I’ve covered many pickleball strategy topics in the nearly-two-years since I started my monthly newsletter, however it was recently brought to my attention (shockingly!) that I haven’t talked much about the dink shot — how to hit it, why you need it, etc. So (at long last) here are my best tips, tricks & strategies for hitting the dink shot.
First off, there are probably a good number of you (who may be relatively new to the game) who have never heard of the dink shot. No worries, we’ve all been there, Part 1 of this article series will be a great way for you to get up-to-speed on one of the most important elements of pickleball.
Then, there’s probably also another good chunk of you who have heard of the dink shot but are positive that it’s a shot only for sissies, weaklings or children–and certainly not a shot that any man’s man or woman’s woman would ever hit… Hopefully Part 2 of this article series will help you see the light, but otherwise, contact me for a private lesson and I’ll quickly prove to you how essential– and powerful–the dink shot can be.
Lastly, there are those of you who already understand the significance of the dink shot and have tried, to whatever extent, to incorporate it into your game, but are always on the lookout for some pointers to hit your shots more easily and more reliably. That’s what Part 3 is all about. Please post your comment below to let me know how this article helps.
The Definition of the Dink Shot
The dink shot is a slower, softer shot hit from near the no-volley line, that drops downward once it crosses the net and lands in the opponent’s no-volley zone. When you hit this shot, it makes your opponent have to let the ball bounce before hitting it, which usually forces them to hit upward on the ball.
The Dink Shot Compared to The Drop Shot
The dink shot is different from the drop shot primarily because it is hit from/at the no-volley zone, whereas the drop shot is hit from the back half of the court. While the dink & the drop shot are similar in that they both head downward after crossing the net to land in the no-volley zone, the actual mechanics of hitting them are somewhat different, and the drop shot is usually a more challenging/advanced shot to hit than the dink shot. Many people who have mastered the dink shot still struggle with the drop shot, which is why I wrote my article, 4 Secrets to Get Your Dropshot to Go Where You Want (And Not Where You Don’t).
Characteristics of a Good Dink Shot:
Passes Low Over the Net
A good dink won’t bounce higher then the net, making it impossible for your opponent to hit the ball downward without hitting it into the net. If the dink passes too high over the net, then the ball will bounce higher than the net, allowing your opponent to hit downward on the ball (something you never want to give them a chance to do).
Lands Shallow in the Kitchen
A good dink will land in the shallow half of the kitchen. If your dink lands deeper in to the kitchen or at/past the no-volley line, then it’s more likely your opponent will be able to reach out and hit the ball before it bounces, which means they’ll have a better chance to hit downward on the ball.
Examples of Excellent & Good Dink Shots
These shots are low over the net and/or land in the shallow half of the kitchen.
Examples of Bad Dink Shots
These shots are too high, too deep or both.