To be successful on the pickleball court, you need to be more than quick. You also need to be agile.
Agility is your body’s ability to react to everything happening on the court. While speed can help your agility, agility is more about being able to get your body quickly moving in the direction you’d like it to go.
If you don’t naturally have agility, that’s OK. Like most athletic skills, agility can be trained. In this Selkirk TV episode, professional pickleball performance coach Connor Derrickson shares several drills you can use to boost your agility.
Move 1: Medicine ball step back and throw
For this move, you will need a drilling partner and a medicine ball. Stand about five feet away from each other and have your drilling partner start with the medicine ball.
Start in a ready position, light on your feet with your hips square to your drilling partner. At random, the drilling partner should toss the medicine ball slightly behind your dominant shoulder.
Take one step back to catch the medicine ball. Your hips should be turned to the side as if you are preparing to hit a forehand drive.
Then, driving through your back leg and core, turn to toss the ball back to your partner. Resume your ready position for the next toss.
Now, your partner can toss the ball to your opposite shoulder. Repeat the motion, alternating between each shoulder for four repetitions on each side. Complete two or three sets.
This is a power-based exercise so make sure you are giving your maximum effort on each set. Give yourself ample recovery time between each set.
Move 2: Lateral jump to sprint
Now that you have worked on your agile power, it’s time to improve your agile speed. Start on the kitchen line, a few feet away from one sideline.
Starting on the right leg, take one forceful lateral jump toward the sideline, turn, and sprint toward the opposite sideline. Then repeat the motion, starting on your left leg.
The purpose of this drill is to limit your time on the ground. So, focus on transitioning from your jump to your sprint as quickly as possible.
Repeat this exercise about four times on each leg. Complete two or three sets.
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