A Pickleball Machine Comparison: Lobster vs. Tutor

Pickleball Machines
Pickleball Machines at Pickleball Central

As pickleball grows, the number of ball machines on the market also grows. At Pickleball Central we carry the two most popular brands – Pickleball Tutor and Lobster. These two companies have proven themselves to make reliable products for players, instructors and clubs. If you’re looking to keep your game sharp, there’s no better investment for practice.

Lobster Pickle Ball Machine

Both Lobster and Tutor Sports have continued to add features to their ball machines making it easier than ever for players to set up the kinds of drills and shots they want to work on. Now with the ability to easily set up six pre-programmed drills, the Tutor Plus Ultra and the Lobster Pickle Champion Pickleball Machine offer the ability not only to hit different types of spin but also to practice the most commonly used drills.

Tutor Pickleball Machine

With several models available from both Lobster and Tutor, we get lots of questions from people about which pickleball machine they should select. The good news is, they are all great machines that offer a variety of features, you just need to decide which of those are most important to you. The table below lists the specifications and features of all of the pickleball machines. They run the gambit from Tutor Mini – a light weight and simple machine, to the Lobster Pickle Champion and the Pickleball Tutor Ultra Series – machines with drills pre-programmed that can be simply activated with an easy push of a button.

Major Differences

One of the Lobster Pickle Ball Machine’s main benefits are its 8″ wheels which allow it to be easily maneuvered without the need for lifting or dragging. Its ability to put spin on pickleballs is unique, and makes it a great choice for learning how to counter tricky shots. It holds a slightly higher amount of pickleballs than the Tutor along with an extra hour of maximum charge in the base model.

Lobster Pickle Ball Machine

The Pickleball Tutor has a lighter weight, longer overall warranty and has the least expensive model. If you often take your machine from court to court, the Tutor line is easier to get in and out of a vehicle.

Pickleball Tutor Mini Ball Machine

How Are They Powered?

Both machines can be run through battery or AC power. The Lobster comes standard with a battery (internal or external) and has an additional component (Lobster Elite Power Pak) that can be purchased to switch it to AC. The Tutor can be purchased with battery or AC power for the same price. The Tutor Battery Unit can also be used with an additional External AC Power Supply.

Optional Add-Ons

In addition to an External AC Power Supply, there are a number of options that both machines offer. You can add remote controls (Two-Function or Multi-Function and FM or Phone-based depending on the machine you choose) and an external battery pack that will add significant battery time on the court, and both have a cover that can protect the machine from debris and dust while in storage.

The Lobster also has the option of a Fast or Premium Charger which allow you to charge the unit more quickly.

Why a Ball Machine

Whichever model you choose, practice with a ball machine can improve your game. From developing muscle memory to being able to set up and practice against all kinds of shots, pros will tell you that drilling is vital to success. With a machine, you can drill on your schedule or work with a partner to develop good habits.

With so many great machines available, which one do you find suits your requirements? If you have experience with one or both, we’d love to hear your feedback on what makes these pickleball practice powerhouses handy around the courts.

To learn more about all of the models offered by both Tutor and Lobster, visit our Pickleball Training Machines page.

Footwear TechTalk with Babolat

Babolat Footwear at Pickleball Central
Babolat Footwear at Pickleball Central

Babolat invented tennis racquet strings in the year 1875. Ever since, they have enjoyed a slow, steady march toward racquet sports dominance through innovation and strategic player endorsements. Babolat entered the pickleball world a few years with a solid lineup of pickleball paddles, and their court shoes are seen with increasing frequency on the pickleball court, appreciated by many pro players and amateurs alike for their well-designed features, durability and style. We recently chatted with Rose Jones from Babolat to learn more about Babolat footwear.

Babolat comes to pickleball with a strong background in tennis, a sport played on mostly the same surface as pickleball. How far back does Babolat’s history with footwear go?

In 2004, Babolat partnered with Michelin to produce court specific footwear.

Babolat Pickleball Shoes
Babolat Pickleball Shoes

What separates Babolat footwear from other brands in the market?

