Harvey Wall Banger #2 - The Dink - Most Boring Brilliant Shot in Pickleball

Shot: Dink

Definition: Soft shot that lands in the no volley zone (NVZ) and is unattackable.

Purpose: Move your opponent in the hopes of forcing an error.

Technique: Bend knees and get low, lock wrist and elbow, swing from low to high using shoulder only, constant paddle speed with paddle angle producing a ball flight 8 - 18” above the net height.

Keys to success

Be a relentless dinker! What does that mean you ask? The dink is, and should be, the easiest shot in pickleball. Being relentless means that every dink that comes to you is returned to the opponent in a predictably unpredictable way. It is also an important shot to “quiet the chaos”. When the ball starts moving fast and catches you a little off guard use the dink to gain control of the rally.

There are many ways to create an environment where your opponent is uncomfortable with your dinking. We will focus on 2 aspects in this post with more to come in the next post.

Being able to create an unpredictable/uncomfortable dink environment means varying your dink without increasing risk and potential unforced errors. The 2 best ways to do this are to use both horizontal and vertical variability.


(Repeated from last post)

Best drill (stage 1) to begin to master the dink:

  • stand at the dink line (7’ from wall") in an athletic stance

    • feet shoulder width

    • knees slightly bent

    • weight forward but not unbalanced

    • paddle out in front of you

  • bounce the ball in front of you then hit while aiming for the 8” square box.

  • focus on accuracy and consistency of hitting the 8” box

  • work forehands and backhands

  • KEY POINT - ensure the rebound off the wall goes close to the box on the ground.


  1. be able to hit 50 in a row, 8” wall box to ground box, without significantly moving your feet - “the dink is the most boring brilliant shot in the game” - consistency and repeatability create a pattern off of which you can “surprise” opponents with different shots.

  2. stay balanced - important to recovering from the shot to be ready for what comes next

  3. reach as far as you can without stepping beyond the dink line - this teaches more efficient movement vs overworking

Progression #1

Turn your body 45 degrees to the wall and work both forehand and backhand side. This will simulate cross court dinks which will be the predominate dink used.

Progression #2

While facing wall dink alternately using backhand and forehand while focusing on proper dink height and paddle speed.

Key Note

Just because this can be the easiest shot in pickleball it needs to practiced. Professional pickleball players will practice dinking 2+ hours each session. The motion and control you achieve when you master the dink will be used in other shots. It is a foundational skill needed to progress your game.



Coach Dan

Level II Certified Professional Instructor

Highly Rated Pickleball Player

Lover of all things pickleball!!

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