Spin has become an important weapon in the game of pickleball. As players have developed the ability to produce more topspin, these types of shots are more common than ever. A player with a great cut shot often sees their opponents return the ball into the net, and the spin serve is used with equal efficacy.
The creation of spin always starts with the stroke. If a player does not have a topspin stroke, sandpaper-like texture won’t be any help. What a paddle can do is accentuate spin. The two ways this can happen are with friction and adhesion.
Friction is when a rough surface makes contact with a pickleball, preferably a ball that has already gotten a bit scuffed from use. The friction of the paddle moving across the ball creates spin. This is similar to the grooves on a golf club creating spin when the ball is struck properly.
Adhesion is when the ball sticks to the surface of a paddle as the player moves through a complete swing. The paddle essentially grabs the ball and imparts spin. This is akin to a smooth drag race tire heating and sticking to smooth pavement.
If you’d like to make more use of spin, we’ve selected a group of paddles that are ideal for incorporating these two methods into your game:
Top 5 Paddles for Spin
(In no particular order!)
(Type: Friction) from Electrum Pickleball
The Electrum Pro was revered for its spin from day one thanks to the gritty Toray T700 carbon fiber used for the face. Its other benefits include the broad 8-1/2″ width which results in a large sweet spot and the fact Electrum only uses full polypropylene cells in the core, meaning it feels consistent across the entire surface.
(Type: Friction) from Engage Pickleball
Engage’s Pursuit line is excellent for spin thanks to the proprietary omni-directional graphite used in their design. The material provides a long-lasting texture that doesn’t wear away so you can rely on enhanced spin even after many games. The Pursuit paddles also come in a variety of shapes so that you can select a model that best suits your play style.
(Type: Friction) from JOOLA Pickleball
The “CFS” in this paddle’s name refers to a “carbon friction surface” which uses Carbon-Flex5 material developed by JOOLA to improve power and spin. It’s currently #1 pro player Ben Johns’ paddle of choice, so you know it can reliably perform in the most demanding scenarios. It has many exciting features, but one of the best is the unique Hyperfoam Edge Wall which enhances stability and the sweet spot.
(Type: Adhesion) from Diadem Pickleball
Diadem was one of the first manufacturers to focus on the rarer adhesion style of surface using their proprietary “Spin RP” polyurethane coating which creates a tacky texture. Where many brands have focused on making paddles with thicker cores, the Icon features a slimmer design which is ideal for retaining speed and feel. It also has another rare but highly desirable quality: a replaceable edge guard.
(Type: Adhesion) from PROLITE Pickleball
This paddle is one that both figuratively and literally shines thanks to its triple-layered carbon fiber face interwoven with gold or silver fibers. While it doesn’t have the typical “scratchy” feel, you’ll still notice the enhanced spin it offers when following through on shots. The special Aero Channel edge guard reduces drag despite its thicker 0.55″ core that serves to dampen vibrations and improve control.
We know there are more paddles that impart spin with either friction or adhesion, what are your favorites? If you’ve tried and loved any of these models let us know about your experience, or if there’s another paddle that’s helped with spin, our visitors would love to hear about it in the comments.
Do you think spin can make or break a match against tough opponents?