Meet the Pros: Riley and Lindsey Newman (aka Newman Squared)

Riley and Lindsey Newman are a rockstar brother and sister duo (still working on their team name but kicking around ‘Newman Squared’ and ‘Newman Nation’; if you have any other ideas, they are open to suggestions!) They were born and raised on Whidbey Island, Washington, a beautiful island just north of Seattle known for amazing seafood and miles of hiking and biking trails. Riley and Lindsey are just two of the seven Newman siblings, all of whom have a knack for sports and competition. Riley and Lindsey have taken their pickleball a bit more seriously, last month winning Mixed Doubles at the USA Pickleball National Championships in Indian Wells 2021. Riley is currently ranked Top 3 in the world in Men’s and Mixed Doubles, and plays with set partners Tyson McGuffin as well as big sis Lindsey.

2021 Nationals Riley and Lindsey Newman

We sat down with Riley and Lindsey to talk about their backgrounds, what it’s like playing with your sibling, their NEW signature paddles from GAMMA Pickleball releasing at PickleballCentral January 25, 2022, and much more!

When did you start playing Pickleball and what is your sports background?

Riley: I started playing pickleball in the summer of 2017 in Seattle, WA, my hometown. I played all sports growing up. I was fortunate to receive college scholarships in basketball and tennis. I ended up finishing my college career at Seattle University where by my senior season I was playing #1 Singles & #1 Doubles. 

2021 Nationals Riley Newman

Lindsey: I started playing pickleball late in the summer of 2017, a little over four years ago. I grew up playing any and all sports – basketball, tennis, volleyball, softball, soccer, etc. I played basketball, tennis and volleyball in high school. I played basketball and tennis at a two-year school and then I played tennis at a Division 1 university (Seattle University). I was also officiating college basketball at the time when I picked up pickleball.

Lindsey Newman with her Signature Havoc Paddle

What is the best and hardest part about playing with your sibling?

Riley: The best part is the chemistry on and off the court. We are super close so anything that Lindsey is thinking during the match I’m already thinking it too. A huge asset is I know what shot she’s going to hit before she even attempts it. This helps tremendously with anticipating the next shots from your opponents. The hardest part can be losing a really close match in a tournament and the car rides home can be fairly quiet. We are both so competitive by nature, so we want to win by doing whatever it takes. 

Lindsey: There are several “bests” about playing with Riley. For me, I think he’s the best mixed doubles partner out there so I’m super lucky he’s playing with me. It’s also great because we can be brutally honest with each other without worrying about the repercussions. I can also roll my eyes after he does something dumb without worrying about him getting his feelings hurt – he most likely knows I’m doing it whether he sees it or not. The hardest part would have to be the car rides back home or to the hotel after a loss… there’s not a lot of smiling or happy talk then.

2021 Nationals Riley and Lindsey Newman

Do you think playing with your sibling has advantages?

Lindsey: Absolutely! I think it has more advantages than disadvantages by far. I’d never play competitively with my husband like some people do but with a sibling is totally different and way easier.

Who would win in a singles match?

Riley: I would definitely win in a singles match! Especially if we play when Lindsey is seven or eight months pregnant 🙂 (At the time of this post Lindsey will be about seven months pregnant – congrats!)

Lindsey: Probably Riley but that’s because he’s faster and remembers the score. I always forget the score and I swear he fibs on it sometimes! (That sounds like a very sibling answer to us!)

Do your other siblings (family members) play pickleball?

Riley: A lot of our other family members play pickleball, but don’t take it as serious as Lindsey and I do. It’s more for fun that we can all do together when we meet up at family gatherings. Seven Newman siblings playing pickleball at once…now that’s intimidating if you ask me! 

Lindsey: Yes! Our younger brother, Kody, plays and is really good. We also have a sister, Hayley, who plays and is great. Our other siblings play but they need a lot of help… our parents don’t play but they are always eager to give us feedback whenever Riley and I are done playing and we lose.

Great duos always have great nicknames – what should Team Newman’s nickname be?

Riley: I personally loved ‘Newman Nation’ but it sounds like that has been trademarked by a nascar driver. Whatever people want to call us for a nickname, I’d be good with! 

Lindsey: Newman Squared

2021 Nationals Riley and Lindsey Newman

We saw you win at Nationals in 2021. Can you talk about how you trained and prepared?

Riley: Not much different training or preparation led into 2021 Nationals. Playing so many tournaments in a calendar year, you get into a routine. For me, what I tried to do differently when I was playing mixed doubles was to keep a positive attitude even if things weren’t going our way. I believe Lindsey and I play our best when we both focus on the task at hand and remain calm and cool under pressure. I believe this made a huge impact when we played the final game to 15 in the gold medal match. We sat down and positively talked through a great strategy to make sure to get the job done! 

Lindsey: Riley and I played in a tournament the weekend before in Arizona and I ended up tweaking my left groin so the only training we did on court together before Nationals was the day before we left. I didn’t want to do anything to make it worse. Mentally though, I think we both just kept telling ourselves that we could do it and that it was our turn to be on the winning end. We had been in a few really tough gold medal matches previously and lost them, so we felt we were long overdue for a big win on the biggest stage in pickleball. Getting to the gold medal match at Nationals in 2019 and losing a heartbreaker like that was definitely huge motivation for us. Plus, there was no way were going to let our fans down again.

2021 Nationals Riley and Lindsey Newman win Gold in Mixed Doubles

Are you holding any training camps in 2022?

Riley: In 2022, Lindsey and I will be teaching a total of seven Never Stop Playing Pickleball Camps by GAMMA. Also I teach a couple of my own Newman Pickleball clinics. 

Lindsey: Yes! We are teaching a handful of two-day GAMMA- Never Stop Playing Pickleball camps all over the west coast. We also will be doing some teaching under our own brand, Newman Pickleball. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay in the loop!

Do you have any pickleball advice you’d like to share?

