That’s better than hitting an outrageous number of serves a week, hoping to get 10 out of 10.