Can someone run down the nuts and bolts of pickle paddles

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
Long time tennis and platform tennis player, dabbling in pickleball, which a lot of people I play/played tennis with are (some very seriously). I don't own a paddle and may buy one for myself.

What is the weight range of paddles? Does it really matter in terms of stability and/or mobility as with tennis racquets?

Is there variety in how paddles are balanced (even, headlight, headheavy, etc.) - or is all basically the same?

Someone was telling me that cheaper paddles may not have much "grit" and then had me touch his paddle surface. I mean I felt something, but it really didn't feel very gritty, but it was according to him a "better" paddle. So what are the different paddle surfaces? What characteristics go with different surfaces?

Are there different core densities like platform tennis paddles? - so some might feel softer or more firm.

Are any brands known as being the best/highest quality?

Anything else I need to know?

Thanks in advance.
 

Bud

Bionic Poster
There's a wealth of knowledge already in these threads. You have to read through them.

Google pickleball paddle stats, advantages and disadvantages then try some different paddles to see which one works best for your game.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Long time tennis and platform tennis player, dabbling in pickleball, which a lot of people I play/played tennis with are (some very seriously). I don't own a paddle and may buy one for myself.

What is the weight range of paddles? Does it really matter in terms of stability and/or mobility as with tennis racquets?

Is there variety in how paddles are balanced (even, headlight, headheavy, etc.) - or is all basically the same?

Someone was telling me that cheaper paddles may not have much "grit" and then had me touch his paddle surface. I mean I felt something, but it really didn't feel very gritty, but it was according to him a "better" paddle. So what are the different paddle surfaces? What characteristics go with different surfaces?

Are there different core densities like platform tennis paddles? - so some might feel softer or more firm.

Are any brands known as being the best/highest quality?

Anything else I need to know?

Thanks in advance.

First question … will you be playing singles and doubles?

Reason for question … paddles with more power (baseline) more helpful in singles.

If you are mainly doubles (me) … and early to game … the skills that decides doubles improvement and level (and skills tennis player doesn’t have yet) is kitchen (dinking, blocks, torso to the net skills, etc). In my first six months … and coming from tennis I naturally gravitated to pace/spin/extended/carbon (Vatic Pro 7) … made serves and ros and drives feel closer to tennis. But … that isn’t where I needed to focus for doubles … needed from the start to master kitchen/soft game/drops. I just bought Vatic’s new softer Prism Flash … focusing on soft skills … like I should have from day one. I think there is a very good chance my fastest improvement would have come from sticking a soft low power paddle in my hand day one … and removing the “playing tennis from baseline in pickleball” fools gold. :-D

So singles or doubles or both? Paddles, weight, lead taping, etc choice can vary in pickleball … weird not like tennis racquet choice.
 
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ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Long time tennis and platform tennis player, dabbling in pickleball, which a lot of people I play/played tennis with are (some very seriously). I don't own a paddle and may buy one for myself.

What is the weight range of paddles? Does it really matter in terms of stability and/or mobility as with tennis racquets?
Typical stock weight is 7.8 to 8.3ish. Does not matter with wiffle and short paddle nearly as much as tennis … but you will develop a preference. The complicating factor with pickleball is you face a trade off in pball between baseline preference and hand speed at kitchen.

Is there variety in how paddles are balanced (even, headlight, headheavy, etc.) - or is all basically the same?
Yes … extended paddles (16.5” x 7.5”) tend to be more head heavy and higher swing weights than standard (shorter and fatter) and hybrids (split the difference).

A paddles length + width can’t exceed 24”.

Someone was telling me that cheaper paddles may not have much "grit" and then had me touch his paddle surface. I mean I felt something, but it really didn't feel very gritty, but it was according to him a "better" paddle. So what are the different paddle surfaces? What characteristics go with different surfaces?

Paddle tech is changing very fast … currently I can’t think of many good reasons a tennis player coming to pickleball wouldn’t just buy a carbon face paddle … currently can buy spin, control and pace for reasonable … my new Vatic Pro Prism Flash for $89 with discount code … a bunch of other top quality $100 - $160 paddles on market now.

