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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Rethinking the Dink

Anyone who regularly reads this blog knows that I try to include lots of videos to show how the descriptions within the posts translate to action on the court.  One of the video sources I use in many posts - because she does a lot of videos and does them well - is Deb Harrison, an instructor at The Villages in Florida.  Deb has just released a new video on dinking in which she changes her recommendation for dinking technique on which I would like to comment. 

First, let's revisit my post on dinking, It Should be Called Dinkball.  That post included 3 videos that detailed different dinking techniques.  Two of those videos, including Deb's (shown below), had similar instructions.

(Video removed by owner)

The technique described includes dropping the paddle head toward the court and swinging it upward to pop the ball over the net.  The following photo shows the start of the swing.

The third video shows a different technique. The instructor in this video demonstrates that the paddle face should remain level with the paddle hand by bending the wrist as shown below.

The instructor states that the player should get as low as possible to maintain this paddle position. There will inevitably be shots too low to stay level and the paddle head will be required to drop to make the shot. That is fine but it should not be the main form.

My recommendation - and the technique I use - is the second example above. The primary reason for my preference is that I like to keep the game as simple as possible. Groundstrokes and volleys are hit with the paddle face level with the hand.  Dinks should be the same. I do not want to change my paddle position from the rest of the game for any one shot.  Consistent play is more easily established with a consistent paddle position. I also think that dropping the paddle head brings the wrist into the swing as well as the arm. When the wrist gets involved in an upward swing, there is a much higher likelihood of popping the ball up too high for an opponent to smash back.

As mentioned above, Deb has changed her view on dinking. It so happens that her view now aligns with the second example as well.  Here is her new video called Rethink the Dink

This video shows a paddle face level with the hand as shown below.

Deb cites a couple of reasons for the change in her technique. The first is that the shot is more penetrating. This means that it is hit with a lower arc that bounces lower and deeper into the opponents' court. The second is that the technique provides more options. The ball can be lobbed, hit hard, or dinked.

My intent in these posts is to show the alternative techniques used by top players while describing the strengths and weaknesses of the techniques.  That is why I included 3 separate videos in the first dink post.  That is also why I wrote this post to present new material for consideration.  As always, the option for any individual player is to do what works best for him in reaching his goal as a player.  

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