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Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Paddle Guide

(Almost) everything a player does on a pickleball is done better if that player feels comfortable doing it. One of the most personal of preferences is the choice of a paddle. There are more and more paddles entering the marketplace with different combinations of weight, grip size, length, and materials. It is hard to narrow the search down to the right one. 

Experts provide some guidance about how these factors effect play. I included an article from Prem Carnot about a month ago doing just that...and I will include a couple more next week. They can provide some recommendations but every individual's skills, strength, and mobility will ultimately determine the best combination of factors and, therefore, the best paddle for them. 

One way to narrow the field of available paddles is to use a paddle guide. One of the best I have found is at the site Pickleball Experts, a seller of pickleball equipment. The guide, The Pickleball Experts Interactive Guide to Choosing a Pickleball Paddle, will walk a player through a set of choices and will present a set of paddles meeting the criteria the player selected. Below is a small sample of the experience.

It should be noted that the list of paddles are limited to those sold by Pickleball Experts. While extensive, the list does not include all paddles in the marketplace that might work. I will add that the process worked for me. After making my selections in the guide, the paddles presented to me included the paddle I currently use...and fits my game.

Players with limited experience may find some of the choices and recommendations from experts to be a little overwhelming. My personal experience was that I bought my first paddle based on how it felt while in a small retail store with limited selection. As I played more, I found my preferences were changing and I now have 3 paddles - my original, a light paddle used with bouncier balls (like the Onix Pure 2), and a heavier paddle used for less bouncy balls (like Dura). Before buying the second and third paddles, I played with borrowed paddles to ensure they worked.

Based on my experience, I would recommend using the expert advice to narrow preferences for options, use those options in a guide like that from Pickleball Experts, and find someone from whom one of the list of paddles can be borrowed. Paddles can be expensive and it is best for one's wallet to ensure the expenditure is right the first time.

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