Babolat has a long history in the sport of tennis (we are 147 years old) and looking at the needs of tennis players from strings and racquets to shoes. As we have evolved into other racquet sports such as badminton and padel, we’ve taken that same detailed approached in designing footwear for those sports as well. With our entry into pickleball, we see pickleball players’ needs for lateral support, durability and comfort.

Also our partnership with Michelin provides not only long-lasting outsoles, but also specific sculptures (tread design) to meet the demands of the side-to-side and quick stop-and-go movement of pickleball.

What are the main differences between models of Babolat shoes?

Propulse Fury – long lasting durability and support

  • Six-month outsole wear guarantee with Michelin DIN20 rubber with optimized cell outsole
  • KPRS-X midsole offers shock dampening and comfort
  • 360 sock liner providing less friction as you move around
  • Power Belt wraps around the midfoot offering exceptional lateral support
Babolat Propulse Fury – Men’s
Babolat Propulse Fury – Women’s

Propulse Blast – more affordable version of the Propulse Fury

  • Built on the same last as the Propulse Fury and features Active Flexion technology to address the nine key pressure points of the foot for maximum responsiveness
Babolat Propulse Blast – Men’s
Babolat Propulse Blast – Women’s

Jet Mach 3 – the ultimate weapon for players seeking more precision and agility

  • Light weight  (11.5 oz / 325 gm)
  • Michelin-designed outsole offers increased thickness in key wear areas without adding weight, and the outsole pattern is designed for the specific movements of tennis and pickleball
  • KPRS-X midsole cushioning
  • Matryyx Evo upper – this specialty fabric is a unique weave of Aramid and Polyamid fibers that mold to your foot, offering optimal balance between comfort, support and durability
  • Available in wide EE wide
Babolat Jet Mach 3 – Men’s
Babolat Jet Mach 3 – Men’s Wide

Jet Tere –  Tere is Maori for “speed”

  • Light weight (11.5 oz / 325 gm)
  • Michelin Premium technology reduces wear and tear from tennis and pickleball movement
  • KPR-X cushioned midsole
  • Soft breathable mesh upper for step-in comfort
Babolat Jet Tere – Men’s
Babolat Jet Tere – Women’s

SFX-3 – the ultimate comfort shoe with a wide roomy fit

  • Michelin outsole with Active Flexion for maximum responsiveness in nine key pressure points on the foot
  • Multi-layered Ergo Motion insoles for slipper-like comfort
  • Upper is a light breathable mesh with one-piece side wall for lateral stability
Babolat SFX-3 – Men’s
Babolat Jet SFX-3 – Women’s

We see so many pro players sporting Babolat shoes! Why is there so much love for Babolat footwear on the pro tours?

Pro players look for speed and agility. The Jet Mach 3 which is our most advanced shoe offers that. It’s very light, the upper of the shoe molds to the foot for a precise fit, and the outsole is designed for the quick cuts and stops of pro players.

Which Babolat shoe is the best for durability? What about comfort?  

For durability the Propulse Fury is the best; it has the thickest Michelin rubber outsole. We’re so confident in the outsole durability that we offer a six-month wear guarantee. For comfort, the SFX3 with its memory foam insole is a great choice. This is an E width shoe with a roomy toe box.

How often can we expect to see updates made to Babolat shoes?

We have two drops a year with color updates. We try to balance offering new models while continuing to stock our best-selling shoes that players can count on to be in stock.

What’s the next updated model we can expect to see debut?

For 2023, we will debut an all new Propulse Fury. It will be a sleeker version with the same durability as the current Propulse Fury.

Where are Babolat shoes designed?

All of our shoes are designed in France.

Learn more

To learn more about Babolat shoes, visit our site at:

Babolat Men’s Shoes

Babolat Women’s Shoes

Meet the Pro: Parris Todd

Parris Todd
Pickleball Player: Parris Todd

At just five years old, Parris Todd asked her parents for a tennis racket for her birthday. Her parents knew nothing about tennis so this surprising request came out of the blue. Soon after, Todd’s tennis journey got underway, unleashing her talent and passion for the game. With more training sessions and hours on the court she continued to develop her gift, becoming a top junior player starting at age ten. Currently Parris holds over 85 tennis titles.

