The Art of Dinking - 10 Things You Must Know

Dinking is a fundamental and strategic aspect of pickleball, often making the difference between winning and losing a point. Understanding the dink, why it's important, and how to effectively use it in your game can significantly enhance your performance.

What is a Dink?

A dink is a soft, controlled shot in pickleball, typically made at the net, intended to arc over and drop into the opponent's non-volley zone (the kitchen). The aim is to create a shot that is difficult to attack, forcing the opponent to hit upwards and allowing the dinker to maintain a strategic advantage.

Importance of Dinking

  • Neutralizes Power Plays: Dinking can effectively counteract an opponent's power shots, slowing down the game to a more manageable pace.
  • Forces Errors: Properly executed dinks can lead to errors from the opponent, from the opponent either hitting the net or popping the ball up for an easy put-away.
  • Control Over the Game: Dinking allows you to control the rally, setting up offensive opportunities while keeping opponents on the defensive.

 

Strategies and Tips

  • Paddle Angle and Grip: Use a Continental grip with a slightly open paddle face to lift the ball gently over the net.
  • Body Positioning: Stay balanced and on the balls of your feet, ready to move. Bend your knees slightly and lean forward from your hips.
  • Soft Hands: Develop "soft hands," which means relaxing your grip and using your paddle to cushion the ball, reducing its speed as you hit.
  • Aim for the Kitchen: Your target is your opponent's non-volley zone. Aim to land the ball just over the net and as close to it as possible in the kitchen.
  • Consistency Over Power: Focus on placing your dinks consistently and accurately rather than hitting them hard.
  • Variation in Placement: Don’t always dink to the same spot. Vary your shots between the middle and sides of the court to keep your opponents guessing.
  • Patience is Key: Dinking rallies require patience. Avoid the temptation to prematurely escalate into more aggressive shots.


Mastering this shot is essential in pickleball, particularly for advanced play. It is a skill that requires finesse, control, and strategic thinking. By practicing different dinking techniques and incorporating them into your game strategy, you can control the pace of the game, create openings for more aggressive shots, and ultimately gain the upper hand in your matches. Remember, the best pickleball players are often those who dink effectively.

For more information, strategies and tips on pickleball be sure to check out USA PickleballThe International Pickleball Federation, and the Pro Pickleball Registry!

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