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Drills - Game Variations

Dink - No Lob Game (New)
This game was suggested by a player named Chile and it sounds like a very good game to practice your dinks in a game like situation. This would be particularly good for those players who find themselves in games where nobody dinks. Play this version occasionally instead of a regular game to get good practice with your dinks and volleys.

If playing singles, use only 1/2 of the court. If playing doubles, use the full court. Start the game with a dink serve which must land inside the no volley zone. The ball must be hit over the net at least 4 times including the dink serve. Beginning with the 5th hit, you can win a point with a dink or a kill shot, but you cannot lob. In singles, the ball must remain within the half court, and the dink serve does not have to be cross-court in doubles. Just like the regular game, points can only be won by the serving team.

Dink - Lob Game (New)
This game variation, also emailed to us by Chile, is played exactly the same as the game above, except that you can also lob beginning with the 5th shot.

No Volley Game
Played like a regular game of Pickleball except that you may not hit a volley. I've only seen this game played in singles which involved to much running for me to try. However, it was obviously great ground stroke practice for those that I've seen do it. It should work for doubles also, but would involve less running.

Two Player Game - Singles Variation
Played exactly the same as a normal game of singles except both players can only hit inside the half of the court their opponent was standing in when the serve was made! This is an excellent game for practicing doubles skills when you either have two players that can't run well, or you want to practice for doubles but only have two players.

Three Player Game - variation #1
In this three player game, each player will take turns serving and trying to win points against the other two players. However, each server will get two service turns instead of one and will serve from the right side when they have an even number of points and from the left side when they have an odd number of points.

When calling the score before each serve, the server should call their score first, then the score of the opposing player on the left, and then the score of the opposing player on the right.

After a player has finished their service turn, all players should rotate with the server going to the left hand return of serve position on the opposite court, and the player he replaces now taking the right hand return of serve position, and the remaining player now becomes the server on the opposite side of the court.

In this game, it is usually very difficult for the serving player to score points since they are playing against two players. Several of our players have used this variation and had a lot of fun, but these were players who were able to run fairly well. If you don't move well, or are primarily a doubles player, then the next variation should be more fun and better practice for you.

Three Player Game - variation #2
This three player game is played exactly like variation #1 above except that the returning team can only hit to the half of the court that the server has served from. This gives the serving player just as good a chance to win the point as if he had a partner. More importantly, it means that he can practice his dinks and lobs just as he might in a regular game of doubles. This is the variation I like most because I'm primarily a doubles player and this lets me practice those skills. Note: It usually takes a little while for the returning team to remember they have to hit to the court where the server is!