As the pandemic slowed down the globe, pickleball summoned her to the pickleball courts. Since fall 2021 Parris has been playing pickleball, competing in her first pickleball tournament in January 2022. We sat down with her to talk about her rising status as a pickleball pro, her goals, and more!

Parris Todd

How were you introduced to pickleball? 

My grandparents started playing pickleball ten years ago, and I used to make fun of them for playing an old persons’ sport. I was playing tennis at TTC in Newport Beach and they have a very big pickleball presence, so eventually I thought why not give it a shot.

Parris Todd
Parris with her Tennis Trophies

What are some of your most memorable pickleball moments?

PPA Foot Solutions in February was my first ever singles tournament, where I was able to beat some of the top Women’s singles players and take 4th overall and have a breakthrough tournament. My recent win in San Clemente PPA has definitely been my most memorable; winning my first PPA singles title meant so much to me. I have put in a lot of hard work off the court in the last few months and it was an awesome reward. 

Parris Todd
Parris Todd

How has your tennis background influenced your pickleball game? Strengths? Differences?

Having a tennis background helps with court movement, hand eye coordination, and overall patterns. Pickleball has a lot of soft elements to it; the dinks and drops requires much softer hands then what people are used to with tennis. 

Parris Todd

We know fashion is another passion of yours. What do you look for when picking out your looks for tournaments? Do you design what you wear?

I absolutely love matching sets! They are just so easy to throw on and color coordination is a big thing for me. Currently I am only wearing other brands that I love, but hopefully soon I will be designing and collaborating with other activewear brands to bring a different style and flavor to pickleball.

Parris Todd

Where do you see this sport in 5 years? Any short-term and long-term goals?

Being a sport in the next Olympics would be a huge achievement for pickleball. I would personally like to see it grow more internationally to bring more awareness to the sport. I think it’s on the right path as the fastest growing sport. 

Parris Todd

What can you tell us about your strategy and game mindset?

I always believe I can win, no matter who is on the other side of the net. Rest at the end, not in the middle!

What are you doing when you are not playing pickleball?

There aren’t too many days I’m not on the court, and if I’m not on the court I’m probably still thinking about pickleball! I like to relax with my friends on my days off, go out to dinner, go shopping, see movies, all that exciting “normal” life stuff.

Parris Todd

We’re looking forward to seeing where this exciting player’s pickleball career takes her!

Top 5 Pickleball Paddles for Control

Best Paddles for Control at PickleballCentral

Everyone is seeking a unicorn paddle that provides the ultimate in power and control. Unfortunately there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and the paddle which comes closest to achieving that goal will be different for each player.

For those who lean towards a desire for control—to either accentuate their strengths or overcome a weakness in their game—there are several qualities which can enhance accuracy. The top control elements are:

  • Graphite face
  • Rounded or widebody shape
  • Thick core
  • Vibration dampening capacity

These elements allow paddles to absorb more energy from the ball which enlarges the sweet spot and increases dwell time. These traits result in fewer mishits and more precision.

The Top 5 Paddles for Control (in no particular order)

Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro

Tempest Wave Pro by Paddletek

The Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro has exceptional touch thanks to its Smart Response Technology, which strengthens the sensitivity present in the original Tempest Wave model. It also has a larger sweet spot, making it capable of a wide variety of shots while maintaining considerable levels of pop when needed.

Selkirk VANGUARD 2.0 S2

Vanguard 2.0 S2 by Selkirk

The Selkirk VANGUARD 2.0 S2 has a generous core thickness at 5/8″. The design greatly reduces the amount of shock that travels up the arm and replaces it with a gentle feel. The Gen2 surface has been enhanced with Pro-Spin texture that allows for accurate placement.

ProXR Signature “The Wall” 16

The Wall by ProXR Pickleball

The ProXR Signature Wall lives up to its name, coming in at 16-1/2″ long. The majority of its length is dedicated to the face so players can take advantage of the surface area and support the paddle with a finger on the back of the face for more precision. Its angled handle helps naturally strengthen placement.

adidas ADIPOWER CTRL

ADIPOWER CTRL byt adidas Pickleball

The most important feature of the adidas ADIPOWER CTRL is its “carbon aluminized” face which combines a soft material over a harder one to produce just the right amount of touch, no matter where you are on the court. Its wide surface is useful for blocking, with a Spin Blade surface texture for slices.

