Pickleball Drills for Doubles: Improve Teamwork and Coordination

Improving teamwork and coordination is key to becoming a successful pickleball doubles player. This often requires not just practicing the fundamentals of the game, but also focusing on specific drills that target the skills required for great team communication and coordinated shots. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player looking to elevate your doubles game, incorporating pickleball drills into your practice can help you and your partner develop a better understanding of each other’s playing styles and tendencies, as well as improve your overall skills on the court.

Pickleball Drills for Doubles: Improve Teamwork and Coordination

Pickleball doubles is a fun and exciting game that requires effective teamwork and coordination between partners. In order to improve these skills, players can benefit from specific drills designed to target communication, shot selection, and movement on the court. Incorporating these drills into practice can help players develop a better understanding of their partner’s playing style, anticipate each other’s movements, and execute coordinated shots that can give them a competitive advantage on the court.

Pickleball Drills for Doubles: Improve Teamwork and Coordination

Are you looking to improve your pickleball skills and take your doubles game to the next level? If so, then focusing on specific drills designed to improve teamwork and coordination might be exactly what you need to do. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best pickleball drills for doubles, spotlighting specific areas of your game that you can work on to help you and your partner communicate better, get in sync with one another, and execute coordinated shots that can help you win more matches. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player looking to improve your game, practicing these drills can help you get there.

Drill 1: Third Shot Drop

The third shot drop is one of the most important shots for doubles players to master. It’s a shot that involves hitting the ball softly over the net, forcing your opponents to move up to the kitchen, and giving you and your partner time to get to the net as well. This shot is crucial in controlling the pace of the game and forcing your opponents to hit shots from a defensive position.


To practice the third shot drop, start by hitting the ball over the net to your partner. Have your partner hit the ball back to you, then hit a third shot drop over the net. Your partner should then hit the ball back to you, followed by you hitting the ball to them. This drill gives both players an opportunity to practice the third shot drop and provides an opportunity for each player to get comfortable with the repetition of the shot.

The third shot drop requires accuracy as well as touch, so it’s essential to control the ball’s speed and spin to ensure success. Practicing this shot helps improve communication between partners since it requires clear and precise coordination to execute the shot’s strategy.

Drill 2: Crosscourt Dinking

Another essential strategy for doubles play is mastering the dink, a softly placed shot hit just over the net that forces your opponent to hit from a weak position. Crosscourt dinking refers to hitting a dink shot diagonally across the court, which can make it even more challenging for your opponent to return the ball. This drill helps players develop touch on the ball and coordination with their partner.


To practice crosscourt dinking, start by hitting the ball over the net diagonally to your partner on the opposite court. Your partner should hit the ball back, hitting a dink shot to the same side of the court as yourself. Your goal is to hit a crosscourt dink shot diagonally towards your partner, who must reply with another crosscourt dink. Keep the rally going with crosscourt dinks, taking turns hitting from each side. Make sure to alternate which side of the court you hit to keep the drill challenging and dynamic.

This drill helps develop better communication between doubles partners, who need to constantly adjust their position on the court to set up proper angles for hitting crosscourt dinks. Practicing the crosscourt dink can also help players hone their touch and better control the power behind their shots.

Drill 3: Poach and Cover

Poaching is a strategy used in doubles play where a player intercepts the ball intended for their partner. This can be an effective way to surprise opponents and put them on the defensive. However, it can also require the covering player to move and cover more space on the court. This drill helps players get comfortable with using the poach while also improving their court coverage skills.


To practice the poach and cover, set up a three-person drill with two players on one side of the court and one player on the other side. One player on the doubles team starts by serving to the player who is alone on the opposite end of the court. This player then hits it back to the serving doubles player, who then poaches the shot by intercepting it before it reaches their partner. The covering player then runs to cover the other half of the court, while the poaching player returns to their original spot to cover their part of the court. The rally continues with the three players rotating in a cyclical fashion, setting up the poach shot and covering the court after the poach.

This drill improves coordination and communication between pickleball doubles players, particularly when it comes to recognizing opportunities for poaching and adjusting their positions to cover more ground when the other player moves to intercept the ball.

Drill 4: The Lob Shot

The lob shot, sometimes called the “arc shot,” is a shot hit high over an opponent’s head and deep into the opponent’s court. This shot is useful in forcing your opponents to move back to the baseline and establishing court position. This pickleball drill helps players perfect their lob shot and improve their understanding of the benefits this shot can bring.


To practice the lob shot, start by hitting the ball to your opponent, who returns it just over the net. After your partner’s return, hit the ball high over your opponent’s head, sending it deep into their court. This drill should be repeated, with each player taking turns practicing the lob and then returning the lob. Another variation of this drill is to practice the lob from different positions on the court to simulate a game situation.

The lob shot can be used in various situations, including when the opponent is at the net, forcing them to move back towards the baseline, or when you’re stuck in a defensive position, needing some extra time to recover. A well-executed lob can often result in winning points or putting the team on the defensive, so it’s worth practicing as a pickleball doubles player.

Drill 5: The Return of Serve

The return of serve is an essential shot in doubles play, as it initiates the entire point. Being able to return the serve cleanly and aggressively can help set the tone for the rally and deter opponents from serving with power. This drill helps pickleball doubles players develop the skills needed to return the serve effectively every time.


Practice the return of serve by having a partner serve to you. Focus on returning the ball over the net and towards the serve box on the opposite side of the court. This shot should be returned with enough power to put the serving team on the defensive. Take turns with your partner, alternating who serves and returns the shot. This creates a repetitive scenario that better simulates a match situation and helps you both perfect your return of serve shot.

The return of serve requires precision and timing, so practice can help players develop sound communication with their partner as well as a clear understanding of their part of the court. If correctly done, the return of serve can put the team receiving the serve into an advantageous position during the rally.

