Pickleball is a racquet sport in which the players hit a perforated ball with a paddle, in any indoor or outdoor court. A new form of tennis, pickleball was invented in Washington state during the 1960s from the combination of ping-pong and tennis. According to the U.S.A. Pickleball, there are over 1 million pickleball players throughout the United States.
Pickleball is played with either one or two paddles and a perforated plastic ball. The court size varies from 20 x 40 ft for three-walled courts to 30 x 60 ft or 40 x 80 ft for four-walled courts; it also can be played outdoors on tennis courts. What makes pickleball unique is that it is an easy game to play, but difficult to master.
Types of Pickleball Paddles:
The best pickleball paddles are made with advanced materials, have a proper thickness and weight to allow for maximum speed and control, are aerodynamically shaped for vibration-dampening properties, have well-balanced perimeters that provide optimal grip without sacrificing reaction speed, are lightweight and durable, etc.
There are several types of pickleball paddles on the market:
- Graphite/Carbon Fiber
- Glass/Aramid Fiberglass ( Kevlar )
- Wood (Usually Maple Or Ash)
- Metal (Aluminum)
- Plastic (Polycarbonate)
Each material offers different benefits. For example, graphite/carbon fiber paddles are the lightest and most aerodynamic, which provides an edge in quick reaction time; metal paddles are strong but heavy.
Plastic paddles are durable and affordable, while wood is comfortable in the hand. Composite pickleball paddles are an excellent balance between the other types of paddle materials.
The average price for a paddle ranges from $25 to $250, depending on its material type. Most players will have two or three pickleball paddles to use during a game. New players can purchase a cheap paddle and replace it later as their skills improve and they move towards more competitive play.
Since the sport of pickleball has become so popular, many sporting goods manufacturers have also started to make pickleball paddles; there are now over 100 different brands to choose from!
If you do not want to use one of the premade paddles, you can also purchase a paddle kit at most big box stores; these kits will allow you to build your customized pickleball paddle.
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How Are Pickleball Paddles Made?
Pickleball paddles are made in factories by workers who specialize in different hand-crafted steps. First, the core material is cut into its proper form. The core can be made of different materials such as plastic for cheap paddles or graphite/carbon fiber for high-performance paddles .
The next step is to add the given amount of rubber coating to create an even layer on both sides of the paddle head. Some manufacturers may use a thin layer of grip on the rubber so it is not as slippery. A sheet of Teflon/polytetrafluoroethylene, a nonstick material, may be added to reduce friction when players play on different surfaces such as hardwood or concrete.
After the cloth side of the paddle is given its correct shape, the manufacturer will choose either a cut or printed design for the non-rubber side of the paddle. Paddles are dyed, then lacquered to protect its surface and reduce dampening during play.
The final step is to attach a handle, also made of various materials such as wood, rubberized plastic, or aluminum. The final product is then packaged for shipment.
Here is a Video Tutorial for Making Pickleball Paddle at Home: