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

What Kind of Tape Can You Put on Pickleball Paddles & Why Should You?

Get your paddle ready for action

You may have heard of “edge tape”, “lead tape” or “grip tape”, but if some of these terms or products have you confused, we’ve explained the differences and why players choose these different types of tape to customize their paddles.

How is Lead Tape Used?

Lead tape provides an easy and inexpensive way to add weight to your paddle and customize the balance point of your paddle so that it feels exactly how you want it. Adding weight can do three things: provide more power and swing speed, change the balance (making it more head heavy or handle heavy), and add stability.

Tourna Pickleball Lead Tape is a self-adhesive lead tape that comes in a 72” long x ¼” wide roll. To use it you simply remove the paper backing and apply the tape to the edge of your paddle. Lead tape is easy to remove, so you can easily experiment with different placement and amounts to create the weight, balance and stability that you prefer.

Tourna Pickleball Lead Tape

Our video demonstrates how to add lead tape to your paddle to achieve more power, change the balance, and increase stability.


Why Use Edge Tape?

Edge tape is used to provide extra protection to the outer edge of your paddle, to minimize scratches and maintain structural integrity. Placed along the paddle’s edge, edge tape can help extend the life of your paddle, without adding much extra weight.

If you use lead tape to add weight to your paddle, edge tape can also be used (instead of electrical tape) to cover and secure the lead tape.

Many players also enjoy using edge tape simply to customize the look of their paddles with different colors. Some might coordinate the same color of edge tape to match their grip color, or go for different colors to create an even more bold look.

PROLITE Edge Tape Armor comes in a choice of three colors:  black, red or white. Each 3-pack contains three strips that are 31.5” long and ½” wide, making an ideal size for most paddles that have a ½” core thickness.

PROLITE Sports Edge Tape Armor
PROLITE Sports Edge Tape Armor – More colors available at Pickleball Central

Gearbox Protective Bumper Tape 3-pack comes in black or white and two thickness options: 20mm or 30mm, so you can select the width that best fits your paddle’s core thickness.

Gearbox Protective Bumper Tape
Gearbox Protective Bumper Tape

ProKennex Training Tape has options designed specifically for both the ProSpeed and Ovation paddles, available in black.

ProKennex Training Tape
ProKennex Training Tape


What About Grips and Overgrips…Is That Tape Too?

Since some players refer to paddle grips and overgrips as “grip tape” this warrants clarification. Some people use these terms interchangeably, but there are differences it’s important to understand. Grips are designed to cover the core of your paddle and are made of thick materials, intended to entirely replace the grip your paddle game with.

Overgrips are designed to be put on top of your paddle’s grip. Overgrips are typically made of thinner material than grips, and are used to add extra tackiness, moisture absorption and comfort to your grip without adding much weight or changing it’s shape or size.

Customize your overgrip to stand out with your paddle

Grips and overgrips come in a wide assortment of styles and colors, adding another way to customize the feel of your paddle as well as it’s style and look.

A few of our best-selling grips and overgrips include:

PROLITE No-Slip Thin Grip – available in seven colors, provides superior handling with minimal padding.

GAMMA Honeycomb Cushion Pickleball Grip – perforated grip that helps wick moisture while providing a tacky feel, available in four colors.

HEAD Xtreme Soft Pickleball Over Grip – a thinner grip with a soft yet tacky feel, the large perforations provide optimal moisture absorption. Available in six colors.

In our video, pro player Glen Peterson demonstrates how to regrip a paddle and how to add an overgrip.

See all thirty of our grips and overgrips here.

Why Play In A Pickleball Tournament

The past few years has brought many new players to the sport of pickleball. We love seeing the new players at our local courts and around the globe taking up the game! While many are perfectly content to come out on the weekend to play with friends, others enjoy competing in tournaments. If you’ve never played in a tournament and think that they are only for the pros, you might want to reconsider. Tournaments are a great way to further your enjoyment of pickleball, and bring many benefits to your pickleball game and social life.

Why you should sign up for your first pickleball tournament

Friendship & Community

One of the wonderful things about pickleball is the community. People often comment on how friendly and fun pickleball players tend to be and it’s true! Going to tournaments expands your pickleball community even further – you get to meet and play with other people from many different locations, which often develop into long term friendships and future partners at other tournaments.

