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How to Get Faster Hands in Pickleball

The compact dimensions of a pickleball court bring players into close proximity, requiring quick reflexes and “fast hands.” Developing faster hands can significantly improve your game, allowing you to react swiftly and effectively to your opponent's shots. In this article, we'll explore various techniques, drills, and tips to help you enhance your hand speed in pickleball.

What Is Good Pickleball Hand Speed?

Hand speed in pickleball refers to your ability to quickly and accurately move your paddle to hit or block shots. It's crucial for defensive plays like reacting to a speed-up and for generating power in your shots.

Fast hands are not just about the physical speed. To be fast also involves shot and ball flight anticipation, proper technique, and good coordination. All of these areas can be improved to help increase your overall hand speed. Keep reading for some tips on training:

How To Get Faster Hands In Pickleball

Use A Compact Swing

Practice making small, efficient movements with your paddle. Over-swinging can slow you down and make it harder to recover for the next shot.

Tip: Shadow technique at home in a mirror is a great way to work on this.

Keep A Relaxed Grip

Start with a comfortable, relaxed, yet controlled grip on your paddle. A too loose grip can slow down your reaction time, while an overly tight grip can reduce flexibility and speed.

Tip: Practice adjusting your grip quickly for different shots that you would change to and from regularly in a game.

Maintain A Balanced Stance

Maintain a balanced, ready position. Your knees should be slightly bent, and your weight on the balls of your feet. This will help you react and shift your body weight quickly. It's also crucial to keep your paddle in front of you if you want to react well to the ball.

Tip: When running any drills spend some time focusing on your ready position. It's easy to forget the basics and get into bad habits.

Keep Your Eyes On The Ball

Keep your focus on the ball at all times. Watching the ball closely improves your reaction time by allowing you to anticipate the shot's trajectory and speed.

Tip: As with ready position, it's easy to forget something as simple as watching the ball! Spend a few minutes here and there focusing on that ball.

Drills To Improve Pickleball Hand Speed

Wall Rally Drills

Wall rally drills are probably the best way to practice your hand speed. Here's a great one you can try:

Stand close to the wall. Ideally 14 feet (a full kitchen width) to begin with. Try to volley the ball continuously. Gradually pick up the peed and then move closer to the wall. Get as close as 7 feet and maintain fast relaxed hands. This may take a little practice, so don't get frustrated!

Here's some extra tips for this drill:

We also have a full detailed article on "Wall Drills" where you can get some more drill ideas.

Partner Rally Drills

You can run many types of drills with a partner to help increase your speed. Here's two examples:

Volley to Volley: Rally with a partner at the net, starting with slow, controlled volleys and progressively increasing the speed. Start further away, to begin with, and then get closer. Try different directions: straight and crosscourt both ways.

2 Ball Drill: Try some dink rallies using two balls. This is great for hand-eye speed and will make it seem so much easier when you go back to one ball!

Ball Machine Drills

You can train various scenarios with the ball machine, so it is an excellent practice partner. Here's an example:

Stand opposite the ball machine at the kitchen line (on the other side of the net to the ball machine). Set up the ball machine to fire medium-pace balls at volley height. Gradually increase the tempo until you hit like you are defending a speedup.

Extra Ways To Help Your Pickleball Hand Speed

Build A Hand Speed Drill Into Every Session

Practice regularly: This may seem like common sense, but truly the best way is to get on the court and keep your reflexes sharp! Try scheduling at least one hand speed drill into each training session.

Arm And Wrist Strength

Incorporate exercises that improve your arm, shoulder and wrist power. Having added power means you can shirt that paddle in a more explosive and quick way. This is better for both defencive and offensive play. You can also focus on your core and leg strength to help with overall shot power.

Develop Your Anticipation Skills

Anticipating your opponent's shots and mentally preparing for rapid exchanges can help speed up your reactions. Knowledge of the game and tactical awareness will help here. And the more you play competitively, the quicker your anticiptation will become.

Watch The Pros Play

Another way to A great way to learn is to watch the Pros in action. Here you can start to pick out patterns of play and know what to expect in certain situations.

Conclusion

Developing faster hands in pickleball is a combination of physical training, technique refinement, and experience. By incorporating the above techniques and drills into your practice sessions and focusing on quick, efficient movements, you can significantly improve your hand speed. Remember, patience and consistent effort are key to mastering any skill in sports. With dedicated practice, you'll find yourself reacting more swiftly and effectively during your pickleball matches.

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