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.

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.

Top 5 Pickleball Paddles for Spin

Top 5 Pickleball Paddles for Spin at Pickleball Central

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!)

Electrum Pro

(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.

Engage Pursuit

(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.

Joola Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16

(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.

Diadem Icon

(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.

Supernova Pro Hyperweave LX

(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?

Drive Up Muscle Mass with High Protein Foods

By Brandi Givens, RDN

Brandi has been a registered dietitian since 2010 with experience counseling hundreds of clients during her time with the Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Now as a nutrition writer, she hopes to reach an even greater population by sharing well-researched, credible information through her articles.

Pickleball Player and Nutritionist, Brandi Givens

It’s undeniable that the game of pickleball is changing before our eyes. While it’s still a sport that requires plenty of intellectual finesse shots, higher-level players also need the ability to fire powerful put-aways. And hitting those winners without injury requires strength.

Thankfully there’s a trend toward building lean muscle mass for both men and women. The value of strength training, aka resistance training, is backed by science, and research shows that there are many health benefits to increasing muscle mass.

Athletes who strength train may gain the following benefits:

  • Lower risk of injury
  • More flexibility
  • Improved balance
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Better controlled blood glucose
  • Lower abdominal fat
  • Osteoporosis prevention
  • Burning more calories, even during rest
  • More years of playing pickleball

Okay, I may have added that last one due to my own priorities! If we’re reaping all the other evidence-based benefits, though, the ultimate goal of pickleball longevity should hold true as well.

Brandi and her husband both love pickleball!

What is Resistance/Strength Training Exercise?

If you watch Callie Smith’s Workout Wednesdays on the socials like I do, you’ll see some great examples of strength training exercises. Anything you do that helps build strength by using resistance, with or without fancy equipment, can help build muscle. Some ideas include:

  • Push-ups and pull-ups
  • Arm work with dumbbells
  • Using resistance bands
  • Lunges and squats

If strength training is new to you, it’s best to learn these exercises with a physical therapist or certified personal trainer who can help you avoid injury.

How Can My Diet Support Resistance Training?

Protein is probably the first nutrient most people think of when it comes to building muscle, and for good reason. We can’t build muscle without it.

But how much do you need? Our muscles are constantly wearing down during exercise and repairing themselves during recovery. Getting enough to repair daily injury and build extra muscle on top of that is the key. Based on what we currently know, here are some general guidelines:

Young Recreational Player.9 grams protein/kg/dayExample: 70kg person x .9g pro = 63 grams of protein
Recreational Player over age 501.2 grams protein/kg/dayExample: 70kg athlete x 1.2g = 84 grams pro/day
Endurance Athlete (playing several hours daily)1.2-1.7 grams protein/kg/dayExample: 70kg athlete x 1.2g = 84 grams pro/day
Resistance Exercise Days1.6-1.7 grams or more protein/kg/dayExample: 70kg athlete x 1.6g = 112 grams pro/day

Source: Karpinkski, Christine. Sports Nutrition: A Handbook for Professionals. 2017. Print.

Protein is definitely important for muscle building, but there are a lot of other nutrients involved in muscle synthesis. A balanced diet that includes a large variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and high-quality protein can help you achieve your muscle building fitness goals.

High Quality Protein Sources

You’ve probably heard of amino acids, the molecules that build protein, which are needed to make muscle. Our bodies can miraculously make several of the amino acids we need, but we do have to get several others from our diet. We call these essential amino acids (EEAs). High quality protein foods contain all EAAs in one easy package. Here are some examples:

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Lean beef
  • Poultry
  • Soybeans including tofu
  • Quinoa
  • Nutritional yeast

Branched Chain Amino Acids

We’re learning that certain EAAs are extra special when it comes to building muscle. They’re called branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). These special molecules have been shown to:

  • Increase the rate of muscle synthesis
  • Reduce muscle fatigue
  • Decrease muscle soreness after workouts.

I especially love foods that decrease muscle soreness, since pain is a big workout deterrent for many people.

The gold medal winner of all BCAAs is an amino acid called leucine. This little guy has been shown to increase amino acid transport into muscles and to help older adults build and maintain muscle mass. Some great BCAA sources include:

  • Lean beef
  • Dairy
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Eggs
  • Chicken breast
  • Turkey breast
  • Beans
  • Seeds
  • Dried peas
  • Cashews
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios

What about Protein Powders?

While dietitians agree that sometimes it’s necessary to use supplements, food is generally the most reliable source of nutrients. It’s very possible to build muscle with a well-rounded diet that includes plenty of protein from high quality sources.

Sometimes we struggle with meeting our nutrition needs because of appetite, illness, aging or simply a need for convenience. This is when it may be appropriate to supplement.

