“If it doesn’t scare you, you’re probably not dreaming big enough.”
Said businesswoman Tory Burch. And it is probably true. Pickleball is a unique and fun game that we all love very much. And if you’re on that scary path of aiming to be a pro at this, dreaming big, you probably want to know which types of pickleball paddles do the pros use.
To quench your interest and also to help you on your path I sat before my computer for hours and did some extensive research on what pickleball paddle the pros use.
I’ve then put together all the knowledge I’ve gathered in the following article, which will also help you to understand how the pros choose their paddles and what paddles should you choose.
The Paddle Dilemma
Before knowing what pickleball paddles are the pros using, I think you’d like to know the interesting history of the evolution of the paddles and how they posed a great dilemma.
Pickleball is a unique and fun game that has been gaining a lot of popularity in recent years. And this popularity swell hasn’t gone unnoticed by the business-people.
Since the game’s popularity soared, game equipment manufacturers began pushing their boundaries with the products by implementing new technologies, especially with paddles. The new paddles were being built mainly focused on speed and strength rather than finesse.
Some of the paddle structures were tweaked with an extra bouncy surface, to create a trampoline effect when the ball hits.
One reason why pickleball is so unique as a game is that the game was designed to maintain a level playing field for both young and old people. Basic aspects like the kitchen (non-valley zone), and the two-bounce rule make the game more about finesse and right touch rather than power and speed.
This ideology is why we have pro players like 53 years old Scott Moore and 14 years old Anna Leigh Waters.
The new paddles were going against this core ideology by giving the youngsters a power advantage. Noticing this, USAPA set some serious restrictions on the paddle’s design process by setting up a “Pickleball Paddle Deflection Test”.
Don’t worry. This regulation didn’t stand in the way of paddle makers being versatile and creative.
What Are Pros’ Pickleball Paddles Made of?
To grasp what pickleball paddles do the pros use and why they use them, you should have a basic understanding of what they’re made of. Paddle makers fundamentally choose from 3 types of core materials and 4 types of surface materials for crafting paddles.
And finding out which combo of materials complements your playstyle the most is important as they all have their benefits as well as handicaps.
Let’s take a deeper look at the surface materials and cores and how they’ll affect your play.
These paddles are also known as composite paddles. Doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie or a pro, this type of paddle could be the right pick for you.
Fiberglass paddles are a little heavy, which enables them for excellent power shots. The ‘glass’ part in the name may confuse you, but the paddle surface is actually comparatively soft and coarse.
And this soft, coarse texture allows the ball to stay on the paddle for more time, which lets the player provide excellent spin to the ball. Paddletek Bantam Ex-L, Engage Encore 6.0, Selkirk Amped S2 are some top pickleball paddles used by pros that are made of fiberglass.
One handicap that fiberglass paddle users face is faster material degradation. The sweet spot is also not that big.
To be a little technical, graphite is a form of carbon where carbon atoms are layered as a hexagonal sheet. It is very lightweight but robust, making it an excellent candidate to craft paddles with.
Graphite paddles have extra slim and stiff surfaces that help the player to understand the feel as the ball hits. This feel enables better aim, control, and use of sweet spots.
For being very lightweight, these paddles will relieve you from arm fatigue. Technically, it should be a good choice for casual players, but low-priced graphite paddles are not well-crafted and often show issues of miss-hits.
It’s a perfect choice, to begin with, if you’re a newbie, but you might consider an upgrade later.
Graphite paddles are not made for spin, so most pros don’t prefer them. For having a very thin surface, they have a high chance to get damaged if dropped.
Carbon Fiber Paddles
When the question arises, what pickleball paddles do most pros use, the answer is going to be Carbon Fiber and Composite. Even though they’re both thin and robust, carbon fiber paddles are very distinct from the graphite ones because of a certain deflation the CF ones provide, and also, they have a sweet spot larger than any other type.
These paddles are the all-rounders in the business because they aid both power and control playstyle with certain deflation. Some paddles are designed to provide excellent spin too.
The versatility and fine control of the paddles make them many pros’ first choice. Titan Pro, Franklin Viper are some of the carbon-faced paddles that pros use.
Carbon fiber paddles will improve your game and complement your skill. But remember they are very pricy as well.
Wooden paddles are tied to the genesis of the game pickleball, as they are the very first paddle this game was played with. These paddles are still convenient to date for casual players and beginners as they are cheap and easy to make.
These paddles are the heaviest among all, so there isn’t much of a feel for the player. Even for a beginner, I personally won’t recommend a wooden paddle if you want to get better at the game. You can get a graphite paddle at a relatively low price that will both help you get good at the game and enjoy it very much.
Paddle cores are the next most important things that’ll affect your playstyle and feel for the game. When the ball hits the paddle surface, an overall feel that includes sounds, affects the player. For a pro player, the feel has to be perfect.
And this feel heavily depends on the core of the paddle. Honeycomb core means hexagonal-shaped air cavities inside the paddle, which makes it lightweight.
But most pros are going for polymer core now as they give a light soft feel, high power impact but with a solid sense of touch. Aluminum core paddles are also popular despite being heavy, as they contribute to the control factor of the paddle.
What to Consider Before Choosing a Paddle
Maybe you’re a beginner or a long-time casual player, if you wish to improve your game, there are a few things to consider first before buying a paddle.
Feel & Style
Now, this may sound vague, but feel is the most important factor when it comes to choosing your paddle. Pro players always advise that one should pick the paddle that he enjoys the overall feel of it. Rather than focusing on specs, check if your paddle goes with your playstyle and liking before choosing.
You don’t want to get arm fatigue after just a light pickleball session. But if your paddle is heavy, this will be a regular thing. Heavy paddles also reduce control.
Get a paddle that is lightweight and effortless to swing but not at sacrifice of too much power. Find the sweet spot between the two for yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
Remember it’s not all about the paddle. A paddle designed for pros will definitely give you an extra edge but you’ll need to push your skill and playstyle to the limit as well.
Before buying, don’t just focus on what pickleball paddle do the pros use. Rather prioritize your feel and comfort before anything else. And one more thing, stay away from wooden paddles.