Riley: The best pickleball advice I could give is to watch video! I believe when you are able to watch and review your negatives and positives after a match you can learn a lot – what you did well to keep doing in the future, what shots did you repeatedly miss or leave ‘high’. This also helps you notice your court positioning on each point. 

Riley Newman Signature 206 Paddle

Lindsey: Just get one more ball back.

An Arizona sunset was Lindsey’s Paddle Inspiration

We are excited to play with your signature paddles! Can you talk us through them – Paddle technology? Style? Aesthetics?

Riley: Designing my Riley Newman 206 signature paddle took a great deal of energy and effort! Not only did I get to select the colors, paddle name, but every spec of the paddle was designed by yours truly. I wanted this paddle to be great for all intermediate players. What do these players need? A paddle with incredible control but also the power to put shots away. The core is thicker, around 16mm, which allows for a greater feel and big sweet spot while contacting the ball. The 206 has both of these attributes, and the ability to use spin. Also, I wanted to create a paddle with an extended handle for players looking for more reach or those who have two-handed backhand. To answer the question – what is the relevance to the numbers 206? And why those colors? 206 is the three-digit area code of Seattle, where I first picked up my paddle, and the city I grew up in. (Well, technically Whidbey Island, WA but you get the idea). The colors on the paddle reflect the new NHL Seattle hockey team- the Kraken! I hope everyone reading this gives the 206 a try because you won’t be disappointed and the paddle will take your game to the next level! 

Riley Paddle Drawing
Riley Newman 206 Signature Paddle

Lindsey: My signature paddle is legit epic! The Havoc features GAMMA’s Neucore technology, and a 25% thicker large-celled core which helps with having a softer, more responsive feel. The textured composite face of the paddle helps generate lots of power, spin and consistency from anywhere on the court. The handle is a little longer for players with a two-handed backhand, and the paddle colors are like nothing else on the market, so you’ll stand out while playing with it. My paddle is great because anyone at any skill level can play with it and be successful. Give it a try!

Lindsey Newman Havoc Signature Paddle

What can we look out for from you two in 2022? Training/tournaments/goals/products etc.

Riley: In 2022, you will see me playing in most PPA tournaments across the country! I’ll be playing in about 20 tournaments and will focus on my training in between tournaments to keep up with a long grueling pickleball season! I’m looking forward to playing at the highest level. I finished the 2021 season being ranked #2 in men’s doubles, so my goal is to reach #1 by end of 2022!! Thank you to my sponsors – Takeya USA & GAMMA Pickleball. Takeya has designed a 64 oz. Newman Pickleball stainless steel water bottle, which is great for long successful days on the court! GAMMA Pickleball has given me the tools to succeed – an awesome signature paddle with sweat absorbing over grips. I’m extremely grateful to this USA-based family-owned pickleball company! Feel free to follow and keep up with all my updates in 2022 – I’m on Instagram (rileynewmanpb), and Facebook (Riley Newman). See you all on the courts! 

Lindsey: I’m playing in about 8-10 tournaments and teaching about eight GAMMA camps in addition to teaching under our Newman Pickleball brand. I’m also expecting my second child (a girl!) at the end of March so 2022 is going to be pretty chaotic and busy for me, both on and off the court. My goal for 2022 is to make it to 2023 while having a ton of fun, laughter and good times in between! 

ProXR Pickleball and Their Game-Changing Handle Technology

ProXR have established themselves as innovators in other sports like the NHL and MLB, and they are bringing the same creativity and technology to the sport of pickleball with the first ergonomically designed handles to give you more spin, greater control and quicker reloads on every shot. The angled handle keeps your hand in the proper grip and finger placement, leading to more powerful shots. ProXR Pickleball launched 3 paddles in 2021: Signature, Tour and Advantage, sold exclusively at PickleballCentral.

The first ergonomically designed pickleball paddle

ProXR has performed well in other sports; how did the knowledge learned in baseball and hockey translate to pickleball?

The knowledge we gained while designing products for our other sports gave us great insight into how to approach the design process for pickleball. We were able to use the experience and feedback gained in those sports, as well as the advice and feedback of many high level pickleball players, to create revolutionary technology for the sport of pickleball!

With over fifteen years of research and development in technology for both baseball and hockey, we have gained extensive knowledge about the connection between an athlete’s hands and their bat and/or stick. When we began studying the relationship between pickleball players’ hand and wrist movement with their paddles, we quickly saw many similarities to baseball and hockey.

The most important take-away we gained from the research was the need to design a handle that is extremely versatile so a player can make all types of shots. In pickleball, not all shots are made the same way. A player needs a handle that is equally beneficial for serves, groundstrokes and dinks. We have designed a handle that is advantageous to players in all three of these critical areas.

Shop ProXR Pickleball Paddles

Can you tell us about the tests you put the paddle through?

We believe in the importance of getting as much feedback as possible from professional and amatuer players alike. In our manufacturing facility, we created over one hundred prototypes of different faces, cores, shapes, sizes and weights. We then put our different paddles into the hands of players and listened carefully to all of their feedback. Through many rounds of revisions based on this feedback, we were able to design three very different, high-performing paddles, each with distinct features and benefits. Once we compiled the feedback and settled on designs, we submitted them to USA Pickleball to ensure that they are legal for tournament and recreational play. USA Pickball certified them all.

While we are happy with our current offerings, we never feel like we are over the finish line. We are dedicated to creating the perfect paddle for every type of player, which is why you will see some exciting new product launches coming in the next few months!

ProXR Signature Paddle

Is there anything that surprised you about how the technology performs in pickleball?

When we entered the pickleball market, we suspected that those who have enjoyed our ergonomic handles in other sports would be immediately attracted to our pickleball paddles. It was incredible how quickly the rest of the pickleball community recognized the advantages of our technology and became excited to try our new designs.

