What is Pickleball Dink and How to Master It?

Woman in pickleball attire hitting a ball on a pickleball court during a match.

Pickleball is popular because it combines elements from tennis, badminton and table tennis which makes it a top sport today. It moves quickly as players need high speed together with nimbleness and eye-hand coordination. In this blog post you will learn about what a dink in pickleball is as well as how you can master this skill – it is necessary for playing pickleball well since dinks are key shots for this game.

What is a Pickleball Dink?

A person playing pickleball with paddle and ball on a court, wearing pickleball shoes.

A dink is a soft, gentle shot hit near the net that lands in the non-volley zone (also known as the “kitchen”), put in other words, it is one that requires delicate handling and exact manipulation of the ball, thus being somewhat of a finesse shot in pickleball.

The sound produced by hitting the ball lightly, gently touching the pickleball paddle is the one responsible for creation of the word ‘dink’. In order to ensure that the opposite team fails to return it, this kind of stroke is mainly applied as a tactical play so that it remains near it and lowers steadily.

As this compels them to move up to the net, it also sets you up for a good shot against an opponent because they will be closer when attacking, forcing them forward and enabling an easy hit beyond them, making it an effective strategy.

What is the Difference Between a Dink and a Drop Shot?

Pickleball court scene with yellow ball, dink, and drop shot.

During pickleball tournaments, certain players confuse the Dink and the Drop shot pickleball to be the same things. Pickleball dink shot is when you hit the ball softly so that it remains very low and stays close to the ground. A player can hit the ball with a paddle using the underhand stroke near the net using the dink.

The objective of a dink is to place the ball in such a way that opponents have difficulty returning it aggressively, often forcing them to hit upwards or into a position where it’s easier to attack with a subsequent shot. This technique requires finesse and control rather than power, making it essential for maintaining rallies and setting up advantageous plays at the net.

A dink shot in pickleball is hit in such a way that it causes opponents to have trouble returning it with force, forcing them to either strike upwards or in a way that can be easily followed by attack in subsequent move.

In order to be used; you should be careful not to exert too much force when doing a drink as it should bear more on skillfulness and moderateness than it has anything else to do with power and it’s used for keeping the ball in play and for setting up advantageous moves around the net.

Also Read: Mastering The Pickleball Serve Rule: A Comprehensive Guide

Why do you Dink in Pickleball?

People playing pickleball on a court learning to dink.

Dinking in pickleball is useful for various strategic aims which in turn boosts your game and makes it more likely to win.

Control and Placement

Dinking helps you to place the ball just above the unfamiliar side of the net, thus making it hard for your opponent to make an attacking shot back. Keeping the ball low and controlled will force opponents into defensive positions, thereby limiting the options they have for powerful shots.

Maintaining the Rally

Dinking prolongs rallies by slowing down the pace of the game and facilitating controlled exchanges, thus creating more opportunities to move around opponents in order to create possible areas for scoring shots.

Setting Up for Volleys

To set you up for either a volley or a more aggressive shot, it is essential that you learn how to hit the dink pickleball effectively. To take advantage of their poorer returns or open new shots for winning points, bring your opponents in or make them hit higher balls so as to strategically position yourself.

Pressure and Frustration

Dinking is part of the overall pickleball plan that calls for differences in shot speed, angle, and placement to catch opponents off guard. It adds nicely to other types of hits, such as drives and smashes, so as to have a complete game.

Also Read: Pickleball Vs Tennis: What’s the difference?

Strategic Play

A dink is one of the many ways to keep one’s opponents guessing with unpredictability during a match by also taking his/her position off track through use of pace changes among other things thus ensuring balance in your pickleball strategies over the net game plan. It is an important part of the pickleball game play where at times it can be used alongside other shots such as drives or smashes in order to have a complete game.

How to Hit a Perfect Dink Shot?

A man playing Pickleball on a court with a paddle.

To perform a successful dink shot in pickleball, position yourself either at the kitchen line or as close as possible to it; bend your knees maintaining a low body position; hold your paddle out in front of you. Pickleball dinking is related to delicacy and accuracy more than strength/ might; that’s why it would require a subtle grip as well as using one’s legs to gently lift the ball above the net.

The idea behind it is producing a soft touch which only rises slightly before reaching a height similar to that of the net that makes it difficult for your opponent to get it back with power. If you want consistency in landing dinks within the Non-Volley Zone (NVZ), there’s one thing that is needed most-regular practice. Having little speed in these shots, they tend to cause many mistakes in opponents.

Therefore, find out which side of your opponent is more vulnerable and direct your dinks there deliberately. Start returning back to the middle equilibrium point after hitting down a ball gently over the net. Its main advantage is that it enables you guess what your opponent is planning before taking appropriate action.

