Mastering the Pickleball Bombers Drill: Your Gateway to Advanced Play

Lob Shot at the Kitchen

Pickleball, a fast-growing sport, finds itself nestled in the hearts of enthusiasts all over the world. Whether you’re picking up a paddle for the first time or you’re a seasoned player, everyone knows that it’s practice that separates the good from the great. If you aspire to maneuver through pickleball games with the skill of a maestro, you’ll need to subscribe to a series of drills that hone every component of your game. This guide is tailored for pickleball players eager to hit the court with more precision, agility, and killer shots.

The Essence of Pickleball Drills

If you play pickleball then you already know that pickleball drills are the heartbeat of training sessions. They are designed to isolate specific skills, repetition, and team strategy in a controlled environment to enhance player performance under varying game conditions. They’re not just about hitting the ball back and forth, but about perfecting techniques, building muscle memory, and cultivating the right mindset. The Bombers Drill Series focuses on power, precision, and rapid play making your game resilient in any situation. The lob shot is an important shot that should not be overlooked when planning your pickleball drills.

Let’s Start with the Basic Rules of Pickleball

The Rules Reminder

Before we get into the swing of things, it’s important to know the fundamental rules of pickleball play. Players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, similar to a Wiffle Ball, over a net. The net is lower than in tennis but not as low as in badminton. The game can be played either with two players (singles) or four players (doubles).

Here’s a quick rundown of the basic pickleball rules to get you started. Think of it as your quick-start guide to fun:

  • Serve it right: Serve must be underhand with the paddle below the waist, and the ball must be hit in the air without bouncing. The serve is made diagonally across the court to the opponent’s service zone.
  • Service errors: Errors during service, such as serving out of turn, serving the ball into the net, or serving the ball out of bounds, lead to faults. Keeping a keen eye on your serve’s direction and height can help avoid these mistakes.
  • Double-bounce rule: After the ball is served, the receiving team must let it bounce once before returning, and then the serving team must also let the returned ball bounce once before playing it. After these two bounces, players may either volley the ball in the air or play it off a bounce.
  • No-volley zone: The court has a 7-foot zone on either side of the net, known as the “kitchen,” where players cannot volley the ball. Players must observe this rule to avoid faults.
  • Scoring: Points can only be scored by the serving team when the opponent fails to return the ball or commits a fault. The game is played to 11 points, and a team must win by at least 2 points.
  • Switching sides: Each team switches sides after the first game. In a tiebreaker (the third game of a match), teams switch sides when one team reaches 6 points.
  • Stepping into the kitchen on a volley: One of the most common faults in pickleball occurs when a player steps into the no-volley zone, or the kitchen, to hit a volley shot. Remember, you can step into the kitchen to hit the ball if it bounces first, but volleying from within this zone is a definite no-go.
  • Hitting the ball out of bounds: Just like in tennis or badminton, if the ball lands outside the designated play area, it’s considered out, and the point goes to the other team. Judging the ball’s trajectory and controlling your shot power are key skills to keep the ball in play.

Remember, pickleball is as much about having fun and making friends as it is about following these rules. Grab your paddle, and let’s hit the court with smiles and sportsmanship!

Equipment Essentials

The gear for Hop Scotch Pickleball isn’t much different from the standard variant. You’ll still need a net, a court, paddles, and pickleballs. The only ‘extra’ here is perhaps a tad bit more stamina and coordination.

The Purpose of Bombers

Lob Shot at the Kitchen Line

The primary purpose of Bombers is twofold. First, it is to help each player with their lob shot. For most players, lob shots are considered a defensive play not a strategic tactic for offensive play.

The second purpose is to help team players during doubles play learn to communicate without a need for speaking intention. If one player advances or retreats, unless previously planned, the teammate should stay back.

Dinking shots, drop serves, and footwork exercises are all equally important for improving your overall game when playing pickleball. Even though these seem like simple drills, improvement in hand-eye coordination, body position, and how much power to use are all important pickleball skills to learn.

Here is how to Play Bombers

  1. We start with a standard serve. Ball hit below the waist and cross-court.
  2. Next is the double bounce rule. The receiving team must let the ball bounce before hitting it back and the serving team must let the ball bounce before hitting it back
  3. Now we start Bombers
  4. The serving team must lob their return shot.
  5. Each time the ball is returned from this point it must be in the form of a lob shot. The lob shot can be aimed to land in the kitchen or anywhere else on the court.
  6. As the game continues the players for both teams must try to place their lob shot in a spot that will be difficult for the opposing team to return.
  7. Most of the time points will be scored when the lob shot fails to land in bounds.

Additional Game Play Variations

Two-Handed Body Position

If you find lobing to anywhere on the court to be too general or too easy, you could designate a pattern or order for where each successive lob shot needs to land. Failing to land in the designated destination would be equal to the ball landing out of bounds. Playing in this pattern will help focus each shot on a respective part of the court and each player will be responsible for knowing where the next shot needs to land.

An additional variation would be to challenge yourself to alternate between forehand shots and backhand shots and try to make your third hit a third shot drop. You could also designate a very small area and focus on landing your lob shots in the same spot or same side each time.

Tips for all Pickleball Drills

Lob Shot from Back of Pickleball Court
  • Regular Practice: Dedicate at least 30 minutes a day to practice these drills.
  • Adjust the Difficulty: Increase the speed and power of your shots as you become more proficient.
  • Record Your Progress: Keep track of your performance and set achievable milestones to stay motivated.
  • Simulate Game Situations: Try to mimic real-game scenarios as closely as possible during drills.
  • Pickleball Skills: The best pickleball drills are both fun and improve important aspects of your pickleball game.


Practice with purpose and persistence, and you’ll see your skills soar on the pickleball court. The “Bombers” drills are just the beginning. Combine these with consistent training, a healthy competitive spirit, and a love for the game, and you’ll find pickleball to be not just a sport but a way of life. Each session brings you closer to becoming a force on the court, so grab your paddle, hit the court, and practice like a pro. As with all advanced pickleball drills, the time spent doing drills directly correlates to the improvement of your pickleball shots during gameplay.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I serve overhead in pickleball?

No, an overhead serve is a mistake. The serve must be underhand with the paddle below the waist. The ball must also be hit in the air without bouncing. This is most often referred to as a drop serve.

What is the ‘kitchen’ in pickleball?

The kitchen refers to the 7-foot zone on either side of the net. Players are not allowed to volley the ball from within this zone. The kitchen line separates the non-volley zone from the rest of the court.

How do points get scored in pickleball?

Points can only be scored by the serving team when the opposing team fails to return the ball or commits a fault.

Can I step into the kitchen at any point during the game?

You can step past the kitchen line or the non-volley zone line to hit the ball if it bounces first. However, volleying from within the kitchen without the ball bouncing is considered a fault.

What is a lob shot or drop shot in the ‘Bombers’ drill?

A lob shot is a strategic play aimed high into the air, intended to go over the opponent’s reach and land deep in the court, making it difficult for them to return the shot. It is not a hard drive or shot drive that requires a quick reaction time.

How can I improve my pickleball game?

Regularly practice hitting specific shots. Focusing on drills like “Bombers”, and playing real-game scenarios can significantly improve your skillset. Also, recording your progress and setting goals can be helpful. Advanced players all utilize pickleball drills to improve their game and accelerate their learning curve.

Is the Bombers drill helpful for singles play as well?

While primarily designed for doubles to improve lob shots and non-verbal communication, the Bombers drill can also enhance singles play by improving technique and court awareness. A lob shot landing inside the kitchen line can also be a very good position to surprise the other player hanging in the backcourt.

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