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?

What Is Pickleball?

Pickleball was deemed the fastest growing sport in the U.S. after participation rose 21.3% between 2019 and 2020. In March 2022 it was made the official state sport of Washington. Today there are millions of players not only in America but across the world. What is this popular game and what makes it so appealing? Does it have anything to do with the salty snack referenced in its title? We’ll clear those questions up so you can consider whether you want to grab a paddle to get in the game.

A fun sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.
Played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court and a slightly modified tennis net.
Played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes.
Played as doubles or singles.
Can be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels
A fun sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. 

The Basics of Pickleball

Pickleball is a sport played with paddles and a whiffle ball on a badminton-sized court (44’ x 20’). It can be considered a cross between badminton, table tennis and standard tennis, however it’s grown into something far greater with many of its own unique attributes. One of pickleball’s most standout features is the non-volley zone near the net also called the “kitchen” which prevents aggressive strikes too close to the opposing team, allowing players of all ages and sizes to compete on more even footing.

Pickleball court dimensions
Pickleball court dimensions courtesy of USA Pickleball

Equipment for pickleball is typically not expensive, especially if players have local tennis or pickleball-specific courts they can use for play. You can find nearby options using USA Pickleball’s Places 2 Play website. If starting a game in your own driveway sounds more appealing, purchasing a portable net is a great alternative. Once a court location has been established, only paddles and a few pickleballs are needed to get started.

The game has a lower barrier to entry than most other paddle sports thanks to its relatively straightforward rules and small court size, yet competition at the highest levels has been heating up with nationwide and international tournaments promising prizes, fame and recognition of players’ skills. It’s the ideal sport for both families looking for casual fun and more ambitious players craving an opportunity to prove their talent. Games can be played one on one in singles or with teams of two in doubles.

The following video provides a brief introduction to the rules of pickleball so you can get started right away. For more extensive details, take a look at the complete rulebook.

The History of Pickleball

If you’re curious why pickleball has such a strong connection to the Pacific Northwest, that’s because it was founded on Bainbridge Island in 1965 by congressman Joel Pritchard and his friends William Bell and Barney McCallum. The three were on vacation attempting to figure out a game for their kids to play but only had mixed equipment from different sports—so they made do with the items on hand. The initial pickleball gear consisted of table tennis paddles, a whiffle ball and a lowered badminton net, while the finer details grew from there.

As pickleball reached more people by word of mouth and with the creation of the first pickleball equipment company (Pickle-ball Inc), more and more players grew enamored with its charms. Today it’s played not only on public courts but in schools, camps, recreation centers, retirement communities, correctional facilities, YMCAs and many other locales.

Why Do Tennis Players Switch to Pickleball?

This is a common question we’re asked at PickleballCentral and after having interacted with many tennis players who got addicted to the game, we can share some of the most common answers:

  • Smaller court size and lighter equipment is easier on the body
  • Shorter match length (around 15-25 minutes compared to a tennis match averaging 90 minutes)
  • Friends and family can quickly learn to play adequately even if they have no experience
  • More depth and strategy to the game than it seemed at first glance
  • Competitive opportunities and tournament money without being as oversaturated as tennis
  • Not much elitism/friendly community filled with all types of people
  • It’s fun!
#1 pickleball player Ben Johns with tennis racquet and pickleball paddle
#1 player Ben Johns had a background in both tennis and table tennis before focusing on pickleball

Apart from occasional spats over players commandeering tennis courts for the use of pickleball, we believe there’s no reason these two sports can’t coexist! Both offer their own individual perks and while some tennis players have switched over to pickleball entirely, others continue to enjoy both. Many of the top pickleball players in the world have tennis backgrounds, so there is certainly an overlap of abilities between the sports and it never hurts to diversify ways to stay fit.

Why Is It Called Pickleball?

The burning question many new players have is why pickleball is called what it is. While we hate to let readers down, the sport does not actually have anything to do with brined cucumbers. When pickleball was first developed, Joan (Joel Pritchard’s wife) called the game pickleball because, “The combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.”

