All of the paddles you see listed below are great for pickleball players of all skill levels. So are you ready to start playing pickleball without pain? This guide will help you find the best paddles for players with tennis elbow and help you understand what the best options are for you.
Pickleball is a game that is social, friendly, and fun! The rules of the game are simple and easy for beginners to learn. However, don’t let this simple description fool you. Once you get the hang of playing, games can quickly turn into fast-paced, competitive games.
Pickleball is a combination of badminton, tennis, and ping-pong, so it shouldn’t be surprising to you that you play with a paddle. Pickleball paddles are a racquet that is used to hit a ball. Therefore, you need to have the best pickleball paddle for you if you want to have the best returning and serving experience. Pickleball paddles range in size, shape, and weight, but you should always focus on finding the right fit for you. For example, it can be hard to find a paddle if you experience pickleball elbow because certain weights and how paddles are balanced can make it worse. That’s why I’ve put together a list of the best paddles for players with tennis elbow.
A Brief History of Pickleball
Like many of the world’s great inventions, pickleball came about by accident. 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 instead, they lowered the net to ground level and fashioned some impromptu paddles from leftover plywood.
In other words, they created the game by stitching together 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.”
This earliest version of the game had no actual rules and 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, gaining 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 it 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.
Are you looking for more information on what pickleball is? Then, check out our guide, What Is Pickleball?
What Are The Benefits Of This Sport, And Why Is It So Popular?
Many benefits have contributed to the popularity of pickleball.
It has unique rules
For starters, pickleball has unique rules when compared to other sports. For example, a team can only score while serving, and teammates have to switch their positions every time they score. Also, to win, you must score 11 points and be ahead of the opposing team by at least two points. You also have to serve underhand.
It’s great for all ages
Pickleball is one of the few sports where players of vastly different ages can play against one another.
Pickleball takes place on a small court, so there isn’t much ground to cover while playing. It is, therefore, accessible to old and young people alike.
Seniors like it because they don’t have to move around much while playing, but they still improve balance and coordination and get an excellent workout.
The game can also be very intense and require hand-eye coordination and quick reflexes. It also rewards players who are good at strategy and finesse.
It’s great for socializing
Pickleball allows people to socialize. There are many leagues and tournaments in different cities, and the community is one of the friendliest and most welcoming of all recreational sports. The court is also small enough that it’s easy to have a conversation during play.
Pickleball leagues can serve as a means to connect with people if you move to a new neighborhood or just need to pick up a new hobby.
You’ll find that, while games can get competitive, the pickleball community is also very welcoming and willing to embrace newcomers and help them learn and understand the game.
It’s easy to learn
Pickleball is a straightforward game to learn. It’s not like tennis, which can take a while to learn. However, swinging a pickleball paddle is much easier than controlling a tennis ball with a racket.
It also has elementary rules that you can learn in less than an hour. Because of the similarities with other sports that you’ve probably tried already, it should only take a few minutes to pick up the fundamentals once you make it to the court.
Pickleball isn’t expensive to start. You can get a set for less than $35, and high-end paddles are much cheaper than pro-level tennis rackets. As the game gets popular, more and more places are also setting up courts where people can play. Tournaments are either free to enter or very cheap, and you don’t have to pay a lot, if anything, for court time (unlike tennis).
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow, also known as pickleball elbow, is a painful condition one develops when they do repetitive gripping activities, like gripping a racket while swinging. This is especially true for gripping activities that require you to use the first two fingers and thumb. Every pickleball and tennis player uses several muscle groups when playing. One of these groups revolves around the elbows.
The medical term for this condition is Lateral Epicondylitis. It’s a type of tendinitis, which is the swelling of tendons in the affected area. This swelling causes pain in the arm and elbow. These tendons are bands of tissue that connect the lower arm muscles to bone. This condition primarily arises at around age forty.
Check Out: The Truth About Tennis Elbow
This is definitely a video to check out. The info Jeff delivers here is very insightful.
Jeff Cavaliere worked with the New York Mets as an Assistant Strength Coach and Head Physical Therapist during the National League East Championship 2006, 2007, and 2008.
This video is helpful because it helps you better understand tennis elbow. In addition, this video will help you look at your pain from a different perspective. Instead of focusing on the actual pain, you’ll concentrate on questioning where the pain is originating from. When it comes to pickleball, most likely, your pain will be originating from overuse of the wrist.
What Causes Tennis Elbow?
There are many things that can cause tennis elbow, and it doesn’t strictly come from playing tennis. However, there is one cause that stands out against the rest because it’s one of the most common ways people get tennis elbow. Overuse. Sports that require rackets are commonly listed as causes for this, and it’s definitely safe to assume that those who play these sports are more vulnerable than others, but again, there are many things that cause tennis elbow.