Fun

In addition to the extra level of fun that competing in tournament matches brings, one of the most fun things about tournaments are the pick-up games that happen in the evenings after tournament matches conclude. People hang out on the courts and meet new friends as they play in matches with others of different skill levels from different regions. Often it’s a pickleball party atmosphere, with music playing, lots of happy people sharing in their love of the game, and of course opportunities for apres-pickleball outings. The tournament atmosphere is so much fun that some people go to tournaments just to spectate, watch the pros, cheer on their friends, and play in the evening rec games, even if they don’t sign up for tournament competition themselves.

Pickleball Tournaments are FUN!

For many people, playing in tournaments becomes a main focus of their recreational travel. Planning vacations around tournaments provides a fun way to select new places to visit. There are tournaments all over the country throughout the year, with many in appealing sunny locations such as AZ, FL and Hawaii, which make for a great winter vacation. Or how about a pickleball tournament vacation in Italy, France, Spain or Jamaica – all countries that have held tournaments or will be hosting them in 2022.

Range of Skills & Competition

Players who are newer to pickleball or who have not played other sports competitively might think that tournaments only for top level players. In fact, most tournaments offer events for all skill levels including beginner and intermediate, and many also offer events for different age levels combined with skill levels so that players of all ages/skills can find appropriate events. There are even some tournaments that are for beginners only, particularly among the smaller local tournaments. Also, some tournaments are structured as “Round Robin” format, which means you get to play matches against every other doubles team (or singles player) in your division.

Reasons to sign up for your first pickleball tournament
Test your skill level at a pickleball tournament

Improve Your Game

Another benefit of playing in tournaments is how much you can learn from playing with and watching other players. Tournament play exposes you to many different types of shots, strategies and teamwork that you won’t necessarily see from just playing with the same people at your home courts. Also, at tournaments you can learn from watching other players, especially higher level players and pros if you go to some of the bigger events where pros play. It’s educational and exciting to watch what they do on the court. You’re likely to see shots and moves you’ve never seen before, which is inspiring and motivating.

Setting Goals

Playing in tournaments also helps you improve your game by setting goals. If you know you have a tournament coming up you are likely to want to work on practicing with your partner, identifying areas you want to work on, and establishing some goals you hope to achieve. With each tournament come new goals, which provides a great way to stay motivated on continuing to improve your skills, technique and mental game.

How To Find Tournaments

PickleballTournaments.com is the best place to look for upcoming tournaments. If you go to
Future Tournaments” you can search on keywords, state, city, country, etc. to look for tournaments in a particular area. When looking through the list of options, you’ll then see a list of tournaments by location with the dates. From there you can click on “View Details” to explore each tournament and learn what skill levels are offered, registration dates, how many players are registered, costs, and more information.

How to find a pickleball tournament near you

If you’re just starting out with tournament play, looking for smaller tournaments could be a good place to start. But even the larger tournaments, such as those that are part of the PPA (Pro Pickleball Association) and APP (Association of Pickleball Professionals) pro tours, offer events for beginners and intermediate players, so don’t rule those out just because they are also for pros. In fact the pro tour events can be a great way to gain competition experience at whatever level you are currently, while also getting to watch and follow the pros which adds a whole new level of excitement and interest to the sport.

Whether you play in tournaments or not, keep your paddle up and keep having fun!

Running Shoes vs. Court Shoes – What’s The Difference?

If you’re wearing running shoes when you play pickleball, you should consider replacing them with pickleball court shoes soon so you don’t injure yourself on the court. Running shoes are designed strictly for forward movement, not for the quick lateral movements that pickleball requires. The soles of running shoes flare out, and can easily cause an ankle injury if you land wrong when moving side to side. If you’ve been bitten by the pickleball bug like the rest of us, do yourself a favor and get a proper pair of court shoes before you end up with a sprained ankle!

Running Shoes vs Court Shoes

Running shoes are constructed with a very soft midsole cushion that helps absorb hard impact and alleviate pounding on your feet and joints. Over time this cushioning will lose its spring and deliver less comfort and joint relief with every step. With court shoes designed specifically for sports like pickleball and tennis, the cushioning of the midsole and outsole is made with a much more rigid material than a running shoe; while it won’t create the same degree of cushioning, the firmness of the rubber is beneficial in maintaining its tread while being dragged across the rough surface of a pickleball court.