Later on Barney McCallum would say the name was chosen in honor of the Pritchards’ dog, Pickles, who would snatch the whiffle ball away from the families at play. However, the cocker spaniel was purchased over a year after pickleball had already been founded, meaning the dog was named after the sport rather than the other way around. Can’t blame a businessman for wanting a memorable origin story!

Pickleball founders Barney McCallum, Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell with project manager of Seattle’s former Kingdome

How to Start Playing Pickleball

If you already have a nearby court to visit then grabbing a bundle of paddles and pickleballs is all you need to begin. If there don’t seem to be any courts you can easily reach (remember that badminton and tennis courts can be tweaked for pickleball use) then purchasing your own portable net will allow you to set things up wherever there’s access to a hard, flat surface. Many players begin right at their own homes or else look for unused parking lots. You can either grab a net as part of a complete pickleball set or as a stand-alone purchase.

Wood paddles are the cheapest options available and very hardy, making them a great investment for kids or new players concerned they may lose their grip while learning the ropes. As your skills improve then lighter and more responsive options made from graphite or composite surfaces will be the next upgrades.

We’re always happy to help newcomers to the game find the best options for their needs. If you’d like to start playing pickleball but still have questions, give us a call and we’ll help you figure out which gear will work for you.

Drive Up Muscle Mass with High Protein Foods

By Brandi Givens, RDN

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

Pickleball Player and Nutritionist, Brandi Givens

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

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

Athletes who strength train may gain the following benefits:

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

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

Brandi and her husband both love pickleball!

What is Resistance/Strength Training Exercise?

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

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

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

How Can My Diet Support Resistance Training?

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

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

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

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

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

High Quality Protein Sources

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

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

Branched Chain Amino Acids

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

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

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

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

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

What about Protein Powders?

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

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

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

Time Your Protein

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

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

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

Brandi’s High-Pro Mediterranean Salad for One

Healthy Protein Salad Bowl

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

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

Directions:

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

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

References:

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

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

When Should I Replace My Pickleball Shoes? 

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

Know When To Replace Your Pickleball Shoe To Prevent Injury

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

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

Check Your Tread!

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Meet Mike Hess – Global Ambassador of Pickleball

Meet Mike Hess, the founder of the Spanish Pickleball Association and long-time global ambassador of the sport. Mike, a native of Southern California, has been living in Europe for the past 28 years. He founded the Spanish Pickleball Association in 2012 and served as President until 2018, laying the groundwork for the growth pickleball is experiencing in Spain today. He also served two years as president of the International Pickleball Federation (IFP) where he presented the sport in many countries such as China. We connected with Mike to hear how he got started with pickleball, learn how he took it to Spain and to find out how the sport is continuing to develop in “Espanya.”

How did you get started with pickleball?
In 2009 I was working as Director of Basketball for the National Senior Games Association (NSGA) and some of the athletes told me about pickleball. It wasn’t an official sport of the Senior Games yet, but I was intrigued and decided to check it out. I had to search to find courts back then, but after watching a few games and observing the players’ interactions, I was drawn to the sport and decided to get involved. I started collaborating with the USA Pickleball Association to improve understanding of how to increase participation and I’ve been working on growing the sport ever since.

Mike setting up pickleball courts in Madrid, Spain
Mike setting up pickleball courts in Madrid, Spain

What is your background in sport that led you to promoting and developing pickleball?
I’ve always been active in sports. I played many growing up and earned a Division I basketball scholarship to the University of California, Irvine. After playing four years I stayed on as an assistant coach for two years while earning an MBA and then received a contract to play professional basketball in Germany so I moved to Europe. When my hoop-playing days were over, Adidas hired me to work at their headquarters in Germany. I ran the European marketing division for basketball and later worked on global promotion strategies for Adidas-sponsored events like the Olympic Games.

Mike presenting pickleball at the World Sport Summit in China along with the other International Sport Governing Bodies
Mike presenting pickleball at the World Sport Summit in China along with the other International Sport Governing Bodies

How did you get involved with pickleball outside of the US?
I’ve been living in Europe for the past 28 years. I left Adidas to do a PhD in Business in Barcelona and have been living in Spain for the past 24 years teaching business courses at CUNEF University in Madrid. I spent my summers in the US working with NSGA and USAPA to promote sport participation and decided to initiate pickleball in Spain and Europe where I lived most of the year. In 2012 I founded the Spanish Pickleball Association (SPA) and was president until 2018. I helped several other European countries introduce pickleball and was eventually elected president of the International Pickleball Federation (IFP).

