Are you newly retired and looking to stay active? Perhaps you're looking for a sport that you can learn to play quickly. Pickleball is a fast-paced paddle sport that can be played by people of all ages and skill levels. Having the right pickleball equipment is essential to learning and enjoying the game right away.
The rules of the game are fairly simple to understand for beginners. Click here to learn more about the rules of pickleball and how to score: How to Play Pickleball. With enough practice, the sport can be played competitively by less experienced players.
Since this fun sport involves several elements of ping-pong, tennis and badminton, you need a special paddle to play with. Choosing the right paddle can be a daunting task since like any other sport, the right equipment plays a crucial role in helping you win the point.
Related: Ever wonder which kind of paddle leads to the most miss-hits? The answer may shock you!
Before you get started, here are a few mandatory pieces of pickleball equipment you will need to play the sport:
Related: Looking to improve your serve? Click here for the one and only training course I recommend to improve your fundamentals.
The first piece of equipment you'll need is a great pair of dedicated pickleball shoes. You can read more about how pickleball shoes can help prevent injuries here. You can read about the best pickleball shoes here. The second essential piece of pickleball equipment you need is a paddle. The paddle must feel comfortable in your hands and should be easy to maneuver. Here are a couple of important factors you should keep in mind to select a paddle that is right for you:
Paddles are available in a variety of sizes, hence you should choose one according to your grip size. A larger paddle can easily slip from your hands, causing injury. People usually prefer smaller grips as it improves wrist action, leading to more control and spin. To determine which grip size is right for you, print out a handy size chart or use a ruler to measure the distance from the middle crease of your palm to the tip of your ring finger.
If you are between grip sizes, we recommend you opt for a smaller grip for better control or use an overgrip. An overgrip is a soft padding that is taped around the grip of the paddle to keep it from slipping in your hands.
The most basic wooden paddles can be bought for around $15. These paddles are best for beginners and for kids, especially if the equipment has to be shared with many people. Apart from inexpensive wooden options, you can also opt for premium paddles constructed from graphite, composite, aluminum and new high-tech materials that are resistant to damage, such as carbon fiber and polymers. However, these paddles tend to be more expensive and their price can range from $40 to $130, depending on performance.
Weight is one of the most important factors when choosing the right paddle. The normal weight ranges between 6 oz. to 12 oz. Lighter paddles stay between 6 to 7 oz. while heavier ones are 8 oz. and above. While a heavier paddle may be difficult to maneuver, lighter does not necessarily mean better. Choose the weight according to your age, skill level and most importantly, comfort. The weight of the paddle affects the swing speed and the reaction time.
A heavier paddle aids in driving the ball, helping you make awesome power shots but offers less control. Additionally, the extra weight can strain your arm and affect your overall performance. Sometimes, a weak player can benefit from a heavier paddle as it increases deflection or power, allowing you to hit the ball at a much faster rate without putting in too much effort. Use a heavy paddle for single matches if you want to add more oomph to your slams and hard shots.
Lightweight paddles are easier to maneuver and offer better control. However, a paddle that is too light may cause more vibration in your arm and elbow, affecting your control and accuracy. In addition, lighter paddles may make it harder to place deep shots to your opponent's baseline. Deep shots are a key component to pickleball strategy, so choosing a paddle that allows for that is essential.
You want to look good when you are winning right? Pickleball paddles are available in a wide variety of colors and styles so you can choose one according to your preferences. Basic paddles like wooden ones tend to be vanilla looking, however the more high-tech paddles offer bright color schemes and immediately give off the impression of an advanced player. If you don't have the skills, you can at least look the part with these paddles!
If you thought color does not play an important role in the game, you are wrong. The USAPA makes it illegal for players to use yellow paddles or wear yellow shirts as it makes it harder for your opponent to see the ball coming off the paddle. No cheating!
A longer handle shortens the paddle face. Newer players who want to enjoy the sport are likely to benefit from a longer handle length for greater comfort and control. Additionally, some players state a longer handle improves paddle balance and offers more stability.
Pickleball can be played outdoors and because of that, your pickleball equipment needs to be durable. That is why we recommend you invest in a high quality and durable paddle constructed from tough materials. If you intend on playing outside, invest in a paddle with a protective edge so that it does not bear much damage if it hits rough surfaces. Some new paddles have UV protection to reduce damage from the sun. Playing indoors will not cause much damage to your gear.
Contrary to popular belief, newbies are harder on the paddles than experts. Beginners drop the paddles on the ground more often and store them carelessly because they are not familiar with proper paddle care. For this reason, we strongly recommend that beginners invest in well constructed paddles that are accompanied by edge guards to withstand accidents. The Rally Graphite Paddle is a perfect example, you can read our review here: Rally Graphite Review.
