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Dinking in Pickleball: Tips, Mistakes, and Drills

As an avid pickleball player, I’m always looking for ways to improve my game. One area that I’ve been focusing on lately is my dinking technique. Dinking, or soft shots that are hit just over the net, is an important aspect of pickleball that can help you control the pace of the game and set up your shots. After studying the pros and practicing, here are five ways to dink like the pros.

1. Use the Continental Grip

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One of the keys to a successful dink is using the right grip. The Continental grip, where the paddle is held with the V between the thumb and index finger on the upper bevel of the paddle, is the grip of choice for most pros. This grip allows for better control and spin, which is essential for dinking.

2. Keep Your Paddle Up

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When preparing to dink, keep your paddle up and ready. This will help you react quickly to incoming shots and get into position for a good dink. Additionally, keeping your paddle up will make it easier to hit the ball at the right angle, ensuring that your shot clears the net and lands in the kitchen.

3. Use Your Wrist

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The pros make dinking look effortless, and a big part of that is their use of wrist action. Using your wrist to angle your paddle can help you create more spin and control on your dinks. Experiment with different wrist motions to find what works best for you.

4. Aim for the Corners

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To keep your opponents off balance and set up your shots, aim for the corners of the court with your dinks. This will force them to move and adjust their positioning, making it harder for them to return your shots effectively. Plus, aiming for the corners can help you score points outright if your opponents can’t get to your shots in time.

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5. Practice, Practice, Practice

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As with any aspect of pickleball, practice is key to improving your dinking. Set aside time to practice your dinks with a partner, and focus on using the Continental grip, keeping your paddle up, using your wrist, and aiming for the corners. The more you practice, the more natural these techniques will become, and the better your dinking game will be.


Dinking is a crucial aspect of pickleball that can help you control the pace of the game and set up your shots. By using the Continental grip, keeping your paddle up, using your wrist, aiming for the corners, and practicing regularly, you can dink like the pros and elevate your game to the next level.

As a pickleball enthusiast, I know the importance of having a well-rounded game. And one crucial aspect that can make or break a match is dinking. In this article, I’ll discuss why dinking is essential, common mistakes to avoid, defensive dinking strategies, and dinking drills to improve your technique.

Importance of Dinking

Dinking is a soft shot that is hit just over the net, and it is a vital aspect of pickleball. It helps players control the pace of the game, maintain an advantage, and set up their shots. Dinking allows players to control the ball placement and prevent their opponents from attacking the ball. Pro players often use dinking to win matches, and a perfect example is the gold medal match at the 2021 US Open where the winners used dinking to maintain control of the game and eventually win the match.

Common Dinking Mistakes

Despite its importance, players often make mistakes when dinking, leading to lost points. One common mistake is hitting the ball too hard, which makes it difficult to control the placement of the shot. Another mistake is hitting the ball too low or too high, which can result in errors. To avoid these mistakes, focus on using a soft touch and aiming for the sweet spot of the paddle.

Defensive Dinking

Defensive dinking is an excellent strategy to force your opponents into making mistakes or hitting weak returns. One way to dink defensively is by aiming for the body or feet of the opponent, which can make it challenging for them to return the ball effectively. Another technique is hitting a high, arcing shot to give yourself more time to get into position. The goal is to keep your opponent on their toes and force them into making an error.

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Dinking Drills

To improve your dinking skills, practice is key. One drill is to practice dinking with a partner, starting with slow, easy shots and gradually increasing the pace and intensity. Another drill is to practice dinking while moving, which will help you improve your footwork and positioning. Additionally, you can practice dinking with a ball machine, which allows you to focus on your technique and consistency.

Video Demonstrations

Watching pro players dinking is an excellent way to learn and improve your technique. Look for videos of top players like Simone Jardim and Ben Johns, who are known for their exceptional dinking skills. You can also create your own videos demonstrating different dinking techniques and share them with other players in your community.

The Significance of Dinking in Pickleball

Dinking plays a pivotal role in the game of pickleball, offering players a range of advantages that can greatly impact the outcome of a match. In this section, we will delve into the importance of dinking and how it contributes to maintaining control, forcing opponents into mistakes, and creating offensive opportunities. By understanding the value of dinking, players can elevate their game to new heights.

Maintaining Control: The Power of Dinking

Dinking empowers players with the ability to dictate the pace of the game and exert control over the rally. By executing well-placed and softly hit shots just over the net, players can effectively disrupt their opponents’ rhythm and take charge of the game. Discuss specific scenarios where dinking can be a game-changer, such as using dinks to neutralize aggressive opponents or to strategically slow down the game when necessary.

Avoiding Common Dinking Mistakes: Mastering the Soft Touch

While dinking may seem straightforward, there are common mistakes that players often make, hindering their ability to achieve consistent and effective shots. In this section, we will provide detailed explanations of these mistakes, such as hitting the ball too hard, which compromises control and shot placement. Emphasize the importance of maintaining a soft touch, explain how it impacts the ball’s trajectory, and provide practical tips for achieving the ideal touch and feel.


Finding the Right Height: The Impact of Ball Placement

Another crucial aspect of successful dinking is understanding the optimal height at which to strike the ball. Hitting the ball too low or too high can lead to errors and missed opportunities. Discuss the significance of finding the right height and the role it plays in achieving consistent and accurate dinks. Provide guidance on adjusting paddle angle and executing precise shots based on the desired ball trajectory.

Expanding Your Defensive Dinking Arsenal

Defensive dinking is a valuable strategy that allows players to put pressure on their opponents and force them into mistakes. In addition to the commonly known techniques of aiming for the body or feet and employing high, arcing shots, there are other defensive dinking strategies that can be highly effective. Explore the importance of varying the speed and angle of dinks to keep opponents off balance and disrupt their game plan. Provide examples and scenarios where these techniques can be utilized to great effect.

By addressing these aspects of dinking in pickleball, players can develop a deeper understanding of its importance and the various strategies involved. Implementing these strategies will not only enhance their ability to control the game but also provide them with a competitive edge in challenging situations. The next sections will continue to explore additional insights and drills to further improve dinking proficiency.


Dinking is important because it allows players to control the pace of the game and maintain an advantage over their opponents. By hitting soft shots over the net, players can force their opponents to move and make mistakes, while also setting up their own shots for winners.

Some common mistakes to avoid when dinking include hitting the ball too hard, too low, or too high. These mistakes can lead to errors and lost points. Instead, players should aim to hit soft, controlled shots with spin and accuracy.

Players can use dinking defensively by aiming for the body or feet of their opponents, or by hitting a high, arcing shot to give themselves more time to get into position. By forcing their opponents to hit weak returns or make mistakes, players can gain an advantage and control the game.

Dustin DeTorres

Dustin has been a Pickleball enthusiast for years and dedicated this blog to providing the best information out there about this fun game.