Springtime is upon us, which means only one thing — it’s time to shout “Pickle!” and give your buddies the most epic ace serve they’ve ever seen!
But if you’re going to do that, you’ll need the right tool for the job; meaning a pickleball paddle that matches your:
If you’re not an aficionado of pickleball paddles, it can be difficult to pick the right one; heck, even some of the most avid picklers aren’t familiar with the intricacies of their paddles. Are you unsure if a “Nomex core” is something that belongs on a pickleball court or a Star Trek episode?
Don’t worry — we’ll fill you in on all of the stuff you’ll need to know to create a custom pickleball paddle
Customizing your pickleball paddle allows you to create the game’s “ultimate weapon” — a paddle that’s uniquely suited to you. While there are great premade paddles, there’s always a certain aspect of them that you have to get used to; while a custom pickleball paddle is hand-crafted specifically for you.
When you start designing your paddle, you need to start from its core — quite literally. There are three types of cores you can pick from:
Paddles with aluminum cores feature lighter weight and more versatility — they’re most renowned for their impeccable “touch”. In simpler terms, this paddle will give you a slight edge in terms of ball control and maneuverability; due to the aluminum’s lighter weight and the paddle’s soft rebound.
When it comes to touch shots and third drop shots, aluminum paddles are reigning champs. However, they dent more easily, which is why hard hitters tend to avoid them.
Generally speaking, polymer composite cores are most widely used on the pickleball court. They provide the perfect middle ground between power and touch — giving you enough control without having to sacrifice strength.
If you’re looking for the best pickleball paddles for kids, you’ll find that quality youth paddles are mostly made from polymer composite cores. Their superior balance means that they’re perfect for kids’ practice.
Nomex is a synthetic fiber material with a wide range of applications — one of which is pickleball paddles as well. This is another popular material for paddle cores, as it’s incredibly resistant to damage; providing you with ample opportunities for hard-hitting aces. Players that rely on strength often pick a Nomex honeycomb core due to its consistency and durability. Though, they’re not ideal for pace control, considering the swiftness with which the balls pop off this kind of paddle.
Pickleball is a sport deeply imbued with uniqueness as its core value. Its half-century history is filled with players from all walks of life — and its origin as a special combo of elements from other sports only adds to the game’s quirky nature.
That’s why having a unique pickleball paddle of your own is definitely in line with the spirit of the sport. And sure, you can pick the different practical elements of the paddle to create the perfect one all day long; but once the game begins, no one is likely to notice that but you.
However, when you roll onto the court with your very own custom pickleball paddle that has a unique design; that’s a completely different ballgame! Okay, it’s the same ballgame — but your paddle will be cooler.
Third Shot Drop lets you pick from a variety of custom paddle faces — from zany comic-like graphics to different country flags. And you can even upload a custom photo yourself if you want to add an even more personal touch.
Generally, a pickleball paddle may seem lighter than a tennis racket — but they’re actually about the same average weight. And make no mistake; the weight of your pickleball paddle has a great effect on how you’ll play the game.
That’s another reason why a custom pickleball paddle is a great choice — you can combine the right materials, the adequate weight, and the best-fitting handle shape and circumference for the most ergonomic and comfortable grip.
Lighter paddles are best suited for touch players — they provide the best level of control, and they improve your response time near the net. People that transition into pickleball from ping pong usually go with lighter paddles, because they’re used to the “wristy” movement in that sport.
However, that’s not ideal for all players — you need to be ready for the additional stress and vibration that your elbow will experience with lighter paddles. Also, weight isn’t just a factor for your playstyle; you also need to choose the best weight according to your physique. For example, children will start with a lighter youth paddle for obvious reasons.
Midweight paddles will give you a decent combination of control and power. You’ll be able to achieve powerful serves without losing control while dinking at the net. Also, people suffering from tennis elbow often find midweight paddles to be a better fit because your elbow does less work than with lighter paddles — and they don’t have the added weight of heavier paddles that fatigue you over time either.
If you think your advantage lies in power more than in control — a heavier paddle is the right fit for you. We’re talking about paddles weighing up to 9.5 ounces; anything more than that is used very rarely, and those are usually made out of wood.
Still, a heavy paddle can be great if swing speed isn’t your best asset; though you need to be ready to handle the fatigue that comes with all of that added mass. People who play singles like heavier paddles, though — drop shots and dinks aren’t as important there, and it plays more like tennis singles.
One of the biggest mistakes that beginner picklers make while buying their paddles is disregarding their perfect grip size. While you may shrug off an uncomfortable grip when you’re trying out the paddle for the first time — you’ll soon realize that it’s a constant nuisance.
Of course, there’s no right or wrong handle shape or size; it all depends on the grip circumference that’s the best fit for your hand. People that buy the wrong grip size usually re-wrap their paddles — but if you go with a custom pickleball paddle from the start, you’ll get something specifically tailored for your hands.
And getting a paddle with a larger grip can be a huge issue if that’s not the right size for you; it will constantly slip and strain your elbow. That’s why you should try out a smaller grip first and see if it suits you.
If it does, you’ll be able to get more powerful serves without tiring yourself out — and a smaller grip allows you to switch hands more easily if you’re a player that does that. On the other hand, a larger grip will give you more stability; but ultimately, it’s your hand size that counts the most.
For people who don’t have much experience buying or designing custom pickleball paddles — if you’re struggling to decide between two sizes, you’ll likely be better off with the smaller one.
These days, you can choose between a variety of surface materials for your pickleball paddles. However, one of the best parts about getting a custom paddle from Third Shot Drop is the fact that you can combine any sort of weight, grip, core, or design with a carbon fiber surface!
This is the most cutting-edge stuff when it comes to paddle surface materials; advanced picklers can get an insane amount of control with a paddle that’s got a carbon fiber weave over a honeycomb core. Of course, you can still design your paddle with a composite or graphite surface — but you shouldn’t miss out on this chance either.
We can go into even more details about what kind of playstyle goes with each type of paddle. But at the end of the day, there are no strict rules. And that’s why getting a custom paddle from Third Shot Drop is a great idea — you can go with your gut and create a paddle that will be your best fit, regardless of what anyone else says! Go with your feeling, and you won’t be wrong.