Handling short balls in the kitchen

I’ve been playing about 4 months, doing reasonably well, but trying to figure some things out. For example, a ball comes softly in the kitchen. Most players seem to return a dink and that happens back and forth. But I go up there and try to hit a groundstroke like tennis (which I played) in the middle of both players and it seems to work out and get a fair number of points.
The only downside I see is that if you’re playing someone really good and they can quickly return it at you while in the kitchen then you can’t hit it. But that seems to occur no more than 10–15% of the time though the players are reasonably experienced. Likewise, does it always make sense to play at net. Shouldn’t it be based upon the situation, skill level, and varying your game make sense.