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Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Smooooooth Dink

This post is about dinking. But not just any dinking. I ran across a video of the smoothest dinking I have ever seen.

The player to watch is on the left in the foreground. His name is Dan O'Toole and he is one of the top players in the country. His control of all shots is amazing but there are several aspects I would like to highlight.
  1. The dink shot requires a full stroke. Both his backhand and forehand dinks start well behind the point of impact and there is a significant follow through. The reason they fall into the kitchen rather than flying past it and into a hard volley return is that the stroke is soft. Rather than a sharp strike, the impact with the ball is almost more of a push.
  2. The very first high ball that Dan sees is pounded back to his opponents. This occurs at about the 15 second point. Dan fails to win the rally with the shot, though, as an awkward - but good - return is made. 
  3. In fact, the return is so good that Dan's team must immediately shift to a defensive mode and Dan retreats to the baseline.
  4. From the baseline, Dan is able to reset the point with a third-shot drop. From this point, he can work his magical dinking again.
  5. Again, at the 27 second point, Dan gets a high shot and he attempts to start the fast game with a hard shot. But again, the hard volley is returned and dinking starts anew.
  6. Note Dan's positioning during the next sequence of dinks. As before, he always positions his body to the side of the ball allowing a balanced athletic shot. He does not allow the ball to get to his feet from where he would have to short-hop it and risk an error.
  7. Finally, Dan hits a low forehand groundstroke that forces his opponent into a high return that Dan's partner smashes to start the opponents scrambling to their loss of the rally.
All of these aspects of the play are points we've discussed in this blog. It's good to see them put into play by such a great player.

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