Choosing a Pickleball Paddle

Choosing a Pickleball Paddle: Guide for Beginners

Choosing a Pickleball Paddle: Your Ultimate Guide

As a beginner in the world of pickleball, one of the most common questions you might have is about choosing a pickleball paddle. This guide will help you make an informed decision.

Understanding Your Play Style

Before investing in an expensive paddle, it’s crucial to play a little and figure out your style. A good paddle can make a huge difference, but choosing the right pickleball paddle for your style of play is equally important.

Recommendations from Experienced Players

Many experienced players have their personal favorites when it comes to pickleball paddles. Some recommend Paddletek, known for its fantastic paddles suitable for beginners and beyond. The Phoenix model, in particular, is a popular choice for beginners. But others recommend Joola, Engage, and Selkirk.

Choosing a Pickleball Paddle: Starting with a Basic Paddle

Until you are good enough to know exactly what you want from a paddle (spin, power, control, weight, balance, etc.), it’s advisable to stick with a basic honeycomb paddle. These paddles are affordable and will serve you well as you learn the game.

Choosing a Pickleball Paddle: Trying Out Different Paddles

As you progress, you’ll likely want to try out different paddles to find the one that suits you best. Many players recommend starting with a good mid-range paddle of any brand and then experimenting with different ones until you find your perfect match.

Where to Buy Your Paddle

There are several places where you can buy pickleball paddles. Pickleball Central, for instance, allows you to try a paddle for 30 days and return it if it’s not the right fit. Other players recommend calling Brian at Performance One Paddles (POP) for hand-made paddles with a special feel. Engage Pickleball usually has paddles on sale.

Try Before You Buy: The Role of Pickleball Ambassadors

Many pickleball brand ambassadors have demo paddles available for players to try before they buy. This can be a great way to test out different paddles and see what works best for you.

Choosing a Pickleball Paddle

Choosing the right pickleball paddle is a personal decision that depends on your play style, comfort, and budget. It’s always a good idea to try out different paddles and ask for recommendations from experienced players. Remember, the right paddle can enhance your game, but it’s practice and playtime that truly make a good pickleball player.

Understanding Paddle Classifications

Generally, pickleball paddles are classified into control paddles, all-court paddles, and power paddles. Knowing your style of play can help you choose the right category. The five key elements to consider when choosing a paddle are the core, the facing/surface material, the shape, the weight, and the handle length. When
choosing a Pickleball Paddle, each of these elements plays a role in the paddle’s power, control, forgiveness, and spin.

Core Material and Thickness

Polymer is the most common core material used by brands. It’s durable, quiet, and offers a good balance of power and touch. The thickness of the core plays a big role in the performance of a paddle. A thicker core paddle is known for softening the feel of the paddle and increasing control, while thinner core paddles are known for having more power and pop at the expense of some feel and control.

Paddle Facing/Surface Material

The facing of the paddle will affect the power, control, and size of the sweet spot. Common materials used for the facing or surface of the paddle are Fiberglass, Carbon Fiber, and Graphite. Each material has its own characteristics that can affect the performance of the paddle.

Paddle Shape and Handle Length

The shape of the paddle will affect the size of the sweet spot, power, and maneuverability. The length of the handle can vary between 4.5 to 6 inches. The total length plus the width of the paddle cannot exceed 24 inches, so every inch you add to the handle length takes away some surface area of the paddle face.

Paddle Weight

Paddles will weigh between 7 – 8.5 ounces. The lighter the paddle the easier it is to maneuver, which can be a big advantage while at the net when you get into fast exchanges with your opponents. Heavier paddles, on the other hand, provide more power and stability.

My Top Picks for Beginner Paddles

Choosing a Pickleball Paddle Summary

When you’re Choosing a Pickleball Paddle, look at core material and thickness, facing layer, shape, weight, and handle length to determine what paddle will complement your game. Learning about the materials and designs of paddles enables you to see past the marketing jargon and find the right paddle for you. It always helps to watch and read reviews about the paddle you’re interested in too.

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