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What Is Dinking In Pickleball?

what is dinking in pickleball

TLDR: This article discusses what is dinking in pickleball. Dinking involves hitting the ball softly and lightly over the net, with the aim of making it harder for opponents to return the ball. Dinking helps keep opponents off-balance, control the court, and develop finesse and hand-eye coordination. Dinking is not difficult to do with the correct technique and practice, and there are several drills to help improve one’s dinking skills. The term “dinking” dates back to the late 1960s in early pickleball history when the sport first came about, and remains one of the most important parts of the sport.


  • Dinking helps you control the court by keeping the ball low over the net and keeping your opponents from taking aggressive volleys and force them to go for weak returns instead.
  • With the correct technique and practice, dinking can be a relatively easy technique to learn, and it can become second nature and an integral part of a player’s pickleball game.
  • USA Pickleball refers to a dink as a soft shot hit from the kitchen/NVZ, that arcs downwards over the net making it a hard play to return.


If you’re looking for a way to take your pickleball game to the next level, then look no further than dinking! This is one of the most popular and effective pickleball shots in the sport and can give you an edge over your opponents.

Whether you’re new to pickleball or have been playing for years, this guide will teach you all about dinking – what it is, why it works, and how to master it. From humble beginnings as a “floater shot” to its ability to give players control over the court and more points per rally, there are plenty of reasons to learn the skill. Plus, we’ll provide tips on making sure you always execute that perfect dink shot.

So let’s dive in and learn everything we can about dinking in pickleball!

What Is Dinking in Pickleball?

Are you a pickleball enthusiast looking to take your game to the next level? One way you can do that is by learning the art of dinking. But what is dinking in pickleball, you ask?

In a nutshell, dinking is a strategic choice where players hit the ball softly and lightly over the net, resulting in a shot that takes less power and has less distance than usual. The idea behind dinking is to make it harder for opponents to return the ball. Instead of simply hitting it back over the net, they have to volley it more carefully, either directly back or with an angle. This can give you the chance for an offensive move that would otherwise be blocked.

For beginners, dinking may seem like a daunting task – after all, who wants their shots sticking low or rolling into the net? But with enough practise and precision, it can be an invaluable skill to master. So if you’re into pickleball and want to make your game more competitive and engaging – then why not give dinking a try?

Where Did the Term “Dinking” Originate From?

The term “dinking” is a fairly old one as it dates back to the sport’s infancy. The word itself is thought to be derived from a combination of two other words – “ding”, which was a sound made when hitting balls on the field, and “dink”, which was a type of shot used in tennis.

Either way it goes, the dink shot became one of the most important parts of pickleball and, even today, it remains as popular as ever. It’s no surprise that this is true – thanks to its combination of finesse and power, dinking offers players strategic opportunities that can help capitalise on their opponents weaknesses.

So whether you’re a beginner or a pro pickleball player, it’s important to have some knowledge and understanding of where this iconic shot originated from—and why should be using it!

Why Should I Dink?

Dinking in pickleball isn’t just a fun way to play the game – it also offers numerous benefits. For example, dinks are an effective way to keep your opponents off-balance and on their toes. By mixing up your approach and switching between powerful shots and strategic dinks, you can build an unpredictable offence they won’t be able to anticipate.

In addition, dinking helps you control the court. By keeping the ball low over the net, you can keep your opponents from taking aggressive volleys and force them to go for weak returns instead. This gives you back control of the game, allowing you to swing away or set up for another shot.

Finally, dinking is also great for developing finesse and hand-eye coordination – two essential skills for becoming a better pickleball player. Dinking requires precise timing and accuracy to hit the ball in small spaces near the net – something that takes practise but pays off in spades!

Is Dinking Hard to Do?

The answer to that question is both yes and no. With the correct technique and practise, dinking can be a relatively easy technique to learn. When you get the hang of it, it can become second nature and will be an integral part of your pickleball game.

But with that said, learning to dink correctly does take some time. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Be mindful of your wrist movement when dinking. Keeping the wrist bent inwards gives you more control when hitting the ball.
  • Make sure your racquet is slightly below the height of the net when you’re ready to dink – this will give you more power and accuracy when hitting!
  • Focus on where you want the ball to land on your opponent’s court before making contact with it – that way, you won’t miss!
  • Finally, practise making quick adjustments at the last second – this way, you can keep up with their shots and make sure your own dinks are accurate!

