Players wear just about anything comfortable and appropriate for the climate: athletic shorts, sweatpants, wicking apparel, t-shirts, etc. Tennis-style dresses and skirts for females are common. Comfortable court shoes are a must; sneakers or running shoes do not supply the right kind of support for the side-to-side action inherent in pickleball. Eye protection is highly recommended. As for accessories, players may wear hats, visors, sweatbands and light jackets or sweatshirts for cold outdoor play.
When playing pickleball, each player will need a pickleball paddle, which is smaller than a tennis racquet but larger than a ping-pong paddle. Originally, paddles were made only from wood, however, today’s paddles have evolved dramatically and are primarily made of lightweight composite materials, including aluminum and graphite. Players will also need a net and a pickleball. The ball is unique, with holes through it like a whiffle ball. Different ball models are intended for indoor and outdoor play. Balls come in several colors, including white, yellow and green, but must be a single color to meet International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) specifications.
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Choosing the Right Pickleball
Choosing Your First Pickleball Paddle
The Three Most Important Things When Selecting a Pickleball Paddle
As you have probably found out, there are hundreds of types of Pickleball Paddles. Sorting out what paddle is best for you can be a bit overwhelming! The best way to narrow the choices is to try out various paddles, but for many of our customers that option is not available. So, here are three key considerations for everyone considering what pickleball paddle to purchase.
Good composite pickleball paddles start at $50. There are three categories of paddles – wood prices range from $13-$36, composite from $45-$125 and graphite from $60- $130. Note on wood paddles – Wood paddles are the least expensive, however they are super heavy paddles with a solid plywood core. They don’t provide the wonderful pickleball POP that players love. After playing with the wood paddles and testing out other players’ composite paddles, our customers often call us to place a second order for a composite or graphite paddle. If you’re new to pickleball and looking for your first paddle, go for an inexpensive composite or graphite paddle right away.
Weight is the most important factor when choosing a paddle. Pickleball paddles can range from 6 to 14 ounces. Most composite or graphite paddles weigh from 6 to 9 ounces. Weight influences how a paddle feels when you pick it up and swing it on the court. For someone without pre-existing injuries, your choice of paddle weight is entirely up to your personal fitness level and comfort. A heavier paddle will help you to drive the ball, but will provide less control of the ball. However, be aware that the heaviness of the paddle also accelerates fatigue in your arm, and can strain your elbow. Conversely, a paddle that is too light may not provide enough drive but will increase ball control.
It is important to play with a paddle that has the correct grip circumference for your hand. Playing with a paddle grip that is too big may cause the paddle to slip in your hand and can lead to elbow problems. For this reason if you are trying to decide between two sizes, try the smaller size first.
Smaller grips allow for more wrist action, which aids in putting spin on the ball and enhances control. This wrist action also produces powerful serves, and facilitates quick hand changes for those players that switch hands during play. A larger grip will provide more stability, and be easier on your arm, so you can see that it is important to find the “just right” size for your hand.
Competitive pickleball players often customize their paddle grips using an over-grip to re-wrap their paddle exactly to fit their personal preference. Almost all paddle grip sizes are between 4 to 4 1/2 inches in circumference. Like tennis, pickleball grips are broken down into 1/8 inch increments. The most common grip sizes are 4 , 4 1/8, 4 1/4 and 4 1/2 inch circumference.