Add Spin to Your Dinks

Overview: Get Your Spin Dink Game On

You’ve mastered the basic dink. Your dink is consistent, reliable, looks great, and feels great. And as you’ve improved your dink, you started to win more pickleball matches. (Woot!) But… now that you’re playing more advanced players, does it feel like your game progress has stalled? It’s time to get to the next level of dinking – it’s time to add spin to your dinks!

Read on to learn about:

  1. Whether you should add spins to your dinks
  2. Putting topspin on your dinks
  3. Slicing (or adding backspin to) your dinks
  4. Adding sidespin to your dinks

Should you add spin to your dinks?

Before you add spin to your dinks, have you incorporated varying the depth of your dinks during your game? Because you can dramatically improve your game by shifting your dinking strategy.

If you still need to, let's work on those dinks first. Here's our guide to Learn How to Master Good Dinks

Varying the depth of your dinks within the opponents’ kitchen will force them to make more decisions. They must decide whether to take the dink out of the air or wait for a bounce. Plus, you can move your dinks side-to-side. Improve your dinking strategy to throw your opponents with more split-second decisions or by making them move around the court. In this way, you can dictate their position to open up a winning opportunity for yourself.

Is it hard to add spin to your dinks? Adding spin to your dink game is tons of fun, but it comes with some risk. Many players find that spins add too much variability to their hits, not in a good way. Spins can cause players to make more errors when trying to force the spin.

Adding spin without practice is not a great idea since you’ll increase your error rate. But with enough practice, you’ll level up your pickleball game!

Taking your dinks to the next level with spin

Pickleball players from other racket sports (like tennis or ping pong) already know the benefits of putting spin on the ball. Spins change the ball’s trajectory. Spins also give you more control of where the ball goes. Think about curveballs in baseball!

You’ll want to give the ball a longer flight path to take advantage of spins. A longer flight path means that spin is most effective for dinks when applied to cross-court dink shots.

Let’s discuss the topspin, backspin or slice, and the sidespin.

Putting topspin on your cross-court dinks

Topspin is the most popular spin to add to a cross-court dink. Players who have mastered the topspin dink particularly like it for two reasons:

  1. Topspin will drop the ball faster. You can hit the ball with a lot more force. When the ball drops faster after going over the net, it is less likely to go out – even if you hit it harder.
  2. Topspin balls speed up out of the bounce after they hit the ground. If the ball comes straight at your opponent, it will bounce faster at the body. A faster bounce can force your opponent to move quickly to create enough space for a good return. If the topspin ball goes at your opponent toward the side, it bounces away faster than expected, forcing them to reach.

Topspin shots are more likely to move your opponent out of position or off-balance. Your opponent will more likely hit the ball off-center or pop it up.

To hit a forehand topspin dink:

  1. Set up to do a typical forehand flat dink.
  2. Instead of pushing the paddle straight out, use the paddle face to brush up on the ball.
  3. Move your arm from low-to-high. Hit the ball from more of the side (instead of the bottom).

Avoid flicking your wrist over the top of the ball. Instead, your swing should remain in control.

Voila! You’ll apply spin!

Check out the difference between a regular cross-court dink vs. a dink with added spin action.

Slicing the backhand cross-court dink (aka backspin)

The backhand cross-court slice can be a fun shot to do. Backhand shots tend to be weaker for most players than forehand shots. So strategic opponents will send more balls to the backhand.

Since adding topspin makes the ball drop faster, be careful when adding backspin because the opposite will happen. Backspin balls float longer. If you hit it too hard, it’s easier for the ball to go out.

Why do advanced pickleball players like the slice, then? The ball stays low with a backhand slice. So, it’s more likely that your opponent might return it to the net.

How to hit a backspin dink?

You’ll be hitting the ball off the bounce in a typical backhand slice.

  1. Your paddle will be moving from high to low and then back up. This movement creates a U-shape.
  2. Your wrist should be firm and not move while you extend your elbow.
  3. Your paddle should start at shoulder height and come down to “chop” diagonally downward. Hit the ball below the center and shift your weight to the opposite leg to keep your balance.

However, sometimes, you’ll break the no-moving-the-wrist rule to put the paddle face in the correct cross-court direction. It’s still best not to cross your legs in front of each other, though sometimes it’s unavoidable.

Here’s a tutorial from Ben Johns on how to do a good slice dink on YouTube.

Add a sidespin to your dinks

Adding a pure sidespin to the dink won’t affect how the ball bounces. However, it will change how the ball comes off the paddle when the opponent returns the ball. 

To add sidespin, have the paddle drag across the ball slightly from right to left to rotate the ball clockwise and curve it to the right. Pulling the paddle the other way will cause the ball to curve left. Usually, sidespin becomes an additional spin component combined with topspin or backspin to give the opponent an extra surprise. When the opponent ignores the incoming sidespin, she cannot aim the return shot as intended.

There you have it. Now you know how to add spin to your dinks. However, we can’t stress this enough: you will learn how to add spin to your dinks once you get on the court and practice! Whether it is topspin or backspin, when you first add it to your game, you’ll find yourself making a lot of errors. Don’t fret, though! Keep the fancy topspins and slices out of your game until you get them nice and consistent in practice. When you conquer that learning curve (pun intended!), your pickleball skills will have jumped to a new level!

Bonus: You can even take dinks and adding spin onto your dinks to the next (next) level by switching hands during play! Learn more about the Pros and Cons of Switching Hands in Pickleball.


In conclusion, adding spin to your pickleball dinks can significantly enhance your game. Topspin on a cross-court dink can make the ball drop faster and bounce away unexpectedly, putting your opponent off balance. Slicing the backhand cross-court dink creates a low shot that is difficult to return. Adding a sidespin to your dink can surprise your opponent and disrupt their aim. However, it is essential to practice these shots and become consistent before using them in a game.

You can get more reps in at home by setting up a portable net. Here's our review of the 7 Best Portable Pickleball Nets (Prices, Reviews, and More)

Remember, adding spin to your dinks takes time and practice, but it will elevate your pickleball skills to a new level!

Let us know how you’ve added spins to your dinks.

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