This Third Shot Drop Drill May Be the Only One You Need

Catherine Parenteau performing a third shot drop in a pro pickleball match

No matter your level, the third shot drop in pickleball is often the feared crux of any point. If you're a lower-level player, don't worry...Even 3.5s -- actually, especially 3.5s -- struggle with the drop.

But when you think about it, the only difference between a third shot drop and a dink is distance.

The motions are very similar, except since you need more distance to cover in a drop from near the baseline, you need to extend your follow through. And that's where many pickleball players slip up.

  • If you're dropping from the baseline, you want to drop with a closed stance and a step forward, making sure to keep the ball out in front of you
  • You have to take your time, meaning you have to move yourself so that you can take extra time to hit the drop - never run through the drop
  • Make contact with the ball as it's on its way down to its second bounce, NOT at the peak of its first bounce

Drilling the 3rd Shot Drop

Top pro Catherine Parenteau recently released a video covering everything you need to know about third shot drops:

In the video, Parenteau describes the "Slinky Drill" for third shot drops:

  • Both players start behind the kitchen. One player is designated to work their way back to the baseline as they practice drops.
  • You have to hit two "successful dinks" into the kitchen from the line before you are allowed to take two steps back.
  • A shot is considered "successful" if your partner on the other side is making contact at their knees or below!

Each time you move back, you have to hit two "successful drops" into the kitchen before you are allowed to take two more steps back towards the baseline.

This is when you start to follow through a bit longer as you work your way back.

You continue repeating this process until you are finally hitting drops from the baseline! This allows you to progressively work your way back so it doesn't feel daunting when you go from hitting dinks straight to the baseline to hit 3rd shot drops.

Then work your way back up to the kitchen line. You can do this drill in every direction.

Read Next: Transition Zone Tips: What to Do AFTER Your 3rd or 5th Shot in Pickleball

This may not be the most intricate form of practice, but its simplicity actually allows for quite a bit of shot variation from the partner running the drill.

They can try putting on different pace and spin variations while feeding you the balls. 

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