Paddle deflection is a term used to measure how rigid a paddle is. The deflection can be measured by putting a weight on the center of the paddle and measuring how much the paddle bends. Most composite paddles have the heaviest amount of deflection because of their textured surface. This allows them to be great options for putting spin on the ball.
Choosing the right pickleball paddle can be overwhelming. Paddles can be categorized into different types, based on materials. These materials give the paddle different attributes, strengths and weaknesses. Needless to say, the paddle can be the most confusing piece of pickleball equipment you'll ever buy. However, we're here to shed some light on the subject and walk you through the pros and cons of each type of pickleball paddle. Some of the most common paddle types include:
Wooden pickleball paddles are a decent choice for beginners or those who have just started playing the sport. These paddles are lightweight and offer a better grip. Additionally, wooden paddles are inexpensive as compared to other materials and can also be used by children without worrying about damage.
The Swinger Pickleball Paddle is constructed using 5-ply wood and is one of the most popular wooden paddles available on Amazon with the best reviews. The paddle comes with a black handle wrap and rope safety strap that is perfect for beginners and kids. It's a perfect starter paddle for someone just learning how to play. Once you've mastered various shots and increased you skill level, this paddle may not suite your needs anymore.
At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. This paddle is the ideal choice for people who are on a tight budget but still want to enjoy the sport.
The Taiwan Diller Wood Paddle is constructed from hardwood. Each paddle is cut from 7-ply hardwood, resulting in a highly durable product. A large number of community centers, youth programs and recreation centers invest in these paddles to train inexperienced players without worrying about causing damage to expensive products.
The wooden paddle is a must-have if you intend on trying out the sport or need to buy paddles in bulk for your recreational center at a reasonable price.
The Rally Meister Paddle has a high-end cushion grip, unlike other more expensive wooden paddles in the market. It is a great choice for beginners and people who run community centers and other organizations. The high quality wooden paddle is constructed using seven piles of maple glued together to result in a highly durable and long lasting product.
Reasonable size and quality construction makes the Rally Meister Paddle a must-have for dedicated Pickleball players who are on a budget.
Graphite Pickleball paddles are among the most popular paddle types on the market today. However, players must understand that there is no such thing as a 100% graphite pickleball paddle and there are several different grades of graphite.
The Aero-D Graphite Paddle is one of the lightest graphite paddles ever - 6.7 oz! The lightweight design features carbon fiber to improve responsive performance and result in better shots. This is the lightest paddle in the Pro-Lite series and is a popular paddle among pickleball enthusiasts.
Overall, the Aero-D Graphite Paddle is not a bad buy but it is more suitable for experienced players.
The Epic Polymer PowerCore Graphite Paddle features the inherent powers of the PowerCore technology. The paddle features an intricate graphite surface with a slick glossy finish that is great for under-spin and top-spin shots. Additionally, the polymer core increases responsiveness and allows the player to take the best shots with ease.
The product is a must have for players who want to play at a competitive level. The paddle may seem a little expensive but the high quality is certainly worth the price tag.
The Attack 2.0 Paddle is an excellent paddle that offers great power and comfort for all kinds of players, irrespective of age and skill level. The paddle features a graphite face, covered with UV vinyl and is designed to withstand the harsh rays of the sun. The paddle features an aluminum honey comb core like the original Attack paddle but offers extra spin to help you make those tricky "dink" shots.
The Attack 2.0 Paddle is one of the best graphite paddles on the market that will offer you the power and comfort you require while playing pickleball.
Composite pickleball paddles generally consist of fiberglass hitting surfaces combined with an aluminum or polymer core. These paddles are highly sought after in the world of pickleball as they feature an incredible combination of strength, feel and spin you won’t find anywhere else. Their textured surfaces allow for the paddle to grab the ball momentarily and add spin to your serves and return of serves.
The NEO Composite Pickleball Paddle Bundle not only offers players the supreme control a paddle requires but is also designed to withstand heavy usage. The elegant and stylish paddle features a stunning blue or red background and has the ideal paddle length.
The NEO Composite Pickleball Paddle Bundle is a must-have since it offers 2 composite paddles along with 4 pickleballs in an incredibly mind-blowing package.
The Pickle Pro Composite Pickleball Paddle is a ridiculously inexpensive composite paddle that is made using durable aluminum composite combined with a high-density neoprene core. It is one of the bestselling composite paddles on Amazon and is loved by pickleball enthusiasts around the world.
The Pickle Pro Composite Pickleball Paddle is a fairly decent paddle for its price. If you want to invest in a paddle for competitive sports, you may have to purchase a different brand.
Having quality pickleball equipment is crucial, especially if you're looking to improve your game. Many times the first step to improving your skill level is to upgrade your gear. There are many types of pickleball paddles on the market, hence it is imperative that you conduct proper research before you make a purchase. Hopefully, this guide gives you everything you need to know about pickleball equipment and how to choose the right pickleball paddle. Good luck!
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