We've said it before, we'll say it again: stop warming up with stationary dinks.
Standing still and tapping the ball back and forth will not get you ready to play.
In recreational play, especially at lower levels, the majority of points don't reach the stage where all four players are at the kitchen dinking.
But on almost every single point, one team will be hitting a third and attempting to move through the transition zone.
These shots require a feel for the ball. They require you to fine-tune how hard to squeeze the grip. And they require you to be cognizant of temperature, wind, and a host of other factors that change depending on the day.
Start with the slinky drill:
- Dink straight ahead with your partner
- After 10-20 successful dinks, one player takes two steps back
- Continue from the new spot until you're consistently dropping balls in the kitchen, then take two more steps back
- Repeat until you reach the baseline, then switch roles with your partner
***Be sure to practice both forehands and backhands at every step.
This drill helps lock-in your drops, resets and dinks - the shots that define consistent play. And it helps you lock them in with consideration of that day’s conditions (wind, temperature, etc).
The drill can be repeated with partners standing cross-court from one another. Cross-court will feel easier: the ball crosses over the lowest part of the net and you have more real estate to work with.
Don’t sacrifice your first game because of a bad warmup. Play your best from 0-0-2 with the slinky drill.
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