5 Ways to Practice Pickleball Alone

A man practices pickleball alone at home

Pickleball is a really fun, easy-to-learn, and social team sport. 

The only problem?

You need other people to play with!

If you can’t find friends to play a match (or if you just want to become a better player before stepping foot on the court), it’s possible to practice and improve your pickleball skills on your own

It’s simple: you can play pickleball alone using different drills and exercises that target specific aspects of the game.

OnCourt OffCourt has a ton of great training aids for playing pickleball alone. We’ll be looking at a few of them in this article.

Let’s look at 5 easy ways you can practice pickleball alone to improve your picklin’ moves before your next match.

Pickleball drill #1: Practice your serve

One way to practice pickleball alone is to focus on your serve. 

Many players consider this the most important skill in the sport—it’ll help you score points and win games.

To practice your serve alone, stand at one side of the court and hit the ball into the opposite service box. Practicing this motion will help you increase your accuracy and confidence when serving.

You can even challenge yourself to hit certain targets in the box.

Just place pieces of tape, x-spots, pylons, or other targets in various spots and aim at them.

I’ve even seen some great lightweight pop-up targets that attach to the net with velcro in just seconds.

Too lazy to pick up the balls each time you’ve finished a drill? 

Try using a Pickleball Tube or Handy Hopper—they’re cheap and actually super useful for picking up balls, especially if you have mobility issues or stiffness. 

Or if you’re looking for a tool to use in a larger space, the new OnCourt OffCourt Multiroller is really your best bet.

This device looks like a mix between a shovel and an old-school push lawn mower and picks up balls rolling both forwards and backward.

It’s the quickest and easiest way to pick up large amounts of pickleballs and tennis balls in a big space, like community courts or gyms.

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12/10/2023 04:20 am GMT

Pickleball drill #2: Dinking techniques

Another way to practice pickleball alone is to work on your dinking technique. 

Dinking is an important skill that many advanced players use, and you can practice it even without a partner. 

Stand at the net and gently hit the ball over the net. Then, quickly run to the other side of the court and hit it back. This drill will help you perfect your form and control on the court. It will also increase your familiarity with the kitchen line and no-volley zone.

If you don’t want to do all that running, consider investing in a pickleball machine.

These devices make it super easy to practice on your own—just load your balls into the machine (some machines can hold up to 50, 75, or 100 balls) and hit them all in a row before stopping to collect them. 

This allows you to get in the zone and really improve your hits without breaking focus.

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12/10/2023 12:17 pm GMT

Pickleball drill #3: how to practice at home

No equipment? No problem. It’s also possible to practice pickleball at home. 

Shadow swings are a great way to work on your form and technique without a pickleball ball. Just swing your paddle without hitting anything. Tennis players have been using this technique for years.

You can also do lateral movements to work on your non-volley zone skills. These back-and-forth leg exercises can be done in any space.

Quick feet donuts are perfect for these footwork, movement, positioning, and split-step exercises.

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12/10/2023 12:36 am GMT

I’ve seen the Pickleball Eye Coach used by a few pickleball players too.

You can use this handy solo pickleball training device in even the smallest spaces. A small area in your living room or basement will work just fine.

It teaches you how to keep your head still, where your eyes should focus, and the proper ball-striking rhythm, all at the same time.

Apparently, you only need to use it for five minutes a day to get the full benefits.

Check out this video of how it can be used with a Pickleball Sweet Spot Trainer—even on this tiny backyard balcony!

If you’re really serious about your at-home pickleball practice, consider building a backyard, community, or driveway pickleball court. 

If you don’t have enough space, you can build a half-court with a hitting wall. Using a hitting wall is one of the best ways to practice hitting the pickleball on your own. 

Learn more about building a pickleball court, the proper dimensions and size, and the amount of space you’ll need for a DIY court in this blog post.

Pickleball drill #4: Apps, technology, and virtual reality

Two words: virtual reality. 

A ton of pickleball players have started using virtual reality — like the Oculus Meta Quest 2 headset — for pickleball practice. 

The best part? You don’t even have to leave your house or go outdoors to play. 

Apps like Pickleball: The Road to 5.0 use strategic drills designed to be powerful training tools. 