Oneshot Pureshot Brian Ashworth Series

Oneshot Pureshot by Oneshot Pickleball

The Oneshot Pureshot has a slender edge guard that minimizes overlap on the face so you can get the most out of its large sweet spot. A thick 16 mm core provides great forgiveness in addition to dampening impact. Its quality carbon fiber face sits at the high edge of USAPA texture regulations for accurate placement.


Never underestimate the soft game when it comes to making or breaking a point! If you’re looking to improve your consistency and accuracy, these paddles will deliver. Have a favorite control-oriented paddle that’s not on our list? We’d be happy to hear your thoughts in the comments.

6 Ways to Serve Up Fun on National Pickleball Day

National Pickleball Day was only created last year in 2021 by instructor Deirdre Morris, but the game has been going strong since its creation in 1965. Millions of people across the world now enjoy pickleball, and we agree that this is worth celebrating! Do you have anything planned to appreciate the sport today? If not, we have some ideas you can implement with friends or on your own.

August 8th is National Pickleball Day

Play Pickleball (Or Its Variations)

The most obvious way to celebrate is by enjoying the sport itself! Hit the courts and play a few matches, or if you want to do something out of the norm, try out one of the game’s variations. These include skinny and slender singles, a casual round robin or a dink battle to test who’s the most consistent with their soft game.

Play Pickleball On National Pickleball Day

Train Your Mind with Pickleball Trivia

If you’re all tired out from matches, then you don’t necessarily have to stop playing pickleball-related games. Did you know there’s now a Pickleball Trivia Game available? Test your knowledge with your closest pals regarding the sport’s history, pro players, tournaments and rules while learning more about your favorite game in the process.

Pickleball Trivia at Pickleball Central

Share the News on Social Media (or Locally)

While pickleball has greatly grown from its humble beginnings, most of us would love to welcome even more players into the fold. Today is the perfect time to post about what pickleball means to you on social media so your connections might give it a try. If social media isn’t really your thing, you can always bring pickleball-related candy or gifts to your work to introduce more people to the sport.

Give Back to the Community

If you have a local club or community group that manages most of your pickleball-related fun, offering a donation to support their efforts will never go amiss. If you’d like to aim broader, you can also donate to USA Pickleball’s initiatives such as their grant fund and Sid Williams Junior Pickleball Fund which all go towards opportunities that help grow the sport. The International Federation of Pickleball also has a grant program that addresses similar goals on a global scale.

Reflect and Set New Goals

Pickleball doesn’t have to be “deep” in the sense that we’re all training to become pros and win national tournaments, but if you’re the type of person who likes to see clear improvement, it never hurts to have a training strategy. National Pickleball Day is a good opportunity to reset and consider what you want to focus on, and if recording progress is your thing, we have a Pickleball Journal that can help with just that. Once you’ve identified areas you want to strengthen, browse some training videos and get ready to up your game.

Purchase a limited edition National Pickleball Day T-Shirt

National Pickleball Day T-Shirt from Pickleball Central

The National Pickleball Day Shirt was created as a homage to both pickleball and the era it was created—the 1960’s! This beautiful vintage-style tee uses smooth and vibrant colors to enhance the swirled font with a few pieces of pickleball gear accenting the design. It’s a great choice for casual daily wear or for occasions you really want to play up the pickleball spirit.

Shop Women’s

Shop Men’s

Limited quantities available.


On this special day we want to thank everyone for joining us on this crazy ride of promoting, supporting and enjoying pickleball. We’re sure there will be many more years of growth to look forward to, and we hope all our readers get a chance to kick back and have a little fun.

Meet the Pro: Daniel De La Rosa

Meet Pro Pickleball Player: Daniel De La Rosa

Thank you, dad! Pickleball player De La Rosa”s father introduced him to racquetball at the age of four and he quickly rose through the racquetball ranks to the top. Currently #1 in the world for both singles and doubles as a professional racquetball player, De La Rosa manages to play pickleball at a high level as well. A native of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, he currently resides in Gilbert, Arizona with his wife Michelle and their two children. Michelle is also a competitive racquetball player, having played on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour and on Team USA. We sat down with Daniel on the heels of launching his signature paddle with Paddle Candy to find out what brought him to pickleball, what his goals are and more.