When Should You Replace Pickleball Shoes?

The best indicator to determine when it’s time to replace your pickleball shoes is to look at how much tread is left on the top half (from the toe edge to the shoe’s mid-section) of the outsole on the bottom your shoe. The frequent movements of pickleball will typically cause the toe box area of your shoe’s rubber to wear down the fastest. Some players notice heavier wear in the heel of their shoes, which is also a good way to determine if it’s time to replace or not.

What you want to look for is flattening and smoothing of the rubber outsole. Any part of the underside of your shoe that has no visible tread pattern remaining indicates that your shoes are not going to offer as much traction, stability, comfort, or support as they once did. The importance of replacing them is primarily to reduce the risk of injury from wearing a shoe more likely to cause sliding on the court. In addition, worn out tread and less traction cause your shoes to slow you down; they don’t grip the court as well as they should, so you won’t be able to pivot or get up to the kitchen as quickly as you can with newer shoes that have fresh unworn outsoles.

Some shoes have a layer of material beneath the outsole that is a different color. If you’re able to see this from underneath the first layer of material, this is an immediate sign that your shoes are worn out and should be replaced.

Outsole Worn Through

How Long Should Court Shoes Last?

People often ask how long their court shoes should last. There is not a one-size-fits all answer as this depends on several factors that vary from player to player. How often do you play? Do you lift your feet or toe drag with your shot set-up, execution and follow-through? Do you wear your court shoes to and from the courts or only while you’re playing? Do you have just one pair that you wear all the time or do you rotate through several pairs at the same time? All of these factors will affect how long each player’s shoes will last.

K-Swiss Express Light Pickleball Shoe – Men’s

How Does Shoe Weight Affect Durability?

A shoe’s relative weight affects its durability and how long you can expect it to last. A heavier shoe has harder, more dense rubber that is designed to maintain its tread and traction for several months of play. Some court shoes come with a six-month outsole guarantee; you’ll notice most of the shoes offering this warranty are on the heavier side compared to the more lightweight court shoes that are available.

If durability and longevity are primary considerations in your selection of court shoes, HEAD Pickleball offers several excellent options. HEAD provides a six-month outsole warranty on several of their court shoes, including the HEAD Revolt Pro and HEAD Revolt EVO for men and women, two of our top selling shoes.

HEAD Revolt Pro 3.5 Shoe – Men’s

Lighter court shoes are typically constructed with a softer rubber that is less dense, thus more comfortable. If you are not playing very frequently and you’re more concerned with comfort than durability, lightweight shoes are a great choice. Several stylish and comfortable lightweight shoes to consider are the HEAD Sprint Pro, Wilson Kaos Swift and Babolat Jet Tere, available in men‘s and women‘s sizes and many color options.

Wilson Kaos Swift Shoe – Women’s

Our Shoe Comparison chart lists all of the popular court shoes that we carry, with their weights, widths, and whether they come with an outsole warranty. For an easy way to compare them all, view our Men’s Shoe Comparison Chart and our Women’s Shoe Comparison Chart, which you can find at the bottoms of our Pickleball Court Shoes For Men and Pickleball Court Shoes For Women pages. You can also navigate to all of our pickleball court shoes here.

How To Select A Portable Pickleball Net

Portable pickleball nets (often referred to as “portable pickleball net systems”) are the perfect way for players to be able to set up a court in a variety of settings. The most common scenario is to put up a portable net on tennis courts or in a gym. But when a court or gym may not be available, you can also easily put up a net in a driveway, cul-de-sac, deserted parking lot, or anywhere else there’s enough space. For a very low investment you can set up a game in just a few minutes.

Portable Nets at Pickleball Station in Kent, WA

Factors To Consider

When deciding what type of net will be right for you, there are several factors to consider. For example, if you’re looking for a tournament net, you’ll want a sturdy, durable net that is standard regulation size and will hold up well with frequent use. If you’re a recreational player seeking an easily deployed net, price may be your most important criteria. Ease of maneuverability is another important consideration. Some homeowners or facility directors with plenty of space for one or more pickleball courts and storage might prefer nets on wheels that can be easily rolled off the court to a storage area when not needed, without having to be disassembled.

