One of my first every pickleball clinics that I taught to a bit group of approximately 80 women. I was the lead coach and I had a few assistant coaches. It was a BLAST! At least half of them were brand new to the game, and many of them got totally addicted! SHOCKER 😉 It is absolutely nuts how pickleball is exploding across the country. The game is still in its infancy, and it’s thrilling for us to be here at the beginning to witness the growth and explore all the new possibilities this sport has to offer. Jordan and I LOVE the sport and we’re so happy to have a part in helping the pickleball community grow! I digress… In Cancun, it was my job to handle the intermediate/advanced group which was made up of mostly 3.0s and 3.5s. I think we had maybe one 4.0. One of the things I constantly notice with players at this level, is that they’re mostly hitting the ball way too hard. Even when attempting dinks…the dinks are simply too hard. We did a lot of dinking drills and their dinks were mostly either too low, too close to the net, and/or had a very flat arc and shot past the NVZ line. And once one player hits a dink too hard, the receiving player tends to take a step back to let it bounce (when they should hit a volley dink). That same person will then dink back as hard or harder as the dink they just received. As soon as this happens the whole dink rally falls apart. This happened repeatedly. I understand why this happens. It’s because it is actually a difficult skill to take pace off the ball and still hit it back to the other side with precision and control. It is far harder to take pace off a ball than it is to hit it back at the same speed (or harder) than the ball you are receiving. FAR FAR harder. And the more pace you have to take off the ball, the more developed your skill has to be to still have control. So, here’s my challenge to you, the next time you’re out there drilling your dinks. (And if you’re not drilling, please start IMMEDIATELY!) Hit every dink back SOFTER than the dink you receive. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Nothing crazy, just 10 or 15 minutes of this once or twice a week. (Three times a week for bonus points) Do this regularly over a period of weeks or months and watch your soft game improve dramatically. Many players want to learn how they can hit the ball harder but it’s as important, and quite possibly more important, to know how to slow it down effectively. Especially in a game like pickleball where the 3rd shot drop and dinking are such a big part of the game. In the video at the top, we go through a 4 part progression that will teach you how to take pace off the ball and really be able to control it well. Check it out above… Get our free 3rd shot course here! –> 3rd Shot Drop Course