Even more exciting was the enthusiasm surrounding innovation in general within the pickle community. Our goal is to always lead through innovation; being part of a market that recognizes and values innovation is awesome.

We believe that an absolutely critical part of innovation is open and honest feedback from the community. We have received a lot of input so far and will continue to create a comfortable environment in which players can share their feedback and ideas for continued improvement.

ProXR Tour Pickleball Paddle

Can you talk us through the three models you have currently and what types of players would like them?

We currently offer three paddle models- Advantage, Tour and Signature. There are unique features and benefits to each one. All three have our patented ergonomic handle design and a polypropylene honeycomb core interior.

Advantage – Our Advantage paddle is manufactured using a fiberglass face, which is what many of the professionals use. When fiberglass makes contact with the ball, it releases energy, giving you more POWER when you hit it perfectly on the sweet spot. Shop Advantage Paddle!

Tour – Our Tour paddle is manufactured with a carbon fiber face, which is great for TOUCH and CONTROL players. Unlike glass fiber, carbon fiber absorbs energy, giving you maximum control over your shots and a larger sweet spot. Shop Tour Paddle!

Signature – Our Signature paddle was designed to be a ‘best of both worlds’ solution for players who want both power and control. We found that by cutting our carbon fiber into strips and weaving it together, players get the advantage of the huge sweet spot from the carbon fiber, while also being able to generate power thanks to the strength of the weave. We proudly believe this paddle, with our handle technology, is the best performing paddle in the market today. Shop Signature Paddle!

ProXR Pickleball Paddles

What is next for ProXR in Pickleball?

Without giving away too many secrets, ProXR is poised to have a HUGE year in 2022!

Now that we’ve seen success with our first-generation models, we are excited to continue expanding and refining our product offerings. We will be releasing new paddles to more precisely fit each and every player interested in improving their game with pickleball’s most innovative technology.

ProXR Pickleball is not just a “handle” company – we are an innovation and technology company. We did not set out to just improve your grip on your paddle; we set out to change the way you play pickleball. The handle is just the beginning!

We understand that as an innovation and technology company we will have eager early adopters who will quickly support our new innovations.  We also know that others will want to take some time to try them before becoming comfortable with our paddle designs.

In our first six months of business we have been very fortunate to gain many fans of our pickleball technology with an unexpected number of players adopting our new paddles.  We have also run into a handful of skeptics along the way. We appreciate everyone’s feedback and understand that sometimes new technology can be unsettling to some.

Much like Apple, Tesla, Uber, Grubhub, and other disruptive concepts, it might take some time to fully appreciate the benefits of our innovations. But similar to those game-changing technologies, once you become comfortable with them, it will be hard to imagine a life without them!

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 ProXR Paddles

6 Pickleball New Year’s Resolutions You Can Do In 2022

Pickleball Resolutions from 2022

With the turn of the new year it is always nice to have some things to look forward to. Maybe you’re looking to level up your game this year, spend more time with family and friends, stay active and focus on health in a FUN way, or challenge yourself. Whether you’re newly introduced to pickleball or have been playing much longer, we have some ideas for everyone.

Resolution #1: Commit to Practice!

In 2021 we saw lots of great pickleball gear aimed for practice. The best way to become a better player is often the simplest. Whether it’s playing a practice game or drilling specific skills, you always have the ability to improve through hard work and dedication. Of course, certain training aids can make the process easier as well.

Ball Machines: The two pickleball machines we carry, the Tutor and Lobster, allow you to practice more easily without a partner by sending lobs, spin shots and dinks your way.

Pickleballs: GAMMA released a Two-Tone Outdoor Training Pickleball that helps to show how the ball is spinning so you can practice both receiving and doling out spin shots.

GAMMA Pickleball Two Tone Training Outdoor Balls

The Pickleball Eye Coach helps you improve ball strike placement, visual focus and foot positioning.

Pickleball Eye Coach
Pickleball Training Tools

Resolution #2: Attend a Pickleball Festival

Pickle Palooza is a one-of-a-kind event that offers all the thrills of a tournament without the stress of competition. Located in Mesa, AZ, this fun annual event runs from March 4-6 this year at Bell Bank Park. There will be court exhibitions and interviews with the pros, skill-based open play, paddle demos, one-on-one instruction, and entertainment. It’s the perfect excuse for players to share in some pickleball-centric fun, and with enjoyable activities in the surrounding area (such as the Phoenix zoo, art museum and botanical gardens), you can make a great vacation out of it.

Resolution #3: Upgrade your Paddle

We have seen several major innovations in paddle technology in 2021 with some new heavy hitters joining the scene. If you’ve been playing with the same paddle for a while it might be time to experiment with others. Here are a few that we suggest looking into:

Aeroshot Paddles from Oneshot Pickleball – Oneshot released two new paddles with their innovative new Airflow Technology to create vents in the sides of the paddle for reduced drag and increased hand speed.

Aeroshot Paddles from Oneshot Pickleball

The Warrior Paddle from Diadem – The thickest paddle on the market, this 19mm core paddle has the softest touch ever, with a highly gritty surface that enhances spin shots, and plenty of power.

Warrior Paddle from Diadem

New line of Paddles from ProXR – ProXR Pickleball recently launched their first line of pickleball paddles with their unique, patented, ergonomically designed handles that improve reload speed and exit velocity.

ProXR Pickleball

New line of Paddles from adidas – This heavy hitter in the sports market entered pickleball with a range of new paddles to suit all skill levels and play preferences.

adidas Pickleball

VANGUARD 2.0 from Selkirk – Selkirk’s VANGUARD Hybrid 2.0 series feature their new Pro-Spin Texture for more spin than ever before and their new Gen2 durable surface.

CX11 and CX14 Paddles from Gearbox – The all-new CX-11 and CX-14 paddles from Gearbox bring years of innovation in paddle design to a whole new level, with a shape and core thickness for every player.