With enough practise (and some patience) you’ll be a pro at dinking in no time!

How Can I Learn How to Dink?

Ready to learn the art of dinking? If you’re looking to improve your pickleball skills and get your dink game on point, here are a few drills to help you out:

Footwork Drill

Start off simple with this footwork drill. Take the ball and practise how to position your feet properly so that you can easily manoeuvre around the net. Move back and forth between the no-volley zones (NVZ) and the baseline before getting into position for a dink shot.

Lob-Dink Drill

This drill is great for improving your coordination, control, and accuracy. You’ll start off with a lob, then transition into a dink shot by gently hitting the ball just over the net. Make sure to hit in front of you so that you can have more time and control over the ball.

Mistake Correction

It’s easy to make mistakes when learning something new, but don’t be discouraged! Common mistakes such as poor follow-through or using too much power or spin are easy enough to fix with practise and patience. Check out some tutorials or get tips from experienced players on how to correct these mistakes so that you can become a master of dinking in no time!

How to execute the dink

Dinking in pickleball can be a powerful tool, but mastering it takes practise. Here’s a few tips to help you get started.

Grip for dinking

When it comes to executing the perfect dink, a good grip is key. For your dominant hand, make sure to grip the handle with your thumb and index finger on either side, with the rest of your hand securely around the handle. Your non-dominant hand should be in the same position for extra support and accuracy.

Positioning for dinking

Always make sure that your body is facing directly at the net and that you have enough clearance from it to hit an accurate dink shot – having too much or too little space can affect the execution of your dink shot drastically.

Technique for dinking

When striking the ball with your paddle, make sure to keep a firm wrist and an angled shot. You want to use a light backswing in order to create less power so that it drops just over the net without significantly gaining height during its flight. Don’t forget to stay light on your feet, as this will help you keep good momentum behind each movement.

Strategies for successful dinking

For successful dinks, remember to always aim towards the open area of court – not necessarily right at your opponent – as it forces them out of their comfort zone and gives them less reaction time when they receive your shot. Also don’t forget that placement is key: vary up where you’re sending the ball so that you can play all areas of court effectively!

When not to dink

Dinking in pickleball may be the way to go when the situation calls for it, but there are also times where using a dink isn’t effective. Such as when:

  • Your opponent is standing a bit too far back—the dink can’t reach them.
  • Your opponent is being aggressive—dinking may be too gentle to stand up to their shots.
  • The ball is down the middle—just dinking would allow your opponent time to set up an easy return shot.

In these situations, alternative shots such as lobbing or hitting more aggressively might be more effective. However, you still need to practise your dinking so you can bring it out when needed!

How Can I Improve My Dink Strategy?

You may be wondering how you can improve your dink strategy, and the answer is two-fold: practise and patience. As with most skills, consistent repetition will help you become more comfortable with the dink shot and help you understand where to place it.

Repetition and Variation

Start off by choosing a comfortable position, practising the shot at different heights and distances. This helps you become familiar with which muscle movements are necessary to give the ball the appropriate trajectory, control, and power. Once you’ve mastered basic shots, learn to vary your spin and placement in order to stay unpredictable on the court.

Work On Your Footwork

Footwork plays a huge role in any sport, and when it comes to dinking in pickleball, this couldn’t be more true. Start by placing one foot in front of your body (right foot for right-handers), parallel to the net line. Then practise bouncing side-to-side (both feet staying stationary) as if playing a game of hopscotch—but instead of hopping from square to square, you’re hopping from court line-to-court line—and end each ‘hop’ with a dink!

Try it out a few times until you feel confident about your footwork and start adding variations of speed and spin to challenge yourself further. This will help increase your coordination on court so that when it’s time for an actual match – you know exactly what to do!

Summary – At the net

So why not give dinking a try? It’s a fundamental part of pickleball that can help you to become a better player and give you an edge over opponents. It’s not a complicated strategy, but it does take practise and patience to truly master. On this point about strategy, you should head to our guide on pickleball strategies next.

So, if you want to be successful at pickleball (and win your games!), then dinking is something you should definitely start thinking about incorporating into your pickleball game. It’s a beneficial strategy that can help you control the pace of the game, mix up your shots, and keep your opponents guessing. So what are you waiting for? Get dinking!

David Mason
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