Mike along with team members of the Spanish Pickleball Association
Mike along with team members of the Spanish Pickleball Association

How has the sport evolved in Spain?
Pickleball’s growth in Spain has been terrific. I remain in close contact with my former SPA team who now run the Association, and they tell me that membership is consistently increasing. Spain has sunny, warm weather and an amazing history with tennis and padel (a sport similar to platform tennis). With tennis legend Rafa Nadal and new star Carlos Alcaraz, racquet sports are part of the Spanish lifestyle. An increasing number of permanent pickleball courts is enabling Spaniards as well as travelers visiting Spain to play throughout the country. Growth of pickleball in the US continues to propel the growth overseas, and we’ve had several pickleball ambassadors and pros visit us to share their expertise, among them Jennifer Lucore, Marcin Rozpedski, Irina Tereschenko, Daniel Moore, Dave Weinbach, Jeff Shank and Kyle Yates.

Pickleball Clinic in Spain led by Pro Marcin Rozpedski
Pickleball Clinic in Spain led by Pro Marcin Rozpedski

What type of pickleball events and organizations are there in Spain?
We started the Spanish Open Pickleball Championships in 2015 which is held every September and this year will be part of the APP tour. It’s an international event that draws players from around the world. The SPA has done a great job expanding the sport by establishing regional associations. Every year there is an increasing number of places to play, trained coaches, clubs, tournaments, school programs, ambassadors and media coverage. The SPA has also initiated a program with the European Union called “Pickle4all” to promote pickleball as an inclusive sport in multiple European countries. It’s exciting the see the sport expand in so many ways since we began in 2012.

Medal winners of the Spanish Open Pickleball Championships
Medal winners of the Spanish Open Pickleball Championships

Tell us about the pickleball tours you’ve organized in Spain.
For years pickleball players from the US and Canada asked me to organize pickleball vacations in Spain so they could come and enjoy the incredible sites, history and culture of Spain, as well as play plenty of pickleball on the trip. It was a unique opportunity to combine two of my greatest passions – Spain and pickleball. In 2014 I began organizing tours in Madrid and Barcelona for players of all levels. People from all over the US and Canada have joined the tours and had an amazing experience.

Mike with travelers enjoying the sites on one of the Pickleball Spain Tours
Mike with travelers enjoying the sites on one of the Pickleball Spain Tours

Are people traveling to Spain again?
Fortunately Spain has fully reopened for travel and tourism is booming right now, so I’m excited to finally offer tours again and have two scheduled for September of 2022. Our next pickleball tour is in Southern Spain, the region called Andalusia. It’s a unique part of the world with great weather and incredible sites to explore. All of the tour details are available at www.pickleballtourspain.com.

Now that you’re no longer president of the association, how are you involved?
I talk regularly with Roberto Perez, the current SPA President, about opportunities they’re involved with and considering. Because I travel frequently between the US and Europe, I offer a unique perspective on pickleball’s development. I’ve learned that outside of North America, a key factor impacting pickleball’s growth is the availability of referees. Spain and Europe simply don’t have trained referees and this severely limits their ability to host sanctioned tournaments. This year I obtained my referee credentials from USAPA so I can start training referees in Spain and Europe. My trainer was Teri Carter, the USAPA Certified Referee Coordinator for the West, and she was amazing. Now I’m working with the SPA to develop a pool of referees with training and on-court experience, and I look forward to expanding that base in other European countries as well. I also completed the PPR instructor course this year to improve my coaching skills. I learned a lot from both training programs. It can be challenging to teach in different languages, but I’ve learned that sport is a universal language, and pickleball is a great platform for bringing different cultures together.

Mike receiving his referee credentials from trainer Teri Carter, USAPA Certified Referee Coordinator for the West
Mike receiving his referee credentials from trainer Teri Carter, USAPA Certified Referee Coordinator for the West

Meet The Pro: Jessie Irvine

Pickleball Pro, Jessie Irvine

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

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

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

What paddle do you use and why?

