Harvey Wall Banger - Make Him Your Best Friend to Improve Your Pickleball Fundamentals

“The minute you get away from fundamentals – whether its proper technique, work ethic or mental preparation – the bottom can fall out of your game, your schoolwork, your job, whatever you’re doing.” ~ Michael Jordan

The first stage in the process of learning pickleball is to embrace a low risk high probability of success style. What does that mean? As two of the greatest sports legends have stated(above quotes) it is a focus on the fundamentals. Once you have mastered this style of play, time will be different for all, you can begin to transition to more elevated risk and strategies.

The fundamentals of pickleball are many but include footwork, body position, court position, movement, stroke technique - dinks, volleys, serves, drives, overheads etc. etc. Depending upon your background, prior to embracing pickleball, all or some of these fundamentals don’t come naturally and must/can be learned and mastered.

The dink and volley are the 2 most important shot skills to master first! Why you ask - because 80% of the time spent on points are played are at the non volley zone(NVZ)! While at the NVZ hitting successful dinks (unattackable balls landing in opponents NVZ) and having quick hands to volley elevated balls or attacks is critical to winning rallies.

Are these the only fundamentals needed to succeed? No, of course not, but when you add good movement, court positioning along with shot decision making you’re off to a great start.

I will continue with fundamentals in future emails so stay posted for more tips and drills.

What can I do now to improve my fundamentals?

  1. Find a wall.

    • Wall never complains

    • Is always willing to help

    • Wall never makes a mistake

    • Wall is FREE!

  2. Make it your best friend.

  3. Mark it like the image to the right. (use painters tape)


Best drill (stage 1) to begin to master the dink:

  • stand at the dink line (7’ from wall") in an athletic stance

    • feet shoulder width

    • knees slightly bent

    • weight forward but not unbalanced

    • paddle out in front of you

  • bounce the ball in front of you then hit while aiming for the 8” square box.

  • focus on accuracy and consistency of hitting the 8” box

  • work forehands and backhands

  • KEY POINT - ensure the rebound off the wall goes close to the box on the ground.


  1. be able to hit 50 in a row, 8” wall box to ground box, without significantly moving your feet - “the dink is the most boring brilliant shot in the game” - consistency and repeatability create a pattern off of which you can “surprise” opponents with different shots.

  2. stay balanced - important to recovering from the shot to be ready for what comes next

  3. reach as far as you can without stepping beyond the dink line - this teaches more efficient movement vs overworking

There are many progressions to this drill and more to come. Use your imagination and put in the time. IT WILL SHOW IN YOUR GAME!

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