Are there different core densities like platform tennis paddles? - so some might feel softer or more firm.
Pball lives in the land of plastic core for now … typically16mm vs 14mm. Most say 16 more control … 14 more pop/power … but even there confusing. I think of baseline full swing as power … and kitchen firefights as pop.
Are any brands known as being the best/highest quality?
Best by price and company size and popularity? … or actual quality? ;)

Most seen at the courts … Selkirk, Joola, some Engage.

New company upstarts creating equal products for way less … Vatic, Legacy, SixZero, Ronbus, Bread&Butter, etc.

Anything else I need to know?

oh yeah :-D

fyi … good online paddle reviews

- ttw staff here
- Pickleball Studio
- Pickleball Will
- Pickleball Effect
- Farmer Lanky
- John Kew
- Tickle my Pickleball :-D
- many more
Thanks in advance.

Answered some of your questions above (y)
 

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
Typical stock weight is 7.8 to 8.3ish. Does not matter with wiffle and short paddle nearly as much as tennis … but you will develop a preference. The complicating factor with pickleball is you face a trade off in pball between baseline preference and hand speed at kitchen.


Yes … extended paddles (16.5” x 7.5”) tend to be more head heavy and higher swing weights than standard (shorter and fatter) and hybrids (split the difference).

A paddles length + width can’t exceed 24”.



Paddle tech is changing very fast … currently I can’t think of many good reasons a tennis player coming to pickleball wouldn’t just buy a carbon face paddle … currently can buy spin, control and pace for reasonable … my new Vatic Pro Prism Flash for $89 with discount code … a bunch of other top quality $100 - $160 paddles on market now.


Pball lives in the land of plastic core for now … typically16mm vs 14mm. Most say 16 more control … 14 more pop/power … but even there confusing. I think of baseline full swing as power … and kitchen firefights as pop.

Best by price and company size and popularity? … or actual quality? ;)

Most seen at the courts … Selkirk, Joola, some Engage.

New company upstarts creating equal products for way less … Vatic, Legacy, SixZero, Ronbus, Bread&Butter, etc.



oh yeah :-D

fyi … good online paddle reviews

- ttw staff here
- Pickleball Studio
- Pickleball Will
- Pickleball Effect
- Farmer Lanky
- John Kew
- Tickle my Pickleball :-D
- many more


Answered some of your questions above (y)
Thank you so much. This was very helpful.
 

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
First question … will you be playing singles and doubles?

Reason for question … paddles with more power (baseline) more helpful in singles.

If you are mainly doubles (me) … and early to game … the skills that decides doubles improvement and level (and skills tennis player doesn’t have yet) is kitchen (dinking, blocks, torso to the net skills, etc). In my first six months … and coming from tennis I naturally gravitated to pace/spin/extended/carbon (Vatic Pro 7) … made serves and ros and drives feel closer to tennis. But … that isn’t where I needed to focus for doubles … needed from the start to master kitchen/soft game/drops. I just bought Vatic’s new softer Prism Flash … focusing on soft skills … like I should have from day one. I think there is a very good chance my fastest improvement would have come from sticking a soft low power paddle in my hand day one … and removing the “playing tennis from baseline in pickleball” fools gold. :-D

So singles or doubles or both? Paddles, weight, lead taping, etc choice can vary in pickleball … weird not like tennis racquet choice.
Mostly doubles. Maybe a random singles match for fun, but nothing organized - like leagues or tournaments.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Mostly doubles. Maybe a random singles match for fun, but nothing organized - like leagues or tournaments.

ok … follow up question. Fun vs get better the fastest?

Fun -> buy one of the new thermoformed extended paddles
Pay your pickleball dues -> something soft enough to control thigh dink

fyi … some of the thermoformed paddles like the Vatic Pro (I’ve heard Ronbus Pulsar the softest) could be good to go at the kitchen for some tennis players, then you have the best of both worlds. For some … just a little to poppy to start. I am a tennis player (was a tennis player :cry: ) that has good hands … but the margins playing good players between a good enough dink/reset/block and a ball that gets smashed is amazingly small. I guess if you knew you wanted to end up at extended thermoformed carbon … there are two ways to get there:

1) start with it and get control of it over time
2) start with something softer, develop kitchen/drop skills, move to thermoformed later.

fyi … thermoformed fairly new manufacturing process where carbon edges welded to outer edge of paddle in high heat molds. Results in stiffer more powerful paddles than gen 1 where paddle surfaces simply glued to plastic core, and edge guard added.
 

