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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Lead Tape

The right tool for the job...

Let's continue Monday's paddle discussion with a new trend that allows a player to adjust the feel of the paddle - lead tape. Sarah Ansboury wrote an article for the RV Picklers' blog titled Should You Add Lead Tape to Your Pickleball Paddle? in which she discussed the topic. Excerpts from Sarah's article are below. She includes some other important points in the full article.

Pickleball Paddles: A Weighty Issue

So now that we know we can, let’s ask the question “why”. Just as in tennis, yes some tennis players add lead tape to their tennis rackets, lead tape alters the weight and balance of the paddle. A four-inch strip of the 1/2 inch tape weighs two grams. The Head Extreme Pro paddle I use is 7.6 ounces. If I add 4″ of tape to the edge of the paddle, my 7.6-ounce paddle becomes 7.74-ounces. That may not seem like a big difference to you…but paddles are pretty light so a few ounces can mean a lot.

More importantly, it alters the balance of the paddle….by this I mean the relative weight of the handle versus the face of the paddle. Many times a player will pick up two paddles thinking one weighs more than the other. However, if you placed the two paddles on a scale they weigh exactly the same. The player perceives the one paddle as heavier because more of the weight is distributed outside of the handle. I can feel the two grams referenced above.

But Why?

If you look carefully at the picture above you’ll see that I actually add quite a bit of tape to the top edge of my paddle. The majority of pros do because it increases head speed when swinging through the ball. Making the paddle more head heavy, adds power. Adding tape to the top edge of the paddle takes away some of the whippiness of the paddle.

Some players may feel that they want more stability when they mishit the ball. Not every player is able to wear away a spot in the center of the paddle face. If you think of your pickleball paddle face as a clock, placing lead tape at 3 and 9 o’clock may assist. Think of it as perimeter weighting a paddle like some golf club manufacturers perimeter weight a golf club.

Perhaps you discover you tend to hit the ball closer to the tip of the paddle. Moving the tape to the 2 and 10 o’clock positions will raise the sweet spot and add more power to your game.

You rarely find players that add tape closer to the handle, but you can increase the weight of the paddle without changing the balance by doing this.


  1. You obviously mean adding a 4 inch strip of tape to "EACH SIDE of the paddle" not just a 4 inch strip. One 4 inch strip would give you a 7.67 oz paddle.

    Do the math.