When I first started playing Pickleball I didn’t enjoy & understand the intricacies of the Dinking game. Since I was a former Tennis Pro I enjoyed the “Slamming or Banging” part of our sport very much when I first started playing and I didn’t understand the proper fundamentals of a good sound Dinking game. After working with & receiving some valuable tips from my Coach Dave Weinbach and playing some with Kyle Yates, as well as studying some Videos from both Simone Jardin & Sarah Ansboury I enjoy the Dinking game more now than the Slamming game. I feel lucky & blessed to have received these tips from some of these great Champions & I would enjoy sharing some of these helpful suggestions with you.
First as my Coach Dave says ” keep the Dink a short simple stroke in front of your body.” In other words, our Impact Zone when striking the ball should always be out in front. Most Beginner and some Intermediate players let the ball get behind them and then they start trying to recover by moving backwards and end up off the Court. This is where the trouble starts as this enables our opponents to attack us with the following shots being at our feet or worse yet a put away. If you find that on a more difficult dink shot from your opponent that ball is coming fast and at your feet just step by with one feet while keeping paddle still front of your impact or neutral zone. Remember Ball & Paddle in your line of vision ahead of you & never let the ball get behind you.
Secondly, always position yourself right very close to the “kitchen line” a.k.a. the non volley zone line. This will enable you to either take the ball out of air and push thru it comfortably or take the ball on a bounce and dink it again with your opponent. When at kitchen line we want to be in ready position with Paddle always up, feet comfortably wide and apart (I call it the Soccer Goalie Stance) with my heels up & on balls of feet so I can lean on dinks without using unnecessary movements or steps.
Thirdly, what’s probably helped me the most is my grip pressure on Paddle when Dinking. Didn’t know this important tip myself until my Coach Weinbach the “Badger” told me that your grip pressure should be a 3 out of 10 on a scale of 1 being lightest and 10 being tightest when you are Dinking. Lighter grip pressure gives you much better feel & sensitivity to ball on each hit. Furthermore, you will most importantly find the ball not jumping off your Paddle as much anymore giving your opponents the feared “Attackable Shots.”
In summary keep the dink shot a Short Compact Repeatable Motion as you don’t want to complicate the shot with too much backswing & unneeded full motion. Secondly, always position yourself at “Kitchen Line” so you can take the balls out of air more often or take the dink shot earlier on bounce so you can cut off your opponents angles. Last but not least, remember that your grip pressure should be very light so the ball doesn’t jump off your paddle like a line drive. Lighter pressure will give you better feel & touch when Dinking. Hope these tips help you with improve your games & I look forward to seeing you on the Courts soon! Ken Henderson, Co-Director TravelingPickleballpros.com