How did you get started with pickleball? 

I start playing pickleball four or five years ago. When my wife was pregnant with our first baby, she wanted to keep playing sports but racquetball was a little too hard on her body so we started playing pickleball. A really good friend of ours helped us learn the rules and we quickly got hooked.

What paddle do you use and why?

I use the Vulcan V560 Control Paddle Candy Edition. It suits my playing style well because I’m more of a control player. I like the feel of the paddle; it’s easy for me to  control the resets and dinks. I also love the long handle, which gives me a bit more flex on my overhead shots.

Vulcan has combined the performance characteristics of one of their most popular paddles, the V560 Control, with the bold Sugar Skull design honoring De La Rosa’s Mexican heritage.

Do you have any goals for pickleball?

I want to be one of the best pickleball players on tour, and win some of the big events for sure.

Is it difficult to switch back and forth between the two sports? 

I’m still playing racquetball full time. It was a bit hard in the beginning moving from racquetball to pickleball because of the speed of my sport, but now I have found a way to combine both of the sports and make it a little easier. There are a few skills that translate from racquetball to pickleball such as footwork, moving up and back (for example to chase down lobs) and quick reactions. Racquetball is a very fast game just like pickleball when you are at the kitchen line.

What’s the pickleball scene like in Mexico? 

In Mexico I just play pickleball for fun with my family, but I am excited to play some big events in the future as the sport develops more there. Pickleball is growing a bit more in Mexico and some of my good friends are opening facilities with pickleball courts. I’m really happy for them.

You’re known for having some exciting trick shots and acrobatic moves. Do you practice those or does that just come naturally? 

I can’t share my secrets lol! I don’t practice those shots; maybe they come from my racquetball background or my mental attitude. Every time I hit a shot, in my mind I tell myself “don’t miss it”!

What are the top 3 things (besides your paddle) that must be in your pickleball bag?

My Jigsaw Electrolytes for sure, grips and extra pair of socks.

What is your most memorable moment in pickleball so far?

Playing on the MLP (Major League Pickleball) is an incredible memory for me, especially sharing the court with amazing teammates.

What are you doing when you are not playing pickleball?

I try hard to be a good father and husband, and grow my construction company. Also golfing has quickly become one of my greatest passions and I play as often as I can.

Daniel with his two kids

Learn more about De La Rosa’s paddle of choice, the Paddle Candy Daniel De La Rosa Signature Paddle and if you have any questions about this paddle or any other pickleball gear, our Customer Support representatives are happy to help. You can reach our team at info@pickleballcentral.com or call 888-993-5548.

TechTalk with Paddletek Pickleball

Paddletek at Pickleball Central

Paddletek has been a major force in pickleball since 2010, originally starting as a small family business. They pioneered many of the technologies that have gone on to become mainstays in pickleball manufacturing such as the honeycomb core, and their equipment can be found in many pros’ hands. Paddletek’s quality is undeniable and they have broad array of options to ensure that every player can find their perfect match in a paddle. In this interview we discuss the major benefits of each line they’ve released, what sort of qualities the pros appreciate and where they plan to innovate next.

What are some of the differences in your paddle series?   

Genesis: All-around playability. We consider the Genesis to be our Goldilocks in regards to the balance between power and control. Since the Genesis was our first honeycomb formula and the polymer honeycomb OG, its formula is widely used in the industry today. We consider it a balanced starting point for R&D. The Genesis line is priced so that beginners or budget-conscious players can play with confidence and with a championship-level paddle without breaking the bank. We also consider the Genesis line to be better for beginners to learn due to their balance.

Pheonix Genesis by Paddletek Pickleball

BANTAM Series: The Bantam series is for players who want more power in their game. The added power also means players that prefer light paddles (7.5 oz or less) have the option to compensate for the power lost by using the more responsive Bantam core. 

BANTAM TS-5 by Paddletek Pickleball

TEMPEST Series: For players who want touch and control. Made with unidirectional carbon fiber, the Tempest series offers game-changing accuracy and forgiveness. Great for beginners as well if the budget allows. 

