If you have been one of the pickleball veterans in the sport and consider yourself to be a good or competition level player then you may be interested in spending a little extra on a high level paddle.
These types of paddle of can really be key to improving you game at large, with much of the engineering focussing on how the material of the paddle reacts and interacts with the ball and how this can cause the ball to spin and affect the trajectory of the ball, a much more complicated shot that can really catch opponents out.
In this article we will discuss pickleball and its paddle, what we should be looking for in a good paddle and what parts of the paddle cause the ball to spin and affect the ball.
We will also present some of our favorite paddles and what they can bring to your game, as well as our pick for the best for ball spin - keep reading to find out.
What Is Pickleball?
Pickleball is a new sport in America that is quite fast growing. It is similar to tennis and other paddle sports such as table tennis and badminton.
The game has its own rules and regulations but is most similar to tennis, its largest difference being its much smaller court and unique paddle.
Arguably, the goal of the game, and the way it is played, is much similar to tennis (Also check out How Is Pickleball Different From Tennis?) and as a result those engineering the equipment for the highest level of pickleball competition will be using high level tennis racquets for their inspiration, albeit the material a racquet uses is much different to the pickleball paddle as well as ball.
Being able to generate and control the ball's spin is a great technique that often trumps power in pickleball.
Too much power just sends the ball out of bounds, whereas when we can control the spin of the ball we can control its trajectory and be more accurate with our shots, catching your opponent out with good technique.
Best Paddles To Generate Spin
Below are some of the best paddle out there that help generate spin in different ways.
OUR TOP PICK
This particular paddle is great for those who want a particularly grippy paddle that isn’t the most lightweight but has the ability to generate some decent power and control.
The face of the paddle is created from carbon fiber and as a result is particularly grippy and ideal for generating spin through friction.
A thicker core, at 16mm, is an interesting choice that essentially makes the paddle thicker allowing it to absorb and control the manual power put into shots, particularly helpful when generating spin.
This is also noticeable in the weight of the paddle, being heavier it isn’t ideal for speed brushing, yet, a longer handle allows for a double handed shot which can generate power manually.
The paddle is perhaps best reserved for the racquet sports experts who have the experience and confidence to handle this paddle the way it should be, while the weight and length can throw off some beginners.
Yet, when it comes to generating spin, this is a model worth mentioning.
- Grippy face
- Long handle for double handed shots
- Thickness acts like shock absorption
- Reasonable price within market
- Best for experienced players
This paddle is also available at:
This is another particularly grippy paddle with some unique innovations to generate spin.
Then engineering is particularly honed for generating the best amount of spin via friction.
Of particular note is the omni-directional graphite face, unlike overlaid materials this type of grip won’t be lost over time.
In any case the omni-directional nature of the graphite face allows spin to be generated naturally rather than single direction topography creating unnatural spin.
The ‘control pro black core’ is also a great addition that can help dampen vibration and absorb shock to improve the reactivity of the paddle when trying to make spin without generating too much power.
Also useful is the grip of the paddle itself, the perforations and tack allow for you to have a steady grip on the handle to also help with shock absorption, even when having sweaty hands.
What is also unique about the Pursuit EX paddle is that you can actually choose the weight you enjoy playing with.
If you generally put more power into your shots as a result of physique, it may be good to go for the more lightweight paddle to help increase speed.
If you want some help generating power in your shots then the heavier weight paddle can aid in this and suit this different style of play.
- Can choose weight that suits you
- Omni-directional graphite face creates natural spin well
- Core of the paddle is ideal for shock absorption
- Grippy handle
- US made
This paddle is also available at:
Diadem is a relatively new brand of paddle in the game but has an interesting take on the concept of friction here.
The face of Diadem’s paddle is actually a polyurethane coating that is sticky and relies on adhesion to create friction itself which is quite interesting.
There is some fear that this adhesion could potentially wear off over time, but their testing and engineering suggests adhesion is better than a grippy texture when generating spin.
Some frictive surfaces used for generating spin such as carbon fiber or graphite can actually generate an unnatural spin due to the texture being singular in its direction.
With this type of adhesion we get an omni-directional grip that lets the ball naturally spin via movement rather than altering the ball's natural spin and trajectory.
What’s more is that Diadem also uses a unique core.
It's a slimmer than average core which theoretically would generate less control and power, however Diadem uses an interesting honeycomb density principle where the actual holes are smaller than usual meaning power and control are not lost at all.
This in theory means the weight could be less while still having good power control.
Usefully, the paddle is offered in two weights, like many modern paddles, allowing you to choose the right weight for your style of play.
The paddles overall length is actually 16” which is quite long but allows for extra reach and general versatility of use.
- Unique adhesion face
- Unique dense honeycomb core
- Long reach
- Adhesion could wear
This paddle is also available at:
Prolite are one of the original designers of the pickleball paddle, and this hyperweave series is their newest take on paddle engineering.
The paddle creates friction through three layers of carbon fiber on each face, creating friction as well as shock absorption.
One thing we enjoy about this paddle is its dedication to reducing drag.
The aero channel edge guard reduces drag a lot allowing you to increase power through speed. This is particularly useful on this paddle as it is on the heavier side.
The polymer honeycomb provides a lot of power and shock absorption but is relatively thick and this adds to the weight.
While in the medium range of weight it does have some heft more ideal for those who rely on the paddle for hitting power.
Moreover, a clever grip design is quite small in its circumference but is 5” in length.
The grip itself is perforated to reduce sweat build up but is particularly grippy.
