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Ready for a Workout? Try the Cat and Mouse Drill

by Jason Flamm on

If you’re looking for a drill to help improve your footwork and dinking and just straight-up kick your butt physically, you should try out the Cat and Mouse Drill. 

It’s a drill that requires you to move a lot while hitting controlled shots, and it works for both singles and doubles pickleball.

What is the cat and mouse drill?

The cat-and-mouse drill involves two players chasing each other around like a cat might chase a mouse. It also involves a lot of quick lateral movements and a strategy of keeping your opponent guessing where you will hit the ball next. 

The drill begins by placing the ball on top of the net and letting it fall. From there, the non-stop action begins. It doesn’t end until someone messes up by either hitting a ball into the net, out of bounds, or out of the kitchen.

How to do the cat and mouse drill

The only rule to know is that every shot must go into the kitchen, meaning no speedups or lobs. 

Two players stand in the center of the court, on opposite sides of the net. One player places the ball on top of the center part of the net and lets it fall. Whichever side it falls on, that player makes the first dink, and the game is live.

After that, you can dink the ball anywhere in the kitchen.

Ideally, you and your drilling partner can play across the entire kitchen, but this can also be adapted to stay on one side. 

You continue dinking until there is a side out. If a side-out happens, the other player gets the point. Play to eleven.

Who is this drill for?

We can all improve our efficiency on the pickleball court. This drill helps us minimize our steps while increasing our patience. It also forces us to stay balanced and in control to hit good shots.

The extra sweat equity is also a huge plus. 

This drill will help you in singles and doubles pickleball.

Shoutout to pickleball content creator Ed Ju for sharing this drill on his YouTube channel.

Variations on the cat and mouse drill

In a video with professional pickleball player and recent MLP Premier League draftee Will Howells, Tanner (tanner.pickleball on YouTube) shows us a variation of this drill. In Will’s version, one player must dink the ball crosscourt, while the other can only dink down the line.

He explained that he uses this drill to warm up before every singles tournament because it’s a great drill that gets you moving and your heart pumping. 

You can find that version of this game here:

I Drilled With a Premier MLP Player. Here’s What I Learned..
Today I drilled with Will Howells, a player that was drafted to the New Jersey 5s. It was very eye-opening to see the level of play at the very top of the ga…

Become a stronger singles player

Most drills and pickleball content are geared toward doubles players. But this one can also make you a stronger singles player.

Pickleball pro Ben Johns is known for his “cat and mouse” play at the net during singles matches. 

You can see a breakdown from another pro, Tyson McGuffin, where they discuss this style of play and the importance of staying on balance throughout the point.

Give the cat-and-mouse drill a try if you’re ready to improve your kitchen play and your fitness level. 

Jason Flamm

Jason Flamm

Jason is a writer from St. Louis. He’s been a coach in several sports and is currently working on his pickleball coaching certification. He loves to teach and share his passions.

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