What Is Dinking in Pickleball | Perfect Time To Dink In Pickleball

Are you curious about the sport of pickleball? Do you want to improve your game? If so, you are at the right place. In this blog post, we are going to explore one of the most crucial techniques in pickleball which is dinking. We will discuss what is dinking, how to perform it, and how to score points with it. Let’s start.

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What is dinking?

Dinking is a soft shot technique where the ball drops over the net and lands in the non-volley zone. The non-volley zone, also known as the kitchen, is the area within seven feet on each side of the net. Dinking is an essential technique in pickleball as it helps you gain control over your opponent and score points. When you dink, you force your opponent to hit a softer shot, which makes it easier for you to hit a winning shot. It requires precision, patience, and good footwork to execute successfully.

How to Perform dinking in Pickleball?

To execute a dink shot, you must approach the non-volley line with a ready position, slightly on your toes, with your paddle head up. Then, you need to wait for your opponent’s shot, and once it bounces off the ground, let the ball drop and hit the ball lightly, making sure it goes over the net and lands in the kitchen. Unlike other shots, you use more touch and finesse when dinking, so it’s essential to practice this technique to perfect it. Most pickleball players use a backhand grip to perform the dinking shot.

Furthermore, dinking helps you move your opponent closer to the net, where it becomes easier for you to score points. When the opponent hits a soft shot in return, you can then hit more aggressive shots and aim for points.

The main goal of dinking is to gain control over the game by keeping the ball in the kitchen while staying at the non-volley line. Dinking stalls the game, which can sometimes be frustrating for your opponents, but also, it makes them react from a defensive position, which doesn’t allow them to set up for a stronger return shot. Thus, performing the dink shot delivers the perfect opportunity to take control of the game and win.

To dink in pickleball effectively, you need to follow the following steps:

a player playing pickleball with a paddle in his hand
  • Position yourself in the non-volley zone and be mindful of your feet. They should remain stationary until after you make the shot.
  • Hold your paddle with a soft touch, almost weightless, and gently return your opponent’s shot back to the non-volley zone while keeping the ball low.
  • Use your wrist to generate the power behind your shot instead of swinging from your arm.
  • Watch your opponents’ body movement and anticipate their next shot, so you can adjust and get into a position to repeat the process.

How to score points with dinking?

Dinking is an effective tool for scoring points, and it works best when the ball is moving slowly. You can use dinking to create angles, forcing your opponents to run side-to-side, making it harder for them to return your shots. After softening up your opponent with a few dinks, the next step is to move in quickly towards the net and wait for a higher ball. When your opponent hits a high ball, take the opportunity to put the ball away. This is called the “3rd shot drop,” and it’s a great strategy to get an easy point. Remember, dinking requires precision and a lot of patience, but it pays off handsomely if executed properly.

If you’re playing against experienced players, they will know when you intend to dink and will adapt to your game. To keep your opponents guessing and to succeed in pickleball, you need to mix up your shots. You can vary your dinks, add spins, and even throw in the occasional hard shot to keep your opponents on their toes. Use your dinks to set up for the more aggressive shots, and you’ll catch your opponents out of position, leading to unforced errors and points.

When Is The Perfect Time To Dink In Pickleball?

Here are some of the various scenarios where the dink shot is the perfect choice.

When you want to slow down the game 

Sometimes, in the heat of the game, things can get a little too intense. When this happens, a player may opt for a dink shot to slow down the game and regain control. A soft dink shot gives you a chance to recover, catch your breath, and prepare for the next shot. A well-executed dink may also force your opponent to slow down their game, helping you gain an edge over them.

When you want to break your opponent’s rhythm

a player playing pickleball with a ball in his hand

Consistency is key in pickleball. A player who can maintain their rhythm and control the game will often come out on top. However, a precisely timed dink shot can disrupt your opponent’s rhythm and throw them off their game. If your opponent is using a consistent strategy, a dink shot can help you break their momentum and get back in the game.

When you want to set up a smash shot

Dinking is an excellent way to set up a smash shot. If you can place your dink shot in a strategic location, it will force your opponent to return a high ball, which you can then smash for a point-winning shot. The dink can be used to move your opponent out of position or create an opening for a more aggressive shot.

When playing doubles 

In doubles matches, the dink shot is an essential skill. If executed correctly, it will allow your partner to move to the non-volley zone and take control of the net. A soft dink shot gives your partner time to move into position, and they can then hit an aggressive volley that will put your opponents on the defensive.

When you want to conserve energy

Finally, the dink shot can be used to conserve energy. In pickleball, the game can be long and grueling, and conserving energy is essential for maintaining stamina. A dink shot doesn’t require much energy, and it can be a lifesaver when you need to take a break during a game.


Now you know what is dinking, how to perform it, and how to score points with it. We hope that this article encourages you to practice and master the dink shot in your next pickleball game. Remember, the dink is a gentle touch that can make a huge impact on your game. By using this technique, you can take control of the game and score points efficiently. So, go ahead, practice, and have fun playing pickleball.

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