Learn about our FREE 30-Day Paddle Test Drive: Our 100% Happy Return Policy!

Resolution #4: Introduce a friend of family member to Pickleball

We all can agree that the reason we fell in love with Pickleball in the first place is because it is FUN! This sport is growing at a rapid pace and we are excited to see what the future holds. Who are you going to invite on this wild ride with us in 2022? It can be a friend, family member, coworker or neighbor but we all know once they get the feel for it they wont want to put it down! This might seem like the “easiest” resolution of them all but it is certainly one of the most important to help flourish our Pickleball Community!

Resolution #5: Play in a tournament 

Competition isn’t for everyone, but even if you’re a fairly laid-back player, participating in a tournament can be a great way to strengthen your abilities, make new friends and take part in the greater pickleball community. Tournaments are the perfect excuse to knuckle down on training and come out the other side knowing you played your best. There are also a number of exciting new tours taking place this year that will serve to bring pickleball to an even broader audience, so taking part in one of them will truly have you becoming part of the sport’s history!

A few exciting upcoming tournaments that we recommend include:

  1. Atlantic City Open
  2. PPA Indoor National Championships
  3. APP Punta Gorda
  4. PPA Red Rock
  5. APP Delray Beach

Resolution #6: Improve your grip in more ways than one

Sometimes you might want a little extra tack to improve your hold on your paddle, or need to replace a grip that had worn down over time. Other players who get particularly sweaty hands appreciate the benefits that highly absorbent grips provide. Fortunately it’s quite easy to switch your grip (see how here) or layer an overgrip on top of your grip to provide better feel. Grips also provide a great opportunity to add a little flair to your paddle with fun colors and designs.

Pickleball Paddle Grips

Alternately, if you want to keep your handle as-is but learn new ways to improve how you hold your paddle, you may want to experiment with different (hand) grip techniques to see how they affect your ability to make different shots. You can explore various ways to hold your paddle by watching this video with Glen Peterson.

Paddles the Pros Used at the 2021 National Championships

2021 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships presented by Pickleball Central

PickleballCentral was proud to be the presenting sponsor of the 2021 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Palm Springs. While this year has been another test of endurance when it comes to balancing safety with the return of more in-person events, we were inspired by the pickleball community’s resilience and drive to keep our sport going strong. In fact, looking at a breakdown of the stats surrounding this exciting event there were:

2,342 players

3,944 matches

87 USA Pickleball certified referees

172 brackets

Making this event the largest pickleball tournament in the history of the sport!

We’re grateful to everyone who participated or showed up to support the competitors as we continue to see the game rise in popularity. PickleballCentral was there for 10 days as the one-stop shop for all sorts of pickleball gear from your favorite brands. We had a shoe try-on center, paddle demo center, ball machines, bags and more! There was also plenty of amazing pro action, and we’re here to provide a recap of the paddles used by medal winners if you’d like to try them for yourself.

Leigh Waters with Paddletek

Paddletek Pheonix Genesis – Leigh Waters

Leigh Waters took gold in Womens Doubles with her 14-year-old superstar daughter, Anna Leigh. This pair has been Nationals gold champs two years in a row.

The Phoenix Genesis Composite Pickleball Paddle is a fairly speedy option that has trim weight (7.4 – 7.8 oz) and dimensions. In addition to its easy maneuvering, it provides “Torsion Vibration Control” which helps players accurately place shots even when hitting off-center and dampens vibrations through the grip for better consistency even in the midst of tough exchanges.

PRICE $89.99

Jennifer Dawson with ProKennex

ProKennex Ovation Flight – Jennifer Dawson

Jennifer was the only player at this year’s Nationals to win a Triple Crown (again!) – gold in all 3 events (Senior Singles, Doubles with Cammy McGregor and Mixed Doubles with Dayne Gingrich).

The ProKennex Kinetic Ovation Flight has a special core that uses tungsten fibers to reduce the amount of vibrations that reach the arm, minimizing shock from impact and helping to prevent injury. The innovative oval shape has great reactivity that’s all sweet spot, while the Air-O-Guard offers an edgeless design that eliminates mis-hits while protecting the paddle.

PRICE $189.95
Free Paddle Cover ($16.99 value)

Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova with ONIX

ONIX Evoke Premier – Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova

Partners Matt and Lucy won Silver in Mixed Doubles, adding another big win to their impressive record.

Matt and Lucy helped develop their signature paddle which is focused on reliable power and high-level precision. A light coating on the face softens the feel of impact while still ensuring a responsive touch. The Atomic13 Edge technology maintains a slim profile and also assists in dispersing shock while improving swing speed.

PRICE $149.99
3 Free ONIX Fuse Outdoor Balls ($9.99 value)

Dayne Gingrich with Electrum

Electrum Pro – Dayne Gingrich

Dayne won gold in Senior Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles with partners Dave Weinbach and Jennifer Dawson, finishing off a great year.

The Electrum Pro Graphite features a Toray T700 carbon fiber face which offers texture for spin and enhanced durability. Its broad surface creates a large sweet spot and the core only uses full cells, ensuring dependable feedback and power.

MSPR $169.99
SALE $139.99
Free Paddle Cover ($16.99 value)

Erik Lange with Head

HEAD Gravity – Erik Lange

Erik won bronze in Men’s Doubles with partner Wes Gabrielsen. He is a PPR teaching pro and works full time as a regional sales rep for HEAD.

The HEAD Gravity’s face features a hybrid blend of graphite and composite materials that combine for a perfect mix of control and power. It uses a thicker 14 mm polymer core that adds to stability and great touch. The large sweet spot and tri-axial pattern on the surface which contributes to spin make this a winner.

