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Friday, July 1, 2016

Dinking Strategy - Part 2

Dinking Strategy - Part 1 started the discussion of advanced dinking strategies as presented by Joe Baker in his video called Doubles Pickleball Strategy 201 - Dinking Strategy. This post will pick up with a discussion of where to avoid hitting the ball and how to defend against players using the same tactics.

Advanced players avoid hitting to the opponent directly in front of them, especially to that player's forehand. Such a shot sets up an opportunity for your opponent to attack with a hit to your body. In addition, an opponent can more easily execute a lob when given a forehand dink. As stated yesterday, it always a better strategy to make an opponent reach, move, or scramble.
A second shot to avoid is an obvious shot down the sideline such as consecutive shots to the same spot. Better players will anticipate the shot and poach the shot at the net by moving outside the sideline and into the area beside the kitchen. (For those interested in pickleball trivia, this is known as the "Ernie shot".) 

Of course, opponents with advanced skills will also use these strategies against you. So, how do you defend against them?

The most important part of defending against the stress of these shots is staying linked to your partner to prevent the shot down the middle. The defensive wall must slide back and forth across the court in relation to the position of the ball in the opponents' court. The next 2 photos show a breakdown of the wall. The player on the left has returned a shot from his sideline and is moving back toward his partner. However, his partner never moved left to keep the wall intact and created a hole through which their opponents drove the ball.

The next topic addressed is how to get out of trouble. Opponents of equal skill levels will put you in an awkward position and you must know what to do to improve your odds. 

The first option is to return crosscourt into the kitchen and avoid hitting to the opponent directly in front of you. Do this when you are forced out of position or straining to make a return, e.g., when a ball barely makes it to your side after hitting the net.

The second option is to bail out of the dinking game by hitting a lob. A surprise well-disguised lob over an opponent's non-paddle can be very effective, especially when the opponent is moving toward you or is near you when you are inside the kitchen.

Tomorrow's post will discuss the remainder of the video, covering several specific strategic shots - both offensive and defensive.

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