Pickleball: When to Take a Dink Out of the Air

Apr 20, 2023


Welp, I haven’t played pickleball in 7 days. And won’t be playing for another 6. 

Short version is, I’ve got a foot issue that’s sidelined me.

A few people have said, “you must be going crazy.”  But honestly, a “forced break” feels nice. 

I haven’t taken this much time off since I started playing August 15, 2021. And my guess is, it’ll help me in the long run. Now, without further ado…

Let’s get into it!

Before we keep going, welcome back to another edition of the newsletter. If you’re new to the newsletter and want to go back and check out past editions, go here!

Today’s edition has three parts: 

1. A Helpful Tip (Written) – When to take a dink "out of the air." 

2. A Helpful Tip (Video)– What to do when your partner is hitting the 3rd shot drop. 

3. My Journey Playing Pro Pickleball  A discovery that may change my life (no, seriously). 

A Helpful Tip (Written):

Here’s the question of the week:

When should you take dinks out of the air and when should you let them bounce? 

While it’s a simple concept, it’s not always easy to execute. With that being said, I believe there’s three reasons to take an opponent's dink out of the air.

1.     To take time away. 

When you hit a dink out of the air, you send the ball back to your opponent faster and make them react with another shot quicker. That can throw them off and make them miss. 

2.     To be more threatening.

When you’re standing strong at the kitchen line, ready to take a ball out of the air — your opponent has more fear of missing high. Because if they do, you crush it for a winner. Do this enough times and your opponent will be scared to dink to you. 

3.     To stay on balance.

Often, players decide to let a ball bounce, which forces them to step back off the kitchen line, which is a more difficult dink. Balance is everything. And if you’re off balance, that’s bad news. 


Although I’m still working through this one in my head and how to best articulate it... I like what Tyson McGuffin says:

"Don't reach for trash."

If taking the ball out of the air can give you an advantage in the point, do it. But if you’re reaching in just to reach in, and all you’re doing is hitting a dead dink (a dink that’s soft, slow, and high), then don’t take it out of the air.

“Don’t reach for trash.”

A Helpful Tip (Video):

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy talking technique in pickleball. But what I love even more is strategy talk. 

So this is my first go at making a video around pickleball strategy. If you enjoy it and want more content like it, leave a comment on the Youtube video that says, "yeah this is the good stuff, do more of it." hahah or something like that. :)

My Journey Playing Pro Pickleball: 

I'm taking a brief hiatus from tournaments to work on my game and take a much-needed breather.

Speaking of breath, I just attended a "breathwork" workshop at Optimyze Tempe, a recovery center I partnered with for their state-of-the-art amenities like compression boots, saunas, cold plunges, hot tubs, red light therapy, and more. However, what really drew me to this partnership was the people and their vision for helping others recover and stay healthy.

During the workshop, I was introduced to Wim Hof breathing, a specific breathing practice that creates a meditative experience. 

In fact, I enjoyed it so much I told my friend Zach about it, and he recommended this book to me. I just started reading it today! Big fan already.

And you may be thinking, “Why are you so hooked on this?” 

Well, two reasons:

First, as an “achiever” (on every personality test I’ve taken) who is always on the move, I need to make time for stillness and breath in my life. The workshop helped me find that stillness. Second, as I pursue my goal of becoming the best pickleball player in the world, I was reminded training my on-court skills is only one piece of the puzzle.

If I don’t prepare my mind or if I can't control my nerves in high-stakes matches, all the physical training in the world won't help me succeed at the highest level. 

That’s why I’m so excited about this and eager to dive into learning and experiencing more Optimyze sessions and breathwork experiences. 

In closing, two things: 

  1. Take 10 deep breaths right now. We all could use 10 deep breaths to make our day a little better. 
  2. See #1 :) 

Talk next week,


PS: I went on the hardwood hustle podcast this week with my friends TJ and Sam! It’s a podcast for basketball coach development. So we got into: 

  • The similarities between pickleball development and basketball development. 
  • How to identify the BIG domino skill that could impact other skills so you don’t waste time training.
  • Why it’s valuable to “become a learner again.”

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