PRICE $154.95

Zane NavratilFranklin Ben Johns SignatureM Singles Silver
Lea JansenFranklin Ben Johns SignatureWD Silver
Catherine ParenteauPaddletek Tempest Reign ProWD Bronze
Jessie IrvineEngage Pursuit MXWD Bronze
Irina TereschenkoPaddletek Bantam EX-LWD Silver, W Singles Bronze
Jilliam BravermanPaddletek Sabre ProW Singles Silver
Paul OlinGAMMA RZRSr M Singles Silver
Scott FliegelmanBabolat RBEL TouchSr M Singles Bronze
Mattias JohanssonEngage Pursuit MXSr M Singles Gold
Mircea MorariuElectrum ProSr Mixed Bronze
Julie JohnsonEngage Encore 6.0Sr Mixed Bronze, Sr Women’s Singles Silver
Callan DawsonProKennex Pro Speed IIM D Silver
Jennifer DawsonProKennex Ovation FlightSr Mixed Gold, Sr WD Gold, Sr Women’s Singles Gold – triple crown!
Tyson McGuffinSelkirk VANGUARD Hybrid InviktaM D Gold, M Singles Gold, Mixed Bronze
Lucy KovalovaOnix Evoke PremierMixed Silver
Anna Leigh WatersPaddletek Bantam TS-5Mixed Bronze, WD Gold, W Singles Gold
Leigh WatersPaddletek – Phoenix GenesisWD Gold
Dave WeinbachPaddletek Tempest Wave ProSr M D Gold, Sr Mixed Silver
Scott MoorePaddletek Sabre ProSr M D Bronze
John SperlingSelkirk VANGUARD Invikta (Electrify)Sr M D Silver
Scott CrandallElectrumSr M D Bronze
Dayne GingrichElectrum ProSr M D Gold, Sr Mixed Gold
Cammy MacGregorSelkirk AMPED S2Sr WD Gold, Sr Women’s Singles Bronze
Nathalie BagbyPaddletek EX-L ProSr Women’s Silver
Riley NewmanGAMMA Signature ModelM D Gold, Mixed Gold
Wes GabrielsenSelkirk AMPED EpicM D Bronze
Kevin BoothGearbox CX14HSr M D Silver
Erik LangeHEAD GravityM D Bronze
Kris AndersonOnix Evoke PremierSr MD xxx
Complete list of Pro Medal Winners at Nationals 2021

View all Pro Paddles Here.

(Event stats from USAPickleball.)

Get to know Diadem Pickleball

We recently sat down with Diadem Pickleball to ask about how their expertise in the racket industry brought them to pickleball and what we can expect from them now and in the future! With their recent launch of the Warrior Paddle known as the thickest paddle on the market coming in at 19MM, Diadem Pickleball is a brand to watch in 2022!


The new Warrior Paddle from Diadem Pickleball

Diadem started making tennis rackets in 2015 then entered the pickleball market in 2019. Are there any particular technologies that you have brought from tennis into your pickleball paddle designs?

We have brought not only technologies and concepts, but also our Quality Control over from tennis as well.  In the Icon you will see the same HMT carbon fiber we use in our high-end tennis rackets.  The replaceable edge guards are very uncommon in pickleball but in tennis it is a necessity, so making sure players would be able to customize and replace their edge guards was important.  Our QC team is monitoring everything from our weights, balances to the graphics on a daily basis.  That type of attention to detail we hope will help separate Diadem from the pack. 


Diadem Icon Graphite Pickleball Paddle

Your first pickleball paddle was the Icon, with a slimmer than average core at just 12mm. You have recently introduced the new Warrior paddle, with a thicker than average core at 19mm. How do you describe the specific attributes that each of these cores brings to these two different paddles? What type of player do you think would prefer each of them based on their play characteristics?


What is interesting and special about the Warrior is the core is actually three separate layers that allow the player to feel both control and power when needed.  However, the average player looking for power will be drawn to the thinner Icon, and the player looking to add feel and touch will be drawn to the Warrior’s thick stability.   We tried to create two very different paddles that reach those two types of players in different ways.


Diadem Icon Graphite Pickleball Paddle

Another unique feature of the Icon is the replaceable 3-piece edge guard that is flush-mounted. Do you anticipate using this style of edge guard on other paddles or was this a special design specifically just for the Icon?

In order to have a replaceable edge guard you need to have a paddle with a molded construction.  The Icon was constructed like our tennis rackets, creating a solid structure entirely encased in carbon fiber.  We do have plans to add additional paddles with similar attributes.  In pickleball we are limited by guidelines but also by weight.  For example, the Warrior could not be produced using the molded construction because the weight would be up near 10 ounces.  


Warrior Paddle by Diadem Pickleball

The Icon and Warrior paddles both have smaller than average cores in the honeycomb core (8mm across). How do these smaller denser cores affect the feel of the paddle?

We have always enjoyed the denser cores, and find they more easily give the player access to power.  They also have less chance for dead spots that can occur when the honeycomb core gets damaged or bent. 

The Icon and the Warrior paddles have a noticeably gritty surface. How does that help players put more spin on their shots?

The Icon and Warrior get spin in different ways.  The Icon has a unique paint that truly bites the ball with a softer face.  Alternatively the Warrior has a grit paint that cuts into the ball to produce the spin. 


Warrior Paddle by Diadem Pickleball



What’s next for Diadem? Are you planning to introduce more paddles in 2022?

We are excited to add to the Warrior line in 2022.  We are currently working on a light version of the paddle.  We know that 8.5 oz may turn some people away, and even though it is balanced in a way that feels lighter, some players have a hard limit, and we would love to make a paddle with the Warrior technology that appeals to more people.  New color options for both the Icon and the Warrior are also coming soon.   Finally we have a super-secret new concept for a paddle we are working on that may launch in 2022, but I have said too much already.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Diadem Pickleball?

Diadem Pickleball is committed to bring the highest quality paddle to the market, pushing the boundaries of the norm while growing this beautiful sport.  We are always happy to chat with our customers and listen to their ideas or concerns to make our products better.  