Another factor to keep in mind is weight. If you’ll be frequently transporting your net from your car to the courts, a lighter weight net will be much more comfortable to carry. All of the truly portable nets come with carrying bags that have carrying straps and/or wheels so that you can easily transport them. 

USA Pickleball and IFP Regulations for Tournament Approved Nets

USA Pickleball and the IFP (International Federation of Pickleball) guidelines require that regulation nets measure 22’ wide, 36” height at the net’s sidelines, and 34” at the center of the net. So if you are looking for a net that meets official tournament regulations you’ll want to get one this size. Regulation size pickleball courts are 20’ wide, so having a 22’ wide net provides one foot of net on each side extending past the sidelines of the court.

USA Pickleball and International Federation of Pickleball

If you don’t need a tournament net and just want a net for casual rec play, drilling, or having some fun with the kids, or if you don’t have enough space for a full sized court, there are some smaller nets that provide an even less expensive solution for playing and practicing. We offer a few 20’ wide nets, which are wide enough to span the full 20’ pickleball court width, but won’t have the additional foot on each side extending past the court’s sidelines that a 22’ regulation size net requires. For even smaller spaces like a garage or driveway, a 10’ wide “mini” net provides a great way to practice your dinks when you can’t get to the courts.

10’ Mini Practice Nets
10’ nets such as the Picklenet Mini Practice Net are an ideal option for practicing in smaller spaces like driveways, and can be handy when traveling.

Picklenet Mini Practice Net

20’ Portable Pickleball Nets
20’ nets with the frame sitting on the ground, such as the Rally Portable Lightweight Pickleball Net System, can be a good option for players who don’t need a tournament sized net. Lightweight, durable and inexpensive, this net features shock cord connection on all the frame parts, making it quick and easy to assemble.

Rally Portable Lightweight Pickleball Net System

22’ Nets That Meet USA Pickleball and IFP Guidelines
22’ nets with space below the bottom of the net, such as the Rally Deluxe Portable Net System, are a favorite with many players who like to be able to roll balls underneath the net to pass them to players on the other side. A perennial best-seller, this net is constructed with a powder-coated steel frame that has oval tubing, making it extremely sturdy and easy to assemble. Regulation size, this durable net is a great option for both recreational and tournament play.

Rally Deluxe Portable Net System

SwiftNet 2.1 Portable Pickleball Net System
The 22′ regulation size SwiftNet is in a class of its own, as the only easily portable net that plays like a permanent net. Made of strong and lightweight carbon fiber recycled from the aerospace industry, the SwiftNet weighs only 17 lbs (including the storage bag) so it’s extremely easy to carry. Designed with shock cord that connects all of the frame pieces it is a snap to put together, making it the easiest and fastest portable net to assemble. Players love this net’s performance and durability.

SwiftNet 2.1 Portable Pickleball Net System

Nets With Wheels
22’ nets with wheels, such as the Deluxe PickleNet Portable Net System, provide ultimate maneuverability for court facilities. This regulation size net also has the benefits of oval tubing constructed from powder-coated steel. The four wheels make it a breeze to slide the net on and off the court, a great option for community centers or other multi-use locations that need to quickly move their nets elsewhere when pickleball is not in play.

Deluxe PickleNet Portable Net System

The Douglas Net Premier PPS-22SQ Portable Pickleball Net System is a top-of-the line 22′ regulation net system constructed with an extremely durable, heavy-duty steel frame, stabilizer legs for stability, and an end wheel assembly for mobility. This portable net is the closest in quality and durability to a permanent net, but thanks to the wheels does not require the expense of any drilling or pouring concrete. Developed for use at the USA Pickleball National Championships at Indian Wells Tennis Garden, this net is an ideal option for sports clubs adding pickleball to their facilities.

Douglas Net Premier PPS-22SQ Portable Pickleball Net System

Whether you’re playing just for fun or gearing up for tournaments, having a portable pickleball net in your collection of pickleball gear gives you the flexibility to play just about anywhere. We carry dozens of portable pickleball nets of every type – you can see them all here, and compare them in the chart below. If you have questions, call us at 1-888-854-0163. Our customer care experts will be happy to help you select the best net for your needs.

Portable Pickleball Net Comparison Chart

Portable Pickleball Net Comparison Chart

Adidas Enters Pickleball With A New Line Of Paddles For Every Player

New Sport. Same Attitude.

