So you want to improve your drinking game, do you? As any seasoned pickleball player knows, having the right paddle can make a huge difference.
When it comes to Best Pickleball Paddles for Dinking, you need a paddle that gives you maximum control and touch. You want a paddle that allows you to place the ball just over the net with the perfect combination of lift and spin.
If you have an oversized paddle meant for power shots, dinking accurately can be nearly impossible.
What Is Drinking in Pickleball?
Dinking is all about finesse and control. In pickleball, dinking refers to soft, short shots that just clear the net and drop into the non-volley zone. To be a great drinker, you need the right paddle and technique.
Paddle Weight and Balance
For dinking, choose a lightweight paddle, around 6 to 8 ounces. A heavier paddle won’t give you the control you need for delicate shots. You also want a paddle that’s balanced or slightly handle-heavy. This makes it easier to angle the paddle face for drop shots and drinks.
A rough, textured paddle face adds extra spin to your dinks, allowing for more control. Smaller paddle faces, around 8 inches, are also ideal for drinking since they provide more maneuverability.
To dink effectively:
- Stand close to the non-volley line. This allows you to reach the net quickly.
- Bend your knees and keep your weight forward on the balls of your feet. This athletic stance gives you maximum mobility.
- Grip the paddle lightly and hold it slightly off-center. A loose grip and lower hand placement provide extra wrist flexibility and touch.
- Make contact with the ball off to the side of your paddle face. This imparts underspin, causing the ball to drop sharply after clearing the net.
- Follow through by directing your paddle in a smooth arc after contacting the ball. This helps guide the ball over the net and down into the non-volley zone.
With the proper equipment and technique, you’ll be drinking and dropping in no time. Your opponents won’t know what hit them!
Characteristics of a Best Pickleball Paddles for Dinking
A good dinking paddle will have certain characteristics that make it ideal for the type of close-range shots and quick exchanges dinking requires.
The most important feature is a short handle, usually around 4 to 5 inches. This gives you more control and maneuverability for dinks. Some paddles even have a “knob” at the end of the handle which can provide an even surer grip.
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You’ll also want a lightweight paddle, under 7 ounces. Lighter means faster swings and reactions, essential for dinking where speed and precision are key. Some popular, lightweight paddle options for dinking include the Gamma Micron 2.0, weighing just 5.5 ounces, and the Niupipo Explorer Pro, only 6 ounces.
For maximum feel and touch, choose a paddle with a composite or fiberglass face. These provide more ball sensitivity than aluminum for placing shots precisely. Composite and fiberglass faces also have a bit of flex which can add some extra pop to your dinks.
Read More: Best Pickleball Paddles for Big Hands
Finally, consider a smaller head size, around 8 inches or less. More compact heads are ideal for the short strokes of dinking. They still provide enough surface area to get under the ball but allow for quicker positioning and angling.
With the right combination of these characteristics—a short handle, lightweight, composite face, and smaller head—you’ll have a paddle tailor-made for drinking and ready to help you place perfect shots at the net. Your opponents won’t know what hit them! And of course, the most important thing is practice. A paddle can only do so much— developing your feel, skills, and instincts for dinking will take time on the court.
Top 5 Best Pickleball Paddles for Dinking
When it comes to drinking in pickleball, having the right paddle can make a big difference. Here are the top 5 paddles for dinking:
Selkirk Amped Best Pickleball Paddle for Dinking
This lightweight paddle weighs only 7.3 ounces, making it ideal for dinking where quick reflexes and wrist action are key. The polymer core and fiberglass face provide power without sacrificing control, this is a great value for a high-performance paddle.
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Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro
For dinking, you want a paddle with a large sweet spot, like the Brawler. Its innovative vortex core technology creates an extra-large sweet spot, giving you more margin for error on soft dinks and drop shots. The Brawler offers exceptional touch and feel at a mid-range price.
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PROLITE is known for producing paddles with outstanding control and touch, perfect for drinking. The Magnum has a graphite face and polymer core, creating an oversized sweet spot. At 8.4 ounces, it’s light enough for quick exchanges at the net. While not the cheapest, the Magnum is worth the investment if dinking precision is your top priority.
