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Are you an enthusiastic pickleball player?
Well, whether you just started playing or you’ve been participating in games for a while, you know how addictive this game can be.
After observing a few games, you’ll notice that a successful pickleball player is able to use a variety of shots at appropriate times during a game.
Not surprisingly, the more shots you know, the more you can use to outmaneuver your opponent in pickleball.
One of the shots every serious pickleball player should know is called the dink shot.
Discover what a dink shot is and how to make it your go-to shot for future pickleball games.
How to dink in pickleball
What is a dink in pickleball?
A dink in pickleball is a short, precise shot that drops just over the net. In fact, it’s sometimes called a drop shot.
It’s difficult to return because it’s so close to the net.
A player has to be at just the right angle and right position to successfully return a dink shot.
In order to make the shot successful, you have to learn how to hit the ball softly, so it goes where you want it to.
This can be challenging if you play tennis or ping-pong and are used to hitting the ball as hard as possible.
But it can be learned and used to win games.
When to use a dink shot?
A dink shot is helpful to use as a response to your opponent’s dink shot. This shot can be a game changer as long as you keep it low.
The risk that comes with a dink shot is getting the ball up too high so your opponent can smash it back into your court and win the point.
If your opponent is able to smash the ball back into your court, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to return it.
One of the advantages of using this shot in games is you become familiar with situations where it could earn you the point.
You develop quick judgment skills on when to use it and when to leave it in your trick bag for later.
That’s the mark of an expert pickleball player.
You have a variety of shots at your disposal and you know when to put them to good use!
The proper body position is essential when learning how to dink in pickleball.
The first step is to stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and bend at the waist with your knees slightly bent.
You’re going to hold your paddle at a steep angle tipped toward your body) so the ball hits in its center.
The toughest lesson to learn is how to hit the ball softly while still giving it enough energy to make it back over the net and into your opponent’s court.
You want the ball to travel in an arc over the net.
When you think of making a dink shot, picture yourself pushing the ball with your paddle rather than whacking it.
Move your arm from your shoulder and avoid flipping your wrist.
In addition, give this shot very minimal backswing so you can control your speed better.
Taking slow, even breaths can also contribute to the effectiveness of your dink shot.
Getting too excited and taking quick breaths can cause you to hit the ball harder than is necessary for this precise shot.
When it comes to dink shots, there’s the crosscourt and straight variety.
A crosscourt dink shot flies over the net and lands in the section of your opponent’s court that’s diagonal to you.
A straight shot means you’re dinking the ball directly in front of you onto your opponent’s court.
Once you hit the ball, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of returning to the ready position right away.
When you’re in the ready position, you’re standing with your feet apart and knees bent, holding your paddle flat side outward just below your waist. This prepares you if your opponent happens to return your dink shot.
You never want to be caught off-guard after making this challenging shot.
Benefits of knowing how to dink
One of the benefits of knowing how to dink is you may have an immediate advantage over your opponent.
Many pickleball players only learn how to make straight, fast shots over the net.
So, when you make a dink shot, your opponent may not be prepared at all for this slow, tricky maneuver.
The second benefit goes along with the first benefit.
When a pickleball player only knows how to make fast, hard shots, they’re likely to be standing a ways back from the net most of the time.
This is so they can get the distance and space they need to make their shots.
A dink shot lands just beyond the net in an opponent’s court.
So, a player who has his or her feet planted several feet back from the net, is less likely to be able to reach the net to return your dink shot.
Knowing how to perform a dink shot means you have the power to make the game go on longer.
Any experienced pickleball player can tell you that the longer a game goes on, the more likely it is that your opponent will make a mistake.
Of course, it’s also possible that you will make a mistake.
It’s valuable to learn both the straight dink shot as well as the crosscourt dink shot.
However, many experienced players think the crosscourt dink shot is more valuable.
One reason for this is when making a crosscourt dink shot, the ball has more time to fall if it starts out at a high angle after leaving your paddle.
The lower it is, the harder it will be for your opponent to return.
Another reason the crosscourt dink is valuable is you have more space on your opponent’s court to land the shot.
In short, there’s more room for small errors when you opt for the crosscourt dink shot.
Improving your dinking skills
This will probably come as no surprise to you, but the only way to improve your dinking skills is to practice them.
Practicing your dink shot with another player is a good idea.
You can also practice by yourself. Or do a little bit of both!
When you practice with another player, try to find someone who has an excellent dinking shot.
That way, the person can observe yours and let you know what you can do to improve it.
Maybe you’re moving the paddle too quickly or jerking your wrist.
A person with a great dinking shot will be able to tell you what to do to increase your skills.
In addition, you get the opportunity to observe someone who has mastered this complex shot.
If you practice alone, try putting a few markers on the court on the opposite side of the net.
You could use washable chalk or stickers you can remove easily. Those marks can help to guide you giving you a place to aim the ball.
This is an effective way to improve the precision of your dinking shot.
Another way to improve your dink shot is to ask someone to film you while you practice.
Sometimes it’s helpful to be able to see what you’re doing from another angle in order to make the necessary adjustments.
Lastly, learning to make a dink shot is inevitably going to give you an advantage in pickleball games.
A little bit of patience and a lot of practice can earn you a relaxed, effective dink shot that’s the envy of your fellow players.