What Does Dink Mean In Pickleball?

Dink is a type of fitness shot upward trajectory, falling on the net in the opposite no valley zone.The game slows down due to it. The ability to hit a good dink shot can be an equaliser when facing a player who is faster or stronger.Pickleball, a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, has been gaining popularity worldwide. One such term that frequently comes up is “dink.” But what exactly does “dink” mean in pickleball?

Imagine a sport where precision, finesse, and strategy reign supreme. That’s what pickleball is all about, and at the heart of this exciting game is the elusive “dink.” The dink shot is like a secret weapon, known only to those who’ve delved deep into the sport. It’s the subtle art of outmanoeuvring your opponent, frustrating them with soft, controlled shots that barely clear the net. In this article, we’re about to unravel the mysteries of the dink, helping you grasp its significance and equipping you with the skills to dominate the pickleball court.

Before we dive into the specifics of the dink, let’s set the stage. Pickleball is a racquet sport that’s taken the world by storm. It’s easy to pick up, offers a fantastic way to stay active, and caters to a wide range of ages and skill levels. The sport takes place on a rectangular court, with a net that’s lower than in tennis. While it shares some similarities with its racquet-wielding cousins, pickleball has its unique flavour, and the dink is one of its defining features. As you continue reading, you’ll discover why this seemingly simple shot is a game-changer in the world of pickleball.

 What Is a Dink

At its core, a dink in pickleball is a short, soft shot that is designed to barely clear the net and land in the non-volley zone, also known as the “kitchen.” The dink is typically played with an underhand motion, making it an essential technique for maintaining control and strategy during a game. This shot can be a game-changer when executed effectively, as it puts pressure on your opponent and can set you up for a winning play.

 Importance of the Dink

The dink is more than just a delicate shot; it’s a tactical masterpiece in pickleball. Here’s why it’s essential.


 Dinks allow you to maintain control over the game by keeping the ball low and within the kitchen. This control is crucial in forcing your opponent into making mistakes.


A well-executed dink can disrupt your opponent’s strategy and rhythm, causing them to make errors and creating opportunities for you to capitalise on.


Dinks can be strategically placed to exploit your opponent’s weaknesses, either forcing them to move out of position or setting up an ideal shot for your team.


The dink is a reliable shot that minimises the risk of unforced errors, making it a valuable tool in longer rallies.

How to Execute the Perfect Dink

Mastering the dink shot is a skill that requires practice, precision, and patience. Here are the key steps to executing the perfect dink:

 Paddle Positioning

Paddle Positioning

Hold your paddle with a soft grip, allowing for greater finesse. Keep your wrist firm and steady.

Body Position

Stand close to the non-volley zone (the kitchen) to minimise the distance the ball has to travel. Bend your knees slightly to maintain balance and agility.

Contact Point

Make contact with the ball at waist height or slightly below. The goal is to hit the ball gently, imparting minimal force.

Controlled Motion

Use a controlled, underhand motion with your paddle. Your goal is to just clear the net and land the ball in the kitchen.


Maintain a steady, smooth follow-through to ensure accuracy and control. 


Consistent practice is the key to mastering the dink. Work on your shot’s consistency, placement, and the ability to adapt it to various game situations.

Dink Variations

Like any skill in pickleball, dinking has several variations that add depth to your game. Some of the notable variations include:

Forehand Dink

Executed on the forehand side, this dink is a versatile shot that allows you to maintain control and direction.

Backhand Dink

Similar to the forehand dink but played on the backhand side, this shot is essential for well-rounded players.

Cross-Court Dink

This variation involves sending the ball diagonally across the court, making it difficult for your opponent to anticipate and return.

Angle Dink

The angle dink involves creating acute angles with your shots, forcing your opponent to move and react quickly.

Two-Handed Dink

Some players prefer to use both hands on the paddle to execute a dink, which can provide additional stability and control.

 When to Use the Dink

Strategic dinking is about choosing the right moments to employ this shot. Here are scenarios where the dink is particularly effective:

At the Kitchen Line

When both you and your opponent are positioned at the kitchen line, dinking becomes essential for maintaining control and creating opportunities.

Neutralising Hard Shots

If your opponent sends a fast and hard shot your way, using a dink can neutralize the pace and allow you to regain control.

Extended Rallies

 In long rallies, the dink can be a game-changer. It can help you reset the point, create openings, or force your opponent into making an error.

Mixing Up Your Game

Incorporating dinks alongside other shots in your arsenal keeps your opponent guessing and adds variety to your playstyle

 Common Dink Mistakes

Dinking might appear deceptively simple, but it’s easy to make mistakes, especially when you’re learning the ropes. Here are some common dinking errors to avoid:

Hitting Too Hard

The essence of the dink is softness. Hitting the ball too hard will result in the shot going out of bounds.

Poor Placement

Landing the dink shot outside of the kitchen is a common mistake. Precision is key.


Trying to hit a dink that’s too far away can lead to an error. Maintain proper positioning.

 Lack of Consistency

 Inconsistent dinking makes it easier for your opponent to anticipate your moves. Work on maintaining a steady shot.

 Predictable Patterns

 Repeatedly using the dink in the same situation makes your playstyle predictable. Mix it up to keep your opponent on their toes.

Neglecting Defence

After a dink, be ready for the counter dink or a more aggressive shot from your opponent. Neglecting defence can cost you points.

 FAQs About Dinking in Pickleball

 Is dinking only for beginners?

No, dinking is a fundamental technique in pickleball used by players of all skill levels. It’s essential for control and strategy, making it a valuable tool for both beginners and advanced players.

Can I use a power shot instead of a dink?

While power shots have their place in pickleball, dinking is crucial for control and finesse. A well-timed dink can disrupt your opponent’s rhythm and create opportunities for winning shots.

 What paddle is best for dinking?

The choice of paddle for dinking varies among players. A paddle with a softer face and a balance between power and control is ideal for dinking.

 Is dinking only done in the kitchen?

While dinking is often associated with the kitchen, it can be used strategically throughout the court to control the game and create opportunities.

How do I practice my dinking skills?

Practice is key to mastering the dink. Spend time working on your control, placement, and consistency through drills and games with fellow players.

Can you dink with a forehand and backhand grip?

Yes, you can execute both forehand and backhand dinks. Mastering both grips adds versatility to your dinking game.


In the world of pickleball, the dink is not just a shot; it’s a strategy. Understanding what “dink” means and mastering the art of dinking is essential for players looking to take their game to the next level. With precise control and subtle finesse, the dink allows you to outmaneuver your opponents, disrupt their strategy, and set yourself up for success on the court.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, incorporating the dink into your game, along with other crucial techniques like the “volley in pickleball,” can be a game-changer, opening up new dimensions of play in this rapidly growing sport. So, the next time you step onto the pickleball court, remember the power of the dink.

Embrace its subtlety, work on your precision, and watch as it transforms your game, making you a formidable opponent and a true master of pickleball.

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