What are pros looking for in paddles now? 

Spin. This seems to be the current trend across the board. In our experience, pros eventually want more power from their paddle. This is accomplished in three ways. 

1.  Weight:  A lot of pros add weight to their paddles for increased power. 

2.  Core responsiveness (pop). See Bantam Series

3. Shape: Longer paddles have more power in the sweet spot than shorter paddles, however the sweet spot size and the player’s margin for error is reduced. 

Why has the Bantam EX-L lasted so long as a pro paddle? 

The Bantam EX-L has been described as playing more like a stringed racquet than any other paddle. Pros who come from tennis recognize the feel and can control the power. A player who can control a power paddle has an advantage over those who cannot. 

BANTAM EX-L by Paddletek Pickleball

Can you talk about your pros and their paddles of choice?  

Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters with their Signature Paddletek Paddles
  • Catherine Parenteau (Tempest Reign Pro): Gives her lots of power, helps with reach and is super soft. Coming from a tennis background, it makes her feel like she is playing tennis on a pickleball court. 
  • Irina Tereschenko (Bantam EX-L): Gives her power, precision and response for the spins. She’s been playing with it from the beginning, so she calls it the OG paddle. 
  • Anna Leigh Waters (Bantam TS-5): Started using the TS-5 because she was younger and wanted a lighter paddle. Not only does it give you the soft game, but it can give you power which is what she’s known for. With the TS-5, she is able to RIP IT. 
  • Adam Stone (Tempest Wave II): Believes it is the premier touch and feel paddle on the market. Helps him with his defense, keeping the ball in play, resetting and setting his partner up. 
  • Leigh Waters (Phoenix Genesis): All-around playability paddle. Loves it for her aggressive playing style. She likes to drive and hit very hard, and the Genesis gives her that extra pop and controllable power, helping accelerate her game. 
  • Andrea Koop (Tempest Wave Pro): Helps with her blocks, resets and redirects up at the kitchen line. The Wave Pro helps her optimize the perfect balance of control and power. 

Can you talk about the innovative technologies used in these paddles? Smart Response Technology, for example?

Smart Response Technology is a formula that allows for the control of thicker paddles without a large drop in power. Thicker paddles have been popular lately, but a lack of power seems endemic in the category. SRT allows for the touch and forgiveness of thicker paddles without a large drop in power and without having to make the paddle very thick. It can be found in all Paddletek Pro models. 

What does the process of building a paddle look like?   

Controlled chaos. 

What is next for Paddletek?  

Spin that lasts, extreme vibration control and longer paddles with more options. 


We look forward to see what exciting new releases Paddletek will imagine next. Do you have a favorite paddle from their lineup? If you have any questions you’d like them to explore next time we talk, let us know in the comments.

Pickleball Tournament Snack Ideas

By Brandi Givens, RD

Brandi Givens – Dietitian, Nutrition Writer and Pickleball Player

This week I celebrated summer solstice with a day of play at the Winney Family Ranch in Ravensdale, WA. It was a pickleball player’s dream, complete with the most beautiful venue, sunshine, friendship, food, and great play well into the evening.

Winney Ranch in Ravensdale, WA

While I was enjoying the atmosphere, I considered this blog post and took the opportunity to ask several friends about their favorite go-to pickleball snacks for long days of play. The answers I got were eclectic, ranging from fruit to electrolyte powders, and a surprising amount of candy.

With all the snack choices on the market, it’s hard to know what the best choices are. Keep in mind that it’s important to test any new snack or drink well before an important tournament day, to make sure it doesn’t cause digestive problems for you. Here are some ideas from a dietitian’s perspective.

Hydrating Snacks

Water is the most critical thing humans need to survive, second only to air. When we get even a little dehydrated, it can affect thinking and physical performance, which are both important for winning a pickleball match. Dehydration can cause muscle cramps, dizziness, headaches, and fatigue.