If you’re not sure which paddle would be best for you or want to know more, call us at 1-888-854-0163. Nothing makes us happier than helping you find a paddle that fits your game. You can purchase with confidence, knowing you have a 30-day test drive to make sure it works on the courts – that’s where it counts.

PROLITE Sports: The company that changed Pickleball

We recently chatted with Neil Friedenberg of PROLITE Sports Pickleball about PROLITE’s past and present. The first company to begin making paddles out of modern non-wood materials, PROLITE revolutionized paddle technology and continues to be an industry leader developing innovative paddles for players of all types.

PROLITE Sports Pickleball
Owner and President of PROLITE Sports; Neil Friedenerg

Can you tell us about the history of the PROLITE company?

The PROLITE company was originally founded by Arlen and Steve Paranto. Arlen was a Boeing engineer and his son, Steve Paranto, was an avid tennis player and physical education teacher who took up pickleball in its early days. Steve was famously known for analyzing the weight ratio of a tennis racquet compared to a tennis ball and then analyzing the wood pickleball paddles available in the beginning compared to the weight of a pickleball Using this ratio, they determined that wood paddles were way too heavy, and that the honeycomb panels at Arlen could obtain at Boeing would work well to create a lighter paddle.

Their resulting paddle technology innovation revolutionized the equipment and the game. The feel of the new lighter paddles was exceptional, and led to the importance of dinking, more strategy, and longer rallies.  With this new technology, Arlen and Steve Paranto created PROLITE Sports in 1984 – at the time, Ultra Paddle Company. Both Arlen and Steve have been inducted into the Pickleball Hall of Fame due to their significant contributions to the growth of the sport.

Today PROLITE Sports Pickleball is well known as the legacy brand of pickleball. Nearly forty years old, PROLITE was not only the first company to transform the paddle industry, we also introduced woven carbon fiber paddles to the pickleball market. PROLITE’s most important distinguishing characteristic is our philosophy. We believe that what makes the sport of pickleball special and has led to its increasing worldwide popularity and attention are the everyday recreational players…the 99%ers! That is what PROLITE is all about.

PROLITE Sports Pickleball History
Steve and Arlen Paranto playing Pickleball at their lake house
PROLITE Sports Pickleball Arlen Paranto
Arlen Paranto (inductee of Pickleball Hall Of Fame) and founder of PROLITE Sports

What are the most popular paddles in your lineup? 

The most popular paddles are our Black Diamond Series, which includes the Supernova Pro, Rebel Pro, Titan Pro, Large Titan Edition, and Cypher Pro. These are woven carbon fiber models in a variety of shapes to perfectly fit any player’s sports background. The Black Diamond Series is very unique. Before it came out, most other paddles developed for imparting spin typically emphasized texture and roughness of the paddle face. We approached things a bit differently, focusing on dwell time on the paddle, creating absorption of the ball, and enhancing the ability to maneuver the ball where you want, especially at slower speeds (for example rolling dinks at your opponent’s feet or hitting aggressive, angled dinks creating that next put-away).

Many people are surprised because the surface of the Black Diamond Series paddles appears to be smooth, but much more is going on. Carbon fibers begin to fray over time. Imagine looking under the microscope and seeing these little fibers raised above the surface of the paddle. Those fibers work to grab the ball, which causes friction and can create more spin.  It really is amazing.

PROLITE Sports Pickleball Black Diamond Series Paddles
PROLITE Sports Black Diamond Series Pickleball Paddles

How did your dad get the nickname “Yoda”?

My dad Mark Friedenberg (author of the book Winning Pickleball) was inducted into the Pickleball Hall of Fame a few years ago.  It was well deserved just for the fact that he saw how beneficial this game was to people’s lives so he started introducing the sport into new communities. He was also a skilled player and began competing and putting the time into getting better. “Yoda” came about when he was playing one day against some much younger competition and they sarcastically called him “Grandpa”. Then he cleaned their clocks and the name Yoda caught on.

PROLITE Sports Pickleball, Mark Friedenberg and Neil Friedenberg
Mark (Yoda), Neil (Owner and President of PROLITE) and Erick Friedenberg

If Pickleball had walk in songs like Baseball does, what would be your song?
I can’t help but think of how Ken Griffey Jr. walked up to the plate at the Kingdome when I was young. He had the Hip-Hop Hooray beat by Naughty by Nature. Rage Against the Machine gets me pretty pumped up. No Shelter is a great song, so I would have to say No Shelter by Rage Against the Machine – it gets me ultra-focused and the heart pumping.

What’s next for PROLITE?

We’re on the brink of some exciting brand-new technology yet to be implemented in paddles. We also see the influx of new players coming into the sport and our goal is always to ensure that players of all levels have a specific PROLITE paddle to swing that fits their individual performance needs. PROLITE is dedicated to the sport of pickleball and the everyday player, and our customers will always continue to be our focus.

Explore PROLITE’s paddle lineup and learn more here.

Oneshot Launches New Pickleball Paddles Designed With Aero Flow Technology

Oneshot Pickleball is family owned and operated

Two families bonding over a game of pickleball, having fun with a little friendly competition, and it didn’t take long before they were hooked! Most of us can relate to a story like this – a family member, a friend, neighbor or maybe colleague introduced us to the world of pickleball and it didn’t take long before we were hitting them up to play again.

Their passion for pickleball translated into a desire to create their own pickleball paddles and that is how Oneshot Pickleball was formed. The Lui and Montes Family set out to design a unique yet simple series of paddles for youth up to pro, and have succeeded and even excelled.

Introducing Aero Flow Technology

The newest launch is one of their most exciting to date! On 9/29/21 Oneshot launched 2 paddles with Aero Flow technology, introducing the first commercially available paddles with an aerodynamic component.

The two paddles launched with this technology are the Proshot Graphite Paddle and the Powershot Composite Paddle.

