Looking to stay up to date on the pickleball space and what the newest info is on paddles? We take a look at some of the latest developments in pickleball technology.
[Bonus Read: 47 Signs You're Obsessed With Pickleball]
Pickleball is no longer just a fun pastime for retirees, it's a full-blown sport that's taken the country and even world by storm! With its fast-paced action and addictive gameplay, it's no wonder why people are getting hooked.
And as the popularity of pickleball continues to grow, so does the demand for top-quality pickleball paddles. It's not a sport of wooden paddles anymore.
The paddle game has matured remarkably in recent times. Today, everyone wants a leg-up on the competition and nobody wants to be left in the dust with inferior equipment.
This article will dive into the latest trends in the pickleball paddle industry, and give you an inside look at the hottest trends that are shaping the sport in 2023. These concepts are drastically influencing the pickleball industry.
From new shapes and designs to newer technologies, these trends are sure to continue changing the sport at large.
Lightweight Materials and Design:
One of the biggest trends in the pickleball paddle industry is the use of lightweight materials to create paddles that are easy to handle and control. This trend is driven by players' desire to swing quicker and block quick shots better.
This concept is at odds with another trend: More players are using lead tape to augment their paddle's weight. Presently, many manufacturers are using carbon fiber, fiberglass, and other lightweight materials to create paddles that are light, yet don't sacrifice pop.
For example, one of the most popular paddles on the market today is the Engage Encore Pro, which comes in a featherweight and lightweight carbon fiber. The paddle is designed to provide excellent control and touch, making it a popular choice among players of all skill levels. Another top lightweight paddle is the Oneshot Aero Proshot at 7.8 also.
Larger and Softer Sweet Spots:
Another trend in the pickleball paddle industry is the creation of larger and softer sweet spots. This was a natural evolution as paddles improve, since players of all levels will demand a more forgiving sweet spot of their paddle of choice. Sweet spot refers to the area of the paddle that provides the most control and accuracy on impact.
Larger sweet spots make it easier for players to hit the ball accurately, and softer sweet spots provide a more cushioned feel, reducing the impact and springboard type feel.
For example, the Vulcan V910 is one of the most popular "large" paddles on the market, thanks in part to its round body with forgiving and soft sweet spot. The paddle features a core technology that reduces vibration and softens impact of hard shots, making it a popular choice among players who want a paddle that helps with touch shots.
Another trend in the pickleball paddle industry is the availability of customizable features. Many manufacturers are now offering paddles that can be personalized with different grips, weights, and handle lengths, allowing players to find a paddle that fits their playing style.
For example, the Selkirk AMPED series of paddles allows players to select the weight, grip, and handle length of their paddle, ensuring a perfect fit for each individual player. With a range of quality customizable features, such as weight range and grip circumference, the Selkirk AMPED series is one of the most popular paddles of all time.
Traditional honeycombs weren't always customizable, and now more paddle brands are forced to offer customizable paddles offerings to individual consumers if they want to remain competitive against other industry players. This is good for the player!
Increased Focus on Durability:
Another great trend in the pickleball paddle industry is an increased focus on durability. Honeycomb paddles in 2017 broke easily and often. Some players ran through 2-5 of them per year just snapping at the neck randomly mid-game over and over!
With pickleball's popularity on the rise, and prices of paddles increasing likewise, more and more players are seeking paddles that are built to last and can withstand the rigors of play.
For example, the Gearbox CX14 paddle line is one of the most durable paddles on the market, thanks to its Solid Span technology in construction to reinforce the paddle body with carbon fiber materials into one piece. The paddle is designed to withstand even the most intense play and is a popular choice among players who want a paddle that can last years.
New Shapes and Designs:
Another trend in the pickleball paddle industry is the introduction of new shapes and designs. Manufacturers are now experimenting with different shapes and sizes of paddles, including longer and wider paddles, to provide players with new and improved playing experiences.
For example, the ProKennex Black Ace is a popular paddle that features a unique oval shape that provides increased surface area around the middle and removes some of the corners. This is also good for wind resistance. The paddle also features a wide body design that provides increased surface area, making it easier to block tough shots. Some paddles nowadays even have a hole in the throat or on the edges!
Focus on Comfort and Ergonomics:
Another trend in the pickleball paddle industry is a focus on comfort and ergonomics. With players spending more time on the court and experiencing arm and hand fatigue, manufacturers are now seeking ways to make paddles that are comfortable to use.
For example, the Selkirk SLK Halo paddle model features an ergonomic handle design that provides a comfortable grip and reduces hand discomfort. You will also see more of the leathery grips in 2023. This kind of grip is designed to be textured for improved grip and control, making it a popular choice among players who simply play a lot.
The pickleball paddle industry is gradually enjoying a number of seriously exciting shifts. The most sweeping changes in the equipment landscape pertain to: An emphasis on lightweight materials and design, larger and softer sweet spots, customizable features, increased focus on durability, new shapes and designs, and comfort and ergonomics of grip and handle.
These trends are driven by players' desire to improve their performance and not be left in the dust by opponents with better gear. Ultimately, it's pushing the sport to new heights.
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