A Pickleball Machine Comparison: Lobster vs. Tutor

Pickleball Machines
Pickleball Machines at Pickleball Central

As pickleball grows, the number of ball machines on the market also grows. At Pickleball Central we carry the two most popular brands – Pickleball Tutor and Lobster. These two companies have proven themselves to make reliable products for players, instructors and clubs. If you’re looking to keep your game sharp, there’s no better investment for practice.

Lobster Pickle Ball Machine

Both Lobster and Tutor Sports have continued to add features to their ball machines making it easier than ever for players to set up the kinds of drills and shots they want to work on. Now with the ability to easily set up six pre-programmed drills, the Tutor Plus Ultra and the Lobster Pickle Champion Pickleball Machine offer the ability not only to hit different types of spin but also to practice the most commonly used drills.

Tutor Pickleball Machine

With several models available from both Lobster and Tutor, we get lots of questions from people about which pickleball machine they should select. The good news is, they are all great machines that offer a variety of features, you just need to decide which of those are most important to you. The table below lists the specifications and features of all of the pickleball machines. They run the gambit from Tutor Mini – a light weight and simple machine, to the Lobster Pickle Champion and the Pickleball Tutor Ultra Series – machines with drills pre-programmed that can be simply activated with an easy push of a button.

Major Differences

One of the Lobster Pickle Ball Machine’s main benefits are its 8″ wheels which allow it to be easily maneuvered without the need for lifting or dragging. Its ability to put spin on pickleballs is unique, and makes it a great choice for learning how to counter tricky shots. It holds a slightly higher amount of pickleballs than the Tutor along with an extra hour of maximum charge in the base model.

Lobster Pickle Ball Machine

The Pickleball Tutor has a lighter weight, longer overall warranty and has the least expensive model. If you often take your machine from court to court, the Tutor line is easier to get in and out of a vehicle.

Pickleball Tutor Mini Ball Machine

How Are They Powered?

Both machines can be run through battery or AC power. The Lobster comes standard with a battery (internal or external) and has an additional component (Lobster Elite Power Pak) that can be purchased to switch it to AC. The Tutor can be purchased with battery or AC power for the same price. The Tutor Battery Unit can also be used with an additional External AC Power Supply.

Optional Add-Ons

In addition to an External AC Power Supply, there are a number of options that both machines offer. You can add remote controls (Two-Function or Multi-Function and FM or Phone-based depending on the machine you choose) and an external battery pack that will add significant battery time on the court, and both have a cover that can protect the machine from debris and dust while in storage.

The Lobster also has the option of a Fast or Premium Charger which allow you to charge the unit more quickly.

Why a Ball Machine

Whichever model you choose, practice with a ball machine can improve your game. From developing muscle memory to being able to set up and practice against all kinds of shots, pros will tell you that drilling is vital to success. With a machine, you can drill on your schedule or work with a partner to develop good habits.

With so many great machines available, which one do you find suits your requirements? If you have experience with one or both, we’d love to hear your feedback on what makes these pickleball practice powerhouses handy around the courts.

To learn more about all of the models offered by both Tutor and Lobster, visit our Pickleball Training Machines page.

Footwear TechTalk with Babolat

Babolat Footwear at Pickleball Central
Babolat Footwear at Pickleball Central

Babolat invented tennis racquet strings in the year 1875. Ever since, they have enjoyed a slow, steady march toward racquet sports dominance through innovation and strategic player endorsements. Babolat entered the pickleball world a few years with a solid lineup of pickleball paddles, and their court shoes are seen with increasing frequency on the pickleball court, appreciated by many pro players and amateurs alike for their well-designed features, durability and style. We recently chatted with Rose Jones from Babolat to learn more about Babolat footwear.

Babolat comes to pickleball with a strong background in tennis, a sport played on mostly the same surface as pickleball. How far back does Babolat’s history with footwear go?

In 2004, Babolat partnered with Michelin to produce court specific footwear.

Babolat Pickleball Shoes
Babolat Pickleball Shoes

What separates Babolat footwear from other brands in the market?

Babolat has a long history in the sport of tennis (we are 147 years old) and looking at the needs of tennis players from strings and racquets to shoes. As we have evolved into other racquet sports such as badminton and padel, we’ve taken that same detailed approached in designing footwear for those sports as well. With our entry into pickleball, we see pickleball players’ needs for lateral support, durability and comfort.

