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

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

2021 Nationals Riley and Lindsey Newman

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

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

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

2021 Nationals Riley Newman

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

Lindsey Newman with her Signature Havoc Paddle

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

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

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

2021 Nationals Riley and Lindsey Newman

Do you think playing with your sibling has advantages?

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

Who would win in a singles match?

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

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

Do your other siblings (family members) play pickleball?

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

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

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

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

Lindsey: Newman Squared

2021 Nationals Riley and Lindsey Newman

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

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

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

2021 Nationals Riley and Lindsey Newman win Gold in Mixed Doubles

Are you holding any training camps in 2022?

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

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

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

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

Riley Newman Signature 206 Paddle

Lindsey: Just get one more ball back.

An Arizona sunset was Lindsey’s Paddle Inspiration

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

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

Riley Paddle Drawing
Riley Newman 206 Signature Paddle

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

Lindsey Newman Havoc Signature Paddle

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

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

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

ProXR Pickleball and Their Game-Changing Handle Technology

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

The first ergonomically designed pickleball paddle

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

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

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

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

Shop ProXR Pickleball Paddles

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

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

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

ProXR Signature Paddle

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

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

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

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

ProXR Tour Pickleball Paddle

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

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

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

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

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

ProXR Pickleball Paddles

What is next for ProXR in Pickleball?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shop all ProXR Paddles

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

Pickleball Resolutions from 2022

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

Resolution #1: Commit to Practice!

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

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

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

GAMMA Pickleball Two Tone Training Outdoor Balls

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

Pickleball Eye Coach
Pickleball Training Tools

Resolution #2: Attend a Pickleball Festival

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

Resolution #3: Upgrade your Paddle

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

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

Aeroshot Paddles from Oneshot Pickleball

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

Warrior Paddle from Diadem

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

ProXR Pickleball

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

adidas Pickleball

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

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

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

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

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

Resolution #5: Play in a tournament 

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

A few exciting upcoming tournaments that we recommend include:

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

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

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

Pickleball Paddle Grips

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

Paddles the Pros Used at the 2021 National Championships

2021 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships presented by Pickleball Central

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

2,342 players

3,944 matches

87 USA Pickleball certified referees

172 brackets

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

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

Leigh Waters with Paddletek

Paddletek Pheonix Genesis – Leigh Waters

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

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

PRICE $89.99

Jennifer Dawson with ProKennex

ProKennex Ovation Flight – Jennifer Dawson

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

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

PRICE $189.95
Free Paddle Cover ($16.99 value)

Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova with ONIX

ONIX Evoke Premier – Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova

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

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

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

Dayne Gingrich with Electrum

Electrum Pro – Dayne Gingrich

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

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

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

Erik Lange with Head

HEAD Gravity – Erik Lange

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

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

PRICE $154.95

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

View all Pro Paddles Here.

(Event stats from USAPickleball.)

PROLITE Sports: The company that changed Pickleball

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are the most popular paddles in your lineup? 

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

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

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

How did your dad get the nickname “Yoda”?

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

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

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

What’s next for PROLITE?

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

Explore PROLITE’s paddle lineup and learn more here.

Oneshot Launches New Pickleball Paddles Designed With Aero Flow Technology

Oneshot Pickleball is family owned and operated

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

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

Introducing Aero Flow Technology

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

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

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

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

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

Which Oneshot paddle is right for you?

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

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

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

Bonus question from our conversation with the founders of Oneshot:

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

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

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

What is your answer to that question?

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

Frequently Asked Questions – #1 How to pick a pickleball paddle?

Baby confused by pickleball paddles

How do I pick a paddle? There are so many choices! 

The best way to select a paddle is to try them out! Ask your fellow pickleball players if you can test-drive their paddles. Try various weights and grip sizes. If you find a paddle that feels good and balanced in your hand try to get that paddle’s weight. At PickleballCentral we will hand-weigh paddles to match the weight that you are seeking.

If you don’t have the opportunity to try out other people’s paddles, we do have a wonderful 30-day return policy. You’re free to purchase any of our paddles, try them out for 30 days, and if you then want to keep one paddle and send back the others, we’ll be happy to accommodate. You can also exchange out your current paddle to try another one.

Lastly, take a look at our extensive Pickleball Paddle Guide to get an idea of which paddle might suit your needs and play style best.