So, you want to start playing pickleball? Awesome, pickleball is such a great sport! It keeps you fit, it’s fun, and it helps you make new friends! However, do you find that when you start shopping around for the best pickleball paddle for beginners, the sheer number of options is overwhelming for you?
That’s where I come in. In today’s guide, we’ve put together the best beginner pickleball paddles. Unfortunately, there are many beginners who are using paddles that don’t suit them; this can really hinder how they play. Don’t worry, though; we’ve got you covered. All of these paddles are great for those just starting out; you don’t have to worry about making the wrong choice.
A Brief History of Pickleball
First, let’s quickly go over the history of pickleball. Like many of the world’s great inventions, pickleball accidentally came about. Former congressman and lieutenant governor Joel Pritchard invented the game with his friends Bill Bell and Barney McCallum one afternoon at Pritchard’s home on Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA.
The group wanted to play badminton but could not find the shuttlecock. So they improvised. Finding a perforated plastic ball, they lowered the net to ground level and fashioned some impromptu paddles from leftover plywood.
In other words, they created the game by stitching elements from several different games: hard paddles like ping-pong, played on a badminton court with a tennis-style net using a Wiffle ball. This Frankenstein approach gave the sport its name.
According to Joel Pritchard’s wife (Joan), she started calling the game pickleball because “the combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.”USApickleball.org
This earliest version of the game had no actual rules. It simply provided a means to hit a ball back and forth over the net. Little by little, the activity gained structure, eventually establishing rules that cobbled together tennis and ping pong elements with a few minor tweaks.
From those humble beginnings, the sport has grown into a worldwide phenomenon. It gained the most popularity in the US and Canada. Barney McCallum founded the first official pickleball company Pickle-Ball, Inc., in 1972, fashioning the first wooden paddles using a bandsaw in his basement.
By 1976, the sport had gained nationwide popularity in the US, with Tennis magazine publishing an article called “America’s newest racquet sport.” The first tournament took place that year in Washington and has only grown from there.
In 1984 the first official Pickleball association was formed with the express intent to organize and grow the game. Today the sport is not just a hobby but a staple of physical education curricula across North America. Courts have begun to crop up in Europe and Asia as well.
The Best Beginner Pickleball Paddles – Reviewed
Below you will find some of the best beginner pickleball paddles you can purchase today.
Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro
The Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro is a great paddle for adding spin to your shots. Adding spin to your shots can really take your game to the next level. So if you’re looking for a way to get a competitive edge, we really recommend this paddle because you’ll be able to achieve masterful spin and deadly speed.
This attractive-looking paddle makes speed a top priority. It utilizes smart response technology to ensure that every hit you make will be driven hard and fast without compromising control.
Another great thing about this paddle is its balance weight; it helps give shots some much-needed swiftness. The paddles’ high-performance grip ensures that even if you’re playing for a long period of time that you’ll never suffer from arm, elbow, or wrist fatigue.
TMPR Oculus XT
The TMPR Oculus XT is quickly becoming a popular paddle because TMPR is establishing itself as one of the leading paddle brands in the pickleball industry. The Oculus XT is one of the most versatile options from TMPR, which is a family-run business dedicated to creating the best pickleball paddles in the world.
The TMPR Oculus XT is overall a well-rounded paddle that balances both power and control perfectly. Thanks to its shape, which is a semi-large oval, it has a much larger sweet spot than most paddles you can purchase today. In addition, its core is made from high-quality honeycomb polymer, and the face is made from fiberglass. All of this combined gives you control and feel, which is entirely unmatched and will particularly benefit your soft game without sacrificing power.
The Oculus XT is recommended for players of any skill level and will most definitely reduce the number of uncontrolled edge hits, thanks to its large sweet spot.
The TMPR Oculus XT boasts TMPR’s impressive Sports handle vibration dampening technology. This is great for tennis elbow because it dramatically decreases the strain on your hands, arms, and elbows. It’s crucial that the pickleball paddle you’re using feels like an extension of your arm. With this pickleball paddle, the only limitation you have on the court is your own creativity.
This paddle is available in four different color options and two weights, 7.1 – 7.5 oz and 7.6 – 8.0 oz. This is great because you’re bound to find the right option for you! This paddle is USAPA approved, designed, and made in the US.
HEAD Radical Elite Pickleball Paddle
The HEAD Radical Elite Pickleball Paddle is a great entry-level option for players who are looking for a paddle that provides power. The paddle features HEAD’s dynamic power shape and weighs around 8.1 oz. However, since it’s an entry-level paddle, it doesn’t feature the Extreme Spin Technology. Don’t let that scare you off from this paddle, though; it’s a great option with power-packed features!
The paddle is incredibly sturdy. It not only looks professional but also delivers in all aspects as well. It’s amongst the most inexpensive paddles available to purchase today due to no fancy features. It just offers the user raw power. This paddle has an Ergo grip which helps dampen the vibration when playing.
Diller Pickleball Paddle Set
The Diller Pickleball Paddle Set is an excellent choice for those looking for a simple set that’s great for beginners. It’d be difficult for an absolute beginner pickleball player to find a more ideal pickleball paddle set. These pickleball paddles are wooden, which I would like to mention is not ideal for intermediate to pro players. The exact wood that these paddles are made from is a seven-ply hardwood. You’d think that would be heavy, right? Wrong! Their weight is perfect for a beginner player that is not familiar with pickleball paddles.