The face of these two paddles has four curved cut-outs on each side. Tested in a Belgium lab, this design was shown to reduce the drag on the paddle by 2%. That may not sound like a lot, but is actually a huge decrease in aerodynamic drag reduction!

When we spoke with Oscar Montes, co-owner of Oneshot, we asked him what he sees as the biggest benefit to the Areo Flow Technology. He said, “the most significant benefit is less drag which translates into faster swings, therefore more power and control. Another benefit that relates to the drag factor is more player stamina; having to swing repeatedly with less effort could have a serious impact on long days of play.”

When asked how long they’d been working on this unique paddle design, Oscar said it started in a garage in 2019. “We drew some prototype sketches on paper and a few weeks later used basic power tools to make a few physical prototypes. Later, we proceeded into the data collection stage which included running our new paddles through wind tunnels and analyzing the results.” 

Which Oneshot paddle is right for you?

When deciding which paddle is the best fit for your game Oscar says, “the Proshot is usually selected by players looking for control and a good feel for the ball at the kitchen line. The Powershot caters to those looking for more power and that might have some racquet sport background.”

Whichever paddle you choose, you will definitely stand out on the pickleball courts! For the team at Oneshot, “paddle color matters to us as much as design; we put a lot of time and effort into each of our paddles to make sure we are offering a clean and modern look. The new Aero paddles reflect a mix of our favorite colors.”

You’ll find these paddles in PickleballCentral’s Oneshot category.

Bonus question from our conversation with the founders of Oneshot:

Other than your paddle, what’s your one piece of gear you can’t live without?

• The Montes family: Definitely a diaper bag; we travel everywhere with our 2 kids!

• The Lui family: Snacks…we like to eat!

What is your answer to that question?

If you’re not sure which paddle would be best for you or want to know more, call us at 1-888-854-0163. Nothing makes us happier than helping you find a paddle that fits your game. You can purchase with confidence, knowing you have a 30-day test drive to make sure it works on the courts – that’s where it counts.

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.

Finding Your First Paddle

Written by John C., Director of Vendor Relations at PickleballCentral

So many of us have been introduced to the game of pickleball by friends, family or chance only to become hopelessly addicted. We start with borrowed paddles and soon can’t wait to get our very own. Then when we go shopping and are just overwhelmed with all the choices. How do you pick your very first pickleball paddle?

It starts with some basics. Have you played racquet sports in the past? Is there a different type of sport you have played? Or, is this your first foray into athletics? To all of you we say, “welcome to the wonderful world of pickleball!”

New to Sports/None of the Above – look for a great entry level paddle to get you started, there are many paddles that are low cost and make the game easier to play than the old wood paddles that are often used in schools (SLK Latitude, Engage Trident, Vulcan V330, PROLITE Illuminate 2.0, Rally Tyro 2, Oneshot X).

Tennis – look for a paddle from a trusted name in tennis (HEAD, Prince, ProKennex, Babolat, Wilson or Diadem) – the grips feel very familiar – or use our Oversized Pickleball Paddles Category to find a paddle that is slightly elongated that puts the sweet spot further from your hand, similar to a tennis racket (GAMMA Compass, Electrum Model E, Paddletek Tempest Reign Pro, Selkirk Vanguard Hybrid Invikta, and Oneshot Powershot are some of our popular elongated paddles at this time). You may also look at handle length if you favor any two-handed shots – anything 5 ½” or longer should work (Franklin Ben Johns Signature, HEAD Gravity LH, Engage Pursuit MX, Prince Quantum Pro and Vulcan V560 Control).

Badminton/Squash – look for a paddle that is long handled and head heavy (PROLITE Cypher Pro, Paddletek Sabre Pro, Selkirk Vanguard Hybrid Mach6)  and has the right size grip for you hand (check out our Paddle Guide to see three ways to measure it).

Racquetball – look for a paddle that is tear drop shaped with a high sweet spot (Onix Evoke Teardrop, Champion Graphite Elite, GAMMA Hellbender). You probably want a standard or short handle size (Selkirk AMPED Omni, Vulcan V550, HEAD Gravity SH).

Table Tennis – look for a paddle that can impart a lot of spin through texture or face material (Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro, Electrum Pro Graphite, PROLITE Titan, ProKennex Ovation Flight, Pursuit EX 6.0). You will probably feel comfortable with a short handle paddle that lets you get the most from a paddle while playing with a finger (or two) up on the face (Selkirk AMPED S2, GAMMA Typhoon, Onix Vertex).

Baseball/Softball – look for a paddle that is well balanced and has a large sweet spot to provide you success as you enter in to a racquet sport (Prince Response Pro, ProKennex Kinetic Pro Speed II, Diadem Icon, Paddletek Tempest Wave II, Babolat RBEL, Oneshot Pureshot Brian Ashworth).

The secret is to get started with a paddle that gives you a chance to find out what kind of player you are. An all-court paddle combines power for your long shots and touch for your short game. As you develop you can decide if you need more power (my shots are going into the net, my serve is not deep enough) or more control (I am constantly hitting the ball out, my dinks don’t go where I want them to). Like most of us, you will find that you go through a few paddles as your skill increases and you understand more about what different paddle characteristics do for your game.

A great place to start your research is our Paddle Guide, where these sections will help you narrow your choices and help you find your very first paddle:

And, if that doesn’t work, call us at 1-888-854-0163. We all play pickleball and went through exactly what you are going through now. Nothing makes us happier than helping you find a paddle that fits your game. And then you buy with confidence, knowing you have a 30-day test drive to make sure it works on the courts – that’s where it counts.

Why Wear a Pickleball Shoe?

Written by Kevin S., our in-house footwear expert and buyer

As pickleball continues to be one of the fastest growing sports we also see players evolve in their preference of gear. Just as many of us started playing with a wooden paddle until we saw the light and realized how much more control we got out of a composite paddle, we owe it to our feet to show them a similar jump in quality by switching out of a running shoe and putting on footwear specific to our sport. While there are no promises on an immediate improvement to your third shot drop with a pair of pickleball shoes on vs your typical running shoe, court shoes do provide improvements to stability, durability, and most importantly a reduced injury risk.

