There are a number of different variations to the Figure 8 drill, but the core concept is:
- One player hits cross-court
- The other player returns down the line
- The process repeats, which moves the ball in a figure 8 pattern
An OG version from pre-mullet Tyson McGuffin is played on half of the court, simulating a dink battle with an opponent directly across the net:
This version helps to highlight how much space you actually have when restricted to one side of court.
Work on your touch and controlling dinks in a tight space.
The Volley Figure 8
Another version of the figure 8 drill can be done without the ball hitting the ground. Jordon Briones and Tyler Loong demonstrate the volley figure 8 drill here.
Control the placement of your volleys. It's common to rely on speed/power to win volley exchanges, but placement is just as important.
The figure 8 drill forces you to slow down and focus on a target.
Singles Figure 8
A third version of the figure 8 involves covering the full width of the court. It resembles the 'cat and mouse' style of play common in singles. Not going to lie, it's absolutely exhausting. You'd probably be lucky to get 8 shots in this figure 8.
While it may be better served as a conditioning drill, this version does help simulate controlled shots on the move.
As you tire, your form tends to deteriorate. Part of the challenge is to maintain good form throughout.
It's also good mental training for maintaining composure in the midst of a long, chaotic point when your mind seeks a shortcut like a speedup or high-risk shot.
Get comfortable grinding it out and avoid unforced errors with the Figure 8 pickleball drill.