Where Should a Dink be Placed?

A man and woman playing pickleball on a court, both wearing sportswear and holding Pickleball paddles.

A good tactic during a pickleball game is to hit what is called a well-executed dink that goes over the net softly to fall on the other side of the court gently. You can make it hard for your opponent to return the ball if you manage to place it correctly somewhere around the Non-Volley Zone (NVZ) – that’s also known as the kitchen.

Once you manage to place it there, the opponents will be compelled to rush forward in an attempt to make a shot while still ascending, therefore creating ground for mistakes or weak shots.

Dinking strategically also involves sending your dinks wide off the sides. This strategy forces the opponent into less acute angle positions from which they may need to reach more whenever they are returning a ball. Also, sending your dinks to different spots– the middle or specific weaknesses in your opponent’s game adds variability which keeps him guessing all the time.

8 Simple Tips to Master the Dink Shot

Two men playing pickleball on a court, one serving while the other prepares to return the ball.

Here are some pickleball tips to hit the best dink shot:

1. Positioning

Being in the correct position is the first step in hitting a good dink shot. Specifically, this means being close to the net and on the side a little where you want the ball to land on. It is great because it provides you with additional leverage and also the correct angle for your dink shot.

2. Focus on the Grip

To hit a good dink shot, the grip must be handled with care. Maintaining a continental grasp is the best way of tackling this shot that is held such that one’s paddle resembles a hammer and that veers off at the top into the handle through the index finger and the thumb. When using this grip, you have improved control as well as feel when hitting the ball.

3. Angle of the paddle

For an efficient dink shot, the positioning applied on a paddle is overlooked by most players.. Paddle hits are often executed in a downward slanted manner that doesn’t resist the force of gravity,this way,the ball will be able to travel close to the net at a low speed. This slant also encourages backspin which causes the ball to roll quickly downwards making it hard for another player to volley.

4. Soft touch

Good dinking necessitates a delicate move; unlike in other pickleball shots that require power from the striker, a dink entails placing a feather-like hit on the ball. The goal is to ensure that it just goes over the net and falls on the opponent’s side – not too hard nor too soft one. Such practices develop slowly because they demand practice.

5. Use your wrist

Hitting a dink shot greatly depends on the wrist. The shot is made better controlled and more spinning when a little wrist “snap” is added. However, overdoing it is bad because the ball will go out of bounds.

6. Be unpredictable

Just like in any game pickleball is an advantage that comes by not being able to predict it; when your opponent can read your shots they are more likely to return them. So not let anyone know what is coming by mixing everything up – drive shots together with dinks which will keep him/her off balance (including dinks).

7. Practice, practice, practice

The old saying “practice makes perfect” highlights the importance of practice . Making a good dink shot does not come by chance or luck; it comes with dedicating your time to training. Hence, before every game or tournament,” This is a shot you should try out first because it is important for my performance in the match” should ring in your mind. After executing numerous dinks eventually one learns how to gauge the required speed, angle or positioning.

8. Communication with your partner

During doubles matches it’s important to have good communication between partners because you don’t want the other person hitting YOUR dink shot when THEY think it is theirs too (i.e., lack of communication). Consequently, clarify before hitting any gentle shot with your mate about who will play it over so as to enable both of you to play it better.

Wrapping Up…

Becoming an expert at the dink shot in pickleball is a part and parcel of seizing a strategic edge while playing. This shot which is delicate and gentle near the net is capable of breaking the stride of one’s opponent, causing them to make faults and lastly positioning the ball accurately within the Non-Volley Zone or exploiting some weaknesses for scoring chances.

By concentrating on grip, paddle angle and wrist motion during practice, a player could be able to make his or her dink shots better for use in the general game plan. The primary aim of the dink shot is to extend rallies, keep points going and assist in the deployment of other tactics; it is essential in competitive games as it provides a means of winning matches by ability and precision rather than pure luck.


What is a dink in pickleball?

In pickleball, a dink refers to softly hitting the ball near the net where it lands on the Non-Volley Zone (NVZ) and causes problems for the opponents.

What is the first rule of dinking in pickleball?

To improve your strategy in dinking first keep the ball close to the net while serving at it slowly. This is because it is difficult for the players to make good returns because they are below.

How is the dink used as an effective strategy in pickleball?

Using the dink at strategic moments helps in managing game speed and extends rallies while enabling necessary conditions for better plays-stepping closer to the kitchen by dropping the ball into No Volley Zone area (NVZ) or weak points of opponents will cause mistakes made by them thus giving an additional second for regaining hold of affairs before losing point opportunities.