Relishing Pickleball: The Dink

David Zapatka

Continuing our study of Pickleball Fundamentals: Master the basics and compete with confidence by Mary Littlewood, “to properly execute a dink, stand just behind the non-volley zone line in a good ready position—well balanced, with your body weight over your feet and the knees slightly bent. Hold the paddle in front of your body, chest height. The head of the paddle is perpendicular to the ground in a position that allows for a quick, smooth movement to either side. You feel light on your feet, ready for the ball to come to you. For whatever reason, your opponent’s return shot drops just over the net on your side. This scenario calls for a dink.

“Move to the bouncing ball using short, quick steps. Because you are no more than about 8 feet from the net to start with, you don’t have to travel very far to reach the ball. Finish your movement in a balanced position with your paddle in front of you and your body bent at the knees and hip, placing you low to the ground. Reach for the ball with an open paddle face, step forward with your right leg (if you’re right-handed), and contact the ball low to the ground with a lifting action, trying to keep the ball in contact with the face of the paddle as long as possible. Think lift rather than hit.

“The goal of your dink should be for the ball to just clear the top of the net and land as close as possible to the top of the net on your opponent’s side. A dink should be a soft, controlled hit with the impetus of the hit coming from the movement of your arm from the shoulder with no wrist action. Think of the paddle as an extension of your arm.

“The result of a good dink should be another dink coming from the other side of the net. Your target can be straight across the net or crosscourt. A well-hit crosscourt dink will force a member of the opposing team to leave her area of the court to make the return shot, which sets up a put-away shot by your partner.”

Want to know more about the sport, the rules, equipment, or have some pickilicious news you would like to share with our pickleball community? Email David Zapatka at [email protected].