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Here at Pickleball Channel we talk a lot about dinking, or the soft game, but what exactly is a dink, and how can it improve your game? Today we’re going to go back to the basics and hear from pickleball ambassador Tom Earley in one of our most popular shows, “Pickleball 411.” Tom’s advice has helped hundreds of people and has grown the sport in his native Georgia. In this episode, he breaks down the basics of the dink, and talks about why it is so important. Be sure to watch the companion video online that gives a visual look at the dink, and also be sure to subscribe to Pickleball Channel for free so you can receive a weekly video just like this one!

Tom: Hello, my name is Tom, and we’re going to be discussing dinking as part of the soft game of pickleball.

A dink is a short drop shot that originates from the non-volley line, goes over the net and drops into the non-volley zone. Dinking has its own unique strategy in how to win points by using the dink.

When people first learn pickleball, they often will continually hit the ball hard, and they might not really know that the soft game exists. However, once they confront a player who knows how to use the soft game strategically, they find themselves at an extreme disadvantage.

So, why do we need the dink? There are many reasons, but the most important is that it neutralizes your opponent’s hard game. If your opponent hits the ball hard, you can control your opponent by using the dink. It neutralizes your opponent’s shot, therefore he or she has to play the soft game with you.

Also, if you hit a ball to your opponent and it lands in the non-volley zone, if he or she hits the ball back hard, it is going to either go into the net or, if it clears the net, it’s probably going to go out of bounds. It is very difficult to hit a hard ball from a low position in the non-volley zone.

One thing that dinking does take, though, is a lot of patience. You may dink four, five, six times before you actually set the point up in order to make a winner. Patience is extremely important because, without it, people tend to rush. When you rush, you run the risk of hitting the ball into the net, or you might have the tendency to hit it high to where the opponent can smash it back at you.

Here is the proper technique when dinking. First of all, you want to bend at the knees, not at the waist. Bending at the knees allows you to point the leading edge of the paddle toward the net at about a 45-degree angle. You want your wrist to be stiff at your elbow, and you’re going to be swinging from the shoulder. It’s extremely important to watch the ball all the way until it hits the center of your paddle. Then you should finish the stroke with a nice follow-through.

One last thing to consider in dinking is that when you finish your dink, it’s extremely important to bring your paddle back up into the ready position. You really don’t know if your opponent is going to dink back to you or perhaps hit a slap shot. With your paddle ready, you will be able to handle either one.

So, keep working on your dink. It will give you a new dimension to your game!
Special Thanks to: Tom Earley

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