Just Dink It - We've heard this one before
Whether you're playing at a local park or at an organized event, one thing will remain consistent: the emphasis of a "dink". We know you've heard this term before, but whether you understood what it meant or not is no longer a worry. We're here to break down exactly what a dink in pickleball means. Grab your pen and paper, Just Dink It University begins now.
Dink Class Begins
A dink in pickleball is a strategic, soft shot, hit on a bounce from the non-volley zone (aka "the kitchen"). It’s often considered a sophisticated shot that earns applause from your teammate and audience. The dink shot is intended to arc over the net and land within the opposing non-volley zone. This needs to be done with grace for the proper outcome.
A dink shot is elegant and gentle with a downward arc as it crosses the net, making it more challenging to return than a power shot. A shot with finesse and grace is more difficult to return compared to a ball hit at top speed. That, in essence, is the benefit of a dink. It’s a very frustrating situation for your opponent. When you begin to dink shots in pickleball, it can force opponents to move closer to the net. This change in position makes opponents vulnerable and opens areas of space you can take advantage of on your next return.
If you’re continuing to work on your pickleball game and are ready to advance to the next level, mastering the dink is essential. The pickleball dink shot requires precision, control, and grace, coming together to create opportunities for more aggressive plays and outmaneuvering opponents.
How To Practice Your Pickleball Dink Shot
First, grab your pickleball paddle and head to the court. If you want to keep your equipment organized, be sure you use a pickleball bag. At the court, you will be focusing on the non-volley zone (the kitchen). This area is where you will want to execute the dink.
Secondly, get in a ready position. A proper ready position means your feet are shoulder-width apart, knees bent, and weight on the balls of your feet. From here you can now think about the shot technique you will be using. You want to hit the ball back lightly. Dinks shouldn't be a powerful shot, it needs to be a cushioned shot with the most precision possible. You will want to use an upward motion to create an arch over the net into the opposing non-volley zone.
Thirdly, let's focus on the controlled swing a little more. It should be a motion that is poetic and gentle, with no added extras. Try to limit the amount of movement in your wrist. Aim to use more of your arm and shoulder to guide the paddle. Focusing on those regions of your arm will add more control to your dinks.
Lastly, you can practice your pickleball dink with a partner. Rally with each other, but focus on keeping the rally going, not winning the point. This allows you to get in constant reps, which with time should lead to an official mastery of the dink. If you do not have a partner to practice your pickleball dink with, you can set up targets in the opponents' non-volley zone to aim at. You will need lots of pickleballs if you're not practicing with a partner, considering none of your shots will be returned.
You're Now A Pickleball Dink Shot Champion
A good pickleball player will dink their shot not as a defensive move, but as an offensive strategy. Continuing to work on your pickleball dink will not only allow you to transform your pickleball game, but will also be beneficial in adding another tool to your pickleball arsenal. We promise, in due time and with plenty of practice, your pickleball dink game is going to skyrocket.