Final Thoughts

Improving coordination and teamwork is vital to pickleball doubles success. Incorporating these five drills into a regular training regimen can improve players’ skills and help them reach a higher level of play. Remember to keep the drills fun, and communicate with your partner throughout each activity, creating a dynamic game situation that develops both your skills and your relationship as teammates. Regular practice can make these drills instinctive, ultimately translating to better performance on the court. Remember, practice makes perfect, and it’s the little things done well that can make a difference when it comes to winning in doubles play.

So grab your partner, try out these pickleball drills, and have fun! You may be surprised by how much you can improve by focusing on coordination and teamwork.

**Phrase: “Elevate your doubles game”**

Importance of Teamwork in Pickleball Doubles

Pickleball doubles is a game of strategy that requires effective communication and coordination between partners. It’s not just about hitting the ball over the net; it’s about working together to outmaneuver and outsmart the opposition. One of the biggest advantages of playing doubles is that you have a partner you can rely on for support, strategy, and as a safety net. To maximize this advantage, teamwork and coordination must be prioritized, practised, and perfected.

Effective doubles teamwork means never solely relying on your own individual skills but working with your partner to achieve a unified goal. This philosophy encompasses the importance of communication, teamwork, and coordination. Communication is vital to make quick reactions to situations and coordinate strategy as a team.

Teamwork and coordination are essential to ensure that each player is covering the correct areas of the court and avoiding collisions. A doubles team that works together seamlessly, with a great deal of understanding and mutual strategy, is a formidable force on the court.

The Importance of Focusing on Drills

Practice is a crucial aspect of developing a solid doubles game. Drills are designed to help players master fundamental skills that are essential to the success of the team. Working on specific drills helps ensure that each player performs their individual duties while maintaining the team’s overall strategy.

Practicing through drills allows players to gain confidence and muscle memory, which leads to the development of a more consistent and reliable game. Learning these skills in a precise and controlled environment translates into trusted, instinctual reactions in gameplay situations.

Drills for Solo Practice

One of the most challenging aspects of practicing for doubles play is finding a partner to work with or finding a partner with a similar skill level. Fortunately, many drills can be performed solo, increasing the chance of practising regularly and staying sharp as a player.

Shadow drills are a great example of solo work. This drill involves performing shots and footwork similar to those you would experience in doubles play, but without the requirement of a partner. It involves visualizing an opponent and executing movements and shots as though they were present. Shadow drills are a means of simulating doubles play even without a partner’s presence, developing the needed muscle memory and reactions.

Effective teamwork and coordination are critical to succeeding in pickleball doubles. Players must be able to work together as a team to outsmart the opposition and win matches. With the drills provided, every level of player can focus on developing specific skills, creating greater confidence in general play, leading to a better chance of winning.

Practicing specific drills is a great way to hone these skills and gain the consistency needed to win more matches. So take the time to practice these drills alone or with a partner, and let them help take your doubles game to the next level.

Remember, as the old adage implies: teamwork makes the dream work. So work hard, practice consistently, and go out there with a winning mindset – that’s how you elevate your doubles game.

FAQs About Pickleball Doubles Drills

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player in pickleball doubles, it’s essential to practice drills designed to improve teamwork and coordination. We’ve rounded up some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding this subject and provided helpful answers to guide you towards becoming a better player.

1. What are the top drills recommended for improving pickleball doubles play?

Some of the best drills include the third shot drop, cross-court dinking, poach and cover, the lob shot and the return of serve. Consistently implementing these drills into your practice routine will significantly improve your coordination and communication.

2. How can I find a partner to practice doubles drills regularly?

You can reach out to your local pickleball community, connect with players at pickleball tournaments, or join a club to find a partner. Alternatively, you can practise solo drills and work on developing your individual skills, which will come in handy in real matches.

3. How can I improve my coordination and communication with my partner during a game?

Constantly communicate with your partner regarding your plan of attack and court positioning. Even non-verbal communication like hand signals or a specific look can strengthen your coordination, especially in noisy court environments where verbal communication is difficult. Focusing on common goals and mutual understanding will help establish a strong partnership.

4. What is the best way to approach shadow drills?

Shadow drills are drills that aim to simulate doubles play without the need for a partner. Concentrate on performing the drill as though you’re playing a real game, be sure to use correct footwork, focus on the individual movements and the actual ball striking technique.

5. How long should I practice these drills for every day?

There is no fixed number of minutes/hours needed to improve; it depends on what level of play you’re targeting. Consistently practicing drills that suit your skill level and personal circumstance for at least thirty minutes a day can make a huge difference. Practice makes perfect.

6. Are these drills recommended only for beginners?

No! Players of every skill level can gain from these drills. Even experienced pickleball players can take away a lot from drills since they serve as refreshers for the fundamentals and serve to create more consistency in their play.

7. Can you execute a poach in singles play?

Yes, you can! The poach refers to intercepting a shot intended for your teammate in doubles. In singles, it means intercepting an opponent’s return shot while moving to the same side of the court as the opponent.

8. How can I make the most of the return of serve shot?

Regarding return of serve, study and recognize your opposition’s serving pattern for different types of serves, because it’s the beginning of the rally. The tempo of the game will largely depend on the success of the return of serve shot.

9. How can I improve my reaction time to intercept balls?

Practicing shadow drills goes a long way in improving reaction time. Also, regular practice will improve your response time as you become more reflexive.

10. Do I need a special type of ball to perform these drills?

No, you do not. Any regulation pickleball ball can be used to perform these drills.

11. How can I avoid hitting my partner with my shot during a rally?

Avoid clustering near the same area of the court as your partner. Always be aware of where your