Two of the nation’s best Pickleball players, Matt and Brian Staub, present a video detailing how to practice dinking. For many dinking may mean getting the ball just over the net to land short in the kitchen, but as you watch this video, notice how the Staubs hit most of their dink shots with some force to get the ball near the opponent’s kitchen line. Also take notice of how good they are at following the ball and hitting those short volley returns out of the air.
How many dinks like those they hit can you do in a row?
Quoted from the YouTube Video Notes (emphasis added):
Matt and Brian Staub practice dinking. Staying compressed is crucial during all dinking drills, this keeps you in a ready position and prevents your head from bobbing up and down which changes your eye level. This is also a great way to practice your short-hopping and blocking technique.
The video below has some longish rallies/volleys and I think we can learn a lot about Pickleball strategy when watching some of them.
I believe Matt Staub and Kyle Yates are in the left-hand court as you watch the video. As far as I can tell, Kyle is in the white T-shirt. Both Matt and Kyle have an interesting technique which involves stepping slightly off of the court to hit a ball in the air that appears to be headed for the kitchen. By stepping off of the court to strike a ball that is near the sideline, but in the playing area, they can assume a position close to the net that would be a fault if they were inside the playing boundaries. This happens a few times during the match. You can watch for it at the 2:34-2:37 mark of the video as Kyle slams a ball back at his opponents from the “near net, off court” position.
Also note how much each side relies on the dink shot. The soft game is used extensively in this match and is something I need to focus on more than I do!
In an interview here, Kyle Yates had this to say when asked for any tips or advice:
“People like to complicate the game with all these different techniques and styles, but we tend to forget that the object of the game is to hit the ball IN the court. Pickleball is a game of errors, not winners. All you have to try to do is keep the ball in play longer than your opponents. Strategy is involved only after you understand that concept. Strategy is involved only to make your opponent’s job of keeping the ball in play more difficult. There is a very fine line of demarcation between going for a win, and forcing your opponent to make an error.”
When watching the video, you can see this theory in action. Most of the time, Kyle’s team just tries to keep the ball in play until an opportune moment or the other team makes an error.