Pickleball has quickly risen in popularity around the world. More than 2 million players participated in the sport within the past year. And with so many new players entering the community each day, we wanted to take some time to break down the proper pickleball paddles to use for each skill level.
There are multiple ways to determine skill levels, including the pickleball rating system; we have simply categorized players as either beginner, intermediate, or professional. Paddles are made specifically for children, but we will be grouping all youth pickleball players into the beginner category for the purposes of this exercise.
Determine Your Skill Level
Players are often confused as to how they should shop for a pickleball paddle. It may seem like anyone new to the sport should start with the best beginner paddle, but that isn’t necessarily the case every time. For example, someone who has played tennis most of their life but decides to take up pickleball for the first time will likely have an advantage over someone who has never played a paddle/racquet sport in their life.
The easiest way to determine your skill level on a pickleball court is to measure your confidence simply.
Beginner players will often struggle to keep score, maintain a long rally, or move swiftly toward the kitchen as a point carries on. They can win some rallies, but overall they’re either fresh to the sport or just like to play pickleball recreationally. If you’re looking for a group to have a good time with, beginner players often know how to have the most fun.
Intermediate players don’t have every shot in the book, but they have a general idea of what they are trying to accomplish with each swing. They are comfortable standing just outside of the non-volley zone, and typically they can anticipate their opponent’s next shot. Intermediate players can control the spin on their shots relatively well, and they likely play regularly in a league(s) or tournaments.
Professional or advanced pickleball players move and hit shots effortlessly. They anticipate exceptionally well and use their dink shots to set the pace of each rally. Professional players predominately serve, and return serves deep into their opponent’s side of the court to establish a dominant presence at the net. Some of the most elite pickleball players will even hit shots like an erne or ATP (around the post) to win points in the most electrifying ways possible.
If you are looking for some guidance to find the skill level you should shop for, contact our team of paddle experts today.
We want to say welcome to our great sport for those of you who are new to pickleball. We’re excited to have you interested and hope you take the time to get to know players within your community. It’s a great form of exercise for players of all skill levels, and if you’re still learning the game of pickleball, we’ve created a few resources to help you out. Enjoy any of the following beginner pickleball topics to help expand your knowledge of the sport.
- How To Play Pickleball
- The Rules of Pickleball
- Pickleball Doubles Rules, Strategy, and More
- Pickleball Kitchen Explained
New pickleball players should look for a paddle they can easily control. Paddle control is the first step toward becoming a better player. It creates more consistency in your swing and a better understanding of your game. Heavyweight paddles can provide a nice boost in power, but most beginners struggle with the additional weight causing them to lose control of their shots. As a result, we recommend beginner pickleball players primarily shop for lightweight paddles or middleweight paddles.
Another tip for beginner pickleball players to follow is to look for a paddle with a large hitting surface. This may seem obvious, but players learning the game of pickleball should use a paddle that offers them the highest chance of making quality contact. These types of paddles include elongated paddles, oversized paddles, and wide-body paddle shapes. As a players’ skills become more refined, they can shop for paddles with variable shapes and sizes. But beginners, just stick to the big, easy-to-swing, affordable pickleball paddles and watch your game take off.
Pickleball Paddles for Intermediate Players
As more players grow interested in pickleball, the demand for intermediate paddles continues to climb steadily. Not everyone will become an advanced player, but most players who stick with the sport will eventually find themselves playing at an intermediate level. Once you have taken the time to learn your game, you’ll begin to understand the importance of owning your own pickleball paddle. Especially when you find a paddle that properly suits your game. Dinks become easier, and volleys become more natural as you grow more comfortable with your paddle. But what should you look for when shopping for a new intermediate pickleball paddle?
For starters, we talk a lot about knowing your game. It’s never more important to know your style than when you go shopping for a new paddle. With so many different options to choose from, knowing what you are looking to do when you step onto the court is paramount.
The most popular paddle for intermediate players is made from composite materials. Composite pickleball paddles offer more weight and power compared to graphite pickleball paddles. They are typically more expensive when compared to their graphite counterparts, but they make an excellent paddle for any experienced pickleball player.
It would certainly be nice to give specific criteria to look for when shopping for an intermediate paddle, but it’s nearly an impossible task considering how much players differ. Instead, we have created a seamless solution to finding you the perfect paddle for your game. Take advantage of our Paddle Coach today to find only the paddles that complement your game.
Pickleball Paddles for Professionals
Let’s be honest, pickleball pros don’t need our help to find their next paddle. The top players in the game know what they’re looking for each time to step up to buy a new paddle. However, it is important to take a look at what the top professional paddles offer. After all, these are paddles used by the best players in the world.
These paddles are selected based on their success with pro-level 5.0+ players. Advanced players are looking at all the variables when they choose their next paddle. Everything goes into shopping for a professional paddle, such as singles or doubles, weather conditions, wind factors, playing indoors versus outdoors, the style they want to play, and even more. When it comes to the paddle attributes, each player looks deeply into the paddle’s weight, feel, style, and grip.
As we said, pro players don’t need our help to find their next paddle. But the reason we are talking about these elements is to show beginner and intermediate players all of the factors to take into account before purchasing a new pickleball paddle. Work on your game, find a few consistent playing partners, and learn from their assessments to choose the best pickleball paddle for you.
Tips to Follow: Shopping for Pickleball Paddles
- Players that tend to hang out around the baseline, returning hard forehands and backhands off serves, and just generally want more power out of their shots should shop heavier pickleball paddles.
- Players looking to control their shots and spin while hanging around the net should shop for lightweight paddles.
- If you’re a player unsure about your style of play or you are new to the sport, we recommend that you shop for a middleweight paddle to provide “the best of both worlds.”
- Be sure to account for grip size and paddle weight when shopping for a new paddle.
- Find the right feel for YOU. There’s a tendency to want to jump in and grab the ‘hottest pickleball paddle,’ but make sure it makes sense for your game before pulling the trigger.
- Keep in mind the certifications your paddle needs. The USAPA is the main governing body, but not all leagues or tournaments will require this certification.
Boom! Just like that, you know how to shop for a pickleball paddle based on your skill level. It’s exciting to unwrap a new paddle and take it onto the court for the first time, but if you want to avoid the gamble, we recommend that you add Paddle Assurance to any new pickleball paddle purchase. Paddle Assurance provides a 30-day, risk-free trial period to ensure the paddle ordered is right for your game.
If you are still looking for help shopping for pickleball paddles, contact our knowledgeable team of paddle experts today. You can reach them via phone (1-866-382-3465), email (email@example.com), or LIVE CHAT. We’re JustPaddles, and we’re with you from Click to Court!