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Get Ready to Play: Your Guide to Choosing the Best Pickleball Equipment

Published on
Jo Vos
April 5, 2023

If you're just getting into pickleball, the array of equipment choices can be daunting. Do you need a pickleball paddle? What about a pickleball net? And what in the world is a pickleball ball? This guide will help make choosing the best pickleball gear easy for beginners. We'll start with the basics - paddles, and balls - and then move on to more specialized equipment like nets and court surfaces. So whether you're just starting out or are looking for an upgrade, read on for everything you need to know about picking the perfect pickleball equipment. 

The Basics of Pickleball Equipment For Beginners 

If you're just starting out in pickleball, the various items of equipment that you need can be a bit overwhelming. We’ve put together this guide to help get you started and set you up with all the essentials.

To play pickleball, each player needs a paddle, balls and a net system. The paddles are usually made of wood or composite material and have an oval-shaped hitting surface that's covered with graphite or fiberglass for extra power. You'll also find plenty of sizes, weights and designs available on the market these days – so it's important to choose one according to your playing style.

When it comes to balls, there are three main types: hard plastic, foam and composite. Each type has its own advantages – for example, hard plastic balls are great for outdoor games because they can handle windy conditions, while foam balls are excellent for indoor courts as they are quieter and cause less damage to the walls or floors.

Finally, pickleball nets come in various sizes and heights – with regulation height set at 34 inches (86 cm). It's important to get a net that is an appropriate size for your court or playing area so you can maximize your playtime without having any distractions from other players.

That sums up all the basics of pickleball equipment. Once you've got all the essential items sorted out, you'll be able to focus more on improving your skill and playing with confidence.

Paddles - What to Consider When Choosing a Pickleball Paddle

Now that you've decided to get into pickleball, you need to invest in the right equipment. Your paddle is the most important piece of gear in your arsenal and can make or break your game. Here's what you should consider when choosing a pickleball paddle:

  1. Weight - The weight of the paddle will affect how it feels in your hand and how much control you have over it while playing. Typically, paddles range from 6 ounces to 12 ounces; beginners may want a slightly lighter paddle, while experienced players may prefer something a bit heavier for more power behind their shots.
  1. Grip size - Paddle grips come in different sizes ranging from 4 inches to 5 inches. A good rule of thumb is to make sure your grip size feels comfortable in your hand. For example, if you have smaller hands, then a 4-inch grip may fit better than a 5-inch one.
  1. Material - Paddles are made from several materials such as graphite, aluminum, wood, and composite. It's important to note that the material affects how fast the ball moves off the paddle when hit. Graphite paddles tend to be lighter but also more expensive; aluminum paddles are heavier and less expensive, while wood paddles may provide good control but require more maintenance over time.
  1. Head shape - Pickleball paddles come in two different head shapes: teardrop and perforated. The teardrop shape provides a larger sweet spot for more power, while the perforated shape offers more control. The choice between them is largely a matter of preference, however, it's important to note that both shapes have their own advantages and disadvantages.
  1. Price - Finally, you'll need to consider your budget when choosing a pickleball paddle. Paddles can range in price from around $20 to over $200; if you're just starting out, don't feel obligated to purchase an expensive paddle right away; instead, look for something inexpensive but reliable until you get a better idea of what type of paddle suits your playing style best.

By keeping these factors in mind when shopping for a pickleball paddle, you'll be able to make an informed decision and find a paddle that will help you take your game to the next level.

Nets and Surfaces - What to Consider When Choosing a Pickleball Nets and Surfaces

When choosing a pickleball net and surface, there are a few things to consider. The type of net and surface you choose will impact the quality of your game significantly. Here's what you should keep in mind when selecting nets and surfaces for pickleball:

Durability - Pickleball is played hard, so it’s important to make sure any nets or surfaces you choose can stand up to wear and tear over time. Look for nets made from durable materials like heavy-duty steel or aluminum, as well as surfaces that are designed with anti-chipping technology.

Portability - If you plan on taking your pickleball set with you when traveling or to tournaments, you’ll want to make sure the nets and surfaces are lightweight and easy to carry. Look for sets that break down into pieces or come with carrying bags, so you can easily transport them from one location to the next.

Weather-resistance - Playing outdoors can be a great way to enjoy pickleball, but it also means having to deal with inclement weather. Make sure any nets and surfaces you choose are designed to stand up against rain, wind, snow, and sun damage.

Cost - Prices will vary depending on the quality of materials used in the netting or surface material. Take some time to compare different products in your price range before making your final decision.

Numbers of players - Finally, take some time to assess the needs of your playing group. Think about how many players you’ll be accommodating and what type of game they’re looking to play. That way, you can choose nets and surfaces that are up for the challenge!

What to Wear for Gameplay

Choosing the right clothing for pickleball is essential for both comfort and freedom of movement during the game. Opt for breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics that help regulate body temperature and ensure ease of movement. Our tips: 

  1. Choose moisture-wicking and breathable fabrics to keep you comfortable during play.
  2. Wear clothes that allow for easy movement, such as shorts or skirts and a comfortable shirt or tank top.
  3. Hats or visors are recommended for outdoor play to protect against sun exposure.
  4. Don't forget to wear sunscreen and sunglasses if you're playing outdoors.

Shoes - The Best Shoes to Support Your Game

Wearing the proper shoes for pickleball is vital for providing the necessary support, stability, and comfort during gameplay. Court sports shoes, such as tennis or volleyball shoes, are ideal for pickleball due to their specific design features.

  1. Look for shoes specifically designed for court sports, such as tennis or volleyball shoes, as they provide the necessary lateral support and stability.
  2. Ensure the shoes have non-marking soles to avoid damaging the court surface.
  3. Proper cushioning and arch support are crucial for preventing injuries and providing comfort.
  4. A good fit is essential – shoes should be snug but not too tight, allowing for adequate toe room.

With these tips in mind, you’ll have no trouble getting set up for the game and you'll be better prepared to play well. As a result, you'll enjoy a more comfortable, enjoyable, and competitive pickleball experience. See you on the court! 

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