Mastering the Art of Dinking: 5 Proven Strategies


Dinking, the delicate art of softly placing the ball over the net, is a crucial skill in the game of pickleball. At the highest levels of play, professionals rely heavily on their dinking abilities to outsmart their opponents. If you aspire to dink like the pros, it’s not just about consistently landing the ball in the kitchen. You must also incorporate strategy and finesse into your shots. In this article, we will explore five proven strategies to help you elevate your dinking game and dominate the pickleball court.

1. Dink with Intention

Every time you execute a dink, have a clear goal in mind. Are you aiming to keep the ball low and prevent your opponent from spiking it back at you? That’s a great start, but to truly dink like a pro, you need to go beyond that. Your dinks should also aim to move your opponent out of position. Start targeting areas that are harder to reach, forcing your opponent to make difficult shots and giving you the opportunity to seize control of the point. Remember, a well-placed dink can be a powerful weapon in your arsenal.

2. Embrace Variety

While it may be tempting to engage in a prolonged dinking rally with your opponent, this can often lead to a stalemate. To keep your opponent on their toes, it’s crucial to introduce variety into your dinking game. After a series of back-and-forth dinks, surprise your opponent by changing up your shot. Try a cross-court dink to catch them off guard and disrupt their positioning. By introducing variety, you gain a strategic advantage and ensure that you’re prepared for any surprises coming from the other side of the net.

3. Footwork Matters

When it comes to executing successful dinks, proper footwork plays a pivotal role. Positioning your feet correctly and stepping towards the ball can significantly improve your control and accuracy. If you anticipate that your dink will land in the kitchen, step into the kitchen before the ball lands to position yourself for a swift return. However, be mindful of stepping back out quickly to avoid becoming an easy target for your opponent.

4. Unleash the Cross-Court Dink

The cross-court dink is a powerful weapon that can disrupt your opponent’s comfort zone. This shot involves hitting the ball from one side of the court to the opposite side, similar to a serve but within the non-volley zone. The goal of the cross-court dink is to force your opponent to move by directing the ball towards the far end of the court. With precise placement, your opponent may be forced to retreat off the court, leaving them vulnerable to your subsequent attack.

5. Knowing When to Attack

While dinking is essential, it’s important to recognize that you can’t rely on it indefinitely. Eventually, you’ll need to transition from defense to offense and seize the opportunity to attack. This can be achieved by either taking an aggressive approach or patiently waiting for your opponent to make a mistake. If the ball rises above your waist, it’s a clear signal to unleash your attack. However, exercise caution and assess the situation before deciding to attack at any other time.


Mastering the art of dinking is a journey that requires discipline and practice. By implementing these five proven strategies into your game, you can elevate your dinking skills and gain a competitive edge on the pickleball court. Remember, dinking is not just about finesse and precision, but also about strategic thinking and adaptability. So, go out there, embrace the challenge, and become a dinking maestro!


Q. How can I improve my dinking accuracy?
To improve your dinking accuracy, focus on proper technique and footwork. Practice hitting the ball softly and with control, aiming for specific target areas on the court. Additionally, work on your footwork to ensure you are in the right position to execute the shot effectively.

Q. Are there any drills to help me practice my dinking skills?
Yes, there are several drills you can incorporate into your practice routine. One popular drill is the “two-line dinking drill,” where you and a partner stand on opposite sides of the net and engage in a dinking rally, focusing on accuracy and placement. Another effective drill is the “target dinking drill,” where you set up targets on the court and aim to hit your dinks within those targets.

Q. How can I anticipate my opponent’s dinks?
Anticipating your opponent’s dinks requires observation and reading their body language. Pay attention to their positioning, paddle angle, and movement patterns. By studying these cues, you can better anticipate where they are likely to place their dinks and position yourself accordingly.

Q. What should I do if my opponentattacks my dink?

If your opponent decides to attack your dink, it’s important to be prepared to defend and react quickly. Stay focused and be ready to adjust your positioning to counter their attack. You can try to block their shot by positioning your paddle in front of you, or you can aim to counter-attack with a well-placed shot of your own. Remember, quick reflexes and adaptability are key in these situations.

Q. Can dinking be effective in singles play as well?

Absolutely! While dinking is often associated with doubles play, it can also be highly effective in singles. In singles play, dinking can be used to control the pace of the game, tire out your opponent, and set up opportunities for attacking shots. The same principles of accuracy, strategy, and footwork apply in singles, so don’t hesitate to incorporate dinking into your singles game.

Remember, mastering the dink takes time and practice. By incorporating these strategies and consistently honing your skills, you’ll be well on your way to dinking like a pro. So, step onto the pickleball court with confidence, embrace the challenge, and let your dinking prowess shine!

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Written by Billy Pickles

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