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The Kingston store will be closed early today, April 23rd at 1:30pm. Thanks.
Babolat pickleball paddle

How to Choose a Pickleball Paddle

Pickleball is a fun and easy sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. One of the most important pieces of equipment for playing pickleball is the paddle.

A good paddle can make a big difference in your game and your enjoyment of the sport. But how do you choose a pickleball paddle that suits your needs and preferences? Here are some factors to consider when selecting a pickleball paddle for a new player.

- Weight: The weight of the paddle affects how much power and control you have over the ball. A heavier paddle can generate more power, but it can also cause more fatigue and strain on your arm. A lighter paddle can offer more control and maneuverability, but it can also make you swing harder to get more power. The ideal weight for a paddle depends on your personal preference, strength, and style of play. Generally, beginners should start with a medium-weight paddle (around 7.5 to 8 ounces) and adjust as they gain more experience and confidence.

- Grip size: The grip size of the paddle affects how comfortable and secure you feel when holding and playing. A grip size that is too small or too large can cause blisters, cramps, or slippage. To measure your grip size, grip your paddle with a continental style grip* and check if there is a small gap between your fingers and your palm. If there is no gap, the grip is too small. If there is more than am index finger-width gap, the grip is too large. The ideal grip size for a paddle is one that fits snugly in your hand without being too tight or too loose.

* Also called the shake hands grip - for a right handed person - place your paddle in the non dominant hand. Place your right hand on the face of the paddle and slide it down onto the grip. Your thumb should be below your index finger and your index knuckle should be on the 2nd bevel of the grip or slightly to the right of center. The butt of the paddle should be placed in the meat of your palm. Grip should be firm but not tight or too loose.

- Shape: The shape of the paddle affects how much surface area and sweet spot you have to hit the ball. A sweet spot is the area on the paddle face that produces the best results when hitting the ball. A larger sweet spot can make it easier to hit the ball consistently and accurately, especially for beginners. The shape of the paddle also affects how much reach and spin you have. A longer paddle can give you more reach, but it can also reduce your control and balance. A wider paddle can give you more spin, but it can also reduce your power and speed. The ideal shape for a paddle depends on your personal preference and skill level. Generally, beginners should start with a standard-shaped paddle (around 15 to 16 inches long and 7 to 8 inches wide) and experiment with different shapes as they improve their game.

- Material: The material of the paddle affects how durable and responsive it is. There are two main types of materials used for pickleball paddles: composite and graphite.  Composite paddles are made of a core material (such as polypropylene honeycomb) covered by a fiberglass, carbon fiber, or a composite material. Composites or fiberglass faced paddles offer a good balance of durability, weight, power, and control. Graphite paddles are made of a similar honeycomb core material covered by a thin layer of graphite. They are the lightest and most responsive option, but they are also the most expensive generally. The ideal material for a paddle depends on your budget, preference, and performance goals.

New advances in paddle construction are thermoforming and hotmelt construction. Thermoforming is a process where a layer of foam is built around the perimeter of the paddle to help increase stability and power production. The hotmelt process is similar to how tennis racquets are made with a mold, compression, and heat to create a more unified stronger construction and better performance. Currently these processes are found on higher end paddles from Ronbus, SixZero, and Joola.

Choosing a pickleball paddle for a new player can be overwhelming with so many options available. However, by considering these factors and trying out different paddles before buying one, you can find a paddle that matches your needs and preferences. Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for pickleball paddles. The best paddle for you is the one that feels comfortable in your hand and helps you enjoy playing pickleball.

Be sure to check out our in-store paddle demo program.

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