Сентябрь 18, 2017

TYPES OF PADDLES

TYPES OF PADDLES

PADDLE MATERIALS GUIDE

The material that a pickleball paddle is made from has a dramatic impact on the paddle’s weight and deflection.  The following materials are commonly used to make pickleball paddles:

Wood pickleball paddles
When pickleball was first invented, paddles had a very simple design and were made from wood.  Over the years, wood pickleball paddles became more sophisticated, incorporating wrist straps and fancy grips.  They also began using plywood instead of hardwoods, which made for a much lighter paddle. Today, you will still find many wooden pickleball paddles around.  It remains a popular material because it is cheap, reliable, and durable.  The main downside of using a wooden pickleball paddle is that it is heavy!  Most wooded pickleball paddles weigh between 9 and 11 ounces.  They remain an excellent choice for players just getting into pickleball. The main benefit of choosing a wood pickleball paddle is that they are incredibly cheap.  
Polymer plastic pickleball paddles
Polymer pickleball paddles are a blend of plastics or resins.  They are quite lightweight, affordable, and durable.  These kinds of paddles are often used by sporting clubs and schools because they are incredibly cheap.  Most polymer paddles weigh around the 7-8 ounce mark.  They aren’t used by keen pickleball players because their performance isn’t as strong as a graphite or composite paddle.  However, they are a great choice if you usually play pickleball at home with the kids.
Graphite pickleball paddles
Graphite pickleball paddles are a popular choice with competitive and professional pickleball players.  They feature a honeycomb inner core with a very thin graphite skin on the exterior.  The inner core is usually made of aluminum, Nomex or Polypropylene (we’ll talk more about paddle cores in the next section). Graphite pickleball paddles are very light, responsive and strong.  They have excellent control and are fantastic for dinking at the net.  They are a great choice if you like to precisely finesse shots at your opponents.  Despite being very light, it is easy to hit powerful shots with a graphite pickleball paddle.  Most graphite paddles weigh around the 7-8 ounce mark.
Composite pickleball paddles
A composite material is a combination of different materials in a way that improves their durability and performance.  Composite pickleball paddles often use fiberglass, UV resistant vinyl, aluminum, and various polymers to create a responsive surface.  Many of the composite materials used to make pickleball paddles are very technologically advanced.  The cost of composite paddles varies greatly depending on the technology and materials being used. Composite paddles are usually lighter than timber or polymer paddles, but heavier than most graphite paddles.  They offer a great deal of control and power from the back of the court.  They are one of the louder materials, which can be a concern for some players.  Most composite paddles weigh around the 8 ounce mark.
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Pickleball Paddle Core

The technology used to make pickleball paddles has certainly advanced in the past few years.  Paddles have come a long way since the first pickleball paddles were created from scrap wood that was destined for the bin! Most high-quality pickleball paddles now have an inner core that is often made up of a different material to the paddle face.  This inner core changes the properties of the paddle, usually making it stronger, lighter, and/or denser.  Most pickleball paddle cores are a honeycomb design, because it is super strong and light.  The three most common pickleball paddle core materials are Aluminum, Nomex, and Polypropylene.

