Focus Drilling!

Focus Drilling!

We have all heard it said that if we want to be a better pickleball player, we must drill more than we play. To be honest, most of us spend way more time in rec play than we do training or drilling. No matter how much time we devote to drilling and playing, one thing is certain, we must be drilling to some extent to get the most out of our game. If you are taking private lessons from a coach and don’t spend time drilling the things you are working on, don’t expect to maximize what you are learning in your lessons.

With that, drilling doesn’t always lead to success. It should, but that isn’t always the case. I have found more and more in my time of coaching that many players don’t know how to drill. They aren’t aware of the shots they should be working on, how to do them or the mentality to take when trying to execute a shot or strategy. We can talk about all these things another day, but the most important thing is that we drill with a purpose. Nonchalantly going out and hitting pickleballs at a partner or against a wall can sometimes be done in vain. We must have a plan; we must have a goal of what we are trying to accomplish, and we must be fully committed to the grind of drilling.

Over the past several months I have been using what I call focus drilling more and more in my sessions. Focus drilling is just as it sounds, taking every sensory you can and using it to be present in the moment. When I am in a session and I can feel myself getting tired or just not wanting to be there, I take a second to become fully self-aware. I try to feel how my feet are planted on the concrete. I use my hands to feel how sweaty my grip is and how the paddle feels in my hands. I become aware of my posture and ready position while waiting for the next ball. Am I getting lazy and standing up or am I down where I need to be to receive the next ball? While I am hitting, I want to be able to see the holes on the pickleball and feel how the ball comes off my paddle. And lastly, I try to watch the ball as it hits my opponents paddle and predict where they are hitting it before they make contact. Focus Drilling.

I know this sounds like a lot to take in, but by focusing on these important details, it helps me to get in the zone and stay committed to why I am there and the plan that I have in place. I have a hard time staying focused, especially when I am working on shots that I feel comfortable with. Focus drilling helps me to not take those shots for granted and allows me to put importance on all my shots exactly the same. Another reason I use focus drilling is because of how it translates into tournament play. If I can develop a system of zoning in on the important elements of drilling, I will be able to do the same in pressure situations where I will need to block out surrounding noise and distraction and focus on what I am doing in a match.

Play around with the things that help you focus during your drilling sessions and use them to stay committed to maximizing your effort. I would love to hear the things you come up with and what works best for you! Remember to have a plan, stay committed and stay focused to embrace the grind of becoming a better pickleball player!

Please feel free to browse my other blogs and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or thoughts that you have about your game or pickleball in general. See you on the courts!

Please feel free to reach out to me with any pickleball questions or if you are interested in taking pickleball lessons in Augusta, Georgia!

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