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

Engage Pursuit MX Pickleball Paddle by Engage Pickleball

Shop Engage Pickleball

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

Jessie Irvine with her Engage Pickleball Pursuit MX Paddle

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

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

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

What is your most memorable moment so far in pickleball?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Meet the Pro: Lauren Stratman

Team Electrum pro Lauren Stratman has quickly risen to the highest ranks of pickleball, becoming one of the top ten female players in the APP and PPA tours. Her current world pickleball rankings are #7 in singles, #9 in doubles and #9 in mixed doubles. She and Team Electrum player Patrick Smith won bronze in the 2021 World Pickleball Championships.

We interviewed Lauren to get her thoughts on the new Electrum Pro II paddle she uses and helped develop in addition to her experience of the game overall.

Lauren Stratman with the Electrum Pro II

What is your pickleball story?

One of my tennis students convinced me I needed to try pickleball in 2018 so I started off playing in my hometown of Santa Barbara, CA. It wasn’t until I played my first tournament in 2019 that I was officially obsessed, and in 2020 I went pro. I actually quit my full-time tennis job to pursue pickleball which my dad thought was insane, but now he’s my biggest supporter!

Electrum Pro Pickleball Bag

How did you help in the design and make of the Electrum Pro II?

I think most players coming from other racquet sports have an affinity for elongated paddles due to their reach and power, so while I enjoyed the grittiness the Pro model has, I had always hoped for a longer version. One of my favorite shots is a two-handed backhand counter and that’s far easier to do with an extended handle. So both of those elements were added to the Pro II. 

What do you like about this paddle?

Having that little bit of extra length makes a huge difference in both singles and doubles. It’s still just as solid as the Pro and has the same great feel and touch, but it’s an all around improved version of the original. I also really like the stylish new yellow edge guard.

Electrum Pro II by Electrum Pickleball

What is the best pickleball tip/advice you ever received?

To have fun! I get stressed out when I take it too seriously. Having fun helps me play loose and to the best of my ability. 

What are your most notable pickleball wins / accomplishments?

Finals PPA Masters Women’s Doubles 

Finals PPA Arizona Grand Slam Mixed Doubles 

Finishing as the #1 female player on the APP tour in 2021 

Do you  have a favorite pickleball drill?

I like skinny singles and full court singles drills. My dad used to do 20-40 ball drills with me in tennis; now I like to do that with pickleball. I have someone feed me 20-40 balls at a time to get myself running side to side and add in some forward movement as well. It’s great for cardio and working on groundies on the run. 

What do you like to do when you’re not playing pickleball?

While I love traveling and have been to over 15 countries, these days I’m on the road for pickleball so often that in between events I’m usually just relaxing and recovering before the next one. I like to spend time off the court with my boyfriend Julian and my dog Baylee.


In addition to representing Electrum, Lauren is a Chicken N Pickle instructor who teaches at their locations across the U.S. If you’re near one of their complexes, be sure to check if she may be coming to a court near you!

Shop the Electrum Pro II if you’d like to see if Lauren’s signature paddle suits you.

Meet the Pro: Dayne Gingrich

Meet family man, coach and pickleball pro Dayne Gingrich. A sponsored player by Electrum Pickleball, Dayne has gained major success in the senior pro circuit. He is a strategist and positive thinking wizard who manages to make every shot look effortless. We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Dayne to find out more about him, and we can confidently say that this guy has something special. Here’s what he had to say. Enjoy!

Dayne Gingrich sponsored by Electrum Pickleball

Notable Wins:

2021 PPA Mesa – Gold Men’s Senior Pro 

2021 Red Rock PPA – Gold Men’s and Mixed Senior Pro

2021 PPA Newport Shootout – Gold Men’s Senior Pro 

2021 APP SoCal Classic – Gold Men’s and Mixed Senior Pro 

2021 PPA OC Cup – Gold Men’s and Mixed Senior Pro 

Dayne Gingrich plays with the Electrum Pro Graphite Pickleball Paddle

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

My stepdad brought me to a 4.5 open play weekend four years ago. I played the entire day without any breaks. I loved it but couldn’t walk for two weeks. Life got in the way and didn’t allow me to touch a paddle again for another year and half after my initial introduction. When I returned to the game, because of my tennis background, I was lucky to be playing 5.0 immediately, and the rest is history. 

