Roll-A-Rope and Cones
A roll-a- rope can be used for drills, blocking off an area for kids when there are no lines, making circles on the court for specific target areas, dividing each service court into two halves for players to work on placement, and to set up boundaries for deep serve and return of serve practice which are about 2 ½ feet inside the baseline. Purchase a reel, rope, and hooks at Lowe’s. Cut the ropes into four 25 foot lengths or long enough for an entire court when lines are not available and you don’t want to purchase rubber lines. Hooks in the end of each rope allow you to connect them together for variations.
Cones always come in handy. Use them for drills, games, or even parking!
How to Create Pickleball Programs
Magnetic White Board
Sometimes it’s easier for players to visually see how a drill is to be executed, rather than listen to an explanation of the drill. So, I purchased a white magnetic board from Walmart and round magnets. Drill a couple of holes in the top of the white board and bend wire hangers so they hook into the holes and onto a fence. Then take the dimensions of a court, resize the court so the proportions are accurate, and draw the court on the board with a Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker. I use the magnets to indicate player position and how they are to move as doubles teams. Add this to your pickleball tool kit!
Get a Grip
Take the handle of the wooden racket that you have just cut off and use it for teaching grips. Many pickleball paddles today have rounded handles so it makes it difficult to teach the grip. As a former USPTA tennis pro, I was taught how to find grips and how to teach grips using the 8 bevels on the handle of the racket. The racket has 8 bevels numbered clockwise with Bevel #1 at the top of the handle when the racket is on edge. For a player to find their grip easier, I teach them to place the first knuckle of their index finger on the bevel of the grip they want to use or you want them to use.
Bevel #1 is the Eastern Backhand Grip for both right and left handed players. Bevel #2 is the Continental Grip (Hammer Grip) and #3 is the Eastern Forehand Grip (Frying Pan Grip). Left- handed players use Bevel #8 for the Continental Grip and Bevel #7 for the Eastern Forehand Grip.
What a Racket
Get yourself to the Resale Shop and pick up an old wooden racket. Get your trusty saw out and shorten the handle to the length of a pickleball paddle. Round the edges with a file or add a grip. Cut out the strings and give the paddle to players who consistently have problems watching the ball. Feed balls and direct them to swing and watch the ball as it passes through the racket head. This will enforce the importance of watching the ball to the paddle face. Many players take their eyes off the ball and strike it on the edge of a pickleball paddle shanking it into the next county or miss the ball altogether because their head is up. They are considering the direction the ball is to be hit but that decision should already have been made before ball contact - not while striking the ball! Feed a hopper of balls while the player is working on groundstrokes, soft 3 rd shot drops, dinks, serves and volleys.