I’m a novice pickleball player. I began playing several months ago, and I’ve taken a series of pickleball lessons from the Alameda Parks and Recreation department. I’m slowly catching on to the game now, and the lessons worked wonders to increase my skill level, but I’m still a novice player that has a lot to learn.

In my recent lessons, the instructor emphasized the need for practice time. As with any other sport, you need a balance of playing time and practice time to improve quickly. When you go to a public pickleball court, everybody that you meet there just wants to play. With very few exceptions, they’re not interested in practice drills. That’s not surprising. So when I go to a pickleball court, I go with the flow and I just look to play. I don’t bother asking if anybody wants to drill.

Once each week, with the help of a portable net and a ball machine, I get some solo practice time on the blacktop of an elementary school in my neighborhood. I drilled there for about 3 hours this morning in the chilly and windy sunshine. I’m sharing a one minute video of the ball machine feeding me some quick balls for volleying practice.