However, I don’t recommend choosing the cheapest protein powder you see on the shelf.  Because supplements are not well regulated by any government entity, it’s important to choose one that that has been tested for safety and purity by a third-party company. Look for stamps of approval from companies like NSF or USP.

Time Your Protein

In the nutrition world, experts debate the importance of timing protein intake during the day. Currently, many sports dietitians recommend spreading out your protein throughout the day. The general recommendation is to get 20-35 grams with each meal and snack.

Don’t forget to get your protein at breakfast! People often skimp on protein during this first meal of the day, when it can be easily added with popular breakfast foods like Greek yogurt or eggs.

Building muscle can be a game-changer at any level. It can improve health and reduce injury risk. Most importantly, of course, maintaining that tone can help keep you on those glorious courts for years to come.

Brandi’s High-Pro Mediterranean Salad for One

Healthy Protein Salad Bowl

This tangy salad is packed with protein and is great choice before or after a workout. You can add a vinaigrette dressing if you want, but the tangy ingredients generally add all the flavor you need.

  • ½ packet Seeds of Change Quinoa and Brown Rice (found at Costco)
  • 1 cup salad greens of choice
  • ¼ cup hummus
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup chopped cherry or grape tomatoes
  • ¼ cup sliced cucumbers
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  • 2 oz chicken breast, tuna, or sardine chunks

Directions:

Heat quinoa and brown rice according to package directions. Place half in bottom of the bowl. Layer salad green on rice. Dollop yogurt and hummus on greens. Sprinkle with remaining ingredients. Contains about 28 grams of protein per serving.

Brandi Givens has been a registered dietitian since 2010. Questions or comments can be posted to her blog: www.brandigivensrd.com

References:

Karpinkski, Christine. Sports Nutrition: A Handbook for Professionals. 2017. Print.

United States Department of Agriculture Nutrition Database. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/ Accessed June 27th, 2020.

When Should I Replace My Pickleball Shoes? 

If your shoes are still in one piece then they can be worn for pickleball just like any other option. If you’re looking to optimize the efficacy and stability of your footwork, however, there are a few specific areas you’ll want to examine.

Know When To Replace Your Pickleball Shoe To Prevent Injury

If you’re wearing running shoes to play pickleball, then it was likely time to replace them yesterday!

If you’re already wearing a pickleball or tennis-specific court shoe and wondering how much life you can squeeze out of them, then the best indicator is to look at how much tread is left on the top half of the outsole underneath your shoe.

Check Your Tread!

Movement during games will cause the toe box area of your shoe’s rubber to wear down the quickest. Some players notice heavier wear on the heel of their shoes, and this is a good way to determine if it’s time for replacement as well. What you want to look for is a flattened rubber outsole. Any part of the underside of your shoe that has no visible tread pattern remaining is an indication that your shoes won’t offer as much traction, stability and support as they once did. It’s important to replace them primarily due to the increased risk of injury from wearing worn shoes that will cause you to slide around on the court. They also simply won’t perform as well, since a worn tread leads to less traction, preventing your shoes from helping you pivot or get up to the kitchen line as quickly.

Some shoes have a layer of material below the outsole that is a different color. If you’re able to see this from wearing through the first layer, it’s an immediate indication your shoes are worn out. Running shoes offer a very soft midsole cushion that helps absorb hard impact and alleviate pounding on your feet and joints. Over time this cushioning loses its spring and offers less comfort and joint relief. With court shoes, the cushioning in the midsole and outsole is much harder than that used in running shoes, and while it won’t offer the same comfort, the hardness of the rubber is beneficial in maintaining the tread while being dragged across the rough surface of a pickleball court.

Court shoes are meant to withstand the test of time, but the length of life you get out of them can be a result of many different factors. How often do you play? Do you lift your feet or allow for toe drag when following through on shots? The weight of your shoe can be a good indicator of the longevity you can expect. A heavier shoe has harder, more dense rubber that is meant to maintain its tread for months of play. Some shoes even come with a 6 month outsole guarantee, which means the tread should stay intact for 6 months and if you wear through them in that timeframe, the brand will send you a new pair for free.

You’ll notice almost all of the shoes offering this warranty are quite heavy. Light shoes typically use a softer rubber that is less dense. If you don’t play very frequently and are mostly concerned with comfort, lightweight shoes are a great option. But you won’t see many tournament-level players using these shoes since the delicate materials are easy for aggressive players to wear down.

Remember to take a moment to examine your shoes every once in a while to ensure you’re staying safe and getting the most out of your footwear. If you’ve found a specific brand or style that works best for you, let us know in the comments.

