7 things to keep in mind when you buy your next pickleball paddle.
Your buddy asked you to join their pickleball league, all you have to do is get a paddle. But you don’t know where to start. Or maybe you’ve been playing pickleball for a while and are ready to upgrade from your garage sale paddle. No matter your reasons, choosing the best pickleball paddle can seem intimidating. We’ve compiled a list of seven things to keep in mind to help you find the perfect pickleball paddle.
Know your skill level
The first step to selecting a new pickleball paddle is to know your skill level. Paddles are made to enhance your play, so picking one that compliments your abilities is important. Using a paddle that doesn’t match your skill level, whether it is too rudimentary or too advanced, can be frustrating. You probably know whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or expert, but the USA Pickleball Association has a skill rating system if you want to pinpoint your skill level.
Style of Play
Now that you are aware of your skill level, the next factor to consider is how you play pickleball. Think about how you like to play or the style of play you would like to develop. Do you tend to focus on powerful drives and strong returns? If so, a sturdy, blade paddle, like the Fire Paddle, may suit your needs. If you emphasize controlled dinks and shots with topspin, a light, lean, and wider paddle, like the Ice Paddle might be the right choice. If you aren’t sure how you like to play or you use a balance of power and control in your play, the IceFire Paddle is the perfect choice.
Pickleball Paddle Shape
The shape of your pickleball paddle has more impact on your play than you might think. The USA Pickleball Association even has a few stipulations on paddle shape. First is that the total perimeter of the paddle has to be equal to or less than 24 inches. Second is that paddle length cannot exceed 17 inches. Mak Pickleball Paddles come in two shapes, standard and blade. The standard shape is 15.5” x 7.75.” It is typically what you’d imagine a pickleball paddle to look like. The standard shape has a slightly more forgiving sweet spot and its balanced weight helps with blocks at the net. Our blade shape measures 16” x 7.25,” for a slightly longer and more narrow paddle. This shape is perfect for driving through the ball and may be a better fit for more experienced players or those who want to add reach to their swing without losing speed.
The insides of your pickleball paddle matter just as much as its shape. The core is the foundation that the rest of the paddle builds on. All Mak Pickleball paddles are made with a honeycomb propylene core. Not only has it been proven for decades to be the most stable core available, it balances the need for flexibility and durability for your paddle. Other paddles cores may be made of wood or foam. Wood paddles may work well for a budget friendly, rudimentary paddle, but shouldn’t be top of your list for recreational or tournament use.
Your pickleball paddle grip is important to consider but easily overlooked. The right grip supports the way you maneuver your paddle, your endurance, and your accuracy. A poor grip fit makes controlling your paddle more difficult and lends to fatigue. Both of those make it more difficult to nail your precision hits and can weaken your swings. A short grip length takes away the option to use two hands, but a long grip makes single-handed play cumbersome. Mak Paddle handles are 4.25”, a perfect length for single-handed play while still being long enough for two-handed swings. MAK Paddles can also be overwrapped for a larger grip circumference for larger hands or rewrapped with a thinner tape for smaller hands.
Pickleball Paddle Thickness
You know that the core of your pickleball paddle has a big impact on your performance, but so does the paddle thickness, or the depth of your paddle from one side to the other. The thickness of your paddle impacts your stability, control and power. Thicker paddles, those closer to 16mm thick, lend to more control while sacrificing speed to move from backhand to forehand shots. Thinner paddles, landing around 11mm, allow for quicker reactions, but lack control and have a smaller sweet spot. MAK paddles are made 13mm, or about .05” thick for optimal control, speed, and power.
The Perfect Paddle?
There are so many great pickleball paddles on the market it might make you wonder if there really is a perfect paddle. Much of that depends on how you play and what your unique needs are. We believe that the perfect pickleball paddle finds harmony among extremes you see in the market. Which is why MAK Pickleball Paddles tread that fine line of balance and moderation with a few, important modifications between paddles, we’re confident that you’ll find the perfect paddle for your next pickleball game.