What is a Dink in Pickleball: Why, When & How to Dink?

A dink is a controlled shot that is hit upward and lands just over the net into the opponent’s side or non-volley zone. This technique slows down the game and forces the opponent to move out of their position. A dink can be both offensive and defensive depending on what you want to play. For instance, when you want to put pressure on your opponents you play an offensive dink shot, or when you want to relieve pressure from your opponent’s strong attack then you will hit a defensive dink.

In either scenario, the main purpose of the dink shot is to hit a shot that is unattackable by your opponents. Unattackable dinks are the highest point on the arc of a shot that lands in the opponent’s kitchen. The dinks should be low so that your opponents are forced to hit the shot upward allowing you to attack, defend or get into your positions.

If you find dink a very hard shot or want to perfect your dink, then you just need to follow these steps:

Preparing Your Body

The first step is to prepare your body by going into an athletic stance with your knees bent and feet a few inches apart.

Positioning The Paddle

The next step is to position the paddle out front of your body and keep your grip over the paddle a bit loosened. By loosening your grip, when you hit a shot you will feel control over the ball, and on contact, you can pack more power into the shot. You will need to move like taking short back steps or moving forward, which will help in reading the opponent’s shot and placing your body close to the shot more quickly.

Watching and Tracing Ball

Most commonly, players miss their shots because they are not paying attention or keeping an eye on pickleball. The best practice is to watch the pickleball all the way to the paddle and then hit the shot.

Keep Moving Your Feet

Be sure to keep moving your feet when you are playing as it helps you to get into difficult positions quickly and helps you get back to your ready position back and forth. If you need to reach out for dink, be sure to take lateral steps, hit the shots, and get back to your ready position for the next shot.

Protect Your Feet

Try not to allow the pickleball to reach your feet when you’re playing dink as it is harder to react to these shots and hitting an unstoppable shot becomes hard. Be sure to not overexert yourself and try to take the ball out of the air, this will help you put your opponent into a corner while giving you time to position yourself. If you start overexerting yourself, you will end up making mistakes or hitting less aggressive dinks.

Getting Under The Pickleball

If you’re staying in a compressed position then you will be able to see the underside of the pickleball, this will allow you to get the paddle under the pickleball which is the ideal position for hitting dinks.

Lifting Through The Pickleball

Once you hit the pickleball for a dink, slowly lift up the paddle through the pickleball. Make sure that the lift comes from your shoulder instead of elbow or wrist and with enough practice, you will understand the right amount of strength you need to put when hitting dinks.

Keep the Ball Over The Net

The height of the apex of your dink shot determines whether the ball will land low on the opponent’s side or if it’s too low, the ball will hit the net and the opponent will get the point. So be sure to hit your dinks right over the net at the height of the apex, which will make your dink perfect and unattackable.

Be Ready After Hitting

After you have hit a dink, you shouldn’t wait and get back to your ready position as the opponent can hit high shots, hit another dink, or a surprise fastball. Always stay in a ready position after hitting dinks because that will help you react quickly to whatever the opponent does.

If you are looking to improve your pickleball dinks, then you just need to follow these 9 basic steps and practice. With enough practice, you will know where and how to hit dinks and muscle memory will be created helping you react or hit dinks in any situation. However, sometimes the game goes into a dinking battle and both teams are constantly hitting dinks. So what should or can you do to win these battles, here are some of the strategies that can help you win dink battles:

Pickleball Dinking Strategies:

  • Take the Pickleball Out Of Air Whenever Possible

Hitting the pickleball out of the air whenever you get the chance can help you greatly in pinning your opponents and allowing you to get more space. However, some shots can’t be hit out of the air and if you try to hit them out of the air, you are overexerting yourself which results in errors and less aggressive dinks. The point is that by taking the pickleball out of the air you are preventing the pickleball to reach your feet and if the pickleball reaches your feet, then it becomes extremely hard to hit dinks or play an unattackable shot. There are two things you can do if you can’t take the pickleball out of the air; taking the step back and holding the line.

  • Moving The Dink Around

Whenever you are hitting a dink shot, be sure to not follow the same pattern over and over again. Try to mix the dink and change the pattern, here are some places to hit the dink that you can mix up:

  • Crosscut Dinks: The most common type of dink is when you hit a dink crosscut or farther away from mid, on either side. While hitting crosscut, you will have a lot of space on either side you’re hitting so that margin of error is quite low, and even if you hit it wrong but it’s over the net, it will still be fine.
  • Middle Dinks: Playing crosscut dinks every time will put pressure on you and your opponent will be able to anticipate your attack. So instead, try to mix in middle dinks in your crosscuts dinks, this will create confusion and it will become hard for your opponent to read your attacks.
  • At the Opponent’s Feet: The best way to apply pressure is to hit dinks at your opponent’s feet, not just this shot is hard to play but it puts a lot of pressure on your opponent forcing them to make errors.
  • To Backhand Dinks: Most pickleball players that are not professional have weak backhands as compared to forehands. So by hitting backhand dinks, they might not be able to reach quickly or miss the shot.
  • Be Patient And Communicate With Your Teammate

Communication is the key to winning any match that requires teamwork and without good communication, you won’t stand against a coordinated team no matter how good you are. When playing dinks, you and your partner should move together and not be apart from 8 feet and when your partner moves, you should move as well. This helps in covering your partner’s weak side while he is hitting and your partner can cover your weak side.

Conclusion:

Overall, dink is just a pickleball strategy used to get out of pressure or put pressure on an opponent’s team. If you find it hard to learn dinks or hit perfect dinks then don’t worry as you practice you will find the right amount of power you need to hit shots. You will gradually learn how to hit dinks if you try enough.

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