Which Pickleball Paddle Do I Need?

Now that your interest has been piqued to learn the sport of Pickleball, it’s time to decide which paddle you should purchase. The Burgess-Rushing Tennis Center and The Falls Tennis Club will let you try out a couple of different styles of paddles as you learn. Ask some experienced players for recommendations to help you decide which paddle best meets your needs at this time.
Gamma Sports sent Lubbock’s Home & Family four styles of Pickleball paddles to try out. We want to thank expert Pickleballers Judd Spinks, Billy Smith, Hunter Blanchard, Michael Giblin, and Steve Shatley for testing each paddle and submitting their reviews.

The Legend 
The Gamma Legend is a solid 8 oz paddle that is thicker than most paddles providing excellent power and control. It comes with a short, narrow, comfortable handle which has a nice feel for all soft and hard shots required in the game. This makes the Legend a great paddle for beginners to advanced players.
Hunter Blanchard says, “The Legend is a fun paddle to play with due to its powerful stable face allowing for confident attackable shots, serves, returns, as well as controllable drop and dink shots.”Billy Smith claims the Legend felt like it had the power and control needed as well as that touch at the net appreciated by Pickleball players. He mentioned that it was “excellent with the third shot from the baseline and even for the push dinks I like to do. It’s the best paddle I have played with so far.”

This is a medium weight paddle with a graphite face. The paddle has good touch but still allows for a good “pop” off the face. The paddle has a Sensa Poly Core making it good for power at the baseline with decent control.
Pickleball Instructor Judd Spinks believes this is a great paddle for the “beginner to intermediate player” working on their game close to the net.

The Shard 
This is a 7.8 ounce paddle with a 4.25” grip using a NerCore technology to give a softer feel while also providing plenty of “pop” when needed for those winning shots. The “sweet spot” was not as prevalent as in other paddles of the same design; however, it provided a good grip and the player was able to get a spin on occasional serves and returns.
Michael Giblin played with this paddle on five occasions and described it as the best paddle he had ever used. He said the “feel was excellent and I was able to use both a topspin and underspin. The sweet spot is large and surface wears well.”
Judd Spinks added, “This is a good all around paddle for a player looking to improve their power, control, and spin.”

The Needle 
This elongated paddle is about 5/8 of an inch longer and almost a full inch narrower than the Shard. It is comprised of a Sensa Poly Core with a graphite face and the weight is 7.3 ounces.
Steve Shatley commented, “I have never used an elongated paddle and I loved it. Because it is narrow, it does require a little extra reach, but there was still plenty of “sweet spot” available.” He was surprised at the lightness of the paddle, which did not mean any loss of power, control, touch, or spin needed for the game.
Judd Spinks noted that, “For an elongated paddle the Gamma Needle has a huge sweet spot and does not have a rough vibration when you hit outside the sweet spot.” He was impressed enough with this paddle to want to add it to his “arsenal of pickle paddle axes.”