What Is Dink Shot Or Drop Shot In Pickleball?

What is Dink Shot or Drop shot in Pickleball?

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The satisfied/exact answer is: A dink shot and a drop shot are two different types of shots in pickleball that are often confused with each other. The main differences are:

  • Dink Shot: A soft shot hit near the no-volley line (NVL) that drops over the net into the opponent’s no-volley zone (NVZ).
  • Drop Shot: Hit from the baseline to land in the opponent’s NVZ.

Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in North America. With its simple rules and equipment, pickleball can be enjoyed by players of all ages and skill levels. However, as players advance in their skills, they begin incorporating more complex shots like the dink and drop shot into their game play. Understanding the key differences between these two shots is important for utilizing them effectively on the court.

The dink and drop shot may appear similar at first glance, but they serve different strategic purposes. Mastering both shots leads to a more well-rounded and unpredictable playing style. Read on to learn the nuances of these two specialized pickleball shots.

What is the Dink Shot in Pickleball?

What is a dink shot?

A dink shot in pickleball refers to a soft shot hit close to the non-volley zone (NVZ) line that clears the net by just a little and drops into the opponent’s NVZ. It is intended to merely drop over onto the other side, without being zippy or fast moving.

Where is the dink shot hit from?

The dink shot is always hit from inside the NVZ. The NVZ extends 7 feet back from the net on both sides, so the dink is hit within close proximity of the net.

What is the purpose of the dink shot?

The main strategic purpose of the dink is to neutralize an opponent’s hard shot. For example, if your opponent hits a fast, low shot to your forehand corner, you can respond with a soft dink that floats back over the net. This neutralizes their aggressive shot and allows you to regain control.

The dink can also be used proactively to move your opponent out of position and set up your next offensive shot. When hit repeatedly, the dink can become a rally-extending shot that probes the defense for weaknesses.

How is the dink shot executed?

Proper dink technique is crucial for keeping the shot soft and controlled:

  • Use a light grip and keep the paddle angled back to impart backspin.
  • Make contact with the ball on the upper half of the paddle face.
  • Use a short, compact swinging motion – don’t take a long backswing.
  • Aim to have the ball just clear the net by an inch or two.
  • Focus on finesse rather than power.

With precision and practice, you can place dinks accurately to move your opponent from side to side.

What are some common dink strategies and patterns?

Here are some effective ways to use the dink:

  • Hit 3-5 repetitive dinks to keep your opponent stuck deep in their court.
  • Dink cross-court to pull your opponent wide, then dink down-the-line to open up space.
  • Vary the speed, depth and direction of your dinks to keep your opponent off balance.
  • Dink behind your opponent when they move forward to the NVZ to exploit their poor court position.

What is the Drop Shot in Pickleball?

What is a drop shot?

A drop shot is groundstroke hit from behind the baseline that lands softly inside the NVZ. It is designed to force the opponent forwards so you can move into the NVZ.

Where is the drop shot hit from?

Unlike the dink, the drop shot is hit from anywhere behind the baseline, outside of the NVZ. This wider range of court positions makes the drop shot more versatile.

What is the purpose of the drop shot?

The drop shot has several key strategic purposes:

  • Move your opponent forward so you can advance to the NVZ
  • Catch your opponent off guard when they are deep in their court
  • Change the pace of a fast-paced baseline rally
  • Wrong-foot your opponent by moving them in one direction then hitting cross-court

How is the drop shot executed?

To execute a proper drop shot:

  • Use a gentle grip and open-faced paddle angle to take power off the shot
  • Make contact on the ball below center of the paddle face
  • Disguise the shot by using similar form to a groundstroke
  • Aim to just clear the net by a few inches
  • Use your wrist to delicately “drop” the ball over

Getting the right touch and spin on drop shots takes a lot of repetition. But once mastered, it becomes an extremely disruptive shot.

What are some strategies for using the drop shot?

Smart ways to utilize the drop shot include:

  • Drop shot immediately after a hard groundstroke or volley to catch your opponent off guard
  • Fake a drive down-the-line then hit a drop cross-court
  • Hit behind your opponent when they are drawn forward to the NVZ
  • Use it sparingly to maintain its surprise factor

Key Differences Between Dink and Drop Shots

Now that we’ve covered the basics of the dink and drop shot individually, let’s summarize the key differences:

Factor Dink Shot Drop Shot
Hit From Inside NVZ (within 7 feet of net) Anywhere behind baseline
Purpose Neutralize opponent’s shot Move opponent forward
Speed Slow and soft Can vary in speed
Height Over Net Clears by 1-2 inches Clears by few inches
Landing Spot Inside opponent’s NVZ Inside opponent’s NVZ

As shown in the table, while both shots land in the opponent’s NVZ, the dink and drop shot vary in their starting position, tactical use, speed, and height over the net.


The dink and drop shot give pickleball players important weapons to use from different parts of the court. Though they share similarities, their different starting positions, purposes, and execution make them distinct shots to add to your repertoire. A combination of dinks and drop shots introduces unpredictability into your game and enables you to move your opponent around strategically.

With practice, you can precisely place dinks and drop shots to construct points and create openings. So next time you play, don’t just bash groundstrokes – mix in these finesse shots to advance your tactics! Proper use of the dink and drop will have you dropping opponents into your dinking and dropping web.

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