Also our partnership with Michelin provides not only long-lasting outsoles, but also specific sculptures (tread design) to meet the demands of the side-to-side and quick stop-and-go movement of pickleball.

What are the main differences between models of Babolat shoes?

Propulse Fury – long lasting durability and support

  • Six-month outsole wear guarantee with Michelin DIN20 rubber with optimized cell outsole
  • KPRS-X midsole offers shock dampening and comfort
  • 360 sock liner providing less friction as you move around
  • Power Belt wraps around the midfoot offering exceptional lateral support
Babolat Propulse Fury – Men’s
Babolat Propulse Fury – Women’s

Propulse Blast – more affordable version of the Propulse Fury

  • Built on the same last as the Propulse Fury and features Active Flexion technology to address the nine key pressure points of the foot for maximum responsiveness
Babolat Propulse Blast – Men’s
Babolat Propulse Blast – Women’s

Jet Mach 3 – the ultimate weapon for players seeking more precision and agility

  • Light weight  (11.5 oz / 325 gm)
  • Michelin-designed outsole offers increased thickness in key wear areas without adding weight, and the outsole pattern is designed for the specific movements of tennis and pickleball
  • KPRS-X midsole cushioning
  • Matryyx Evo upper – this specialty fabric is a unique weave of Aramid and Polyamid fibers that mold to your foot, offering optimal balance between comfort, support and durability
  • Available in wide EE wide
Babolat Jet Mach 3 – Men’s
Babolat Jet Mach 3 – Men’s Wide

Jet Tere –  Tere is Maori for “speed”

  • Light weight (11.5 oz / 325 gm)
  • Michelin Premium technology reduces wear and tear from tennis and pickleball movement
  • KPR-X cushioned midsole
  • Soft breathable mesh upper for step-in comfort
Babolat Jet Tere – Men’s
Babolat Jet Tere – Women’s

SFX-3 – the ultimate comfort shoe with a wide roomy fit

  • Michelin outsole with Active Flexion for maximum responsiveness in nine key pressure points on the foot
  • Multi-layered Ergo Motion insoles for slipper-like comfort
  • Upper is a light breathable mesh with one-piece side wall for lateral stability
Babolat SFX-3 – Men’s
Babolat Jet SFX-3 – Women’s

We see so many pro players sporting Babolat shoes! Why is there so much love for Babolat footwear on the pro tours?

Pro players look for speed and agility. The Jet Mach 3 which is our most advanced shoe offers that. It’s very light, the upper of the shoe molds to the foot for a precise fit, and the outsole is designed for the quick cuts and stops of pro players.

Which Babolat shoe is the best for durability? What about comfort?  

For durability the Propulse Fury is the best; it has the thickest Michelin rubber outsole. We’re so confident in the outsole durability that we offer a six-month wear guarantee. For comfort, the SFX3 with its memory foam insole is a great choice. This is an E width shoe with a roomy toe box.

How often can we expect to see updates made to Babolat shoes?

We have two drops a year with color updates. We try to balance offering new models while continuing to stock our best-selling shoes that players can count on to be in stock.

What’s the next updated model we can expect to see debut?

For 2023, we will debut an all new Propulse Fury. It will be a sleeker version with the same durability as the current Propulse Fury.

Where are Babolat shoes designed?

All of our shoes are designed in France.

Learn more

To learn more about Babolat shoes, visit our site at:

Babolat Men’s Shoes

Babolat Women’s Shoes

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.

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.

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

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?

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.

Shop all Men’s Pickleball Shoes

Shop all Women’s Pickleball Shoes

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.

CRBN: Carbon Fiber Paddles Developed by a Pickleball Player, for Pickleball Players!

Designed in California, CRBN Pickleball paddles have rapidly gained a strong reputation with many players both amateurs and pros. Founded in 2020, CRBN has already earned the endorsements of many top pro players, no small feat for such a young brand. These sleek, premium-quality, high-performance paddles are ideal for players who love to put spin on the ball.

We recently chatted with Garrett Gosselin, founder of CRBN Pickleball, to learn about his pickleball journey and CRBN paddles.

CRBN Pickleball Paddles now Available at Pickleball Central

How did you find yourself starting a pickleball company?