What paddle do you use and why?

I currently use the Electrum Pro. It feels as close to a tennis racquet as there is on the market. It has a tremendous amount of spin and power while still allowing me the necessary control needed. The first day I demoed it, I instantly knew it was going to be a complete game changer. 

The Electrum Pro Graphite Pickleball Paddle from Electrum is a premium paddle made with cutting-edge materials to ensure excellent durability and balanced construction. The face of the paddle is made with Toray T-700 carbon fiber, which is resistant to deformation and provides a strong surface for returning shots. This carbon fiber also provides a textured feel, which imparts spin onto pickleballs and makes it easier to control your shots.

We see you sharing strategy tips on your page, can you share with us some of your top tips?

The biggest “Pro Tip” I’ve been sharing lately with my students is the mandatory need for more controlled aggression in their game. With the evolution in paddle technology the game is speeding up, but there’s still a need to find control due to the added spin. If players don’t look for more opportunities to attack, they’ll GET attacked, and sooner than they may expect. The initiator in today’s game has the advantage, unlike in past years, again, due to the power of the latest paddles. As aggressors we can obtain information (who we’re attacking, when, where, and our opponents’ response), which gives us a mathematical edge in the long term. The defenders will always be reacting and guessing. Of course, there are a couple players currently on tour who have faster counterattacking hand speed than the initiator’s attacks, but they are a tiny minority. Learn to attack from below the net, out of the air, off the bounce, and on both your FH and BH. 

Another tip I focus on is transition play. This area, unless given a high and slow meatball, is for resetting. As aggressive as the game is becoming, the court is still small, which means there isn’t enough room to power through players from the transition area (during doubles play). Make a habit of slowing down, keeping your feet still, low and wide while executing resets. The paddle also needs to be quiet, with a light grip pressure, absorbing the ball into the body, while maintaining a mental vision of a “baby arc” that softly brushes a penny off the top of the net. 

What are your favorite drills?

My favorite drills are anything straight ahead with an opponent. I also like adding a ball machine feeding crosscourt dinks so I can work on the 1-2 attack/finish part of my game. All the fast action happens straight against the player in front of us and through the middle of that player, so learning how to improve this part of our game is a necessity for long-term growth. I rarely practice crosscourt dinks anymore, as I’ve found straight ahead dinks have improved my crosscourt dinks 100x. 

What does your Mental Performance Coaching help pickleball players with?

Mental Performance is every player’s secret sauce. Unfortunately, only a small percentage understand or want to commit to this part of their game. Those that do, however, create a massive amount of improvement, which leads to a disproportionate level of confidence against their competition. The first thing we establish together (as coach and student) is their long-term vision. Micro day-to-day goals are irrelevant without first establishing a detailed, emotionally connected vision they’ll eventually begin working towards. Once this vision has been declared, written down and visualized, we start our work. Everyone comes with unique gifts, motivations and triggers, so there isn’t a stock program, but the majority of athletes I work with have to create a new, heightened state of belief. I want them to design an inner confidence that doesn’t give in to difficulty, pain, frustration or self doubt. While everyone’s path is different, patience and self belief will always play a fundamental role in their blueprint. 

What do you think is the most important shot in pickleball?

There are so many important shots in pickleball and I think the level of each player will determine which one is the most important for them. For the beginner, I believe that learning soft hands, feel and touch should be a staple in their process. Once we shift into intermediate and advanced, where most players can make the majority of their 3rds, it’s a tie between the transition reset and the aggressive kitchen attack. The reason I call it a tie is because it doesn’t matter how good your resets are if you don’t have an offensive game once you make it to the line. But it also doesn’t matter how good your kitchen attacks are if you can’t get to the kitchen to show them off. Once we move into a regular advanced level of play, the ability to seamlessly shift from a fast kitchen fire fight right into a reset that neutralizes that fight may be the single most difficult shot in all of pickleball. 

What are some of your short term and long term pickleball goals?

