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How to improve your reactive skills for pickleball


By Connor Derrickson

on Dec 14, 2023

Performance coach Connor Derrickson teaches viewers how to improve their reactive strength.

Pickleball is a largely reactive sport. Players must be able to respond to the ball, their opponents, and even their partners at the drop of a hat. 

Being able to move well at the kitchen line is reliant on strength and power, but you have to be able to express those abilities in real-time. Different from working on strength in the gym, when you have rest periods between reps, pickleball requires players to express power at a moment’s notice on repeat. 

So to truly excel in the sport, you need to train your reactive abilities. In this Selkirk TV Original, join professional pickleball performance coach Connor Derrickson as he walks you through a fun exercise designed to increase your reactivity. 

It’s important to note that this exercise should only be added to your routine after you’ve increased your strength and capacity for quick movements, such as lunging and jumping. Once you have a foundational strength base and can jump with ease, you can add reactionary training to your regimen. 

How to train your reaction time for pickleball

Stand on the same side of the net as your drilling partner. One of you should stand in the kitchen, facing the kitchen line, while the other stands outside of the kitchen, facing the kitchen line. 

Designate one partner to be the leader and one partner to be the chaser. The leader will move laterally in random patterns from the sideline to the centerline — they can jump, sprint laterally, or whatever else they may choose. 

As the name suggests, the chaser will follow the leader. The goal is for the chaser to keep their nose in line with the leader’s at all times. 

Allow the leader to make movements for 10-15 seconds. Complete three repetitions and then switch roles. 

Download the Selkirk TV app HERE to watch the complete episode and many other Selkirk TV original shows, podcasts, lesson series from the pros, and much more. 

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