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Pickleball is an amazing sport which you will enjoy. It is a game for everyone regardless of age. Let’s look at the things that you need to keep in mind when buying a Pickleball paddle.
Weight of the Pickleball Paddle
One of the most important factors to consider when buying a pickleball paddle is its weight. That is because it is the paddle’s weight that decides your performance and your comfort level.
A paddle’s weight depends on what has been used in making it. The material’s thickness also adds to the weight. There are different types of paddles available in the market. Some are made of graphite while others are made of carbon fiber, wood or polymer (plastic). The inner cores of modern paddles also add to the weight as some of these cores are made from Nomex, Aluminum or polymer.
A heavy paddle is usable. Just that, if your opponent is playing pickleball using a lightweight paddle, then you could be at a disadvantage.
Lighter paddles are easy to play with and it gives more control to the player. Players who prefer to deliver precise shots would love these. However, it is not advantageous from all aspects. The paddle being light, the ball gets hit with less force. To add more power to the shot, the player will have to put in more energy when delivering the ball. This can become tiring for the player especially if they have joint problems or weak arms.
You could feel a jolt while using lighter paddles. The vibration is felt when the ball is hit. This is bad for players who have an injured elbow or wrist.
A heavier paddle is great if you wish to deliver powerful shots. You can hit the ball with less energy and target a longer distance.
Heavy paddles can be hard though in letting you have proper accuracy. Your opponent could be at an advantage if you miss your desired landing point. They will get extra time to slam the ball back at you. Also, these paddles make the movement a little slower because of the weight. This can be a hindrance if you wish to reply to a fast shot.
The following points need to be remembered when buying a perfect weight pickleball paddle:
How does the paddle feel when you hold it?
The feel of the pickleball paddle and the comfort it gives to your hands is very important when playing this instinctive game. From swinging the paddle to volleying, till the end of the game, the paddle should feel fine in your hands. Any discomfort would mean that the paddle weight needs to be reconsidered.
How quick are you to make the shot?
Pickleball is a fast game. Each shot needs to be delivered quickly. Every second count here. A heavy paddle could slow your movement. Also, old players who move slowly would be better off with a lighter paddle so they can move quickly.
How much would you like to move your hand when you play?
All players have their own unique techniques while playing pickleball. Some may use less of arm movement and some more of their body. For those who do not wish to use more of arm movement but want to deliver a powerful shot, a heavy paddle would be just right. This will give more power to the shot with very less arm movement.
What are the types of shots that you play?
Pickleball players who have been playing for a long time will have their own style in delivering shots. They could either be great at delivering fast shots or they could be great at dinking. Once you know your style and your strengths and weaknesses, you could get a paddle which would either turn your weaknesses into strengths or that would make your strengths much better. For instance, if you are finding it difficult to deliver powerful shots, you could use a heavier paddle. This will not let you exert more of your energy or muscle power but deliver a strong shot to your opponent with ease. If you are a dink master, you could go for a light paddle.
What is the pickleball paddle grip size?
You can lose your grip if it is not perfect for your hand. Thus it could affect your game and your comfort level. It is very important that the paddle’s grip size suits your hand.
Paddles that have longer grips provide more stability, and shorter grips provide more shot control. Shorter grips help in spinning the ball on the paddles.
How big is the hitting surface size of the pickleball paddle?
The pickleball paddle official requirements are very flexible. Hence you will find a variety of Pickleball paddles sizes and shapes. A paddle whose total length and width are 24 inches is considered to be complying with the official requirements.
Beginners prefer a wider paddle so they can dink while experienced players prefer narrow paddles as these are lighter. Wider paddles have a wider hitting area compared to narrow paddles.
Pickleball Paddle Material
There are different types of Pickleball paddles.
The first paddles were made of wood. Today with changing times these have undergone many changes making them very sophisticated. Today hardwood is replaced by plywood because of its weight. Plywood is lighter. Also, the wooden paddles now have fancy grips and straps.
Wooden paddles are still popular owing to its durability, lightweight and being less expensive. The only minus point about wooden paddles is its weight. They are heavy and weigh around nine to eleven ounces. This paddle is good for beginners.
Pickleball paddles made from polymer are a mix of resins or plastic. These are affordable, durable and lightweight. Schools and sporting clubs prefer these because of the price point. They are very cheap or affordable. However, these are not preferred by experienced players as the performance level is below those of composite or graphite paddles. You can opt for this paddle if playing with kids at home.
Professional players prefer graphite pickleball paddles. It has a thin skin of graphite on the outside and a honeycomb inner core. Aluminum, Polypropylene or Nomax is used to make this core.
These type of paddles are responsive, strong and very light. If you like to dink and give precise shots, this paddle is good for you. Despite being lightweight, it still helps deliver powerful shots.
A good paddle in this category is Rally Graphite Pickleball Paddle. This has an inner core made from Nomex and a wider hitting surface made from graphite.
This type of paddle uses composite material. This material different materials in a combination. This combination improves the performance and durability of the paddle. Composite paddles usually are made of UV resistant vinyl, fiberglass, various polymers, and aluminum. These make the paddle very responsive. Most of the materials used are technologically advanced. The pricing of these paddles varies based on the materials and technology used in making them.
This type of paddle is lighter than polymer or timber paddles. But it is definitely not lighter than graphite paddles.
The Onix Composite Evoke Pickleball Paddle is one good paddle in this category. The face is made of fiberglass and the core of Polypropylene. This provides excellent control. The weight is medium and is best for dinking and for powerful shots.