For more than seventy years, adidas has excelled when it comes to leading innovation in sports. We are excited to announce that adidas has launched their first line of pickleball paddles in 2021! With growing recognition and excitement around pickleball, we are seeing some major brands take notice. This new line of paddles brings their spirit of performance to pickleball with 8 paddles for a range of all player types, from beginners to pros.

Adidas is using materials new to the sport to hit the ground running with some high-level performance paddles.

Let’s take a closer look:

adidas ADIPOWER Pickleball Paddles

ADIPOWER Range

Featuring 2 Paddles

  • New carbon aluminized face material for a unique feel 
  • Two shapes for different styles of play – ATTK and CTRL 
  • Adidas quality entering pickleball 

What happens when you combine the rigidity of carbon fiber with the softness of aluminum? You get the face of the ADIPOWER paddles. This gives the paddle a depth not seen in other paddles. From the soft game to the power game these paddles just feel and play a little different. There is very little feedback through the paddle and shots are consistent and controlled.   

ESSNOVA CARBON Range

Featuring 3 paddles

  • 3K carbon face provides great control on all models 
  • 2 shapes and 2 core densities provide a wide range of play characteristics 
  • Exciting technology enhances durability and play – structural reinforcement and Spin Blade technology 

The ESSNOVA CARBON finds a different way to combine power and control. The shape of the ESSNOVA ATTK is slightly elongated, adding more whip to your shots. The balanced ESSNOVA CTRL paddles come in two different core densities. The low density has more give, thus a little more pop off the face. The high density is more rigid, spreading out the sweet spot and adding another dimension of control.  

RX Range

Featuring 2 paddles

  • Consistent play and feel for these intermediate paddles 
  • Your choice of high density (control) or low density (power) cores  
  • Classic shape and weight range  

The RX44 and the RX20 are intermediate level paddles that perform. This series utilizes a fiberglass face to help those who want to keep their serves and returns deep. The RX44 has a high density core for to help temper the bounce of the fiberglass. The RX20 has a low density core to multiple the fiberglass effect. Both paddles are in the traditional shape. 

Drive Range

Featuring 1 paddle

  • Fiberglass face for pop 
  • Carbon-reinforced frame for durability 
  • Comfortable non slip grip 

The Drive is an entry level paddle that comes in a slightly smaller shape. There are many of the same technologies used in the higher end adidas paddles that make this paddle a winner at this price. It will provide enough power as you start your pickleball journey through the use of a fiberglass face and the low density core.   

You’ll find these paddles exclusively at PickleballCentral.

Still not sure which one you should get or want to know more about a certain paddle? Call us at 1-888-854-0163. Nothing makes us happier than helping you find a paddle that fits your game. Buy with confidence, knowing you have a 30-day test drive to make sure it works on the courts – where it counts.

Shop all adidas paddles.

Shoe Lacing Techniques Can Alleviate Many Common Foot Problems

Do you experience foot pain during or after playing pickleball? If so you are certainly not alone. It’s not uncommon for many people, especially when doing a lot of running, to experience a variety of foot issues. Sometimes people assume they have an ill-fitting shoe when in fact simply lacing the shoe in a different way can alleviate the discomfort.

The illustration and following explanations below shows lacing techniques for addressing five of the most common foot types and issues. Experimenting with these might help you turn a pair of shoes you thought did not fit quite right into your new favorite pair.


HEEL BLISTERS / SLIPPING:
If you get heel blisters or excessive wear in the back of your shoe, it may be due to heel slippage. Using “Lock Lacing” prevents your laces from becoming loose, decreases movement of your foot in the shoe, and helps reduce friction. To do lock lacing follow these steps:

1. Lace shoes in the typical cross-cross pattern until the second-to-last eyelet.
2. Then thread the lace through the last eyelet so that the lace comes out on the inside of the shoe, which creates a loop between the last two eyelets.
3. Finish by crossing your laces then inserting them through the loops you created, pulling tightly to secure the shoe around your foot, then tie normally.

WIDE FOOT / SHOES TOO TIGHT:
If your shoes feel tight on the top of your foot, “Bar Lacing” is recommended to evenly distribute the laces for improved comfort. To do bar lacing, lace your shoes in a parallel pattern by skipping alternate eyelets for each lace and running the lace up the side of the eyelets to decrease pressure.

