When you are first starting out as a pickleball player, you may have just used a shared paddle from your local group or club. Some new players borrow a friends, but things have changed with Covid19. Everyone should be making sure they play safe now so they can enjoy the game and limit risk.
In our area, we set up a pop up store courtside and let players try before they buy, www.thirdshotdrop.ca. If you are a club anywhere near Kingston, Ontario, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a visit from our store to your group. If you do not live near us, then ask around your group. There may be a local player or store that comes to the courts and sets up with demo paddles like we do.
I bought my first pickleball paddle in Hilton Head Island South Carolina and while it did the job, I had no way to try it out. Eventually I decided to get into the business myself and offer up demo paddles. When buying a paddle you want to make sure the grip is comfortable. You also want a paddle that is not too heavy when you swing, and not too light. Your paddle is your most important decision when you play.
Grip or handle size. You want to find a paddle with a grip that feels good in your hand. Not too small where your fingers are bunching up. Not too large where you cannot get your whole hand around it.
A grip that is too big can fly out of your hand while you are playing. This could cause injury to you or another player. The positive of a large grip is you should experience more stability. A smaller sized grip is good for putting a little wrist into your shots, and gives you more control and spin.
The last point I will mention is about the actual grip. Some grips have little holes in them which allows your hand to breathe. Some do not have this, but offer a very comfortable padded feel. You can also change your grip whenever you like. If you are playing 2-3x a week, you may want to change out your grip every few months. You will notice the difference. You can do it yourself by going on Youtube and following an easy instructional video. If you need to buy a grip, you can usually find one at your local racquet store. If you live in our area, Kingston and surroundings, we sell grips.
For weight, a light paddle traditionally would be between 6.9 ounces to about 7.3 ounces. A lighter paddle offers you more control on your shots but obviously not as much power. A heavier paddle offers more pace on the ball when you hit it, but not as much control. Keep in mind a paddle that weighs more may result in elbow issues and bother your arm after a while, where it will feel tired.
I recommend a mid weight paddle from 7.5 ounces to maybe 8.1 ounces. I think you can also determine how heavy a paddle should be for you, by your height and weight. For example if you are a 6"4 individual weighing over 200 pounds, you will feel pretty comfortable with an 8.1-8.5 ounce paddle.
For most players I find they really like the Onix Graphite Z5 paddle. It has a medium grip and is a medium weight paddle. It has a wide body paddle face. It is USAPA approved, and comes in many colours. If you are in Canada and want to order, visit our site, and order. https://www.thirdshotdrop.ca/store/p99/z5graphitepaddlebestprice.html.
If you have a story about picking your first pickleball paddle, and want to share, let us know in the comment section. Hope you have a great day and have fun on the courts.
David Bussiere, www.thirdshotdrop.ca
David Bussiere is a player, an instructor, owner of a pickleball business, a marketing manager for one of the largest pickleball suppliers in the the world, formerly a morning radio host, a high level manager in finance, he now lives and breathes pickleball.