Choosing a pickleball paddle or racquet that is best for women requires some knowledge of how paddles are constructed and how the different characteristics of paddles will affect your performance. Although pickleball paddles are not specifically made for men or women, the construction of some paddles makes them more comfortable to hold if you have small hands and if you favor finesse over power.
When choosing a pickleball paddle for women, it is vital to consider the shape, weight, face, core, and type of handle. Choosing the right mix will ensure that you purchase a paddle that will maximize your potential on the court, whatever your level of experience.
Playing pickleball with a paddle that does not suit your hand size or style of play can detract from your enjoyment. And if you want to take it to the next level and play competitive pickleball, choosing the right paddle becomes even more critical. Here are the most important characteristics to consider when buying a racquet tailor-made for you as a woman.
The 2 Best Pickleball Paddles For Women
Men and women have different physiques and body shapes, which often require different sporting equipment choices when considering gender. The best Pickleball paddles for women are:
1. HEAD Extreme Tour Lite Pickleball Paddle
This racquet has a honeycomb polymer core and a carbon graphite hitting surface, with a 41/8 inch grip. Offers a light swing and increased maneuverability on the court.
Available from Amazon.com below
2. Prince Response Pro Pickleball Paddle
The Prince paddle offers a thick polymer core and a unique rounded shape. Combines a large sweet spot with exceptional power. Available with a 41/8 inch grip.
Available from Amazon.com below
The Weight Of A Pickleball Paddle Can Affect Performance
When you buy a pickleball paddle, the first thing to look at is weight. You may not feel it at the beginning of the game, but by the end, when you are tired, you most certainly will!
Pickleball paddles do not come in specific weights but weight ranges. There are three weight ranges: lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight. The most common choice that will suit most players is a middleweight racquet. It offers the best of both worlds, neither too light nor too heavy. But how does weight impact your game?
The answer is simple. Heavier paddles generate more power which means the ball travels faster across the net. On the other hand, lighter paddles allow more maneuverability on the court. They are also less likely to cause you a stress injury such as tennis elbow.
Which racquet you use will depend on your strength, fitness, size, and the type of game you favor.
If you are a small or medium-size woman and your forte’s finesse and maneuverability, you should consider a light to middleweight racquet. A middle or heavyweight paddle might be worth trying if you are a robust and fit power-hitter.
The Shape Of A Pickleball Paddle Will Affect Performance
Along with weight, another essential factor to consider when choosing a pickleball racquet for a woman is the shape of the head.
The shape of a pickleball racquet head is important is because it offers a tradeoff between a larger sweet spot and a more extended reach. Officially the surface area of the paddle must add up to 24 inches or smaller. If you make it longer, you need to make it narrower, thus increasing reach (to a maximum of 17 inches) but reducing the sweet spot’s width and size (where you get maximum accuracy and power).
If you struggle with reach because you are short or have limited mobility, you might consider a longer racquet. But it will mean a slightly smaller sweet spot.
The Choice Of A Pickleball Paddle Handle Affects Performance
How and where you grip the racquet handle significantly affects your game, so it is an aspect you should look at when buying one for the first time.
Pickleball paddle handles vary in length and thickness. The size of the handle is significant because it allows you to shift your grip up or down, with maximum force obtained when gripping it at the bottom. Thickness is vital in enabling you to hold the racquet comfortably and correctly.
Racquet handles come in two thickness sizes: standard and thin. As many women do, you have smaller hands than most men; it is advisable to opt for a thin handle. You can always add tape or an overgrip until it is optimum thickness, but you can’t make a thick handle thinner. So, if you have smaller hands, choose a thin handle.
A second reason to choose a thinner handle if you have smaller hands is that the ideal way to hold a racquet is with a finger rather than a palm grip. A palm grip will cause you to hit the ball up high, allowing your opponent to smash it back at you.
Choosing The Core And Face Of A Pickleball Paddle
The core and face of a pickleball racquet come down more to personal preference and cost than having a significant impact on your game.
Pickleball cores are made from four different types of material: wood, aluminum, Nomex (rigid nylon), or polymer (plastic). Wood is the cheapest and heaviest, aluminum and Nomex are not as popular as they used to be, so the most common paddle core on the market is honeycomb polymer.
Most commercially available racquets are constructed with either fiberglass or graphite faces. There is disagreement about which is best for power and creating spin. The reality is that it probably has more to do with your skill and style of playing than the surface of the paddle.
General Factors To Consider When Buying A Pickleball Paddle
Like most commodities we buy, you get what you pay for. Everybody wants value for money and a good quality product. At the same time, there is no point in buying a top-of-the-range paddle for over $150 when you play socially on an irregular basis. There are excellent value-for-money rackets from $40 up.
Before you buy a racquet, speak to experienced players, for example, women players of a similar size and build to you. Test out a variety of paddles. Borrow different racquets of different weights, shapes, and grips until you find one that suits your style of play best.
Ultimately, the aim of playing pickleball is to get exercise, socialize with your fellow players, and enjoy the fresh air. Equipment is important, but don’t let expense get in the way of your enjoyment of the game. It is better to play with a cheap wooden paddle than not play.
Choosing a pickleball paddle suitable for women requires knowledge and consideration of the construction of the racquet and the different types available. Elements such as weight, shape, handle thickness and length, and the materials used for the core and the face will affect your choice.
While the weight, shape of the head, and the thickness and length of the handle are likely to significantly impact your enjoyment of the game and your ability to play it well, the materials used for the core and face are less critical.