I have learned to love dinking in pickleball. It’s something that seems so easy, but dinking requires the most touch, feel, and patience. Dinking is also the most consistent part of pickleball that you need to continuously work on and tweak. When you feel like you have mastered dinking, think again. In a dink battle you are lulled into a sense of false confidence. You think “wow this is easy, I could do this all day,” and then you pop it up or hit it short.
Dinking is not a one-hit winner. It requires multiple dinks, patience, and most importantly precision. With excellent precision you can move your opponent side to side to optimize your chance at a point. Speaking of moving side to side, this bring me to the one mistake you make while dinking that needs to stop now…
STOP CROSSING YOUR FEET
One of the biggest mistakes I make while engaged in dink battles is crossing my feet. Dinking isn’t just about soft shots and patience, it’s about moving your opponents into vulnerable positions. One of the worst positions to be in while up at the kitchen line is to have your feet crossed over.
Take a look at the picture on the right. The player’s right foot has crossed over his left foot. This is exposing that player’s back to the opponent, but also freeing up a considerable amount of that box. This player has done a good job of getting to the ball, but it will be tough to recover for the next ball.
An important piece to why you should not cross your feet at the kitchen line is the reset. He will have to shift back and uncross his right leg into a squared position.
It’s a slippery slope when your footwork gets sloppy. One false step can lead to an array of smaller footwork mistakes to try and get back to the optimal position.
Ok, we understand that crossing your feet is bad. Now what do I do about it?
- Stay Square: Keeping your shoulders and feet square to the net and your opponent put you in a ready position to return the shot whether it’s another dink or a drive.
- Shuffle: Always shuffle your feet to reach either side of your box. Shuffling keeps you squared up and gives your opponent less space to move you.
- Reset to the Center: You will have to move while dinking. While leaning can work in some situations, you are always better to shuffle your feet and then shuffle back to the center of your area. This puts you in a neutral position to reach both sides of your area, minimizing your opponents attack zone.
Let me know how these tips work for you and remember what this:
My Game Is A Lot About Footwork. If I Move Well, I Play Well.– Roger Federer