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Wear & Care: We recommend using pickleball shoes only during play, not for other sports or as everyday shoes. This will help ensure they last as long as possible. Pickleball Court shoes are designed for a combination of support and comfort, and most pros wear their shoes only for court play. Remember, court shoes are just as important as a paddle and will go far toward improving your game.

If you need help picking out the right pickleball shoe for you our customer service team can help! We love pickleball as much as you do.

Meet The Pro: Jessie Irvine

Pickleball Pro, Jessie Irvine

Jessie Irvine is an incredible player who overcame adversity to excel at a game she loves. Having spent much of her early life focusing on tennis, when Jessie was on the verge of going pro she encountered a setback: Serving overhand caused intense pain due to missing cartilage in her joints. While this resulted in a change of focus, tennis’ loss has become pickleball’s gain as she’s soared through the ranks. Jessie is currently a top 5 player in all three divisions of women’s pro pickleball and kindly took the time to discuss more about her plans, practice routines and strategies. Read on to find out more.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

My pickleball story started at the end of 2018/beginning of 2019 and at the time I was teaching tennis mainly to kids and also playing POP Tennis. Around that time two separate people I knew, one from tennis and one from POP Tennis, told me I should try out pickleball. They said the sport was starting to become more professional with tournaments, money and players getting involved. The major aspect was that there were no overhanded serves, which is what cut my dream of playing professional tennis short. So I gave pickleball a shot and instantly fell in love with it. I was interested in competing at a high level and began playing seriously at the beginning of 2019. The rest is still being written!

What paddle do you use and why?

Right now I use the Engage Pickleball Pursuit MX. It is the grittier spin-off of the original Maverick which is what I first started using after only a couple months of playing pickleball. For me at the time the appeal was that it was one of the only few paddles on the market that had an extended grip handle. I felt that was an important feature to take advantage of my long arms and two-handed backhand, which is my favorite shot. 

Engage Pursuit MX Pickleball Paddle by Engage Pickleball

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We love your style and signature space buns! Is this part of your pre-match routine?

Jessie Irvine with her Engage Pickleball Pursuit MX Paddle

Haha, I wouldn’t say my style and space buns are part of my pre-match routine. But I will say that I do like to have fun with my looks, and I enjoy being colorful and creative. My pre-match routine consists of getting up super early on match day (I’m a slow mover) so that I can stretch, get organized, have a little breakfast and get to the courts so I have at least 45 minutes to an hour to warm up before my match. I am definitely one of those players that likes putting in the reps and hitting a lot before my match. 

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

I hope that in 5 years pickleball is in the Olympics. Realistically it may take longer than that, but it would be amazing if that were to happen sooner than later, because one of my goals would be to play pickleball in the Olympics. That would be a major dream come true. As for other goals, I just want to play the best I can for as long as I can. I want to have fun and enjoy it. I’m grateful to have been given a second chance to be competitive again, and as seriously as I am taking this opportunity, at the same time I don’t want to forget to have fun and enjoy the journey. 

What is your most memorable moment so far in pickleball?

I think my most memorable pickleball moment so far is winning pro doubles gold (gold in women’s doubles and mixed doubles) at the 2021 PPA Vegas Championships. It’s one of the biggest tournaments of the year and being able to compete on Championship Sunday then win gold in both events was a huge moment for me and one of my favorite pickleball memories. 

What can you tell us about playing mixed doubles and strategy? Hand signals? Stacking?

I love pickleball strategy as a whole. I think it’s my favorite part of the game and I always compare high-level pickleball to chess. The best part of pickleball is that the game/strategy is always changing and evolving, which keeps it exciting. I think the strategy does change between gender doubles and mixed doubles. In my opinion, I find the mixed doubles strategy to be a little more simplified in the sense that I feel like my job is to keep the ball away from the other guy since he is also looking to be aggressive; and then find the best way to utilize and set up my male partner so that he can use his strengths to take advantage of the points. Essentially, I try to hit unattackable shots until my male partner can attack. In gender doubles, the game plan isn’t always clear cut so the strategies can be more complex and change from one team to the next. I enjoy the strategies both kinds of doubles provide. 

Jessie Irvine and Mixed Doubles Partner Kyle Yates at a PPA Tournament 2022

What are you doing when you’re not playing pickleball?

When I’m not playing pickleball… I’m playing pickleball! I really do love and enjoy it. When I’m hanging out with friends we end up playing pickleball for a few hours, eat and hang out, then play for a couple more hours. When I’m not traveling for tournaments I’ll do that twice a week. On the other days, I’m either working, doing off-court training which includes recovery work as well. At the end of all of that, if I have any time or energy left, then I will relax and catch up on some Netflix shows. 


Be sure to check out the Engage Pickleball Pursuit MX if you feel like you could benefit from a stronger two-handed backhand, and keep a watch out Jessie’s impressive talent in future tournaments!