Should I buy a new pickleball paddle…..
As a manufacturer, I understand there’s often the temptation to promote the idea that getting a new paddle every three months will revolutionize your performance on the court. But let’s be honest. For most of us, a good paddle should last a couple of years, depending on how frequently you play.
Nevertheless, with all the buzz around the latest and greatest paddles, who wouldn’t want to add one or two to their collection? Almost everyone strives to improve their game. While skill, technique, and strategy are crucial, having equipment that suits your style and skill level is equally important.
At some point, every player ponders whether investing in another paddle will step up their game. While the right paddle can certainly help you progress, it’s essential to understand that no paddle can magically transform you from a 3.0 to a 4.0 player overnight.
That being said, and despite what my significant other might believe, there are valid reasons to consider a new paddle sooner rather than later.
Why Consider Another Pickleball Paddle?
Before you dive into reading reviews and rushing to buy the latest shiny paddle, take a moment to be honest with yourself. What do you expect from the new paddle, and how will it enhance your game? Buy-Sell groups are brimming with paddles that didn’t meet players’ expectations.
Justifying a New Paddle:
Sometimes it’s merely time to replace your paddle. Pickleball is addicting, and paddles endure a lot of wear and tear. Over time, a paddle’s surface can deteriorate, leading to chips, cracks, edge damage, and worn texture—all of which can negatively affect performance. Surface deterioration can also hint at potential issues inside the paddle, such as a damaged core or delamination, resulting in dead spots. These dead spots can cause various performance problems that can only be resolved by replacing the paddle.
If you’re unsure about your paddle’s condition, you can find help on determining a paddles condition on our webpage “When to replace your Pickelball Paddle” Link
Changes to Your Playing Style:
As your pickleball skills improve, or your playing style changes, you may find that your current paddle no longer aligns with your game. Maybe as a beginner, you always played back, and now your skills have developed, and you find yourself more at the net. Maybe you have acquired a couple of aches and pains, and that heavy paddle is just too much to lug around the court.
If your current paddle consistently hinders your performance, upgrading to a paddle that aligns better with your playing style is an excellent way to continue your skill development.
Necessity for an Approved Paddle:
If you plan on participating in tournaments or leagues, you’ll likely need a USAPA-approved paddle. The USAPA is the governing body for pickleball and sets the standards for “legal” paddles in many organized events. An approved paddle must bear the USAPA seal and be listed on the USAPA website [insert link]. Not all starter paddles are approved so this is a hard to argue reason for a new paddle.
Transitioning to Competitive Play:
If you regularly play at a higher level, you might find yourself replacing your paddle more frequently. This is because your current paddle is likely to wear out faster, and you’ll have less tolerance for issues like texture degradation.
Additionally, if you’re a competitive player, it’s often a good idea to have two identical paddles: one for practice and drills and another reserved exclusively for tournaments. However, be prepared—convincing someone who doesn’t share your passion for tournament play you need to invest in a second paddle can be challenging.
Advancements in Paddle Technology:
Manufacturers continuously introduce new paddle models, some of which feature innovative materials and designs. These advancements can result in paddles with enhanced performance characteristics that better match your playing style and game. If it’s been a couple of years since you last upgraded your paddle, it might be worthwhile to explore what’s currently available.
Different Materials for Performance:
Paddle performance can vary significantly based on how the raw components are combined. Changing your paddle based on core type, surface, shape, or material can impact your play. For instance, if you’re seeking more control, you may want to consider carbon over fiberglass. If you desire more spin or pop, fiberglass might be the way to go. If your current paddle’s construction materials no longer align with your playing style, that’s a solid reason to explore a new paddle. You can find more insights on paddle construction and its effect on performance on our “paddle construction” page Link
One Paddle Can’t Do It All:
Expecting a single paddle to perform consistently under different conditions and circumstances is unrealistic. Factors like weather conditions, playing surfaces, lighting, indoor vs. outdoor play, wind, and even your opponents can influence your game. It makes sense to have different paddles for different situations. Personally, I always carry 4 or 5 paddles in my bag and switch them depending on the situation. For instance, on a windy day when I’m hitting against the wind, I prefer my fiberglass paddle for its power and pop. If I know I’ll be playing with players who like to slam the ball, I might opt for my 74T carbon fiber paddle. Having multiple options in your bag is a great reason to consider adding another paddle.
When reading paddle reviews or watching review videos, it’s easy to get swept up in the hype and believe that a new paddle will have a substantial impact on your game. It could but only if it fits your game.
For instance, let’s say you are in your mid 50’s and play recreational doubles at a 3.0 level two or three times a week.
You come across a glowing review by a mid-20s, semi-pro who focuses on singles and a power game and they absolutely love a particular paddle.
Is this really a paddle you should be considering? Maybe but it’s important to assess whether there’s a genuine correlation between your game and the reviewer’s perspective and motivation for the review.
Now I am definitely not saying all paddles are the same. Not by any means. However most paddles use similar technology and materials; some just come with more elaborate wrapping and trim.
Determine what part of your game you want to improve and focus on finding a paddle that addresses that need. Spending $350 on a paddle won’t miraculously transform you into a better player overnight.
As alternative consideration, instead of going all in on a single paddle with inflated expectations, consider acquiring a couple of really good-quality mid-range paddles. This will provide you with more options for different playing situations and venues. In golf, nobody carries just one club.
Not to mention explaining to your partner that you spent $350 and got two excellent paddles, including, one for them, that you will gladly keep in your bag, might be an easier sell than you just blew $350 on a single paddle.
There are plenty of good reasons to switch up your paddle or add a new one to your collection.
So, when you’re thinking about getting a new paddle to up your game, keep it real. Define what you genuinely want the new paddle to do for you and be realistic.
Approach reviews thoughtfully, with a healthy dose of skepticism, taking into account the reviewer’s perspective, motives, abilities and playing style.
Additionally, consider the advantages of introducing versatility and diversity into your equipment bag rather than relying solely on a single paddle to do all the work all the time.
In the end, getting a new paddle can be a lot of fun and a great way to invigorate your game.
I hope this post has given you some food for thought when it comes to thinking about a new paddle. Have fun and good luck.