A dink is a strategic pickleball shot designed to put your opponent in a tough position. Even if you didn’t know what it was called, you may have already used this shot at least a few times in your pickleball life. Let’s take a closer look at what it is, how it’s used, and why it works.
The Dink Explained
To play a dink shot, you need to receive a shot from your opponent that lands just over the net in the non-volley zone. At this point, you will be playing the ball off the bounce from rather close to the net. You have two primary options in this position – you can hit the ball hard toward the back of the court, or you can play it short, getting it back just over the net and leaving your opponent in a similar spot. The latter option is called a dink.
Playing a dink shot is not particularly difficult, but it does require some practice. Your goal is to hit the ball up high enough so that it clears the net, but not so high that it sails beyond the non-volley zone for an easy smash by your opponent. With the right touch on the shot, you can drop the ball short over the net and force your opponent to come up and play it. Consider hitting plenty of these shots any time you practice so you can get comfortable with the touch required to get it just right.
Why It Works
A good dink will bring your opponent up near the net. Now that they are close to the net and not able to volley, their only option will be to hit a high return (or miss the ball into the net for an error). If that high return goes past the non-volley zone, you might be able to put it away for a winner.
It’s also possible that your opponent won’t even be able to reach the dink to play a return at all. If they have been moved toward the back of the court, and the dink catches them off-guard, it could bounce twice before they can run up and play a shot. Either way, a well-executed dink will almost always put you in a good position to have a chance to win the point.
You want to have as much variety as possible in your pickleball game. It’s difficult to win when you only know how to play one or two shots, and a dink is a key piece that you can add to your arsenal. Work on this in practice and look for chances to use it in your next match!