It’s not every day you get to have professional, expert pickleball advice while sitting at your desk, or scrolling on your phone.
But, today, we’re going to go over a training session that the world-class pickleball player and coach, Simone Jardim, held with a few of her clients.
Dinks, or drop shots, are a fundamental part of pickleball that every player has to have in their arsenal.
It can make your opponent second guess every time you’re taking a shot, dismantle players that like to go for put-away shots, and it generally makes you a difficult player to face.
One major problem that Simone faces with players trying to refine their dinks is the tendency to pop up the ball – making the dreaded put-away shot a reality.
For dinks, the ball follows what the body does. When you’re popping up shots, it’s usually because your posture is popping up as you take the shot, taking the ball with it.
It takes a lot of serious repetition to get the habit of staying low as you follow through on your shot but luckily, Simone has some very impressive tools for her clients.
The first is the Flex Trainer, a simple kinesthetic training aid that helps the body learn what usually takes years and years into just weeks.
The flex trainer promotes the proper posture and procedure on every dink shot, by keeping you in a low squat, without leaning forward or backward.
Taking a few shots with the trainer equipped gives your mind the practice of seeing and making the shot, but also it trains your body to feel exactly what it’s like.
Then, simply, remove the aid and take a few shots again. Your body has already made a ton of progress with what the shot should feel like, so it will be much, much quicker to adopt it without the trainer.
Also, Simone has the added benefit of using the Pickleball Tutor Plus, a ball machine that has a bevy of features that makes practicing specific shots, like the dink, easier than ever before.
Using the right tools can make a huge impact on your game.
Here are a few tips for you when you take on this drill:
- Stay balanced – it’s easy to become unbalanced during this drill, or anytime you’re hitting a dink shot. Just because you’re low does not mean your weight should be forward or back – remain centered throughout the shot.
- Stay low – as we’ve already said, staying low will make sure you’re not popping up your dink. But staying low is simply a good habit for all aspects of your pickleball game. Start adopting it here and take on to every other part of your game
- Practice like you play – this is true for every practice or drill you run. Do it like you’re in a real match. Little details on how you practice will be refined into habits and skills in matches.
- Set up targets – while the drill itself is good without targets, add a few colored cones across the NVZ line. You can add another element to your game by trying to hit them in order, or better, respond to the shot you see and make a decision as you make your shot.
- Why we dink – keep in mind WHY you’re using a dink shot in the first place. The shot is designed to keep your opponent off balance and to give yourself time until your opponent makes a mistake.
- Take off the aid – you get the most out of this drill when you alternate between having the flex trainer on and off. Those times when you have it off really makes a big difference – even if you’re in the zone with the trainer on, make sure you take it off and keep facing shots. At the end of the day, you should face an equal number of shots with the aid as without it.
- Have fun – having fun while practicing is imperative. If you feel like it’s a grind, you’re not going to keep your energy up, you’re not going to be paying attention as much, and you’re likely to give up. By setting the intention of having fun, you’re more likely to see the enjoyment in the drills, and thus get more out of them.
Simone is an incredible resource for all things pickleball. This video is a valuable glimpse into her rich knowledge and experience that you can’t find anywhere else.
Definitely check it out if you’re serious at all about pickleball!
Kalindi Dinoffer is trained in multiple aspects of mindfulness in life and in sports, sharing on her blog MindfulKalindi.com. She is also certified to teach yoga, fitness, reiki, and MFR. Kalindi also serves as VP marketing at OnCourtOffCourt.com, a leading supplier of tennis, pickleball, fitness and yoga training aids and equipment and has been published in Tennis industry Magazine and Pickleball Magazine, and has conducted workshops at conferences around the world. In her spare time, Kalindi plays tennis, pickleball and table tennis and enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and biking and cross country skiing in the winter.