The “dink” in pickleball is a must-have shot.
The dink is a slower, softer shot that is hit in the no-volley zone (aka “the kitchen”). This shot is intended to drop down once it crosses the net and lands in your opponent’s no-volley zone, very low, so that your opponent ends up hitting the ball up high and you are then able to put it away.
The most important reason we dink is to set us up for an attack. The secret to taking your game to the next level is mastering the soft game using the dink.
Many players love to smash the ball hard, however, everyone knows top players use dinking to control the game and ultimately win.
The trajectory of the ball as it travels should be high enough to get over the net, and then drop softly, making the apex of the bounce stay below the net. Therefore, it requires an upward movement to return the shot. If that return is too high, it creates the attackable put-away shot.
The dinking stroke is gentle and precise. It should be as soft as possible because you don’t want your opponent to be able to hit a hard shot back at you. The dink should be a controlled, mindful and focused shot. You want to hit to your opponent’s weaker side, which requires precision; you need to be purposeful when dinking.
Long, well executed dink rallies are like a game of chess. Both players are trying to create a winning opportunity while at the same time protecting themselves from an attack shot. By taking away height and pace, we limit our opponent’s ability to attack our shots.
Balance is key. You must have balance on offense to be able to attack a ball.
When we are balanced and our opponents are not, we are on offense; when we are off-balance, we are on defense.
A great dink may not win you the point, but it sure will set you up to win.