How To Demo A Paddle


You’ve chosen a new paddle—but how do you know if it’s right for you? These 8 guidelines will help

1. WEIGHT First, get a sense of the paddle’s weight relative to what you’re used to. And check how the weight is distributed: Is the paddle head-heavy, balanced, or grip-heavy? A head-heavy paddle will create more power, but it may take you a while to adjust your hand speed. A grip-heavy paddle might let your hands move faster, but you may need to adjust your timing hitting the ball. 

2. GRIP Make sure the grip does not feel too large or too small. A grip that is too small will force you to hold the paddle too tight; a grip that is too
large can strain your hand and elbow. Your offhand index finger should be able to fit into the gap of the hand holding the paddle.

3. DINK AND DROP Practice dinking, focusing on making good contact with the sweet spot and feeling how much or how little grip pressure you need to make the ball move where you want.

4. DRIVE Feel the swing speed and power off your drives. Add in topspin and see how much movement you can create with the ball.

5. RESET Stand in the transition zone and focus on resets off the bounce and out of the air. These are some of the most nuanced shots in the game so spend extra time on them, getting comfortable with the paddle.

6. VOLLEY Focus on your hand speed and how the weight of the paddle feels. If the paddle weight is different from what you’re used to, this shot may take the longest to adapt to because your body and eyes need to adjust incrementally. Don’t get discouraged just because you feel slower.

7. SERVE AND RETURN The two shots that start the game need to feel good if you want to move on. Home in on power in your serve and spin on your return (if you slice). You may need to adjust where you’re standing when you serve or return; be prepared to explore all variables.

8. FINALLY, PLAY SOME GAMES! After drilling and warming up with the above specifics in mind, the rest is up to you. Remember to be patient if there are many aspects you like and some you don’t. No paddle is likely to feel perfect at first, but soon you and your new paddle will form an unstoppable partnership.