HIGH ARCHES:
The “Gap Lacing” pattern can help alleviate pressure that people with high arches sometimes feel in the middle of your foot. To do gap lacing:
1. Start lacing normally with a criss-cross.
2. In the middle section, thread the lace only through the side eyelets.
3. Criss-cross through the final two eyelets and tie normally.

TOE PAIN:
If you get black toenails and feel pain or pinching in your toes, the “Toe-Cap” lacing technique helps lift the toe box to create more space for your toes. To do toe-cap lacing, follow these steps:

1. Start by lacing from the eyelet at the big toe to the eyelet at the top on the opposite side, so the lace goes diagonally across the whole shoe (you might need a slightly longer pair of laces for this method).
2. Make the other side of the lace about 4 inches longer, then lace it in a criss-cross pattern across all of the eyelets.
3. At the top, tie normally.

BUNIONS / WIDE FOREFOOT:
A lacing technique that provides more space in the toe box can be helpful for people with wide forefeet and/or bunions. The recommended pattern for wide forefeet is similar to the “Gap Lacing” pattern for high arches, except that you don’t start with a criss-cross, so there is more opening in the width towards the toe. To lace for a wide forefoot, follow these steps:

1. Begin by threading the lace only through the sides.
2. Starting at the midfoot, lace with a criss-cross pattern.
3. Finish with a criss-cross the final eyelets and tie normally.

The way you lace your shoes can not only affect your performance and comfort, but can also remedy many common foot issues. But keep in mind that if your shoe is not the correct fit for your foot size or for the way you pronate, just changing how you lace your shoes won’t necessarily fix the problem. Make sure that you have the right combination of proper fit and lacing technique to help your feet stay comfortable and keep you performing at your best.

We carefully select a variety of court shoe brands and styles so that people with different foot types and preferences can find the best shoe for their needs. You can see them all here.

 

Get The Skinny On Slender Singles

If you’ve been playing pickleball for a while you’re probably already familiar with Skinny Singles. But have you heard of Slender Singles?

We’re not talking about a new dating site, cheese or type of currency! We’re sticking to pickleball 100% here with some creative ideas for different ways to play the game we all love, get a great workout and improve your pickleball skills.

Slender Singles

Skinny Singles?

In Skinny Singles, you only use half the court: either using diagonal courts and changing the diagonal side with each serve, or using half the court directly across from your opponent. There tends to be more dinking and doubles-like strategy in Skinny Singles, but with only one player on each side of the net. It’s a great way to help your doubles game and work on your skills since you really have to focus on ball placement.

What about “regular” singles? For many pickleball players, especially those coming from tennis, a singles match is a super fun way to enjoy competing against another player while getting an excellent workout, pounding out groundstrokes and making passing shots.

Singles is great for working on shot depth and control, aiming for the sidelines to keep your opponent moving. But for many people (especially those of us getting on in years who might have a few injuries or not be at our peak fitness levels), covering a full 20-foot wide court without a partner is a big ask. Sure, it’s much smaller than a tennis court, but it’s still a lot of ground to cover!

Try Out Slender Singles

Here’s where the new game of Slender Singles comes in! Using an 18-foot net (instead of the 22-foot regulation size pickleball net), players who would like to play full court singles but could use a break from all that extra running have a perfect solution.

By taking four feet off the court width and making it 16 feet instead of 20 feet wide (with the typical 1 foot of net extending beyond each court sideline), players can enjoy a regular singles match and last much longer since they have 20% less court to cover. Slender singles opens up the fun of singles to a much larger population of players who might otherwise feel that singles is just too darn hard.

Slender Singles Dimensions

The MultiNet System

It’s easy to see how the many benefits of playing singles stack up. You have to hit each ball and cover more area, so the cardio benefits result in a great workout. In addition, your consistency and accuracy will improve, which will in turn help your doubles game as well. The MultiNet 18’ Practice Net System is the perfect solution for Slender Singles.

Originally designed as a “Red Ball” tennis net for junior tennis, this net allows pickleball players with limited space to set up a slightly narrower court for singles or doubles drilling and match play. The net height can be adjusted from 30” all the way up to 68” tall, providing a versatile multi-sport solution that works for badminton, beach volleyball and other games, and an interesting training aid for working on pickleball lobs.

