Top 10 Drills to Improve Your Pickleball Dinking Skills

Posted on June 21st, 2023.

In this post, we'll focus on one of the essential skills in pickleball—dinking. A well-executed dink can give you a significant advantage on the court by keeping your opponents off balance and setting up strategic plays. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced player, these top 10 drills will help you improve your dinking skills and take your game to the next level. Let's get started!

Forehand-to-Forehand Dink Rally

Start by standing opposite your partner at the kitchen line. Begin a forehand-to-forehand dink rally, focusing on maintaining a steady pace and height over the net. This drill helps develop consistency, control, and soft touch in your dinking shots.

Backhand-to-Backhand Dink Rally


Once you've mastered the forehand-to-forehand dink rally, switch to a backhand-to-backhand dink rally. This drill will help you improve your backhand dinking skills and develop better footwork. Focus on keeping the ball low and close to the net while maintaining a steady pace with your partner. 

Cross-Court Dink Drill

Stand diagonally across from your partner at the kitchen line. Begin a cross-court dink drill, alternating shots between forehand and backhand. This drill helps improve your accuracy and placement, as well as your ability to anticipate and react to your opponent's shots. 

Third Shot Drop Drill

Start by serving the ball to your partner's side of the court. After their return, hit a third shot drop shot, aiming for the kitchen line. Your partner should then hit a soft return shot back to you, allowing you to practice hitting another third shot drop shot.

Backhand-to-Backhand Dink Rally

Similar to the previous drill, this time, focus on backhand-to-backhand dinking. Pay attention to your body positioning and footwork as you engage in a smooth and controlled rally with your partner.

Drop and Retreat

Stand at the kitchen line and drop the ball to your partner's side, forcing them to execute a dink. Retreat to the baseline while your partner responds with a dink of their own. Continue alternating roles to work on quick reflexes and the ability to transition from an offensive to defensive position.

Angle Dinking

Place targets on both sides of the court, just outside the kitchen line. Practice dinking the ball at different angles, aiming to hit the targets. This drill helps improve your accuracy and ability to control the ball's trajectory.

Dink and Volley

Start at the kitchen line and engage in a dink rally with your partner. After a set number of shots, one player transitions to a volley, attempting to put the ball away. Switch roles periodically to enhance your versatility and adaptability during game situations.

Multi-Ball Dinking

Enlist the help of a practice partner or coach to feed multiple balls to you consecutively. Maintain a consistent dink rally, focusing on control, timing, and maintaining a soft touch. This drill improves endurance and helps you develop a rhythm in your dinking game.

In addition to practicing your dinking game, it's important to work on your volleys as well. One way to do this is through the "volley transition" drill. This involves starting with a dink rally with your partner, and then transitioning to a volley after a set number of shots. This helps you develop versatility and adaptability in game situations. Another useful drill is the "multi-ball dinking" exercise, where you have a practice partner or coach feed multiple balls to you consecutively. This helps improve endurance and rhythm in your dinking game, while also emphasizing control and timing. By incorporating these drills into your practice routine, you can enhance your overall skills and become a more well-rounded pickleball player. 

Dink and Drop Shot Combo

Alternate between dinking and executing drop shots during a rally with your partner. This drill simulates game scenarios where you need to mix up your shots to keep your opponents guessing and create opportunities for winners.

Lobs and Dinks

Practice defending against lobs by quickly transitioning from the baseline to the kitchen line and engaging in a dink rally. This drill helps improve your footwork, agility, and reaction time when switching between defensive and offensive positions.

Additionally, it allows you to work on your dinking technique and control, which is crucial in the game of pickleball. As you become more comfortable with defending against lobs, you can start incorporating drop shots into the rally. This will force your partner to move forward and react quickly, improving their reflexes and ability to execute effective drop shots. The alternating between dinks and drop shots will also help you develop a better sense of timing and strategy, as you learn when to attack and when to play defensively. Overall, this drill is a great way to improve your all-around game and prepare for competitive play. 

Speed Dinking

Increase the pace of your dinks while maintaining control and consistency. Challenge yourself and your partner to a faster-paced dink rally, which will enhance your reaction time and ability to handle faster shots during actual gameplay.

Dink and Reset

Start a dink rally with your partner and focus on resetting the ball, bringing it back to a neutral position. Emphasize control and placement rather than power. This drill improves your ability to regain control during intense rallies and allows you to regain the advantage in a point.

Once you have mastered the dink and reset drill, try adding in some volleys to increase the difficulty level. This will test your ability to handle faster shots and maintain control over the ball. As you become more comfortable with this drill, challenge yourself and your partner to increase the pace of the rally. This will help you develop faster reaction times and improve your ability to handle fast shots during actual gameplay. Remember to maintain consistency in your shots and focus on control rather than power. With practice, you'll be able to dominate the court with ease! 


Congratulations on completing the top 10 dinking drills to improve your pickleball skills! Incorporating these drills into your practice routine will enhance your dinking technique, consistency, and overall performance on the court.

To take your pickleball game to the next level, reach out to O'ahu Tennis Association. Our experienced instructors are ready to assist you in refining your dinking skills and providing personalized guidance tailored to your needs. Contact us at 808-215-6001 or email us at [email protected] to schedule your pickleball lesson today.

Stay tuned to our blog for more valuable tips, techniques, and insights to elevate your pickleball game. Happy dinking!

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