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Thursday, August 29, 2013

The 'Dink' Shot....

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Our beginning and intermediate players ask me regularly about when they can play with the more advanced players.  We do have our five courts broken down into advanced, intermediate, and beginner status.  Many times, if players get to the courts early enough, our combinations of players are eclectic (can I use that word in a Pickleball discussion?).....until we have enough players to divide properly on the courts, anyone can play with anyone.  That usually takes about the first 30 minutes of class.  Back to the question: My answer has been the standard "when your game gets better."  I go into specifics if they want specifics.  Initially, the explanation centers around the obvious....consistency.  Consistently good serves, consistently hitting good returns of serve, consistently getting to the 7' line, consistently looking comfortable at the net.....etc.  After some time--and consistently good success--against players of comparable ability, the question is asked again.  I answer by saying that they are close, and they very well may be, but are they ready to handle the faster pace and better placement that comes with playing better players?  They say they are (and in their hearts they believe it), but from a technical standpoint, most are lacking the one shot that is a must in more advanced play....the 'Dink.'  My answer remains consistent (there's that word again!)...."when you have consistently good success with the Dink Shot, you can play successfully with the more advanced players."  This is not to say that all of our more advanced players are great 'dinkers.'  We all need work.  But we try, third shot after third shot, 7' line rally after 7' line rally, understanding all the time that the ball needs to be hit at the opponent's feet.  Placement, placement, placement....Dink, Dink, Dink.

As a newbie, beginner, or even intermediate player, are you swinging at the short shots and punching the long shots?  This is what the less experienced players do.  It should be just the opposite.  At the end of the day, you always ask yourself "how did the ball come off my paddle today."  Hopefully, low, soft, and at your opponent's feet......
 Making your opponent hit up with a good, short 'Dink" shot

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