Repetitive motion is the key thing to take away here. You can get tennis elbow without even playing any racquet sports. For example, people who have an office job and use a computer mouse for many hours, chefs who constantly have to chop with a knife, and even plumbers having to use wrenches.
Age is also a factor to take into consideration; as stated previously, tennis elbow is usually diagnosed in those around forty years old. To put all of this simply, the tendons and muscles around your elbow can quickly become inflamed if they’re performing a singular motion over and over again.
How to Prevent Tennis Elbow?
Now, you may be wondering how can I prevent tennis elbow? Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid tennis elbow. The very first thing you should do is check your current pickleball paddle. Next, you need to make sure that your paddle fits your hand correctly. Ensuring that you have the correct gear will minimize the risk. The grip size and weight of your paddle are the two main things you should be worried about.
You should call your doctor if you’re already suffering from pain in your arm, elbow, or hand. It’s essential to listen to your body and make sure to rest.
Limit How Much You Use Your Wrist
How you swing and how much you use your wrist can have a direct impact on tennis elbow. A lot of players rely on their wrist to add some snap to the ball, but this isn’t proper form. You want to get your power from your shoulder, not your wrist!
When you can, try practicing swinging from your shoulder and limit how much you use your wrist. Not only is this a more efficient way of swinging, but it will also put less stress on your forearm muscles, which will help you avoid overuse. This, in turn, reduces the chance of tennis elbow.
I want to advocate that it’s crucial to also warm up before you play pickleball. Getting your body ready to play can significantly decrease injury and tennis elbow. You can also regularly perform wrist exercises to help alleviate or prevent elbow pain. As a rule of thumb, you should warm up five to ten minutes before the game.
Use a Tennis Elbow Brace
This is not a permanent solution, but wearing a tennis elbow brace can help relieve any pain you’re having. While this is helpful to relieve pain, you should also be doing proper warm-ups and even do rehab exercises off the court to help improve your tennis elbow. This is so you hopefully will not have to rely on the tennis elbow brace in the future.
I would like to stress, though, that these can really help if you’re currently having pain. For example, I use the Kunto Fitness Elbow Brace Compression Support Sleeve when I’m experiencing pain from tennis elbow.
Get a Mid-Weight Paddle
Pickleball paddle weight is a huge issue. This is because paddles that weigh too much for you put extra stress on your arm. You may even notice that your muscles feel sore after using a heavier paddle. Sore muscles are the first symptom of tennis elbow.
You may be thinking, “Okay, so I should go for a lightweight paddle”? Not necessarily; this can actually make tennis elbow worse if you’re not careful. This is because lightweight paddles require you to swing the paddle with more force to get power behind the ball. This means when you try to hit the ball with a lightweight paddle, you may be increasing the shock and stress on your elbow, aggravating your tennis elbow.
The best solution for this is to go with a mid-weight paddle. What’s classified as a mid-weight paddle is tricky because some manufacturers define paddle weights differently. The ideal range for paddles for players with tennis elbow is 7.3 – 8.4 ounces. This weight will give you a good balance between strength and mobility without having to put a lot of stress on your muscles and tendons. Below you’ll find the best paddles for players with tennis elbow.
Best Paddles for Players with Tennis Elbow
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.
TOPP Reacher Graphite Blade
The TOPP Reacher Graphite Blade Pickleball Paddle is one of my favorites. It’s an upper-priced graphite pickleball paddle. This pickleball paddle is ideal for those who are looking for something that is both a lighter midweight paddle and workable.
The name of the paddle highlights the main feature of this paddle that stands out. Although it’s not a traditionally shaped pickleball paddle, it has an elongated body that does a great job at giving you access to those otherwise hard-to-reach shots. In addition, because of the long paddle frame, you will probably find that you have a much easier time returning shots that you might’ve otherwise not been able to return.
The paddle is made from graphite and has a very sturdy build, making the paddle very responsive. This means you can expect the production of an ideal combination of quiet, satisfying output and feel.
You may or may not know, but graphite pickleball paddles are very popular, and for good reason. There’s plenty to like about them, this one especially. However, I would like to mention that there is one con that you might want to look out for in the paddle. The paddle does cost significantly more than your average entry-level paddle.
I do believe it’s worth it, and unfortunately, you have to pay for quality, right? However, for serious players that don’t mind handing over a little bit of cash on the purchase, this will be a great option to consider!
Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro Pickleball Paddle
The Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro Pickleball Paddle is a fantastic choice for pickleball players of all skill levels, including pro players! The face of the paddle is made of graphite, which is excellent for delivering power with little swing! The graphite is also lightly textured so that the face bites into each return and gives the ball some spin.