Onix paddles are renowned for their craftsmanship and playability. The Z5 is a premium paddle ideal for drinking, with its graphite face, Nomex honeycomb core, and tacky, textured grip. Weighing in at 8.2 ounces, the Z5 provides exceptional feel and ball control. It does come at a high price but will reward you with peerless performance for years.
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Engage Poach Advantage
For dinking excellence without breaking the bank, the Poach Advantage is a superb choice. this graphite paddle outperforms many pricier models. Its polymer core and textured surface generate loads of spin and touch.
The Poach Advantage weighs only 7.8 ounces, giving you quick handling for dinking duels at the non-volley zone. If you’re on a budget but want a paddle built for dinking, look no further.
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How to Choose the Right Paddle for Your Dinking Style
When looking for a paddle specifically for drinking, there are a few factors to consider to find the right one for your playing style.
Grip and Handle
The grip and handle are important for control and feel. For dinking, you want a grip and handle that gives you a lot of control and feel for directing soft shots. Paddles with a smaller grip circumference, around 4 1/4 inches, and a shorter handle, around 4 to 5 1/4 inches, will give you more control. The grip should also have some tack to it to prevent slippage.
For dinking, a lighter paddle weight, around 6 to 7 ounces, is ideal. A lighter paddle will give you more touch and feel, allowing you to place shots more precisely. Heavier paddles, over 8 ounces, don’t provide the level of control needed for accurate dinking.
For the paddle face, you want a softer, less rigid material that provides good ball feel. Materials like polymer, nylon, and composite cores with thinner faces are good options. These provide more “give” upon ball impact, allowing you to feel the ball better. Harder, thicker paddle faces like aluminum don’t provide the right level of sensitivity for dinking.
A teardrop or oval paddle shape works well for drinking. These shapes provide a larger sweet spot and surface area for softer shots. Paddles with a smaller, more rectangular shape can be more challenging to connect solidly with for delicate shots. An elongated shape gives you more margin for error on softer shots.
By choosing a paddle with the right grip, weight, face material, and shape for your dinking needs and style of play, you’ll have the control and feel to place shots exactly where you want. Dinking requires finesse and accuracy, so having the proper equipment will make a big difference in your game. With some practice, you’ll be dinking and dropping like a pro in no time!
Tips for Improving Your Dinking Skills
To become a master drinker, focus on improving these essential skills:
Anticipate where your opponent will hit the ball and move into position quickly. Look for visual cues like paddle position and arm swing to guess where they will place their shot. The sooner you start moving, the better your chances of reaching the ball in time to make a great dink return.
Dinking requires fast reflexes and hand-eye coordination to place shots accurately and return tricky dinks from your opponent. Do dinking-specific drills like solo dinking against a wall and drinking rallies with a partner to improve your reaction times.
Cultivate a soft, delicate touch to produce dinks that just clear the net with a high, arcing trajectory. A light grip and loose, flexible wrist will give you more control and feel for dinking. Practice dinking the ball at different heights and angles. Start with higher, easier shots and work your way down as your skills improve.
A perfectly placed dink is just out of your opponent’s reach. Aim for the edges of the court, just inside the sidelines and baselines. Sharp angles, drop shots, and lobs that land close to the net or baseline are hard to return. Mix up speed, height, and direction to keep your opponent off balance.
With practice, dinking can become second nature. Focus on fundamentals, drill to improve, and be patient with yourself as you build up your skills. Keep at it, and before you know it, you’ll be dancing at the net and drinking with the best of them!
So there you have it, the best pickleball paddles for dinking currently on the market. Any of these options would be a great choice for improving your drinking game and frustrating your opponents.
The lightweight and controlled paddles will give you the touch and feel to place the ball exactly where you want. Get out on the court, focus on ball placement and consistency, and watch as you develop your dinking skills to the next level.
The paddles can only take you so far, the rest is up to you and the hours of practice. But with the right equipment and dedication, you’ll be dinking circles around the competition in no time. Now stop reading and get pickling! The court is calling your name.
Pickleball Lover & Enthusiast. Sharing my love for the game on my website. Come join me for all the pickleball fun & get your paddle on!
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