At the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, I was let go from my job. Lucky for me, I found pickleball. I quickly became obsessed, playing five hours a day, seven days a week. I progressed quickly and played in as many tournaments as I could. 

My doubles partner, Ryan, was the first to have the idea. After a match, he said something like, “We should make our own paddles. We can do better – we know exactly what we want and need.”

Three weeks later, prototypes arrived at my doorstep with the exact carbon fiber face and specs we wanted to take our game to the next level.

It was love at first…touch. We got them in our hands and were unbeatable on the challenge courts. I quickly sent a few off to get approved by USA Pickleball so we could use them in tournaments.

It was never my intention to make a business out of them! They were just for us, but quickly, everyone at our local courts decided they had to have a CRBN paddle too. They saw the combination of control and power we were able to generate, and the paddles looked sleek and cool.

Through all those requests was my “a-ha” moment where I realized I should make a business around these paddles. I partnered with an established entrepreneur in the pickleball industry and a childhood friend who is an engineer, and the rest is history.

We’ve been on a rocketship ever since, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be spending every hour of every day either working on my pickleball company or playing pickleball. We don’t pretend to be a massive company with flashy colors and gimmicky buzzwords. We’re still the same scrappy and agile company that started by tinkering on paddles to make them better. We love the game and the community surrounding pickleball, and look forward to providing the very best products for many years to come.

What is special about carbon fiber as a paddle’s face material vs. the other types of materials that are also commonly used?

We use the highest quality T-700 carbon fiber which is not the case for every paddle company out there. We use T-700 because it has unique properties which help our paddles have an immense amount of durability, power, spin, and control. T-700 has incredibly high tensile strength and durability, while also being malleable enough to flex upon contact to absorb energy and help generate spin. Our gritty T-700 surface outperforms fiberglass, graphite, and other paddle types in almost every category, and is the very best material for paddles bar none.

CRBN is USAPickleball Approved

How do CRBN paddles differ from other carbon fiber paddles that are available?

The term “carbon fiber” gets thrown around quite a bit by paddle companies. Many companies are using carbon fiber as a weave for structural integrity or as part of their core, but that’s a vastly different thing than what we’re doing with our paddles and our gritty surface. Also it’s important to understand that there are many different types of carbon fiber. Carbon fiber isn’t universally great. That’s why we specifically source the very best T-700 carbon fiber that gives us our paddles unparalleled control and spin. Combine that with the most durable internal paddle construction, and we’ve got a paddle that plays better and lasts longer than the competition. 

You have some great pros on your team, what do they love about the paddles?

We’ve been so fortunate to be able to put together one of the most competitive Pro Teams out there. Many of our athletes tried our paddles independently and actually approached us for sponsorships. Almost universally, they comment on the unique combination of control AND power. Usually you have to give up one or the other, but not with CRBN!

Pickleball Pro DJ Young
Pickleball Pro Erik Rosner
Pickleball Pro Yana

Can you talk us through the design and style of each paddle

The CRBN1 (elongated) is the first paddle we built. It was the paddle that I made specifically to suit my play style and most players out there. It features an elongated handle (perfect for two-handed backhands) and the extra length of the face feels great for driving the ball. Out of any paddle on the market, it’s the closest you can get to the feel of a tennis racket. This paddle comes in 13mm and 16mm core thicknesses. Generally speaking, 16mm provides a bit more control and the 13mm is ideal for those looking for more power and speed off the paddle.

CRBN-1 Carbon Fiber Elongated Paddle
CRBN-1 Carbon Fiber Elongated Paddle

The CRBN2 is our newest paddle and features a shorter handle and square face. It provides a wider sweet spot and has quickly become the go-to for many of our customers who prefer a wider hitting surface.

CRBN-2 Carbon Fiber Paddle
CRBN-2 Carbon Fiber Paddle

In terms of style, it has been our goal to keep a clean, subtle design. We don’t need loud colors and confusing marketing jargon. We want a sleek paddle where the performance does the talking.

Shop all CRBN

What’s next for CRBN?

We’ve got a lot of exciting new products in the pipeline! Two things we definitely have coming out this year are different colorways for our existing paddles and a premium pickleball backpack. The colorways will feature our same, recognizable carbon fiber face along with stylish color accents that really make them pop. The backpack is something we’re really proud of also. We custom built it from the ground up to include exactly what we would want as pickleball players on the court. Everything else I’ll have to keep under wraps for now. I don’t want to ruin the surprise!

