Introducing your kids to the exciting world of pickleball is a fantastic way to get them active, socialize, and learn a new skill.
Pickleball drills for kids should be fun and engaging, making it easy for young players to pick up the game.
Let’s be honest, adults forget how quickly kids can learn and adapt to new activities, and pickleball is no exception.
In this guide, we’ll explore some exciting drills and games to help parents teach their kids how to play pickleball, focusing on the basics while keeping it enjoyable and entertaining.
Simple Warm-up Activities
Before introducing your kids to pickleball, it’s important to ensure they are warmed up and ready for action.
Engaging in simple warm-up activities helps to prevent injuries, increase flexibility, and prepare their bodies for the fun ahead.
Here are a few kid-friendly warm-up activities to get your little ones ready to play pickleball:
- Jumping Jacks: This classic exercise is a great way to get your child’s heart rate up and warm up their entire body. Encourage your child to perform 10-15 jumping jacks, ensuring they maintain proper form and technique.
- High Knees: Have your kids stand in place and march, lifting their knees as high as they can for about 30 seconds. This exercise helps to warm up their leg muscles and improves overall coordination.
- Arm Circles: Ask your child to stretch out their arms to the side and perform small, slow circles with their arms. Start with forward circles and then switch to backward circles. This exercise warms up the shoulder muscles and improves joint mobility.
- Toe Touches: This simple stretch helps to warm up the leg muscles and improve flexibility. Have your child stand with their feet shoulder-width apart and reach down to touch their toes, holding the stretch for a few seconds before standing back up. Repeat this 5-10 times.
- Side Shuffles: This dynamic warm-up exercise is perfect for developing lateral movement skills needed on the pickleball court. Have your child shuffle sideways from one side of the court to the other, maintaining a low and athletic stance.
A warm-up routine like this will help kids stay injury-free and ready for action on the pickleball courts.
Essential Skill Drills
Easy Forehand and Backhand Drills: Teach your child to hit the ball straight with forehand and backhand shots.
Start by explaining the basic rules for gripping the paddle and the correct stance. Toss the ball gently to your child, encouraging them to hit the ball inside the court.
As they become more comfortable, increase the difficulty by having them alternate between forehand and backhand shots.
Basic Serving and Return Drills: Next, introduce your child to serving and returning the ball.
Begin with simple underhand serves, making sure they understand where to stand and where to aim. Make sure they know that one foot must stay behind the baseline until after contact with the ball.
Have one child serve and another return, taking turns practicing their serves and returns.
I’ve got another blog post about serving a pickleball if you’re looking for some more tips!
Simple Dink Shot Drills: Dink shots are a critical part of pickleball strategy, so have them practice hitting the ball softly over the net.
Set up a target area near the net and have your child practice hitting dink shots into the designated zone. Encourage them to focus on control and accuracy, rather than power.
Movement and Footwork Fun
Help your child develop their footwork and court movement by incorporating games that encourage side-to-side and front-to-back movement.
For example, you can set up a simple obstacle course on the court, guiding your child through the course as they practice their footwork.
Alternatively, play a game of “Pickleball Simon Says,” where you call out different footwork patterns for your child to follow.
Game Strategy Basics
Doubles Teamwork and Communication: Teach your child the importance of teamwork and communication when playing doubles.
Pair them up with a partner and have them practice moving together on the court, ensuring that each player hits the ball when it comes to their side. Encourage them to communicate with their partner about their positioning and shot selection.
Court Awareness and Shot Choice: Help your child develop a sense of court awareness by playing games that focus on shot choice.
For example, set up targets in different areas of the court and have your child try to hitting the ball at the targets with various shots. As they become more proficient, discuss the importance of selecting the right shot for each situation.
When they’re old enough, and looking to play more competitively you could share some advanced tips with them like these from the USA Pickleball Association!
Engaging Drills and Games
Make pickleball more fun for your child by incorporating exciting games and skill-building contests.
For example, play a game of “Pickleball Knockout,” where each child tries to hit a target with their serve, or organize a dink shot competition to see who can hit the most consecutive dinks without making an error.
These activities will make learning to play pickleball more enjoyable and engaging, kids love that!
Tips for Parents
When teaching your kids to play pickleball, keep the following tips in mind:
Create a positive and supportive environment: Encourage your child to have fun and enjoy the learning process. Offer constructive feedback and praise their efforts as they learn and grow.
Adjust drills for different skill levels: Remember that every child learns at their own pace. Be prepared to modify drills and games as needed to accommodate each child’s abilities.
Encourage sportsmanship and fair play: Teach your kids the importance of respecting their opponents, teammates, and the game itself. Promote good sportsmanship and the value of playing fairly.
Introducing your kids to pickleball is a fantastic way to help them develop physical, mental, and social skills while having a blast. Who knows, they just might love pickleball!
With this comprehensive guide, you can create a fun and easy-to-understand environment that allows your kids to learn the game at their own pace.
By focusing on the basics and incorporating engaging drills and games, you’ll soon see your little ones falling in love with pickleball and developing skills that will serve them well both on and off the court.
So, grab your paddles, head to the nearest pickleball courts, and get ready to make memories that will last a lifetime!