Many players can recognize a traditional pickleball paddle shape—a lightly tapered neck above the handle with squared-off parallel edges and a somewhat boxy square or rectangular shape. As time has passed, some manufacturers have experimented with more elongated shapes, revolutionized by Glen Peterson’s GP short-handle designs (first introduced by Engage and now popularized with the Selkirk Omni) and then by some truly narrow designs like the Encore Blade, Amped Maxima, and Gamma Needle.
The goals of these paddles were sometimes to increase reach, sometimes to increase power, and sometimes to increase the sweet spot. Mostly these designs tended towards players seeking extra reach and a forward-weighted (head weighted) feel. Last fall, ProLite introduced the Chrome NRG which looked like it took inspiration from racquetball and squash, creating an elongated teardrop shape that put the mass (and sweet spot) further out for more power, with a rounded sweet spot more natural to actual spot patterns, and they have updated it with their new Cypher Pro.
Now it’s time for Prince Pickleball to take paddle design in a new direction yet again… one you’ll excuse us for saying is quite “well-rounded.” In the 1970s Prince revolutionized tennis by designing new racquets with larger heads and much bigger sweet spots. Prince is doing it again, this time in Pickleball, and they are literally “changing the shape of pickleball” with their new designs.
We at PickleballCentral are pleased to be the official and exclusive launch partner for Prince’s Response Pro and Spectrum Pro composite paddles! These designs feature a highly circular shape that’s sure to satisfy players who love touch, and an oversized, super consistent, naturally round shaped sweet spot.
Changing The Shape: A Circular Design
The engineering team at Prince Pickleball explained to us that their goal was to create a paddle that provides an amazingly large, naturally shaped sweet spot while delivering incredible touch and power. They explained it like this: “When you drop a pebble in a pool of water, you immediately think of the many ripples that are dispersed from the center; this is what Prince Pickleball replicates in the Response Pro and Spectrum Pro paddles.
The energy spreads out evenly over the paddle and isn’t disrupted by the traditional straight edges that most paddles have. Those straight edges impede energy transfer, and artificially reduce the size and shape of the sweet spot. You don’t see square racquets in tennis, racquetball, or squash. There is a reason – it’s about consistent energy dispersion and sweet spot expansion.”
We recently tested a prototype paddle in our lab and on our courts, and the paddle had a solid white face. We used this paddle to learn visually what the typical shot pattern is like for a typical 3.5 – 4.5 player, and the results were interesting. The shot patterns show mis-hits (off center hits) as much side to side, as top to bottom. But the pattern itself was circular.
As we were listening to the engineers at Prince Pickleball, this resonated with us, and we immediately set out to play with their new circular shaped paddles to see if they really expanded the size of the sweet spot.
Our experience was amazing – balls played consistently in the sweet spot, closer to the edge than almost any paddle we’ve played with. Balls striking almost anywhere on the paddle face transfer energy out to a rounded perimeter, giving you the sense of consistent energy transfer whether you hit in the middle, or off center.
Changing The Shape: A Thicker, High Performance “Progressive Core”
To maximize the size and consistency of the sweet spot, optimize vibration reduction, and provide a soft feel (similar to graphite paddles), the cores in Prince paddles are made of a thick 9/16-inch polymer honeycomb that generates plenty of power. Prince Pickleball calls this “Progressive Core Technology”. Softer shots play consistently whether played on the center, or off center of the face, helpful when reaching soft volleys and dinks.
Many players describe the paddles playing like a graphite faced paddle due to this incredible control, helping keep dinks down, and reset points when volleys are blasted at you. But when you power up on the paddle and hit a power shot, the paddle plays more like a fiberglass paddle, imparting progressively more power in a linear way. The “Progressive Core” enables players to get the best of both worlds – power, and soft touch.
Players will enjoy the high level of control they feel while benefiting from a design built to last. These paddles are wholly engineered and manufactured in the U.S. and come with a 5-year guarantee against dead spots. While Prince is just now entering the pickleball market, they have been a leader in tennis and squash products since the 1970s. The first company to patent an oversized tennis racquet, Prince continued to innovate and influence trends in racquet sports for many decades.
Simone Jardim with the Response Pro
To ensure high quality design right from the start, they’ve partnered with top pickleball paddle manufacturer Paddletek to create these unique new offerings. The result is Prince’s launch of innovative paddles leveraging Paddletek’s advanced technology developed through seven years of perfecting pickleball paddle design.
It’s not just Prince and Paddletek’s expertise that supports the quality of the Response and Spectrum Pro paddles. National champion and 2018 US OPEN Triple Crown winner Simone Jardim dominated the courts with her signature Prince Response Pro paddle at this year’s US Open Pickleball Championships, winning Gold in pro singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
The Right Fit
The two models of Prince pickleball paddles guarantee a perfect fit for a wide range of player preferences. Players like Jardim who like a longer handle for two-handed backhands or for extra leverage and power prefer the Response Pro’s 5.5-inch handle. If a shorter handle better suits your style of play, the Spectrum Pro’s 5-inch handle may be just the right fit.
Simone Jardim and Response Pro
In either case, to top off the Prince quality and flexibility, both models offer your choice of grip size and weight when ordering a paddle. The Spectrum Pro comes in light weight models (7.2 – 7.6 ounces) and standard weights (7.7 – 8.3) and the Response Pro comes in light weight (7.1 – 7.6 ounces) and standard weights (7.7 – 8.1 ounces).
Both models are available in a 4-1/8” and 4-3/8” grip size. No more having to settle for equipment that’s just outside your preferred weight range or fiddling with overgrips! Both paddles also come in four appealing colors so there is a combination sure to please anyone. Simply pick out your preferences during checkout at our PickleballCentral store.
You’ll feel connected to your paddle like never before with these attractive and functional designs. Visit our Prince paddle page today and feel the power of the Response and Spectrum Pro for yourself.