So, You Want to Play Pickleball? Let’s Talk Beginner Paddles!

Hey there, pickleball enthusiast! You’ve probably heard about this fantastic sport that’s gaining popularity all around the world. Maybe you’ve even dabbled in a game or two with friends or family. If you’re still quite new to the scene and looking to up your game with some proper gear, then this blog post is perfect for you. We’ll be talking about beginner paddles – the essential piece of equipment every pickleball player needs in their arsenal.

But where do you start? With so many paddle options on the market, it can feel overwhelming to figure out which one is right for you as a beginner. Don’t worry; we’re here to help! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about choosing the best beginner pickleball paddle. From materials and construction styles to grip sizes and price points – we’ve got all your questions covered.

So strap yourself in and get ready for an exciting journey into the world of pickleball paddles!

What Is Pickleball?

Before diving into paddles themselves, let’s quickly go over what makes pickleball such an addictive sport. A unique blend of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong elements creates a fast-paced game that people of all ages can enjoy.

Played on a court similar in size to a badminton court but with specific dimensions (20′ x 44′), players use solid paddles made from various materials like wood or composite materials (more on that later!) combined with a perforated plastic ball called a “pickleball” (or wiffle ball). The objective of the game? Score points by hitting the ball over a net onto your opponent’s side while adhering to certain rules regarding serving and volleying.

Now that we have a basic understanding of pickleball let’s dive into the paddles!

Materials Matter: A Look at Paddle Construction

When it comes to beginner pickleball paddles, you’ll find they’re made from three primary materials: wood, composite, and graphite. Each material has its unique characteristics that make it better suited for specific playing styles or skill levels.

Wood Paddles

Wood paddles are the OGs of pickleball – after all, the sport was invented in 1965 with makeshift wooden equipment! They remain a popular choice for beginners because of their low cost and durability. However, they tend to be heavier than other types of paddles (weighing around 10-12 ounces), which can lead to fatigue during long playing sessions.

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Heavier than other paddle types
  • Less control and power compared to composite or graphite models

Composite Paddles

These paddles are constructed using a combination of materials – typically a polymer honeycomb core sandwiched between layers of fiberglass or carbon fiber. This construction provides excellent durability while also offering a lighter weight than wood options (7-9 ounces). Composite paddles strike a balance between power and control, making them an excellent choice for beginners looking to invest in something slightly more advanced.

Pros:

  • Mid-range price point
  • Good balance of power and control
  • Durable

Cons:

  • More expensive than wood models
  • Slightly heavier than graphite options

Graphite Paddles

Graphite paddles are considered top-of-the-line when it comes to performance. With their lightweight construction (usually around 6.5 – 8 ounces), these high-quality paddles offer incredible responsiveness and control while still providing ample power on your shots. If you’re looking for the best possible performance as a beginner player without breaking the bank too much, then this is definitely worth considering.

Pros:

  • Lightweight for maximum control and maneuverability
  • Excellent power and performance

Cons:

  • Expensive compared to other paddle types
  • Not as budget-friendly for beginners

Paddle Weight: Finding the Perfect Balance

As we’ve touched on above, different materials result in varying paddle weights. But why does this matter? Paddle weight can significantly impact your gameplay by influencing control, power, and overall fatigue levels during a match.

Heavier paddles (9+ ounces) tend to provide more power but less control, while lighter models (7 ounces or less) offer better maneuverability at the cost of reduced force behind each swing. This means finding the right balance between weight and performance is crucial for a beginner player.

A good starting point is to consider your own physical strength and stamina. If you’re stronger or have played racket sports before, you might find heavier paddles more comfortable. On the other hand, if you’re new to these kinds of sports or perhaps have limited upper body strength due to age or injury, it’s best to start with a lighter option.

For most beginners, we recommend choosing a paddle within the 7 – 8.5 ounce range – giving you an ideal mix of control and power without causing unnecessary fatigue.

Grip Size: Get a Handle on Your Game

Another essential aspect when choosing your first pickleball paddle is grip size. The wrong grip can lead not only to discomfort but also negatively affect your playing performance.

Grip sizes typically range from 4″ – 4 1/2″, with some variations depending on manufacturers’ measurements. To find the right fit for your hand, measure from the middle crease of your palm up to the tip of your ring finger – this will give you an approximate idea of what size would suit you best.

If possible, it’s always worth trying out different grips in person before making a decision; however, if that’s not feasible due to location or other restrictions, then using the measurement method above should help guide your choice.

Price: Finding Your Perfect Paddle Match Without Breaking the Bank

As with any sport, there’s a wide range of price points when it comes to pickleball paddles. As a beginner, you might be hesitant to invest too much in equipment before knowing if you’ll love the game long-term. That’s completely understandable!

Luckily, there are plenty of affordable options for those just starting in pickleball – especially if you opt for wood or composite models. You can find decent wood paddles for as low as $15 – $20 and good-quality composite paddles starting around $40 – $60.

Graphite paddles tend to be pricier due to their advanced materials and performance capabilities but remember that investing in a quality paddle can significantly impact your gameplay and enjoyment of the sport. If budget allows, it may be worth considering spending a bit more on a graphite model within the $70 – $100 range.

Ultimately, only you know what kind of investment feels right for you at this stage of your pickleball journey – just keep in mind that spending slightly more now may save money down the line by not needing to upgrade as quickly once your skills improve.

Our Top Picks for Beginner Pickleball Paddles

So now that we’ve covered all the essential aspects to consider when choosing your first pickleball paddle let’s look at some specific recommendations! Here are three beginner-friendly options we think hit all the right marks:

  1. Amazin’ Aces Classic Wood Pickleball Set
  • Budget-friendly option
  • Durable plywood construction
  • Cushioned grip
  • Includes two balls
  1. Upstreet Composite Pickleball Paddle
  • Mid-range price point
  • Polymer honeycomb core with fiberglass face
  • Balanced weight distribution (8 oz)
  • Comfortable cushioned grip
  1. Gamma Sports NeuCore Pickleball Paddle
  • Graphite option for those willing to invest more
  • Textured graphite face for added control
  • Large, forgiving sweet spot
  • Honeycomb grip for reduced slipping

Closing Thoughts

Phew, you made it through our comprehensive guide to choosing your first pickleball paddle! We hope this post has provided you with valuable insight into the different materials, weights, and grip sizes available on the market.

Remember that everyone’s preferences will differ – what works best for one person might not suit another player. The most important thing is to find a paddle that feels comfortable in your hand and matches your desired playing style.

Now that you’re armed with all this knowledge go forth and conquer the world of pickleball! Have fun exploring this fantastic sport, making new friends along the way, and discovering just how enjoyable it can be to wield your very own beginner pickleball paddle. Happy swinging!