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The Three Drills Collin Johns Can't Live Without

by The Dink Media Team on

The Johns Bros are the kings of pickleball drilling. You’ll rarely catch them in a rec game because they spend most of their time on court drilling.

On a recent PicklePod episode we asked Collin Johns what three drills he couldn’t live without.

1. Skinny Singles - at the kitchen

Ben and Collin stack. Ben is always on the left and Collin on the right. They can spend a lot of time in this drill on one side of the court without a need to change position.

A dink starts the rally then the ball is live and each person is trying to win the point. The drill works on “Speedups, counters, blocks, different types of dinks, trying to get each other off balance.”

Johns explains that at his level this drill is preferred over cross-court dinking “Because a lot of pickleball is attacking straight ahead and countering attacks that are hit from straight ahead.”

2. Skinny Singles - one up and one back

This is commonly played as a 7-11 game. The person back tries to score 7 points before the person up can score 11 points.

Johns says he prefers this over skinny singles because of the number of reps. Specifically the number of reps on important shots – the thirds, fourths and fifths.

3. Skinny Singles

Finally we bring it all together with skinny singles. The serve and return are also crucial parts of the game.

Skinny singles can be played in a number of ways. Collin outlines the more comprehensive version here where the server changes side of the court when they win a point.

So 0-0 is played diagonally with each player on the respective right side of their court. If the server wins the point, they move to the left side and the returner stays put on the right side. The point is played straight ahead instead of at a diagonal.

This version gives you reps at every position on the court. The drawback is that you receive fewer reps in each position because of the variety.


You need to be playing skinny singles. Get to the court early with your partner. Get in 10 minutes of skinny singles drills before a match or open play and reap the benefits.

Instead of lazily dinking cross court back and forth, practice real-game scenarios. Work your way from the kitchen line back to the baseline with these three drills. Start off with a win and leave your opponent playing catch up all day.

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