One day late last year, Jordan and I headed down to Palo Alto, CA where we had the great pleasure of playing with some of their top players, one of whom is Brandon Loong.
Brandon is a great player. He is tall, with a massive wingspan, and a dominating presence on the court.
I had the privilege of partnering with Brandon for a few games.
Of course, as the woman (me) partnering with a great male player, guess who receives most of the balls and gets attacked on our end?
Of course me…
The same thing happens when I play with Jordan.
It makes perfect sense, I would do the same thing if I were on the other team.
Luckily for our team, this doesn’t phase me.
I expect it. It’s tough and a lot of work but I can handle it.
I can defend it well for the most part and more often than not we end up on the winning end.
During one particularly heated fast ball exchange where I successfully blocked 2 or 3 good attacks and we ended up winning that exchange…
Brandon turned to me and he said “Gotta love those tennis hands!”
I said thanks and smiled on the inside (probably on the outside too despite trying to play it off cool). lol
I owe my reflexes to lots of drilling I did as a tennis player.
Fast hands do not come quick and easy.
Like any skill, they need to be developed and built over time.
There are many drills that you can do to work your fast hands both by yourself and with a partner.
Many of these drills have long been used in tennis and translate easily to pickleball.
Recently, we partnered with Tyler Loong, who is also a top player and happens to be Brandon’s brother, and with Tyler’s help we show you 3 great drills that help develop FAST hands.
We also threw in a solo wall drill to help you get started. Check it out here:
Today we’re going to show you a volley drill that will help you develop fast hands at the net.
The beauty of this drill is not only is it incredibly effective to dial in your volleys but you can do it by yourself anytime you have a few minutes, a ball, a paddle, and a wall.
Let’s get started…
If you are just starting out you might not be able to control the ball as well so I like to start pretty close to the wall, about six to eight feet from it, and then I’ll start volleying with my forehand. I’ll volley it high up in the air so it takes longer to get to my paddle.
I’m trying to get a clean contact every time in the sweet spot of my paddle and I’m also hitting the ball out in front.
I’ll do the same thing on the backhand side.
As you get better you’re going to lower the point on which you hit the ball against the wall.
As we lower it down, the ball is going to come a little bit faster.
Your practicing your reaction time and your hand-eye coordination.
Remember to hit out in front and keep your eye on the ball.
Like before, do the same thing on the backhand side.
Once you do the the forehand on its own and the backhand on its own, now you can switch it up and go forehand to backhand (alternating one after the other).
Start hitting up higher against the wall and then lower the ball. As I lower it I’m going to get faster with my hands trying to control the ball so I could hit it back every time.
I’m moving my feet also. And, if I hit it a little too close to my body I have to move my body as well.
This drill even works if you have a two handed back hand.
So, those are three wall drills that you can start with that are going to help your volleys and your reaction time.
Start with the forehand. Start high and then come low. Then, do the backhand. Lastly do alternating forehand and backhand.
Drilling With A Partner
Next, move on to these two that are done with a partner:
And once you’re rock solid on all those then progress to this super advanced drill:
Go out there and practice solo or with a partner!
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