Dinking in pickleball is something that all skill levels can utilize to improve their pickleball game and level the playing field against more advanced players. But what is a dink in pickleball?
If you play pickleball, you know a dink shot is a very important shot on the pickleball court. Improving your dinking game is one of the best things you can do to increase your odds of getting the winning shot against any opponent.
What Is A Dink in Pickleball?
A dink is a soft shot that’s made from your non-volley line. The soft shot hit can be made on a bounce or in the air. If it’s made in the air, it’s known as a dink volley. The goal is for the dink shot to land in your opponent’s non-volley zone or near the opponent’s feet.
Effective dink shots are done softly to keep the ball-bounce low, forcing your opponent to get low to have contact with the ball.
This prevents the opponent from being able to attack with a strong shot. Dinks work to move your opponent out of position, make the game move at a slower pace and give you time to get ahead.
Cross-court dinks are a much harder skill to pull off, typically only used by experienced players. A cross-court dink involves hitting a dink at an angle, so it goes to the other side of the court. The ball must be hit higher to make it over the net, increasing the chances of a mishit to achieve these aggressive dinks.
How To Dink In Pickleball
Getting in Position
The first step of hitting a dink in pickleball is mastering a good grip. The Continental Grip is the most popular choice due to its versatility and dependability. This grip is easy to use once you’ve practiced it a few times.
To get into the right grip position, hold the handle of your paddle like you’re holding a hammer and preparing to hit a nail. The paddle face is kept in line with the palm of your hand, providing great control.
Next, bend your knees, so your legs are bent and straight back. New players often make the mistake of bending at the waist, but this is not effective. Keep your upper body straight, and knees bent to get the perfect dink.
This ready position makes it easy to move your feet as needed and get a lot of power on the ball with minimal arm movements. Instead of making a huge swing, let the power from your legs guide the movements of your paddle.
Choose the Right Time
Timing your dink is critical. Don’t swing too early because you’ll be struggling to maintain control with a long reach.
You don’t want to swing too late when the ball is close to your body because you’re limited on how you can move the paddle without missing the ball. If your paddle has to go behind your body before you can make the shot, you waited too long.
Try to find a happy medium when you can comfortably connect your paddle to the ball without feeling cramped to make a good dink shot.
Make the Dink
When it’s time for the dink to happen, think with more of a pushing motion and less of a swing. Push from your shoulder using power from your legs.
Avoid flicking your wrist – this will make the ball harder to control. A dink from the wrist will often go into the net or too far from your target.
Hitting dinks is a soft game played close to the pickleball net. Players often end up in a dink battle, just waiting for someone to make an error.
How To Dink In Pickleball From Backhand
Hitting a backhanded dink is very similar to hitting a front-hand dink. Use the same grip and body positioning to pull power through your legs while keeping your upper body strong and straight.
Hitting backhand dinks is preferred by some players, while it’s a struggle for others. The biggest benefit of using backhanded dinks is that most people are weaker with their backhand shots.
If you struggle to make a soft dink shot, making the switch to backhand shots could be just what you need to tone down the power of your paddle.
Is a Dink Shot the Same as a Drop Shot?
A drop shot is similar to a dink, but they shouldn’t be confused. Drop shots are made from the baseline. If your opponent is getting closer to the net and you’re struggling to do the same, your next shot should be a drop shot.
With this move, you hit the ball hard, giving your team time to get closer to the non-volley zone while your opponents try to get the ball. During a high-powered game, this is often done as the third shot in the game when one team is trying to get the upper hand.
Best Pickleball Paddles for Dinking
The best pickleball paddle for a good dink shot is one that you feel comfortable with. The paddle should have a good grip size, weight, and feel to match your playing style.
Former tennis players will likely prefer a heavier paddle, while new pickleball players without a sports background may do better with something lightweight and versatile.
Finding your ideal paddle can take a bit of trial and error, but these are some of the best pickleball paddles for dinking you should try!
Best for Beginners
The SLK Evo Hybrid & Soft by Selkirk is a paddle that can be used by all skill levels, but it offers great comfort for beginners who want to build confidence on the court.
A C6 face and polymer Rev-core make a lightweight paddle with a large sweet spot.
A sweat-absorbent handle makes it easy to maintain your grip. Giber flex technology on the paddle face spreads the impact of the ball, making it easier to achieve accurate shots with excellent control. The reasonable price point makes this paddle a steal from such a reputable pickleball paddle brand!
Best for Intermediate Players
The Head Radical Elite Pickleball Paddle was designed with intermediate players in mind. A lightweight fiberglass hitting surface is paired with a strong graphite frame for a good balance of power and control.
A polypropylene honeycomb core and ergo-grip will keep you comfortable during even the longest dink battles. The mid-range price puts this paddle within reach for recreational players with a smaller budget, but the quality of the paddle is on par with paddles that cost a lot more.
Best for Advanced Players
The HUFF Rival Pro Pickleball Paddle is ideal for an advanced pickleball player who has mastered pickleball skills, including how to hit a dink. This paddle has maximum friction allowed by 2023 USAPA standards. Getting a good spin on the ball is a breeze with improved touch and control from the textured surface.
An aluminum-bonded core is strong and reduces the stress on the player by evenly distributing vibrations from the ball. The carbon fiber surface creates optimal hit zones with durable materials that will last longer than other paddles. Achieving a controlled shot with just the right amount of power to dink low at the kitchen line makes the Rival Pro well worth the price tag.
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