Slender Singles Match

If playing Slender Singles sizzles your senses, you might also want to consider an oversize or elongated paddle to help you reach those passing shots your opponent will surely be serving up. You’ll find over 20 of the most popular oversize paddles listed on our website here.

Golden Girl Jennifer Dawson – World Class Athlete, Professional Pickleball And Tennis Champion

As pickleball continues to grow and an increasing number of tennis players transition to the sport of pickleball, few have achieved the level of success in both pickleball and tennis as Jennifer Dawson. An amazing athlete with incredible power and grace on and off the courts, Jennifer continues to earn major titles in tennis and pickleball, now as a Senior Pro in both sports.

In 2017, Jennifer made pickleball history as the first ever Triple Crown winner at the Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships, winning gold in Senior Pro Singles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles. At the 2018 Minto US OPEN, she won gold in Women’s Senior Pro Doubles.

Jennifer Dawson

Jennifer’s titles at the USAPA Nationals Championships are equally as impressive, starting in 2015 with silver in Women’s Doubles 19+, then in 2016 gold in Women’s Doubles 35+, followed by two silver medals in 2017 in Women’s Senior Open Doubles and Singles. At the most recent 2018 USAPA National Pickleball Championships, Jennifer again won silver in Women’s Senior Open Singles, and another gold in Women’s Senior Open Doubles. She has also won several gold medals at the Tournament of Champions in both Senior Pro Doubles and Singles.

Jennifer’s pickleball achievements alone are beyond impressive. What makes her accomplishments even more remarkable is that she achieves such success while also competing and winning at an elite level in tennis. Jennifer recently spoke with Pickleball Central founder Anna Copley about her pickleball career, tennis background and highlights, and why she favors ProKennex paddles. Watch the interview with Jennifer here.

Jennifer Dawson Video Interview

Jennifer started playing tennis at age seven, and went on to play Division I collegiate tennis at USD. Then Jennifer Larking, she claimed the #1 Singles rank at USD in 1986, 1987 and 1988. After college, Jennifer played on the pro tennis tour for several years, racking up an impressive record. After taking some time off to raise a family she later returned to national and international competitive tennis, earning the number one USTA ranking in women’s 35, 40 and 45 age groups.

Currently, Jennifer plays at the highest level on the USTA Senior International Tennis Team, competing in dozens of tennis tournaments annually. On May 18, 2019 at the USTA National Women’s Senior Hard Court Tennis Championships in La Jolla, where the best players across the country compete for the coveted USTA Gold Balls awarded to the top national champions, she won not just one but two gold balls. The only double gold winner of the week, Jennifer won gold in both Singles and Doubles 50+ division.

Jennifer Dawson USTA team.jpeg

Jennifer and her husband Steve Dawson own and operate the Bobby Riggs Racket & Paddle Center in Encinitas, CA, where they are both tennis and pickleball pros. The BOOST Pickleball Training Camps at Bobby Riggs Center provide pickleball players an opportunity to train with and learn from some of the finest players in the world – Steve, Jennifer, their son Callan (an accomplished 5.0 pickleball player) and several world class visiting guest pros such as Simone Jardim, Irina Tereschenko, Corrine Carr and Cammy MacGregor.

Athletes like the Dawsons are understandably particular about the equipment they use. Steve turned to ProKennex years ago when he was suffering from tennis elbow. So impressed with the ProKennex Kinetic Energy system for how well it improved his injury symptoms in tennis, Steve began working with ProKennex two years ago to develop pickleball paddles using the same technology.

The first ProKennex pickleball paddle, the Kinetic Pro Speed, was introduced at the 2018 US OPEN Pickleball Championships and immediately won a staggering collection of medals (with a little help from Steve and Jennifer). The newest ProKennex paddle, the Kinetic Ovation Speed, with an innovative oval shape and unparalleled sweet spot, was just introduced at the 2019 Minto US OPEN, winning more medals for both of the Dawsons.

Thanks to the ProKennex Kinetic Energy vibration dampening technology, thousands of pickleball players are benefiting from the reduction or elimination of previous elbow, arm and wrist pain. Learn more about ProKennex pickleball paddles and gear here.

Prince Pickleball: Changing The Shape of Pickleball With The New Reponse Pro and Spectrum Pro Pickleball Paddles

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.

Prince Pickleball

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.

Proven Quality

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 Response Pro

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

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.