CRBN paddles let your playing do the talking – for more spin, more core control, and more points. Try out a CRBN1 (elongated) or CRBN2 (traditional square) paddle and you will realize what many players have already…that CRBN Pickleball means business.

Shop CRBN Pickleball Paddles now at Pickleball Central

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.

Ben Johns on Tournament Prep & Recovery

Ben Johns Pickleball Pro

As the #1 pickleball player in the world, pro Ben Johns obviously spends many consecutive hours and days training and competing in tournaments. Even for younger athletes, all of those hours on the court can take a toll on the body; staying in top shape for peak performance match after match requires taking care of your body before, during and after competition. Ben recently talked with us about how he prepares for tournaments and what recovery looks like for him.

What do you do to prepare yourself before competition?

 I prepare beginning the week of competition; what I eat and drink that entire week matters to me. I stay away from sugary or fried foods, as well as sugary drinks. My meal the night before competition is particularly important – it’s usually a protein fish or meat like chicken or salmon, with rice and a vegetable or similar. The morning of competition I typically have eggs, yogurt, and fruit. Throughout the day of competition I like to eat fruit, nuts, and protein bars.

For hydration, I drink Jigsaw Health’s Pickleball Cocktail the night before and morning of competition. Throughout the week I make sure to drink a lot of water. During the day of competition I drink Jigsaw Electrolyte Supreme.

Pickleball Jigsaw Cocktail: Keep your body filled with all the nutrients you need to avoid injury.

I stretch most evenings, but the week of competition stretching is especially important to me. I focus on loosening the hips, quads, and back in particular.

It’s also important to me to have all of my equipment prepared and ready to go – paddles weighted, over-gripped, etc. Clothes for the day, massage gun, and foam roller should be in my bag, with everything else I need for game day ready by the night before.

My warm-up routine consists of mostly ROM movements, like arm circles, Frankenstein walks, and generally dynamically moving to loosen up. Then I do a solid thirty minutes of hitting.

Do you have any “superstitions” or rituals?

I don’t have superstitions so much as preparations. I need to have everything ready to go before the day of competition – all of my equipment, food, drinks, etc. I’m quite particular about the socks I wear, both bottom and top (I’m a double sock guy), so that’s as close as I get to superstitious.

What injury prevention products do you use or wear?

I will wear compression leggings when I’m playing in cold weather. The arm sleeves I wear are not compression but for the sun.

What do you do after matches or training to recover?

After playing, for injury prevention and for performing the next day, I make sure to static stretch, foam roll, and use Therabody’s Theragun Pro and Wave Air Compression Boots.

Ben Johns with the Wave Air Compression Recovery Boots

The Therabody Compression Recovery Boots are an easy-to-use, effective way to improve circulation, soothe achy legs, and may also help reduce fluid retention. Their internal chambers inflate sequentially from the foot towards the heart, which helps maximize circulation. The quiet technology allows you to relax peacefully while enjoying the components of the convenient touchpad control, including a timer and four pre-programmed modes for specific pulses and settings.

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Theragun Pro Percussive Therapy Device helps you to release tension and enhance recovery

Theragun Pro Percussive Therapy Device: This professional-grade massager delivers up to 60 lbs. of force to your muscles, helping you to release tension and enhance recovery on your own schedule.

After playing I’ll continue to hydrate, take magnesium supplements, and try to eat a similar dinner with lots of protein and some good carbs.

Lastly I make sure to get to bed on time, as quality sleep is very important to me!

How To Select A Portable Pickleball Net

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

Portable Nets at Pickleball Station in Kent, WA

Factors To Consider

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

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

USA Pickleball and IFP Regulations for Tournament Approved Nets

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

USA Pickleball and International Federation of Pickleball

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

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

Picklenet Mini Practice Net

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

Rally Portable Lightweight Pickleball Net System

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

Rally Deluxe Portable Net System

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

SwiftNet 2.1 Portable Pickleball Net System

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

Deluxe PickleNet Portable Net System

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

Douglas Net Premier PPS-22SQ Portable Pickleball Net System

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

Portable Pickleball Net Comparison Chart

Portable Pickleball Net Comparison Chart