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How Important Are Dinks?

We all know that touch shots, or "dinks" as they are called in pickleball, are a big part of the sport. But what percentage of all shots are dinks? The answer determines how we may want to warm up, what we emphasize in practice sessions, and how much we need to prepare ourselves mentally for playing these soft controlled balls, both in terms of receiving dinks and hitting them back!

For those of you who have played tennis, the art of "bumping" is used in drop shots and returning hard- hit balls. But, how many drop shots would you hit in a set of tennis? Maybe a few at most! In pickleball, the frequency of this "bumping" skill makes it essential and it is used in almost every point over two shots in length that you will ever play!

To get the statistical answer about what percentage of all shots in pickleball are dinks or bumps, we tallied what types of shots are hit in a range of competitive pickleball matches with various levels of play in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. The results may surprise you.

The average percentage of dinks from matches we charted was a total of 40-45% of all shots hit! What does this tell us?

1. Ball control is an essential skill to improve in pickleball.
2. Hitting hard in pickleball may look exciting, but control, placement, and consistency are more valuable skills!
3. This is a major reason why pickleball balances out physical gender differences very well (i.e., that men tend to be physically stronger than women, and women can be more patient!).
4. Practicing touch shots more than one-third of your practice time will pay off big-time in competition.

Think of dinks this way: You are driving a car. It is not enough to be able to drive on the highway. You need to be able to drive slowly on side streets as well!