A coach is a wonderful tool to use in your
development. What's more important,
however, is your own awareness of your
game. Being aware of what is causing your
errors is critical in being able to address issues on the fly,
and therefore in making you a better tournament player.
Here we are going to be specifically talking about your
dinks, but many of the same concepts can be applied
to drives, serves, and returns. We'll also be using the
forehand dink for most examples, but the principles will
apply to the backhand also.
HITTING TOO HIGH
Are your dinks floating a little too high? The
primary cause of this is when the ball is allowed to get
behind you. The original wrist position that would
keep the ball at an effective height above the net has
been compromised. As the ball starts traveling behind
your body, you have needed to create more loft with the
paddle which can very easily have the effect of lifting
the ball higher than intended.
Another reason some players hit their dinks too high
is their grip. If you are using the continental grip or
even further toward the eastern backhand, then your
forehand dink will have the potential to be hit with far
too much loft. This grip requires a lot of wrist flexibility
to adjust the paddle angle or a slicing technique that
effectively keeps the ball low.
HITTING TOO LOW
If your dinks are so low that net errors are a regular
occurrence for you, then it's certainly time to make a
change. The number-one reason most people dink into
the net is their body height. I know, I know…I've said
it all before: bend your knees, get low, you never have
to get low if you're always low, and so on and so forth.
Seriously, though!! Think about what happens when a
player stands tall with a regular grip, something between
continental and eastern forehand. The paddle has little
to no chance to get under the contact point to lift up on
the ball. The result is that the paddle comes in at a very
low trajectory, and as such, so does the ball.
Another reason for hitting the ball too low, much like
in the first diagnosis, is your grip. If your forehand grip
is toward eastern or beyond, then the paddle face will
have a very tough time being open enough to lift the
ball well. Using these kinds of grips effectively requires
If your dinks can be both too high and too low, then you have the dreaded
either having incredibly long arms or having a very low
body height, both of which will give the paddle ample
opportunity to brush up from underneath the ball.
THE TWO-WAY MISS
If your dinks can be both too high and too low, then
you have the dreaded two-way miss. The chief culprit
of this crime against the kitchen is unfortunately
a combination of things.
First, you are more than likely standing too tall during
your stroke, and as such your wrist needs to quickly
hinge in order to open the paddle face enough to get the
ball over the net. The problem with this is timing. It takes
world-class timing or blind luck to be able to flip your
wrist and get the appropriate ball flight consistently. If
you contact the ball a fraction early, then it will come off
high, and if you contact late it will be in the net.
The other factor that is often at play is grip pressure or
lack thereof. Your job is to find the minimum amount
of pressure required to keep complete control of the
paddle. If the force of the oncoming shot can be enough
to dislodge your hold of the paddle, then grip pressure is
certainly an issue, and you will need to start doing some
There are certainly some other factors that might be
influencing your dink height, but with this foundational
guide you'll be well on your way to making the necessary
changes to be a more effective dinker.