I admit it I am a pickleball geek. I love learning about the history of the sport. I am fascinated by pickleball’s evolution, the many advancements that are being made. If there is something that will improve my game in any way…sign me up!
I GREW UP PLAYING TENNIS
As most of you know, my background was in tennis. As competitive tennis players go, I do not have the typical player’s body. I am 5’5”…many of my partners were literally a foot taller than me. Because of my physique, I knew that I had to be extremely technically proficient. When I was younger I played with a racket that wasn’t very popular. It was a bit heavy and had a very small sweet spot. But it enabled me to have more control, which was key to my game. As I got older, I switched to a more powerful frame that allowed me to continue to compete. So much of the modern era of tennis has been shaped by the development of the equipment. Just imagine Serena Williams playing with an old wood frame? It would probably break pretty quick.
Pickleball’s evolution is also being affected by the changes to the rules governing paddles. Adding texture to the face of the paddle has opened up lots of doors. It started with just one or two manufacturers and now everyone has at least one option to offer.
While most paddles have a polymer core…we now have over 50 different kinds of polymer out there. So when you are comparing two polymer core paddles the differences may be greater than you perceive.
I have always been very sensitive to weight and balance of my tennis racket and pickleball paddle. I could probably identify some paddles with my eyes closed, simply by picking them up. While weight is important, I believe balance is even more important. This is why I recommend many players experiment with lead tape.
IMPACT OF TENNIS ON PICKLEBALL’S EVOLUTIONWhile changes in equipment have and will continue to impact our sport, we all recognize that the influx of former tennis players has also had an impact. Some former tennis players don’t attempt to adjust to the smaller, faster pickleball court. These players believe they can bring their traditional big backswing and followthrough to a pickleball court. In fact, this swing will work against them…there just isn’t time.
However, the former tennis players that play at the pro level have a few things in common. Next time you watch a pro event at a tournament or on YouTube, look for these things:
You can clearly see a difference between pickleball now and even five years ago. And while you might not like all the changes that have occurred I doubt any of us will stop pickleball’s evolution. For one, I am excited to see where we will be in another five years!
Art has been playing pickleball since Nov 2017. He enjoys playing this active, low physical impact game of skill and strategy. And finds that it can be played at all levels competitively while being a wonderful way to make new friends.