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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Dinking Drills

Drilling is the best method to master any skill. Dinking is a skill that must be mastered and is easily learned in a 2-person, 3-person, or 4-person drill. While drills can be tedious and boring, some of these are easily turned into games that make learning a lot more fun.

Drill 1 for 2 players

 2-person drills range from simple to complex. The simplest is to have the players stand across the net from each other and hit dinks back and forth as shown in Diagram 1 below. Try landing your dink 3 feet from the net. Start by hitting directly at your partner and then vary the direction to his left and right. Remember the objective is to keep the ball in the kitchen area.

Diagram 1

Drill 2 for 2 players

 second 2-person drill is to have each player start on opposite sidelines as shown in Diagram 2 below. Practice dinking crosscourt by hitting back and forth with your partner. Then switch sidelines and repeat the exercise. This allows dinking practice on both the forehand and backhand sides.

Diagram 2

The video below called Pickleball Dink Drills from PoachPB illustrates some 2-person drills.

Drill 3 for 2 players

Now we move into the more complex drills…and move is the key word. The first starts like Drill 1 with players directly across one another along a sideline. The players start by dinking to each other in place. Then they start to move along the kitchen line toward the opposite sideline and continue dinking as they move. When they reach the other sideline, they reverse direction and move back toward the starting point, dinking as they move. Diagram 3 attempts to illustrate this drill.

Diagram 3

Drill 4 for 2 players

This drill mimics Drill 3 except the players start on opposite sidelines like Drill 2. The players start with crosscourt dinks and then simultaneously move toward the other sideline while dinking. As they cross in the middle, the crosscourt dink becomes a straight ahead dink. Then the players continue to move away from each other and the dinks become crosscourt again. When they reach the other sideline, they reverse direction and move back toward the starting point, dinking as they move. Diagram 4 attempts to illustrate this drill.
Diagram 4

Drill 5 for 3 players

Two people start on one side of the net and one person is on the other side, in either the right or left service court. The side with two players must always place their dinks to the service court side with the single player. The single player can place his dink wherever he wants.

Drill 6 for 4 players

This drill is played out like a regular game with identical scoring. The 4 players are aligned along the kitchen line with 1 player in each service court. The “server” dinks diagonally across the net into the kitchen. The return of serve must be diagonally back into the server’s kitchen. Each of these first 2 shots is not an attempt to win the rally but only to get the game started. After the return of serve, dinks made be placed anywhere. Keep trying to dink the ball but, if your opponent makes a mistake and gives you a put away shot, take it. Players rotate the serve just like a regular game.

Drill 7 for 4 players

A variation on Drill 6 where the put away not allowed and the kitchen line is used as a boundary. In other words, all shots must be dinks that land in the kitchen. A rally ends when a dink lands out of bounds behind the kitchen line.

Go practice!!!

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