Aluminum Core Pickleball Paddles
Aluminum is a fantastic material for pickleball paddle cores.  It is affordable and very strong.  It is also super light, which makes it ideal for lightweight touch paddles.  A honeycomb aluminum core also has a unique feel to it.  It feels extremely light, responsive and snappy, which makes aluminum core paddles highly maneuverable.  While most paddles with aluminum cores are in the ‘lightweight’ category, you will also find some mid-weight paddles using aluminum cores.
Nomex Core Pickleball Paddles
Developed in the 1960s, Nomex is a strong polymer material that is used in many sporting goods.  When pickleball paddle manufacturers began adding cores to paddles, Nomex was their first choice.  Nomex cores are made by dipping a cardboard-like honeycomb framework into a polymer resin.  When it hardens, it creates an extremely tough material that does not compress easily. Paddles with Nomex cores remain very popular with competitive players because they are super light and very durable.  Paddles with Nomex cores are very hard and louder than other paddle cores.  They are an excellent choice if you want a light paddle with a lot of power.
Polypropylene Core Pickleball Paddles
Polypropylene cores are a relatively new addition to pickleball paddle technology.  Polypropylene is a polymer plastic that is very durable and lightweight.  Polypropylene cores are softer than aluminum and Nomex.  This means they are less reflective, allowing the paddle to be in contact with the ball longer.  This improves the level of control that a player has over their shots.  Another advantage that polymer cores have over the other materials is that they are very quiet.
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Aluminum Core Pickleball Paddles
Aluminum is a fantastic material for pickleball paddle cores.  It is affordable and very strong.  It is also super light, which makes it ideal for lightweight touch paddles.  A honeycomb aluminum core also has a unique feel to it.  It feels extremely light, responsive and snappy, which makes aluminum core paddles highly maneuverable.  While most paddles with aluminum cores are in the ‘lightweight’ category, you will also find some mid-weight paddles using aluminum cores.
Nomex Core Pickleball Paddles
Developed in the 1960s, Nomex is a strong polymer material that is used in many sporting goods.  When pickleball paddle manufacturers began adding cores to paddles, Nomex was their first choice.  Nomex cores are made by dipping a cardboard-like honeycomb framework into a polymer resin.  When it hardens, it creates an extremely tough material that does not compress easily. Paddles with Nomex cores remain very popular with competitive players because they are super light and very durable.  Paddles with Nomex cores are very hard and louder than other paddle cores.  They are an excellent choice if you want a light paddle with a lot of power.
Polypropylene Core Pickleball Paddles
Polypropylene cores are a relatively new addition to pickleball paddle technology.  Polypropylene is a polymer plastic that is very durable and lightweight.  Polypropylene cores are softer than aluminum and Nomex.  This means they are less reflective, allowing the paddle to be in contact with the ball longer.  This improves the level of control that a player has over their shots.  Another advantage that polymer cores have over the other materials is that they are very quiet.

Pickle Paddle Edge Guard

Most pickleball paddles have rubber or plastic edge guard on the edges of the paddle face.  This is usually added to protect the paddle from damage if it is dropped.  This edging can add some weight and mass to the paddle.

In the past few years, edge-less graphite and composite paddles have become more common.  They offer players a very wide hitting surface, which is particularly helpful for players new to the game.  These paddles are sometimes referred to as ‘edgeless’ paddles.  They usually have some form of tape along the edge of the paddle.  The downside of using an edge-less paddle is that it is more vulnerable to chips.

Pickleball Paddle Deflection

To be officially sanctioned, a pickleball paddle must have a rigid hitting surface.  The USAPA tests paddles by placing a weight on the face of the paddle and testing how far it bends.  This test is performed to make sure pickleball paddles do not have a ‘trampolining’ effect like tennis rackets have.

A paddle that has a higher deflection has more ‘spring’ in it compared to a low deflection paddle.  Having higher deflection means you can hit the ball with less effort — however you have less control over where the ball goes.  When you are receiving a fast pickleball shot with a high deflection paddle, it may overshoot your target or go out of bounds.  Controlling dinks can also be more difficult with a high deflection paddle.

Lower deflection paddles are easier to control.  The downside is players have to use more force to hit the ball back to their opponents.  That means more muscle use during the game.

Pickleball Paddle Sound

Yes, even the sound that the pickleball paddle makes is an important consideration!  Some pickleball courts have had to ban certain types of paddles because they were too loud.  The popping sound that a pickleball makes can be quite loud, particularly with paddles made from certain materials.

Pickleball Paddle Color

Hardcore pickleball players will go to any lengths to gain an advantage over their competitors.  One way to do so is by wearing brightly colored clothing or finding a paddle with a bright pattern.  It can distract your opponents and make it more difficult for them to focus on the fast-moving pickleball.

Pickleball Paddle Price

The final consideration is price!  Pickleball paddles can vary greatly in price, ranging from $20 for a cheap timber paddle through to hundreds of dollars for professional paddles made from advanced materials.  If you are passionate about pickleball, it may be worth investing a little bit more and obtaining a paddle that really improves your gameplay.

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