The small circumference lends itself to a better grip but can also help generate power.
We think this paddle is particularly good for players with a smaller stature who enjoy a weighty paddle they can rely on for power rather than generating the power manually.
- Good grip design means more power
- Three layers of carbon fiber for friction
- Design reduces drag and increases speed
- Good shock absorption
- Not ideal for larger players who want something light.
This paddle is also available on:
This is a cool paddle and one of the first few sponsored paddles in the pickleball scene, endorsed by pro player Ben Johns who uses this paddle in competition to retain his #1 pro spot.
One cool feature of the paddle is its foam injected edge. This is actually really good to increase the sweet spot area on the paddles itself, reducing the possibility of a dull hit.
Meanwhile the polymer core can actually increase its own weight a little more thanks to the weight lost in the edge, providing power for the sweet spot.
For increased spin the faces of the paddle utilize a carbon friction surface, hence the CFS in the name, allowing power to be traded for velocity and accuracy.
The core itself, particularly thick, allows maximum control thanks to the increased shock absorption.
Power can also be sourced from a double handed shot thanks to the paddles particularly long handle. The grip is typically perforated in order to increase grip even with sweaty hands.
The paddle is available in both swift weight and standard weight allowing you to fit the paddle to your playing style, rather than just mimicking Ben Johns style, whose specification shapes this paddle’s design.
We really like the weight distribution of the paddle which makes it quite unique and useful for all players.
- Designed to Ben Johns’ winning specification
- Great weight distribution means a large sweet spot
- Carbon fiber for spin
- Choice of weight
- Particularly expensive thanks to endorsement
- Weight distribution can take some getting used to.
This paddle is also available at:
Spin and controlling spin are two key things in the more high-level games, one thing we should realize is that no matter what paddle you have, a lot of the spin you put on the ball comes from technique and how you hit the ball.
There’s no secret paddle that creates spin, just good technique (You might want to check out What Is A Lob In Pickleball?).
That said there are a few material variables on the paddle which will affect spin along with good technique, so let’s get into it.
The technical movement required to put spin on a ball is generally called ‘brushing’.
With your paddle face being parallel to the outline opposite you, moving your paddle from low to high and brushing the ball into topspin is what generates the spin.
The power you hit the ball with can only go so far here, and having a grippy paddle, or a paddle with lots of friction on it, means that this brushing technique can generate more spin with less power.
Put simply, we want a paddle that has a rough face on it so we can generate more spin with less power.
These materials that create grip can include but aren’t exclusive to: carbon fiber, graphite, fiberglass, wood, etc.
While shock absorption is ideal for reducing strain on the wrist and forearm, it can also serve a purpose when trying to increase the spin on the ball.
As a paddleball is relatively hard in comparison to something like a tennis ball, having a degree of shock absorption means that the friction required to generate thes spin isn’t reduced by large amounts of kinetic energy.
In other words, shock absorption ensures the highest amount of contact with the ball enabling us to generate more spin generally.
This can be achieved with both a honeycomb design on the paddle, also great for friction.
Yet, there are materials that are particularly good shock absorbers such as carbon fiber. Moreover, a great approach to shock absorption is also layering materials to help with the spin grab also.
Speed And Weight
Another actor that comes into the way a paddle generates spin is its weight and speed, which are both intrinsically linked.
As mentioned the manual power you create with the brushing motion has a certain point where you will be hitting it too hard to be accurate.
Yet, with a lighter paddle you can generate more speed in this equation which can increase the rotational spin greatly.
Many paddles go for a honeycomb design that is great for weight and speed, as well as the previously mentioned variables. Yet other materials like carbon fiber are lightweight and grippy as well.
Ideally, you want a lightweight paddle to allow you to generate speed rather than power, allowing you to increase spin greatly.
We hope that it is clear these paddles are specifically engineered for improving your control and generation of spin when playing pickleball.
Many have some unique ways to change how the paddle face interacts with the ball when creating spin, commonly through adhesion or textural friction.
Many of the paddles also are adapted to suit various players, whether you want a longer handle to get a double handed swing, or you want a specific weight to suit your style, whether you need speed or power.
It should be clear that technique is the biggest key to generating spin but the manual power you create only goes so far and can be capped by the equipment you use.
These paddles are key to helping generate spin but proper technique should always be established first, with gear being a supplementary tool to micro engineer your success on the courts.
Frequently Asked Questions
How To Generate Spin On Pickleball
THe technique of generating spin is generally called brushing. Your paddle face should be facing your opponent, rather than being diagonal or facing the sky.
With your paddle positioned like this you can ‘brush’ the ball from low to high for a top spin, or high to low for a back spin.
This motion doesn’t require power but instead requires accuracy and technique for success. Creating spin can change the trajectory of the ball to arc rather than go straight, this can get the better of most opponents.
Of course, your paddle has an effect on how well you spin the ball with many paddles being engineered to control spin at the highest levels of the game.
Who Is Ben Johns?
Ben Johns is the current #1 when it comes to professional Pickleball competition.
Being only 23 years of age he has won more than 50 gold medals in his short career that started in 2016, 11 of which were ‘triple crowns’ meaning gold medals in all events.
In 2021 he won the triple crown at the US Open competition, one of the hardest feats in the sport.
He remains undefeated in men’s singles and mixed doubles since July 2019 and August 2019 respectively.
Since his rise to the top he has partnered with various brands and had multiple sponsorship deals as a result
The JOOLA Hyperion CFS16 listed is the paddle he currently uses in competition, it being specifically designed to his own specifications.