Pickleball is quickly gaining popularity, but many players struggle with mastering the art of dinking. A dink shot in pickleball is a soft shot that lands in the kitchen and strategically slows down the game tempo.

This article will equip you with the knowledge and tips to master this essential shot helping you dominate your opponent. Let’s dive into the world of dinks!

Key Takeaways

  • A dink shot in pickleball is a soft shot that lands in your opponent’s non-volley zone. This will force your opponent to the net and make it difficult for them to hit a powerful return shot.
  • To effectively execute a dink shot, bend your knees, make contact in front of your body, and focus on more of a push rather than a swing.
  • Dinks are different from drop shots because they are hit softly just over the net into the non-volley zone, while drop shots are hit off the bounce near the back line or middle area to set up an attacking opportunity.

The Purpose of a Dink Shot in Pickleball

A dink shot in pickleball is all about control and tricking the other player. The main goal of a dink shot is to make the ball land in your foe’s kitchen. This makes it hard for them to hit a powerful return shot.

It changes how they stand on the pickleball court.

Dinks slow down fast games, which can shock hard-hitting players who love speed! They help you win against players stronger or faster than yourself by breaking their rhythm. Plus, it can get your opponents out of place since they must move up close to hit your low, soft shots over the net.

How to Effectively Execute a Dink Shot

To effectively execute a dink shot in pickleball, use the dink grip, bend your knees, make contact in front, and focus on more of a push rather than a swing. Mastering this finesse shot can take your game to the next level.

The Continental Grip

The continental grip is great for hitting dink shots. A light touch makes the ball bounce off the paddle softly and slowly.

You want all your dinks to be the same, so keep your stroke steady. The continental grip helps to do just that!

Bend Your Knees

To execute a dink shot in pickleball, it’s important to bend your knees. Bending your knees in a ready position helps you get under the ball and lift it properly. This allows for better control and accuracy when hitting a dink shot.

By bending your knees, you can generate power from your legs while keeping your wrist stiff.

Contact In Front

Another important technique to remember is to make contact with the ball in front of your body. By contacting the ball in front, you can have better control and accuracy over your shot.

It allows you to generate an upward trajectory, which is crucial for landing a good dink just over the net in your opponent’s kitchen. Making contact in front gives you more stability and helps ensure that your shot stays high enough to clear the net but low enough that your opponent can’t get a good offensive shot.

Little to No Backswing

When hitting a dink shot, there should be little to no backswing. Unlike other shots where you may take a big windup, the dink requires a more controlled and accurate movement.

Instead of swinging the paddle back, focus on keeping your stroke short and compact. This allows for better control over the ball and helps ensure that your shot stays low over the net.

By eliminating the large backswing, you can improve your consistency and accuracy when hitting dinks in pickleball.

Swing From Shoulder

To effectively hit a dink shot in pickleball, it is important to steady swing from your shoulder. This technique helps maintain control and stability.

By swinging from the shoulder and keeping your arm and wrist stiffened, you can achieve much more consistency on your dinks than you would otherwise.

Consistency is key when using this technique, as it will help you consistently land successful dinks in your opponent’s non-volley zone.

When is the Best Time to Dink?

The best time to dink is as your third shot, while returning a dink, or when playing against very tall players.

As Your Third Shot

The third shot in pickleball is an important opportunity to set up a successful dink shot. After the serve and return, the third shot is typically hit with a soft touch to maintain defensive positioning and prevent aggressive attacks from the opponents.

While Returning a Dink

Returning a dink in pickleball requires quick footwork. Since a dink is placed just over the net, it can be challenging to return.

Timing and anticipation are crucial, as the ball may have a softer bounce and slower speed. By returning a dink with accuracy, you can put pressure on your opponent and create opportunities for winning shots.

While Playing against Very Tall Players

When playing against very tall players in pickleball, utilizing dink shots can be a smart strategy. Dinks require finesse and precision rather than power, making them effective in neutralizing the height advantage of tall opponents.

By hitting accurate dinks that land in the opponent’s non-volley zone, you limit their ability to use their reach and strength to their advantage. This allows you to level the playing field and create opportunities for other shots.

Consistency is key when facing tall players, so practicing your dinks regularly will help you execute them effectively during games.

Difference Between a Dink Shot and a Drop Shot

A dink shot and a drop shot are different in how they are executed and their intended purpose.

A dink shot is hit with an upward trajectory, landing softly over the net into the opponent’s non-volley zone. The goal of a dink shot is to limit the opponent’s ability to hit a hard return by keeping the ball low and close to the net.

It is more of a finesse shot that requires control and precision.

On the other hand, a drop shot is hit off the bounce from near the baseline or in the transition zone. A drop shot is hit with backspin, limiting the amount of bounce once it lands.

A drop shot can be used strategically against opponents who are out of position or unable to reach the ball quickly.

While both shots involve hitting softly, a dink shot aims to restrict your opponent’s options while setting up winning opportunities, whereas a drop shot allows you to gain better court positioning for offensive plays.


In conclusion, a dink in pickleball is a finesse shot that can be a game-changer. By using proper technique, such as bending your knees and having the right grip, you can master the art of dinking.

Practice is key to consistently hitting effective dinks that slow down the game and keep your opponents on their toes. So go ahead, give it a try and elevate your pickleball skills with this strategic shot!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a dink in pickleball?

A dink in pickleball is a soft shot that is hit close to the net and lands in your opponent’s kitchen, aiming to keep the ball low and make it difficult for the opponent to return.

How do I master the dink shot in pickleball?

To master the dink shot in pickleball, practice controlling your paddle angle and using a light touch. Focus on hitting the ball gently over the net with minimal force and keeping it low.

When should I use a dink shot during a game of pickleball?

The dink shot is often used when you’re opponents are near the net and want to slow down the pace of play or create an opportunity for your partner or yourself to set up for a more aggressive shot. It can be effective in both
singles and doubles matches.

Are there any specific techniques I need to follow while executing a successful dink shot?

Yes, some key techniques for executing a successful dink shot include having good footwork, keeping your eyes on the ball, maintaining proper body positioning, and using shorter swinging motions for better control. Practice these techniques regularly to improve your accuracy and consistency with dinking