The paddle is 15 ⅞ inches long and 8 inches wide. These dimensions mean that it’s a standard wide paddle. You may or may not know, but this is the most popular paddle size among pickleball players. This is because wide paddles like this have a sweet spot that is easy to locate and adjust to. This also helps with applying topspin or backspin to the pickleball ball!
This paddle weighs around 7.6-8 ounces, which means it’s a medium-weight paddle. However, I would like to mention that paddles can weigh up to 13 ounces, so 8 ounces is pretty light. With this weight, you won’t have to worry about developing swing fatigue early in the game. But, on the other hand, it’s not too light that you lose power when swinging.
Different Pickleball Paddle Features
The days of finding and using an old wooden ping pong paddle to play a game of pickleball are gone. Today’s pickleball paddles come in sizes, materials, and weights. It’s important to note that each of these features has some benefits as well as tradeoffs that you should be aware of.
Size is essential when it comes to pickleball paddles. This is because it affects how far you will need to stretch for the ball and the amount of jump the ball will have when it bounces off the face of the paddle. Choosing the right size depends entirely on your playing style and the type of grip you like.
In recent years, pickleball paddles have been made from different materials. Back when pickleball first started and up until a few years ago, a lot of pickleball models were made from wood. Wood is sometimes still used today, but it usually has some coating to help provide more durability, control, and impact on the ball.
However, players that are more advanced use paddles that are made from better materials like composite, graphite, and carbon fiber. These kinds of paddles also use better materials for the core, like Nomex, aluminum, and polypropylene.
Weight & Balance
Pickleball paddle weights can range significantly, anywhere from 6 ounces to 14 ounces. Pickleball paddles made from newer materials weigh around 6 to 9 ounces. It may seem like a few ounces wouldn’t make a huge difference, but you’d be surprised. You’ll definitely notice the difference those few ounces can make when you swing the paddle to hit the ball countless times during a match.
Balance is another essential feature of pickleball paddles. You may find that some pickleball paddles are heavier towards the top, while others are heavier towards the bottom by the grip. Paddles that are balanced offer equal weight distribution in the middle of the paddle.
I want to go over with you why balance is essential quickly. When you swing the paddle, the heavier side usually leads the shot. If the paddle is not balanced where you think it is, your shot may not go where you want it to. Don’t worry, though. It’s easy to check where a paddle is balanced. To check, lay your paddle horizontally over a few fingers. Wherever you place your fingers on the paddle and the paddle doesn’t tip shows where the center of the paddle is. If your fingers have to be placed at the top for this to happen, then the paddle is top-heavy. If your fingers are more toward the bottom of the paddle, then it’s bottom-heavy.
Frequently Asked Questions
When looking for the best pickleball paddle, 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. For example, if the paddle’s interior is thin and the exterior is too smooth, your paddle may not be suitable 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 that 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 to 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. On the other hand, it shouldn’t feel like you have to strain to hold the paddle securely.
Are Expensive Paddles Better?
While many expensive paddles are excellent quality, they aren’t always the best. Therefore, you should consider your current paddleball experience and your needs.
Sometimes, paddles are more expensive because they’re thicker and heavier. So if you want something lighter, you may prefer a more affordable option.
Now that you know about the best paddles for players with tennis elbow, hopefully, any questions you have are answered, and you’re now closer to figuring out what kind of pickleball paddle is right for you.
When it comes down to it, whether it’s graphite, composite, or wood, is not the most critical factor in picking out your paddle. Each has its benefits and drawbacks, and there are other factors that you also need to take into consideration.
The bottom line? Buy whatever paddle that feels right in your hands. I understand if you already have a specific model or brand in mind; it all comes down to a paddle that feels right for you and your skill level.
It’s crucial for you to be comfortable with your paddle; this is because the game is going to be much more enjoyable this way. Pickleball is quickly becoming the most popular sport in the country, and it’s a fun activity to pass the time or even grow to play professionally! Take your time and ask questions when picking out your paddle to be sure you get it right!
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?
- What is the Double Bounce Rule in Pickleball?
- Pickleball vs. Tennis, What is the Difference?
- The Best Women’s Pickleball Shoes
- The Best HEAD Pickleball Paddles
- Pickleball Serving Rules, Techniques, & Strategies
- Pickleball Volley Rules
- What is a Fault in Pickleball?
- Best Pickleball Paddle in 2021
- Men’s Pickleball Shorts
- Engage Pickleball vs. Onix Pickleball
- The Best Pickleball Shoes for Men
- Onix Pickleball