New Selkirk Premium Water Bottle 64 Ounce

When planning your snacks for a long day of play, you might consider packing a cooler with juicy fruits and vegetables that will contribute to hydration. Some ideas include:

  • Fruit like grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, berries, oranges, mandarins, apples, pears, kiwi, peaches.
  • Vegetables like cucumbers, sweet peppers, and leafy greens like spinach and romaine lettuce.

Of course, you can’t come close to meeting your fluid needs with food alone, so be sure to drink plenty of water. Staying ahead of dehydration can help you feel and play your best.

Electrolytes

Electrolytes are always a popular topic at any sporting event since these important minerals can be lost when we sweat. Unbalanced electrolytes can contribute to cramping, a sign that your body is in danger. Sodium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, and calcium are needed for important basic body functions like:

  • blood pressure maintenance
  • muscle contractions (including the heartbeat)
  • water balance in the cells
  • brain function
  • feeding the cells
  • removing waste from cells

When we think of electrolytes, the first thing that comes to mind is often sports drinks. These drinks are a convenient way to hydrate, replenish minerals, and sometimes carbohydrates.

Shop all Jigsaw products at PickleballCentral HERE

When we snack smart, we can also stay on top of electrolyte losses with good food choices like:

  • Sodium and chloride: Salty foods like salted nuts and seeds
  • Potassium: bananas, avocados, bananas, cantaloupe, potatoes with skin, chia seeds
  • Magnesium: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, spinach, quinoa, chia seeds, peanuts
  • Calcium: Dairy foods, tofu, pumpkin seeds, spinach, almonds, chia seeds

A Little Pro, A Little Carb

Most athletes find that it’s best to stay away from full, heavy meals during tournament play. But when you’ve been out there for hours, it’s important to keep energy on board. Light snacks that offer both carbohydrates and protein can provide the energy your body and brain need for peak performance, and can help maintain muscle mass.

Consider combination foods like:

  • Nut and granola bars
  • Fruit slices with nut butter packets and peanut butter
  • Trail mixes with fruit and nuts
  • Small turkey, chicken, nut butter, or egg sandwiches
  • Cottage cheese and pineapple
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Hummus and carrots
  • Plain Greek yogurt and fruit
  • Roasted chickpeas

High Carb for Quick Energy

Sometimes athletes are so intensely focused on their game strategy that they forget to eat. This should be avoided, because the lack of energy will eventually impair performance, causing a feeling of weakness or even shakiness.

It’s a good idea to keep some fast energy sources handy in case this happens to you. Then, as soon as possible, eat a hardier snack with both protein and carbohydrates like the ones suggested in the section above.

Quick carbohydrate ideas:

  • Fruit juice like orange or apple juice
  • A piece of hard candy or other candy
  • Dried fruit like raisins or cherries

It’s important to discuss low blood sugar symptoms with your doctor in case you may be developing an underlying health problem.

Do you have some great snack ideas? Please let me and other readers know about them in the comments below!

Resources:

Oria, Maria, Meghan Harrison, and Virginia A. Stallings. 2019. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Recommended Dietary Allowances and Adequate Intakes, Elements, Food and Nutrition Board, National Academies. National Academies Press (US).

Belval, Luke N., Yuri Hosokawa, Douglas J. Casa, William M. Adams, Lawrence E. Armstrong, Lindsay B. Baker, Louise Burke, et al. 2019. “Practical Hydration Solutions for Sports.” Nutrients 11 (7). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071550.

Clark, and Nancy. 2020. Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics.

Karpinski, Christine, Rosenbloom, Christine, and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2017. Sports Nutrition : A Handbook for Professionals.

A Quick Guide to Outdoor Balls for Summer Play

With so many pickleballs on the market, it can be a challenge to pick the right one for your game. This is intended as a simple guide to help get you started. Look out for future blog posts that will include more in-depth information about the many options available on PickleballCentral.

This time of year we see mostly outdoor balls being ordered since players want to enjoy the weather. Limiting your search to outdoor options doesn’t narrow your choices very far, however. The next step is to decide if you’re looking for a competitive ball or a recreational ball. Many of the pickleballs below have color options, however neon (or some version of it) is the most popular due to increased visibility.

Competitive pickleballs tend to play faster and bounce a little less. They are designed to reward good play and assist in shaping your shots with spin. In general the faster the ball plays, the harder the ball is, which means they will not last as long as softer pickleballs. The two most popular in this category are the Onix Dura Fast 40 and the Franklin X-40 Performance Balls.

