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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Volley Dink

Getting the fundamentals right...

The Jordan Briones Primetime video series continues with work at the non-volley zone line. Today's post uses his video Volley Dink Success | Pickleball to discuss why hitting a dink out of the air is important. Better yet, it discusses how to learn the skill and decision-making that enables the shot.

Jordan opens the video with a discussion of both court and body positioning at the NVZ line. These techniques were covered in the past 2 weeks in our Tuesday series. Therefore, I will not repeat them here.

The first new material discusses a topic we have talked about before - what are the advantages of volleying a dink rather than hitting it after it bounces.

The first advantage of volleying a dink is that it keeps you at the NVZ line. The alternative of returning a deep dink is that you must back off the NVZ line. This exposes more of the court to create an offensive shot by hitting the to your feet. Backing up to take a shot also means that you are moving when hitting. This combination of moving body parts makes the shot more difficult and often means popping the ball up to your opponents.

The second advantage of volleying a dink is that it gives your opponent less time. Allowing the ball to bounce also allows your opponent lots of time to reset. Hitting a volley takes away that extra time and forces him to think more quickly.

The technique to hit a volley is extremely simple. Keep the paddle firm in your hand and simply block or push the ball back over the net. Avoid wrist action and full swings. The proper technique allows you to more easily continue to reset the point as a dink.

The most difficult part of this shot is the decision-making. For many players, the volley dink will not be their first instinct. Players have a difficult time determining how far they can reach to hit an effective shot. Jordan discusses a drill in which a player tries to hit every ball as a volley dink. Obviously, some will be too short and those should be allowed to bounce. But this drill allows a player to determine their comfort zone. Repetition develops muscle memory of the shot technique as well as the big muscle that resides in your head.

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