A good beginner pickleball paddle should combine user-friendly features, affordability, and quality construction to help new players develop their skills and enjoy the game. When choosing a beginner pickleball paddle, consider the following factors:
Weight: A lighter paddle (typically between 7 to 8.5 ounces) is easier to maneuver and control for beginners. Lighter paddles reduce the risk of arm fatigue and allow new players to focus on developing proper technique and form.
Material: Beginner paddles are often made from composite materials, such as a polymer core with a fiberglass or graphite face. Composite paddles offer a balance of power, control, and affordability. Wood paddles are a budget-friendly option, but they are generally heavier and provide less control than composite paddles.
Grip size: Choose a paddle with a grip size that fits comfortably in your hand. A smaller grip (4 to 4 1/4 inches) allows for better wrist action and control, while a larger grip (4 1/2 inches) provides more stability. To find the right grip size, measure the distance from the tip of your ring finger to the middle crease of your palm or use the height-based rule of thumb (if you’re under 5’3″, choose a 4″ grip; if you’re between 5’3″ and 5’8″, choose a 4 1/4″ grip; if you’re over 5’8″, choose a 4 1/2″ grip).
Shape: A traditional pickleball paddle shape has a wider body and is forgiving on off-center hits, making it suitable for beginners. Some paddles have an elongated design, which can provide additional reach but may be more challenging to control for new players.
Price: Beginner paddles are generally more affordable than advanced paddles. Look for a paddle that fits your budget while still offering decent quality and performance.
Edge guard: An edge guard can protect the paddle from damage and improve its durability. Some beginners might prefer a paddle with an edge guard, while others may opt for an edgeless paddle for better control and a larger hitting surface.
Popular pickleball paddle brands, such as Selkirk, Paddletek, Onix, and Gamma, offer beginner-friendly options that cater to various preferences and budgets. Consider trying out a few different paddles before making a decision, as personal comfort and playstyle can significantly influence your choice.