There are a number of pickleballs which provide a competitive feel while maintaining a higher level of durability. These are one-piece balls with a slightly softer construction. The top pickleballs in this category are the CORE, Engage Tour Neon, SLK Competition and OSO.

Outdoor Pickleball Sampler 12-Pack only at PickleballCentral

If you need help in making a choice from the above, try our Outdoor Pickleball Sampler 12-pack which has 2 each of these 6 picks.

If you are not looking for a performance ball, try a recreational pickleball. These bounce a little higher so players have more time to set themselves up for shots and tend to be the most durable. Many of these balls are still USA Pickleball approved for tournament play, and all of them can be used for a great game of pickleball. Our favorite picks are the Onix Fuse G2, Penn 40, GAMMA Photon and Wilson TRU 32.

Do you have a favorite pickleball, or have you found a particular style that works best in your climate? Let us know which type has served you best in the comments.

Outdoor Pickleballs at Pickleball Central

Ashley and Collin Cooke Travel to The Franklin NYC Open for the APPTour

Fruit Smash from New Belgium Brewery gave away an all-expenses-paid trip to the APP Tour NYC Open in April 2022. After thousands entered, Ashley and Collin Cooke were the lucky random winners. We sat down to ask about their trip, their pickleball story and more!

What is your pickleball story? How did you get into pickleball?

It’s kind of a funny story. Ashley’s mom started playing pickleball around 2015 and quickly became obsessed. We all made fun of her for playing a game with such an odd name. For Mother’s Day in 2017 all she wanted was for her kids and their spouses to play pickleball with her that afternoon. We all agreed to play her “dumb game” and ended up getting addicted ourselves!

Where are you located? Do you have a pickleball courts you frequent?

We live in Cleveland, TN and there is a large and wonderful group of players in our area. Our city just built six new outdoor courts a couple of years ago and the majority of the pickleball community plays together almost every day of the week. We’ve met some of the most amazing people through the pickleball community, many of whom we never would’ve met otherwise.  

What paddles do you play with and why?

We are both Diadem Warrior princesses! Collin called Ashley and her sister this when they both started playing with this paddle a couple of months ago. He just got his own and joined them. We love the Warrior because it has helped add power to our volleys and control for our dinking.  

You were the lucky winners for the Fruit Smash giveaway and went on a trip to the APP NYC tournament. How was your trip?

Our trip to the NYC Open was incredible. We flew out of our local airport on Tuesday morning and arrived at our hotel in Queens around 4:00pm. The hotel was beautiful and in a very convenient location to the subway which was one stop from the Billy Jean Tennis Center, and a few more stops into Manhattan.  

On our first night we rode the subway into Manhattan and ate at the Porch in Bryant Park, which was delicious! Wednesday morning we left for the tournament and were shown around and given an incredible bag full of gifts!  

We watched several hours of the tournament on Wednesday and had a photoshoot at the Fruit Smash tent, which was so much fun!  We spent some time in Central Park after that and then ate at Hummus Kitchen, which was an incredible Israeli restaurant with some of the best food we’ve ever had! Thursday morning we went back to watch as much pickleball as we could before leaving for the airport after lunch.

Have you played in tournaments? What advice do you have for those wanting to try? What do you enjoy about them?

We both love playing in tournaments! It’s so much fun to compete at your skill level and we enjoy the challenge of playing against new opponents. We’ve also met people at tournaments that we enjoy running into at other tournaments and enjoy encouraging each other. 

Ashley played in the Atlanta Open recently. She loved being able to watch the pros between matches and would encourage anyone to join tournaments where pros are playing! She felt like it was a really fun atmosphere to be a part of. For anyone who hasn’t played in a tournament and is interested in trying: Just get some help deciding what your skill level is and sign up for one you want to play!

We can’t thank New Belgium Fruit Smash enough for the incredible trip! This is our favorite game in the world!


Our thanks go out to Ashley and Collin for taking the time to share their experiences with us. We look forward to giving more fans opportunities to travel and enjoy tournaments in the future.