Dinking Success

pickleball basics pickleball training Oct 07, 2022

Hi, welcome to Briones Pickleball. My name is Jordan Briones and in today's lesson, we're going to go over the five keys to dinking success. Let's jump right in.

We are going to be talking about the five keys to dinking success, and the first one that we're going to start off with is the grip.

This is really important since when you are thinking you what grip to have. So, when I'm thinking I have the continental grip, and I'll show that in a picture.

The Continental Grip is the best grip to have because you can hit underspin, sidespin and top spin if you need to. Depending on what kind of dink you want to hit, you can hit all those different shots. This is the best grip to use in the non-volley zone line because you can hit a variety of dinks and shots.

And as you know, the game could be really slow when you're dinking. And then anyone could speed up the ball at any time and you have to be ready to defend or counter attack with a volley. You can use the same grip for the volley, which is a continental grip.

This is why it is really important to have a continental grip when dinking. I will show you here. It is very versatile and I could hit forehand and backhand with the same grip. I don't have to ever change my grip. All I have to do is get right back into my ready position and then I am ready to go.

So, make sure that you have that continental grip and practice with that. And now let's jump into the next key thing that you are going to need. So, before we hop into the second one, actually, I forgot to mention, this is kind of like part B of the very first key to successful dinking, and that is the grip pressure.

Okay. This. Really important. Just imagine a scale from one to 10. Okay. One would be holding the paddle really, really lightly, and the 10 would be like a really, really strong death grip. Holding it as tight as you can. When we're thinking up at the non-volley zone, we want to make sure we have good feel and touch because we are hitting soft shots into our opponents. Or around our opponent's non-volley zone. So, I would suggest to have between a three and a foregrip pressure so that you're holding the paddle tight enough, but you can feel that and it is loose enough where you can generate a good feel and touch. So, here we are, dinking and whether I am hitting a forehand or backhand, or I'm taking the ball out of the air as a volley like that, or I am letting it bounce, my grip pressure is around a three or four, and it really stays in that range because remember, these are soft shots I am trying to hit in my target where I am trying to make that ball land not far from me, so I want a really light grip pressure so I can feel the ball.

Now let's jump into that second tip.

Key number two to dinking success is having a compact and consistent stroke. Compact pertains to my back swing, my take back, and also my follow-through. Now this shot is a soft shot and I'm very close to my opponent, so I want to make sure that everything is nice and short.

After I finish, even with my follow through, I can get back into a ready position very quickly. And another thing you want to make sure that you have in your mind. A low to high swing path. I am trying to get this ball up and over the net, and I am trying to get this ball to drop in front, low in front of my opponent's feet.

I want to make sure that I am swinging low to high and my back swing and follow through our short income pack. Again, whether I'm taking the ball out of the air, hitting it with a forehand or backhand. Looking at my stroke. I want you to notice my take back and my follow through is very short, and that I can get ready for the next ball right away.

So hit something to my back hand and maybe hit some deeper dinks. No matter if I'm hitting, backing up or staying up at the line or hitting a volley or off the bounds does not really matter. I am making sure that my strokes and my swing is very compact.

All right, so now let's jump into number three, and that is have a solid foundation.

When you are dinking up at the non-volley zone, no matter what shot you hit in pickleball, your stance is really important and, the foundation that you build, starting with the weight at the balls of my feet here and I have a nice little knee bend and I am an athletic stance, I have my chest forward.

You can see that I'm never just standing straight up like this. I am always in a good athletic stance so that I can be ready to move left and right and forward and back when I need to. You will see all the good players have a really good stance. You can see my feet are a little bit wider than shoulder width, and whether I'm digging with my forehead or my backhand, I am ready to go.

And you can see I am kind of lifting with my legs a little bit, as I dink it really helps the feel. And you will see a lot of the good players that actually use their legs for that feel to get that touch. And you will notice that as you develop your game and get further into court and hitting third shots, you will notice that using your legs and coming up like this, that little initiation from the legs up, that is going to really going to give you easy power and it really develops your touch.

Have a good solid foundation starting with the weight on the balls of your toes through your legs, and then push up and lift up on that ball.

Now let's jump into number four, and that is make sure that you give yourself margin or clearance over this net. A lot of times I see lots and lots of players thinking really close or really tight to the net.

As you can see these things here, I'm. Trying to get it really, really close. And they find themselves making lots of errors. And why do they do this? Or why are they dinking so close to the net? They're doing that because they do not want to pop up the ball. But really, It is where that ball is dropping and landing. As you can see here, now I am going to give myself some margin over the net about a foot to a foot and a half around that range over the net. But you can see my ball's still dropping in front of my opponent. Now I am going to give myself good margin here.

So that's some good, that's good height. Okay. So as you can see, I'm still clearing the net by, six inches to a foot and a half. And my ball is still dropping well in front of my opponent so that they cannot attack it. So the key here is, give yourself some margin and you're going to cut down on a lot of errors.

Remember, your target should not be a few inches above the net. Get that target a little bit higher. Get that feel, hit it softer so that it can drop in front of your opponent.

Now let's jump into the fifth and final key to dinking success, and that is focus on your opponent's contact point instead of where the ball is actually landing.

Let me break this down. When you are dinking or when I have somebody out here dinking with me, a lot of times they are overdinking it or they are trying to make the ball land really short into the kitchen. I can't attack them, or they are really focusing on where that ball is landing and sometimes that actually hurts you more than it could help you.

What I want to focus on, and when I am dinking against even really great players, I'm just focusing on getting the ball down, making them contact the ball at a low contact point. Whether they are volleying the ball out of the air or they are letting that ball drop in front of them, bounce and then hitting it, as long as they are contacting the ball fairly low, that, that's still a good dink. We are going to just dink a little bit here and notice, as I am dinking to my wife, Katrina, on the other side, every shot, every ball I hit, whether she's volleying out of the air or taking it off the balance, I am making her contact it low.

So that's the key to, to dinking success. Here we go.

So it's really easy to focus on which lot of people teach, and you really want to dink short into the kitchen so they cannot attack it. But that's a flawed way of thinking. Because that, that can make you really tight and draw a lot of errors. It's okay to dink close to that non volley zone line. And even beyond it sometimes as long as your opponent is not contacting the ball early and out in front here. If you are making them volley the ball low here, it's still a good thing. Let us do a few more.

See, even she can reach that last one out of the air. It's, it's a tough ball to attack because her contact point is, is really below the net. So that was the fifth and final key to dinking success. Hopefully this was clear and it was really valuable to you.

Thanks so much for watching. For more free pickleball tips, head on to brionespickleball.com

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