Courts are opening back up throughout the nation, so if you’re going out to get in some games, please be safe!
And when you get out on the courts, what I would like you to try goes against conventional wisdom that you’ve no doubt heard many times.
No, I’m not encouraging you to let the backhand take the middle on those juicy pop-ups!
I’m encouraging you to try to get your dinks shallow into the Kitchen!
The Conventional Wisdom
You’ve probably heard that your dinks should be deep in the Kitchen to your opponent’s backhand foot; however, if you’re getting your dink deep enough, your opponent can take the ball in the air.
Which gives you less time to reset yourself!
If your dink is too deep, you may also be giving your opponent the chance to drive the ball at you!
Why the Shallow Dink Is More Effective
Let’s go back to the Seven Principles of Smart Pickleball, specifically number 6, never hit up. Conversely, you want your opponents to hit up.
Because your dink is shallow, your opponent will have to step into the Kitchen and hit up on the ball.
If your opponent doesn’t hit up on the ball and strikes the ball normally, it’s probably going into the net.
If your opponent winds up with a big backswing, you know it’s either going into the net or probably out of bounds. (This is a bonus of the shallow dink! It neutralizes your friendly neighborhood banger!)
By forcing your opponent to step into the Kitchen AND hit up on the ball, you are effectively taking away his or her options for how to return the dink! You are more in control of the point!
A Brief Rules Clarification
Many players believe that you cannot go into the Kitchen until the ball bounces!
As long as you don’t strike the ball in the air, you can hang out in the Kitchen as long as you want (and maybe even check emails or make a sandwich).
When you know the ball is going to bounce in the Kitchen, you can step in, wait for the bounce and then strike the ball.
So Just How Shallow?
The Kitchen is seven feet long, and I recommend getting your dinks in the first half of the Kitchen, which is the space three-and-a-half feet from the net.
At bootcamp, before we begin the Shark at the Net session, I’ll mark off the middle of the Kitchen with some painter’s tape. I then ask participants to get 30 dinks in a row in the first half of the Kitchen – if the ball bounces past the line, even if it’s still in the Kitchen, they have to start over! (And if they get really good, I raise that number to 50!)
To get your dink into the shallow part of the Kitchen, the apex of the ball should be above the net as it’s on its downward arc. As an added bonus, you don’t have to just clear the net – you can go as high as 12 to 18 inches!
So try it out, and if someone remarks how shallow you are on the courts, take it as a compliment!
And If You Want to Make Those Shallow Dinks Perfect…
Consider coming out to one my upcoming bootcamps! Just remember to use coupon code WEBINAR for $500 OFF!!!
[…] Now you may not think I’m aggressive. After all, I have a reputation of advocating the third shot drop and making a nice, soft dink into the first half of the Kitchen. […]