HOW CAN I BE SURE THAT A PADDLE FITS ME?
“Just pick it up, hold it, move it, and feel if the balance and weight distribution are comfortable,” says Steve Dawson, co-owner and designer at ProKennex Pickleball and manager and co-owner of the Bobby Riggs Racket & Paddle Club in Encinitas, California. Adds Rob Barnes, cofounder and co-CEO of Selkirk Sport: “Besides grip size—wide, standard, or thin—the paddle just needs to feel good to you.”
HOW MUCH DOES THE WEIGHT OF A PADDLE MATTER?
“It matters a lot,” says Barnes. “I always tell people to get the heaviest paddle they can where they do not feel like they are losing hand speed. The weight preference varies greatly from person to person.” Dawson agrees that weight preferences differ, depending on what kind of player you are. “If you’re a player who enjoys speedups, hand battles, reflex volleys, and quickness, go with a lighter paddle because it will enhance your reflex speed. If you’re a control player and a counterpuncher, you probably want a heavier one.”
WHAT GIVES A PADDLE POWER?
“A combination of weight, core composition, and surface materials,” says Barnes. Dawson adds: “In general, a thicker-core paddle—a paddle with more width to it—is going to be a little more of a control paddle and a thinner-core paddle is going to be a more powerful paddle.”
WHEN SOMEONE IS A BEGINNER, SHOULD THEY SPLURGE ON A PRICIER PADDLE?
“If you’re just getting started with pickleball, I recommend you buy any old paddle because you can’t really even tell the difference,” says Dawson. “But once you become more advanced, you want a paddle that performs. After a few months, graduate to a better paddle.”
IS THERE A WAY TO TRY OUT DIFFERENT PADDLES?
“A lot of local pickleball shops have paddles that you can demo and try,” says Dawson. “You play with a paddle and see how you like it and compare it to other paddles.”
ARE THERE DIFFERENT PADDLES FOR MEN VS. WOMEN?
“Paddles are not made gender-specific,” says Barnes. “Again, if it looks and feels good to you, then it’s the right paddle.”
HOW LONG WILL MY PADDLE LAST?
“That will depend on how you care for it,” says Barnes. “In general, paddles last one to five years. As a rule of thumb, expect to be buying a new paddle every two to three years.”
SHOULD AN AVERAGE REC PLAYER BE REGULARLY CHANGING UP PADDLES BETWEEN GAMES?
“It’s probably not a good idea, because they’re all slightly different,” says Dawson. “One paddle’s going to hit a little farther. One’s going to grab more spins. Some paddles are long and skinny; others are short and fat. Find one you like and stick with it.”