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
If I get into it even at a base level, I'll want to get better. Starting something new, but not foreign (since I've played a little and seen it plenty), I just like the challenge of the learning curve. Watched a local tournament this weekend and liked seeing the differences between the 3.5, 4.0, 4.5 levels (don't think I saw any 5.0s).
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
If I get into it even at a base level, I'll want to get better. Starting something new, but not foreign (since I've played a little and seen it plenty), I just like the challenge of the learning curve. Watched a local tournament this weekend and liked seeing the differences between the 3.5, 4.0, 4.5 levels (don't think I saw any 5.0s).

Enjoy … we have really enjoyed our first 6 months. We (I partner mainly with wife) … just played open play for first 5 months … and now just finished a one month intermediate league. Our experience was initial learning curve due to years of tennis was pretty quick up to the point you played good intermediate teams (defined by teams good at dinking, controlling kitchen … and hard to hit through). Improving against that level of intermediate was/is not quick … but we saw a lot of progress in last couple of months. You go through months of hitting that wiffle up a little too high … don’t feed the smash. IMO … the difference between 3.5 and 4.5 pickleball doubles is more subtle than 3.5 vs 4.5 tennis. Pretty obvious watching tennis … not so much with pickleball. I watched a lot of the last US Open rec gold men’s doubles matches on youtube … 4.0 thru 5.0, 19+ thru seniors … and no huge difference in agility, movement, serve, ros, power, etc … lots of subtle kitchen skills that someone that doesn’t play might not see. One of the ways I now gauge (try to) levels of play is how many times in the match did the opponent hit the ball up too high to other team. I have watched 5.0 senior matches where it just doesn’t look high skilled … until you realize they just played entire match with very few offense opportunities by opponent.
 

Bud

Bionic Poster
If I get into it even at a base level, I'll want to get better. Starting something new, but not foreign (since I've played a little and seen it plenty), I just like the challenge of the learning curve. Watched a local tournament this weekend and liked seeing the differences between the 3.5, 4.0, 4.5 levels (don't think I saw any 5.0s).
A really good and inexpensive starter paddle is the XSPAK. There's a thread on it.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
A really good and inexpensive starter paddle is the XSPAK. There's a thread on it.

OP of that thread is really wise. :cool:

XSPAK was a great paddle choice but with a fat square grip ... but I have a hard time coming up with a reason to buy XSPAK for $100 now when there are superior Vatic Prisms for $89.
 

Bud

Bionic Poster
OP of that thread is really wise. :cool:

XSPAK was a great paddle choice but with a fat square grip ... but I have a hard time coming up with a reason to buy XSPAK for $100 now when there are superior Vatic Prisms for $89.
Have you gone back and tried playing with it again?
 

Airspun

Hall of Fame
Paddle doesn't matter at all, i've got a great ping pong custom Picklepaddle cutting edge cortex i can sell you for cheap.
 

PT280 Fan

Semi-Pro
Introduced to Pickleball about a month and half ago. First times out I used a buddy’s spare Franklin Decimator and got tennis elbow pretty bad after two times out. Swore to get a decent paddle that played more consistently and didn’t injure me. Best piece of advice was to get elongated as it’s closer to tennis and easier for a Senior bending down for low balls. As a tennis player, I appreciate bevels on the grip (I rely on them for grip changes), and noticed that some expensive paddle don’t even provide bevels. Mass means power got two + 8 oz paddles.

I ended up with a Vulcan 740 Max and a Holbrook Pro and am exceedingly happy with my purchases. Added a little lead tape playing up and rapidly improving. (Loaned one to beginner friend today and his level shot up drastically from his cheapie Amazon special.)
 
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