My goal as a player is to never get out-worked by another player, pro or senior pro. The results after I control my daily work ethic and commitment to continuously improve aren’t in my control. I have huge long-term goals I’ve set for myself, but they will only come to life if I focus on my preparation and recovery, mentally, physically and emotionally. As a coach, I’m currently working on a ginormous project that can’t yet be announced, but when it becomes a reality, it will change the landscape of how pickleball is taught and learned. I’m also FINALLY starting to write my book. This has been in the works for too long, but I believe will be worth the wait. In the meantime, while these projects are being put together, I will continue giving away a ridiculous amount of free content online with the singular focus of adding value to as many players as possible. 

What are you doing when you are not playing pickleball?

When I’m not playing pickleball, I’m constantly falling head-over-heels in love with my wife every day. She’s my angel and the miracle that makes it all possible for us, as a family. Without her push to always be better and think bigger, while simultaneously, keeping me humble and grounded, our family’s long term vision wouldn’t be what it is. I’m also a girl-dad, through and through. My poor daughter is probably so sick of me telling her much she’s loved, appreciated, and how proud her mom and dad are of her. Being a great player is important, evolving as a coach is important, but nothing is bigger or has more meaning than my family. 


If you’d like to read more from Dayne and stay tuned for his future projects, be sure to check out his website. To check out his paddle of choice take a look at the Electrum Pro and see if it might be a fit for you.

TechTalk with Oneshot Pickleball: Introducing the Flipshot

Introducing the Flipshot by Oneshot Pickleball

Why choose between touch and power when you can have it all? After years of players having to select either a fiberglass or carbon fiber paddle, Oneshot is now offering both materials in a single design. Taking inspiration from table tennis paddles which often have dual surfaces, the Flipshot provides incredible versatility and different levels of responsiveness depending on which side of the face you use. This innovative style is fully approved by USA Pickleball and ready to offer new tricks with a flip of the wrist.

Read more to hear what Oneshot has to say about this paddle’s greatest benefits.

Can you tell us what is innovative and different about the Flipshot Paddle?

In this model we incorporated two completely different materials (fiberglass & carbon fiber) on each surface of the paddle in order to create a unique feel on each side. The blue side will feel much softer, consequently providing more control, while the red side will feel solid to provide more power. 

When did the idea strike for this paddle and why?

The idea started about a year ago when we were talking about how much we like our forehand or backhand more than the other. That’s where we had that lightbulb moment and considered incorporating two different surfaces within the same paddle to compensate for a weak backhand or forehand.

There have been few attempts by others at this type of technology in the past. Why do you think pickleball is ready for it now?

Now more than ever the sport has been attracting athletes from other paddle and racquet sports. These players have different styles and consequently need products that adapt to their needs, which makes perfect sense for us. 

What type of player will enjoy this paddle?

Any player that wants to mix it up and try something unique.

Which side would you advise players to use on their forehand or backhand?

That’s the fun part about this paddle: There is no right or wrong. Just use each side to compensate for a weakness or double up on a strength!

What’s next for Oneshot in terms of technology or innovations?

We will keep that a secret for now, but we can share that we have multiple initiatives going on that will take the industry by surprise. We have models launching as early as this year and as late as 2024.


Read more about the Flipshot’s specs to see if it might be the right match for you, and let us know if there are any other unusual paddle styles you might like to see in the future.

Minto US OPEN Medal-Winning Paddles 2022

With the dust still settling from the Minto US OPEN Championships, many picklers are eager to check out what gear the pros used to claim their victories. Owning the same paddles won’t immediately take someone from average to 4.0, but knowing your equipment has been tried and tested by some of the best players in the world does provide extra certainty that your skill development is on the right path. We’ve listed the Minto US OPEN winners and their paddles of choice here so you can determine which option might complement your play style.

Catherine Parenteau – Tempest Reign Pro from Paddletek

Catherine Parenteau at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the Tempest Reign Pro Graphite Paddle from Paddletek

Catherine Parenteau’s winning streak continues with gold in Women’s Singles and Doubles with partner Lea Jansen. The Tempest Reign Pro’s elongated shape adds even greater reach to the control of Paddletek’s beloved Wave Pro thick core.

