Pickleball — I Dink in the Kitchen
By Terri Nordby
PB Strategy at the Kitchen
If you watch good PB players the common denominator in their play is that after the serve and return both teams come to the kitchen line where the remainder of the game is played.
At the kitchen line there are two types of shots: volley shot and the dink shot. The difference between these two shots is that in the volley shot the ball is hit in the air – usually back and forth with little time to react. The dink shot bounces inside the kitchen before returning and is a much slower, controlled tempo of play. If you want to improve your game you must improve your skills at the net and learn both of these shots.
According to the Volley Llama (www.volleyllama.com), the correct stance and being in the “ready position” while at the kitchen line is an important basic skill. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your paddle squarely between your chest using a continental grip. Like a tennis player getting ready to receive the serve – this is the proper position to be in – ready to receive anything that comes your way. Having the paddle in the center of your chest allows you to be in position to quickly react and be ready for a forehand or backhand volley/dink shot. Some players will stand with the paddle in the forehand or backhand position. This is not smart because your opponent will hit the ball to whatever side is open. Keeping the paddle in the center of your body keeps your options open, and your opponent’s options limited. The harder you make it for them, the more points you’ll win.
90% of the time you are at the net or kitchen line
Most shots are volleys or dinks at the net – not super smashes
Most people misuse power – i.e. hitting it hard when they should hit soft. If you’re hitting up – hit soft. If you’re hitting down – it’s ok to hit hard
If you can hit down, hit the at the player across from you delete the
If you are hitting up, hit cross court, note the middle of the net is 2 inches lower than the ends of the net
Hit at the player most vulnerable
Keep your head up and squat, don’t lean forward – be “pickleball ready”
Patience and consistency, no unforced errors
The volley is a block or push shot, don’t swing at it
The dink is a soft shot that lands in the kitchen
Block it until you can sock it – Stay patient
Practice with a partner or against the wall until you can master the basic dink, and volley shot
Keep an easy tempo and don’t forget to breathe, it’ll give you good rhythm
LWW PB Players Victor Simon, Steve Egge, Frank Fish & Gene Cook playing at the kitchen line.
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