A New Way to View Playing at the Kitchen in Pickleball

Dayne Gingrich playing at the kitchen line in a pickleball match

The kitchen is no longer for dinking!

Back in the day, when pickleball paddles were ultra soft and had no power or spin, all players could do was drop, dink, and wait for a 90% pop-up.

As we’ve seen lately, that’s no longer the case.

We’re now able to pull the trigger from places old schoolers wouldn’t dream of, and because of that, our mindsets need to evolve.

When we reach the kitchen, our focus should instantly switch to looking for offensive opportunities.

Because the game has become so aggressive, if we don’t stay proactive, our opponents definitely will, and we’ll be left reacting and playing defense the entire point.

Too many players instantly fall into dink mindset the moment they reach the line, rather than looking for offensive potential, leaving them passive and fearful.

Dinking will forever be part of the meal, but it should no longer be the main course.

I’m not advocating being reckless or unintentional, but I AM saying that if you don’t make this mental shift, your better, more aggressive opponents will take advantage, continuously bombarding you with offensive stress and “pressure.”

For the dink-first, attack-second strategy to work, you must have lightning fast hands to counter attack, making THAT your offensive play.

Unfortunately, however, the majority of players simply don’t have quick enough hands to come out ahead of the offensive onslaught, and find themselves dying a slow death of making a bunch of dinks, but unable to win enough points.

The other, easier way dink-first will work is playing teams who can’t dink, but this strategy will only work at the lower levels.

This mindset still isn’t being taught to the majority, not because it isn’t correct, but because it’s still so ahead of its time (on the amateur side). Most coaches and players haven’t yet stepped out of what USED to be the winning formula.

Blockbuster Video once believed that Netflix wouldn’t be a threat and never made the necessary adjustments to their business model.

Read Next: No, You Shouldn't RUSH to the Kitchen in Pickleball

The kitchen is today’s Netflix. Choose wisely.

Dayne Gingrich is a Mental Performance Coach. Follow him here.

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