Strategy - Dinking
The dink is a shot that seems to be ignored by the Novice players and is the last choice of the club "C" players. It is one of the required shots for the best tournament players. Most players could probably improve their game quite a bit simply by becoming proficient at this one shot. It is probably the one shot a player can hit, that a small women can hit as easily as the strongest man as it doesn't require strength, but rather good touch and control.
It is a shot that could be used by players of all abilities with practice. Everyone can't learn to hit the ball hard or to jump in the air and hit a hard overhead, but everyone that can hit the ball in the middle of the paddle can learn to dink and acquire some degree of skill at it. The more you practice it, the better your dink will be.
What is a Dink
A good dink is a softly hit ball that is hit at the feet of a net player either forcing him to hit the ball after it bounces or to volley the ball from below the net level. It may be hit from anywhere on the other side of the net, but is typically hit from a position as far back as 3/4 court and as close as a few inches from the net. The very best players can hit the dink from behind the baseline.
Why Use The Dink
If you are close to the net and you have to hit a ball from below the net level, then you are forced to hit the ball upwards making it extremely difficult to hit the ball hard and keep it in the court. When you are forced to hit the ball upwards, it also increases the possibility that the opposing team will be able to hit the ball downwards hard and win the point. The answer is to dink the ball back so that the other team also has to hit up. At this point, both players typically dink the ball back and forth until one of the players hits the ball to0 high and then the other players smashes the ball as hard as they can.
When your team is serving, the other team will return the serve and typically run into net so that both of your opponents are at net when you hit the ball. This is a big advantage for the returning team! If you can hit a good dink and run into net without them killing the ball, then you have taken away their advantage.
When to use The Dink
When you use the dink depends a little on how good you are at it, but you will need to use it when someone makes a good dink to you. If your dink is too high they will probably kill the ball, and if you try to kill the ball from below the net you stand a good chance of hitting the ball out.
When the other team is at the net and hits a short ball that you can't get to until it is already very low, then the best shot is always a dink. If you make a good dink, you will have just as good a chance for winning the point as your opponents. On the otherhand, if you hit that low ball hard, you are likely to either hit it out or hit a high ball that the other team can put away.
When you are the serving team and the other team has returned the ball and taken a position at net, a good dink can get you to the net and neutralize their advantage. You should dink whenever their return is short enough to be within range of your dinking skill level. For the best players, that might extend to behind the baseline, but for most of us it will be somewhere shorter. Be your own judge, but keep trying to extend your dink range.