Simone Jardim – Prince Response Pro Composite from Prince

Simone Jardim at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the Response Pro Composite Pickleball Paddle by Prince

Simone Jardim and partner Ben Johns won another gold in Mixed Doubles. The Prince Response Pro Composite paddle was the first paddle with a rounded shape, well known for its huge sweet spot.

Jennifer Dawson – ProKennex Ovation Flight by ProKennex

Jennifer Dawson at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the Kinetic Ovation Flight Paddle by ProKennex

Jennifer Dawson dominates the Senior Pros with gold in Sr. Mixed Doubles with Dayne Gingrich and in Sr. Women’s Doubles with Cammy MacGregor. The ProKennex Kinetic Core Technology reduces vibration and impact to help prevent injury, and the innovative oval shape is all sweet spot.

Cammy MacGregor – Selkirk S2 AMPED by Selkirk Sport

Cammy MacGregor at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the AMPED S2 X5 FiberFlex Paddle by Selkirk Sport

Cammy MacGregor and long time partner Jennifer Dawson won another gold in Senior Pro Doubles. With Selkirk’s largest sweet spot, the AMPED S2 combines a thicker core with softer face for a perfect combination of control and power.

Dave Weinbach – Paddletek Tempest Wave Pro by Paddletek

Dave Weinbach at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the Tempest Wave Pro Graphite Paddle by Paddletek

Dave Weinbach (the “Badger”) and partner Dayne Gingrich won gold in Sr. Doubles. Paddletek’s Tempest Wave Pro delivers deliciously soft play with a thicker core for increased control and touch.

Collin Johns – Electrum Model E Graphite by Electrum

Collin Johns at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the Electrum Model E Graphite Pickleball Paddle by Electrum

Collin Johns and brother Ben Johns won another gold in Men’s Doubles. The Electrum Model E combines the Electrum Pro’s premium raw carbon fiber face and textured finish with a longer shape for even more reach and power.

Dayne Gingrich – Electrum Pro Graphite by Electrum

Dayne Gingrich at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the Electrum Pro Graphite Pickleball Paddle by Electrum

Dayne Gingrich had a great run, taking gold in Sr. Mixed Doubles with Jennifer Dawson and in Sr. Pro Doubles with Dave Weinbach. The Electrum Pro’s raw carbon fiber face, wide surface and textured finish make it a favorite for players who like to spin the ball.

Lea Jansen – Franklin Ben Johns Signature Model by Franklin

Lea Jansen at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the Ben Johns Signature Pickleball Paddle by Franklin

Lea Jansen added to her recent wins taking gold in Women’s Doubles with partner Catherine Parenteau. Franklin’s Signature paddle features Max Grit technology for precise controlled play and plenty of spin.

Mattias Johansson – Engage Pursuit EX by Engage Pickleball

Mattias Johansson at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the Pursuit EX Graphite Paddle by Engage

Mattias Johansson won gold in Sr. Pro Singles. The Engage Pursuit EX combines a powerful core with a high touch graphite face for excellent control.

Beth Bellamy – ProXR Advantage Blackout Series 16mm by ProXR

Beth Bellamy at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the Advantage Blackout Series 16 Paddle by ProXR

Beth Bellamy won gold in Sr. Pro Singles. The ProXR Advantage Blackout Series 16 delivers forgiving touch and plenty of power with its composite face. The angled handle helps with spin and quicker reloads.

Ben Johns – JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 Graphite by JOOLA

Ben Johns at the 2022 Minto US OPEN with the JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 Graphite Paddle by JOOLA Pickleball

Ben was the only player at this year’s US OPEN to win a triple crown (again) taking gold in all events: Singles, Doubles with brother Collin Johns, and Mixed Doubles with Simone Jardim. Ben’s new paddle, the JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 Graphite, combines control and responsiveness with extra length for easy court coverage and follow-through.

Have you tried any of the paddles above and found they made a big difference in your game? Let us know in the comments. We are always happy to help customers find out which style may suit them best, so feel free to give us a call if you need help making a selection.

Bruce Yeung Photographer and Videographer

Kudos to our Pickleball Central photographer Bruce Yeung for all these awesome US OPEN action photos. Give him a follow on Instagram and Facebook at @yeungphotography