The paddles were made with cushion grips to offer a comfortable hold and steadiness. A feature that isn’t necessary but I find fantastic for those new to the sport is the wrist straps. It gives peace of mind to someone who is new to playing and ensures the paddle won’t go flying out of your hand when you hit the ball.
Speaking of balls, this set comes with four bright green pickleball balls. These pickleball balls are definitely meant to be used indoors, so if you’re looking for a set that comes with outdoor balls, then this is not the right set for you. However, this wooden pickleball paddle set has everything you need to learn the game’s ins and outs and get started. It truly is a beginner’s best bet.
Features to Keep in Mind
Here are some other features you should keep in mind as you search for the right pickleball paddle for you.
If there’s one vital feature that you should pay attention to, it’s definitely weight. Weight determines how the paddle feels when you’re holding it, and it affects how well you swing and control the ball.
Pickleball paddles can range significantly in this area, from anywhere from six to fourteen ounces. Lightweight paddles are those under 7.3 ounces, while medium ranges from 7.3 ounces to 8.4 ounces. Anything over 8.5 is considered heavy.
We recommend holding different models to get an idea of what feels good in your hand.
Every pickleball player’s goal is to take accurate, controlled shots, and finding the right grip is paramount to achieving that goal.
There is some debate about long vs. short grips. You’ll hear that longer grips offer more stability while shorter grips deliver greater control. But in our humble opinion, the grip should be neither too long nor too short. For most people, a good rule of thumb is that it is roughly the same size as your palm and comfortable to hold.
The paddle’s width is another feature to consider, as it influences how well you can hit the sweet spot. In most cases, paddle width should not exceed twenty-four inches.
Some pickleball paddles have edge guards or protection for the edge of the paddle against chips and damage. Most people prefer medium-sized edge guards, though others go with large sizes, which increase the hitting surface. The trade-off with large edge guards is that the pickleball paddle’s weight increases, which may or may not be something you want.
Frequently Asked Questions
When looking for the best beginner pickleball paddles, you may have a few questions. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or have some pickleball experience. You should learn as much as you can about paddles.
Here are some common paddle questions.
How Long Do Paddles Last?
The lifespan of a paddle depends on the materials and construction. If the paddle’s interior is thin and the exterior is too smooth, your paddle may not be good for long-term use. However, it can be good to get you started.
You should also consider that the area between the paddle and the handle is crucial. That can be a weak spot on a lot of paddles, and that can cause your paddle to break even when the surface is still usable.
If possible, feel the paddle and inspect the edges and the handle. Then, you can determine if it’s durable enough to last through many games.
What Paddles Give You More Power?
Heavier paddles have the most power. While lightweight paddles can be easier to hold and maneuver, they won’t be as strong.
You can also look for super-heavy-weight paddles for even more power. But if you just need an average amount of that, you can get a medium-weight paddle.
What Paddles Offer More Control?
While a larger paddle is more powerful, you may sacrifice control. Smaller and lighter paddles are better for players who need to respond quickly in a game.
You should look for a lightweight or medium-weight paddle for more control. A smaller head can help reduce the overall weight, so you can have more control over your shots.
Can a Good Paddle Help a Beginner?
Many things can help beginner pickleball players, and the right gear is essential. You don’t need the most expensive paddle, but you do need a good-quality one that won’t break the first time you use it.
As a beginner, you may want to start with a lighter paddle. While it won’t be as powerful, it won’t strain your wrist. Once you start playing more, you can decide if you want a heavier, more powerful paddle.
How Should You Hold Your Paddle?
While playing, try to keep your paddle near your chest. That will help improve your reaction time, so you can make more shots early on.
You should also consider stretching before you play. Many pickleball injuries are preventable by warming up. Start by walking or jogging around the court, then stretch out your wrists and arms to help avoid fatigue.
Make sure your paddle feels comfortable and secure in your hand. If the handle feels too short, you may not have the best pickleball paddle for you. It shouldn’t feel like you have to strain to hold the paddle securely.
Pickleball is a unique sport that is more accessible to a broader audience than other forms of exercise. This sport combines elements from badminton, tennis, and ping-pong in an easy-to-understand manner. This makes it suitable for those in a wheelchair, mature adults, and families with members of all ages.
Hopefully, “The Best Beginner Pickleball Paddles: Part 2” helped you find the right pickleball paddle for you. All of the options listed above are excellent options, so you don’t have to worry about picking the wrong one. Pick the one that fits your needs and preferences. Do you have a pickleball paddle already or are you buying one for the first time? If you do have one, which is it, and what do you think of it? Please let us know in the comments below; we’d love to hear from you!
Looking for more? Here are some other articles I put together:
- The Best Pro Pickleball Paddles
- Indoor vs. Outdoor Pickleball Paddles
- The Best Pickleball Paddles for Women
- Composite vs. Graphite Pickleball Paddles
- Can You Play Pickleball on a Tennis Court?
- Best Pickleball Paddle for Beginners
- Pickleball Strategy – Advanced
- What Is the 2 Bounce Rule in Pickleball?
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- The Best Women’s Pickleball Shoes
- The Best HEAD Pickleball Paddles
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- Men’s Pickleball Shorts
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