Let us start with the name: Is there a difference between a pickleball shoe, a tennis shoe, or a court shoe?

Easy answer here: No! You may have heard a few different terms used to describe the shoes you should wear while playing pickleball. The differences between them exist in name alone. As you may be aware, most people play pickleball on the same surface as a tennis court; with a big overlap in the range of motion needed from our footwear for each sport. Any tennis shoe is going to equip you perfectly for pickleball. For those who play on an indoor gym surface, a gum rubber shoe or a standard pickleball shoe are both suitable. Sometimes the term tennis shoe will refer to a general athletic shoe, so in place of this court shoe may be used to describe the footwear used for the sport. There is no reason so switch out of a tennis shoe and into a pickleball shoe, but many reasons to switch out of a trainer or running shoe and into a pickleball/tennis/court shoe.

Breaking down the benefits

Every running shoe and most trainers are designed for a limited range of motion: to go forwards and backwards. In pickleball almost every point is played with a great deal of lateral movement. Being able to pivot is very critical, and pickleball shoes are designed for just that. Putting your weight into the ball of your foot and trying to pivot left or right in a running shoe is fighting against the design of the shoe’s midsole, toe box, tread, and outsole. Losing this fight occurs when you twist your foot and instead of allowing this motion while keeping your foot stable, the shoe tips over and caves, easily leading to an ankle injury. You will often hear the term “stability” used with pickleball shoes and the idea is they allow for a range of motion, twisting, and pivoting while keeping your foot level and stable, avoiding risk of turning an ankle. A few design details help accomplish this goal.

  • Tread

The tread on the bottom of a pickleball shoe is most frequently a herringbone design, a term used to describe the squiggly pattern that lines the bottom of the shoe under the forefoot and heel. The tread of the shoe needs to allow you to start and stop quickly, pivot, lunge, backpedal, and exert your weight over many parts of the shoe. This is different from a running shoe that is designed for your weight to transfer only from your heel or midfoot to your toes in a natural running stride.

  • Stability Shank

To aid in keeping your foot stable, pickleball shoes feature a plastic shank that runs between the cushioning of your heel and the outsole. This shank runs from the back of the shoe up to about the forefoot and is visible from each side of the shoes and underneath. Some shoes also feature an additional plastic heel counter that restricts movement even further from your heel and ankle, a key component for anyone with prior ankle injuries looking for the most secure pickleball shoe they can get.

  • Drop

Running shoes often feature a slant called a heel toe drop, where the heel of the shoe is higher than the toe box. Most pickleball shoes feature close to a zero millimeter heel toe drop to allow you to pivot on your heels or forefoot without your weight being entirely distributed in one area or the other. This flat, low to the ground effect makes it hard to find a pickleball shoe with much arch support. A completely flat shoe is easier to pivot in than one with a heightened arch. Knowing many people require additional arch support to compensate for pronation, supination, or plantar fasciitis issues, all the insoles in pickleball shoes are removable, and able to be swapped with your own support insoles. We sell two insoles from Zelus, the Olympus Pro and Olympus Lite that offer a great combination of heightened arch support and cushioning. For someone needing a shoe with high arch support it is much safer to wear a pickleball shoe and put in a support insole rather than wearing a running shoe featuring a high arch.

  • Outsole

Another component of a pickleball shoe is the rubber used for the outsole that ensures durability over frequent use. This rubber is harder than the rubber in most athletic shoes and should stand the test of time against play and wear down at a much slower rate than a non-pickleball shoe.

Between a plastic shank and the hard rubber used to ensure durability pickleball shoes might not be as plush or soft as a running shoe but the benefits in stability, injury prevention, durability, and increased range of motion far outweigh the softer materials of a running shoe.

How to pick a pickleball shoe?

Every pickleball shoe will offer heightened stability, durability, and comfort compared to a normal athletic shoe. Pickleball shoe brands will often offer a very supportive and stable option as well as a lighter weight more comfort-oriented shoe. There are pros and cons to each and picking the one that fits your style of play is important. Using a lighter weight and softer rubber typically brings down the durability of a shoe. Adding a plastic heel counter for added support usually makes the shoe heavier overall. At the bottom of our Men’s and Women’s shoe pages is a shoe guide that lists information about each shoe that will help guide you in this decision.

Here you will see:

  • A classification of each shoe: Lightweight, Comfort, Durability, and Stability being the options
  • The weight of the shoe
  • The toe box width
  • Whether the shoe features a 6-month durability guarantee

As important as style is, we should consider these additional aspects of each shoe to pick the best pair for our pickleball needs.

To summarize

It takes little time to realize the benefits of upgrading from your first paddle; we should be aware of a similar improvement we can bring to our game by upgrading our footwear. You do not want to switch to a proper shoe only after you have experienced a predictable injury playing pickleball in a running shoe. It is not a piece of equipment reserved for the pro players while the rest of us are not good enough to feel the differences. Hopefully after reading along you understand the technology and differences in material used to construct a pickleball shoe and what benefits each component brings. Each brand makes pickleball shoes with different components all including a similar foundation. HEAD makes shoes with exceptional ventilation with their Sprint Pro, Revolt Pro, and Revolt EVO models. Wilson makes a shoe that sits as one of the most comfortable we carry while also being the lightest out of our lineup with their Kaos Swift. Babolat offers a wider fitting shoe with a very durable outsole with their SFX 3. K-Swiss has been a best-seller due to its elevated comfort, weight, and durability in their Express Light model. If you are curious at all of the differences between the shoes we offer or are looking for advice on how to select the shoe that will fit your game best, our customer service team is well trained to handle any and all inquiries to help make your buying experience easier. Stay tuned for more shoe content to come!