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What Pickleball Paddles Do The Pros Use?

by ChenJane2 07 Jun 2023

As a new sport born in the 1960s, pickleball has become popular in North America and has received more and more attention all over the world.

Pickleball is a racket sport that draws on elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It is fun to play, easy to learn, and has a moderate amount of activity and is not easy to get injured. It can be said that it is suitable for all ages. Anyone, whether in their seventies or eighties, or children in their teens, can participate. As the sport has grown in popularity, so has the fascination with the racquets used by the pros.

If you've ever watched a game of pickleball and wondered what the hell those racquets are, you're not alone.

Professional pickleball players use top-of-the-line gear to every advantage, but understanding their racquet of choice can be tricky. To unravel the secrets of professional pickleball paddles, a few key features set them apart from the average player's equipment.

pickleball paddles pros use

What is the key difference between an amateur player and a professional player?

The first is consistency. Professional players have more consistent control of the ball. Similarly, when playing a backcourt lob, an amateur player may make one mistake ten times, while a professional player may only make one mistake a hundred times. Amateur players have a much higher unforced error rate.
Second is speed. When the pace of the game is slow, the performance of amateur players and professional players seems to be similar; but when the pace is fast, amateur players often can't keep up, and the turnover will increase a lot.

Another is ball control ability. Professional players have more precise control over the trajectory, landing point and rhythm of the ball, and often hit balls that are more difficult for opponents to handle. Amateur players often return the ball too high or too long, or even go out of bounds.

The last is game awareness. How to deal with the opponent's incoming ball? Is it a long ball or a short ball? Should you speed up or slow down? Where should I go after returning the ball? What is the opponent's next intention? Amateur players usually don't think about these issues, but for professional players, these are often natural reactions like breathing, and they will always choose the most beneficial ball for themselves and the most uncomfortable for the opponent.

Refer to the scoring standard of the North American Pickleball Association (1.0~5.5), and the quick rating reference is as follows. Players can also get a DUPR rating (2.0~8.0) through the competition.

Rating Level  Features
 2.5 Elementary • Can serve into court;
• Returns are usually of poor quality;
• Occasionally hits a decent shot.
3.0 Junior Intermediate • Know the ground rules;
• Knows the importance of moving to net and third beat, but makes mistakes;
• The movement is slow and cannot be guaranteed to move to a reasonable position.
3.5 Intermediate • Possess certain basic skills;
• Can stably hit high-quality front and back court lobs;
• Moves faster and masters basic footwork;
• Begin to recognize your own weaknesses.
4.0 Advanced intermediate • Possess solid basic skills;
• Master the change of rotation and landing point, the same action can hit different returns;
• Can take the initiative to attack in front of the net, and can reset the opponent's attack ball;
• Observe the opponent during the game and adjust the strategy in real time.
4.5 Advanced • Fully master various technologies and use them flexibly;
• Few unforced errors;
• Ability to return the ball under pressure.
5.0 Professional • No longer stick to specific movements and techniques;
• Can grasp the rhythm of the game;
• Ability to control ball placement, speed, and spin naturally.
5.5+ Master • Build a systematic understanding of pickleball theory and techniques;
• Frequently medaled in professional events.


How to choose the right Pickleball Racket?

According to the rules, the combined length and width of a pickleball paddle cannot exceed 24 inches (60.96 cm), of which the length cannot exceed 17 inches (43.18 cm). There is no limit to the thickness and weight of the racket, the general thickness is 10~16 mm, and the weight is 7~9 oz.

No one racquet fits all players. Consider the following parameters when choosing a racket:

• Weight: The heavier the Pickleball paddle, the more it can avoid the shock caused by hitting the ball, but the slower the swing, the higher the requirement for power. For beginners, unless you have a lot of strength, it is recommended to consider a racket within 8 oz (227 g).

• Center of gravity: The more forward the center of gravity, the greater the power of hitting the ball, but it is not easy to control, and the requirements for hand feel and force are higher. Beginners are advised to consider a moderate racquet.

• Handle length: Longer handles tend to mean a larger hitting range, but the swing is slower, and the requirements for feel and power are higher. Beginners are advised to choose a handle with a moderate length.

• Thickness of the handle: Thick handles are easier to exert force, but it is inconvenient to adjust the holding angle. For beginners, unless the hand is very large, it is recommended to choose a thinner handle.

• Face size: The larger the face, the larger the sweet spot and better forgiveness, but it tends to swing slower. The ratio of the sweet spot to the surface of the racket is an important indicator for examining the scientific and technological content of the racket. Beginners are advised to choose a racket with a larger surface.

• Thickness of the racket face: the thicker the racket face, the better the shock absorption when hitting the ball, and the larger the sweet spot tends to be. Beginners are advised to consider a racquet that is at least 14mm thick.

• Surface Roughness: The rougher the surface, the easier it is to rub against the ball to create spin, but in turn the more susceptible it is to being affected by ball spin. Beginners are advised to consider a surface with less friction.

Pickleball racquets used by professionals are usually slightly heavier racquets with a larger sweet spot - the area on the racquet's surface that can produce powerful shots without undue stress on their arms and wrists. They also look for a good balance of control and power, which means they need their racquets to have enough bounce to hit the ball deep in the court, but still feel nimble when they're at the net.

Vinsguir Pickleball Paddle, USA Pickleball Approved, Frosted Carbon Fiber Surface with Reinforced 16mm Polypropylene Honeycomb Core, Perforated Grip, Ideal for Novice and Professional Players.

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