A woman plays a pickleball app alone on her oculus quest 2 virtual reality headset

It’s touted as ‘the most realistic pickleball training app available’ and has six key drills that have proven to be powerful for training and the app works for all skill levels.

Just pop on your VR headset, grab the ZYBER handle attachment for sports, download the Pickleball: The Road to 5.0 app, and you’re good to go!

Just watch out where you’re going — you don’t want to trip running to hit that dink shot. 

Pickleball drill #5: Practice against a wall

Finally, you can practice pickleball alone by hitting a wall or a fence. 

Just put some tape on the wall at pickleball net height (34 inches) and use that as a target area. You can practice serves, dinks, volleys and drives using the wall.

Using a wall to practice pickleball is cheap, easy, and convenient—and the ball will always bounce right back to you!

Watch this video for training drills to target dinking, volleys, and backhand resets against a wall:

The Benefits of Playing Pickleball Alone

1. You can practice whenever you want

Pickleball is a great way to get some exercise, but it’s not always easy to find someone to play with.

If you’re playing alone and you want to play at 5 AM or 10 PM, you can! And you don’t have to coordinate schedules with anyone else. Just grab your paddle and ball and head on out to the driveway or court.

2. You can practice for as long as you want

Have an hour? Great! Have 10 minutes? That works too!

When you’re playing by yourself, you never have to worry about someone getting bored or needing to leave early. You can stay out there and practice your shots until you’re ready to drop from exhaustion.

3. You can work on any part of your game

When you’re playing with others, it can be easy to focus on your strengths and ignore your weaknesses.

But when you’re playing alone, you can take the time to really work on those weak parts of your game.

Want to work on your backhand? No problem! Want to spend an hour practicing your serves? Go for it!

When you don’t have anyone else to worry about, you can devote as much time as you want to whatever part of your game needs work.

4. You don’t have to put up with anyone else’s bad attitude

Maybe it’s just me, but I find that playing sports with others can sometimes bring out the worst in people.

Whether it’s trash-talking, poor sportsmanship, or just general unpleasantness, it can ruin the experience for everyone involved.

But when you’re playing alone, no one’s bad attitude can ruin your game (except your own, if you’re not playing particularly well).

Key Takeaways for Practicing Pickleball Alone at Home

These are just a few of the ways you can practice pickleball alone—I’m sure there are plenty more. But you might have to get creative!

The point is, you can work on your pickleball skills with as much or as little equipment as you want. 

You might decide to set up a full pickleball court in your driveway or backyard—great!

But even if you only have a paddle, a pickleball, and a wall—or no equipment at all (that’s where those shadow swings come in handy)—you can still work on your skills and become a better player.

The important thing is that you’re dedicated to getting better and improving at pickleballgood for you!


Can I play pickleball by myself?

Although you can’t play an official game of pickleball by yourself, you can practice pickleball alone, even at home. The key is to use different drills and exercises that target specific parts of the game—like your serve, volley shots, dinks, side-to-side (lateral) footwork, and cardio.

YouTube has a lot of great videos for pickleball training drills that you can do by yourself.

Can you practice pickleball against a wall?

Practicing pickleball against a wall is one of the best ways to develop your pickleball skills alone.

It can be done almost anywhere (you just need a wall, obviously). Indoors, at a court, in your driveway.

Stand farther away from the wall to develop your strength, serve, and other longer volleys and shots, and stand closer to the wall to work on control, aim, and dink shots.

How can I get better at pickleball at home?

There are so many resources to get better at pickleball at home. Depending on how much equipment you have, you might need to get creative. YouTube has a lot of video resources with pickleball drills, training videos, and tips from pros.

You can also work on your cardio with just a treadmill at home, or utilize new technology like virtual reality pickleball apps!

How do you get in shape for pickleball?

If it’s the off-season and you’re worried about staying in shape for pickleball season, don’t fret! Pickleball involves the basic skills for most racket sports: cardio, agility, and hand-eye coordination.

Strength is not quite as important in pickleball as it is in tennis, so I would focus on keeping limber and working on cardio along with paddle techniques in the off season. As you read in the blog above, there are so many great tools and resources to practice pickleball alone at home.


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