Are thicker pickleball paddles better?
Thicker core paddles have become more popular over the last few years. With major manufacturers offering fat core options, there's a reason players turned to this style of paddle and found it improved their game.
A thicker core is the result of the desire for a more stable paddle that produces a more consistent stroke across the surface. The thicker the paddle, the less likely it is to twist in the hand when the ball is hit near the edge, and the less elastic modulus or resistance to elastic deformation under stress. Stiffer materials have a higher modulus, as seen in why carbon fiber pickleball paddles can improve your game.
Over a decade ago, composite HIS paddles became the standard for high performance paddles, and he typically used 0.375 to 0.400 inch thick cores. In recent years, quite a few new products have been introduced with a core thickness of he 0.562 to 0.75 inches. Although these increases seem small, they represent thickness increases of over 25%.
The challenge of getting the ball where you want it on the court is that different parts of the racket behave differently when transferring energy to the ball. Players refer to the spot on the racket where the ball receives the most energy as the sweet spot. The most dangerous and ineffective shots are those that miss the target. You can hit the ball too high for your opponent to hit, hit the net or hit out of bounds. Some paddles have a sweet spot where the ball seems to explode in the center of the paddle face, but that same paddle can feel dead the farther away you go from the center of the paddle. This can lead to inconsistent hitting of the ball, either too hard or too soft.
Manufacturers make paddles with thicker cores to increase the consistency of the energy transferred from the paddle to the ball. This change began in 2013 when Paddletek introduced his polypropylene core. Prior to this, most paddles were built with a .400 inch he Nomex or aluminum core. The transition to polymeric honeycomb materials largely coincided with his transition to 0.500-inch-thick cores. This change involved both material and thickness, but both factors improved the paddle's performance. The majority of paddles in the industry today use some form of polypropylene core.
The main benefit is more consistent ball performance from more paddling surfaces. A thicker core might seem like more power or ball speed, but the opposite is true. Even if you hit the ball poorly, you'll have better control, feel and stability. And you can have all the power you need.
A thicker core improves a player's shot consistency by a factor of two.
The first is energy absorption. Whether shot from an opponent or a volley, the thicker core dissipates the ball's energy through the keyhole, allowing the player to regain control of the game.
The second is stability. A thicker core provides more stability in the face of the paddle on strokes away from the center of the paddle. The biggest advantage is net play, especially back and four volleys. The thicker base material dampens ball energy more, giving you a little more feel and control on drop shots, volleys and dinks.
VINSGUIR pickleball paddle offers over 30 of his thick core paddles from Paddletek, Diadem and Cheetah. Find the perfect paddle for you with our filter system. You can narrow down by core, face, handle circumference, handle length, price, shape, weight, and thickness.