The Story Behind This Paddle
The paddle you see pictured above was my paddle with which I learned not only more pickleball, but some of the silly moves such as Strange Serve. I learned some additional tricks which I’ll be demonstrating on this website soon. As you might imagine, I dropped it a few times. Or, maybe more than a few times.
At first, it just started to show cracks at the top corners. Then it got worse, as you can see below:
But it still worked fine. People started laughing at my worn paddle, which of course caused me to keep using it. We were all curious to see how bad it might become.
One day, the black plastic edge pnotecter came entirely loose from the top. It was flopping around. Even still, I could use the paddle, except when plastic strip came between the paddle surface and the ball. So, it had to be cut off.
The paddle not only continued to work but in my opinion was even better than original, being quite a bit lighter in weight. Of course, I’d be kicked out of an official tournament with that paddle, but that wasn’t a concern for recreational play.
Now that the edge protecter was gone, the material started to wear away more rapidly from the corners. You’d see little corrugated strips laying on the courts where I had played.
I kept telling people that I’d retire the paddle when it got down to the size of a teaspoon. Even thought it still works fine today, I have in fact retired it. I started to think that if a teammate and I tried for the same shot, there’s a chance I’d scratch my partner’s hand or arm. I would imagine the scratch with that rough material could be quite severe.
Now I’m using a brand new Z5 just like the old one.
I’ve seen many pickleballers who try multiple paddles, spending as much as it takes to get the most recent fashionable product. I continue to use my Z5. I’m certainly not the best player in the world, but I hope this little story lets people know that the quality of the game is far more based on the skill of the player than having the exact right paddle.
As an aside, in the 1970s when bicycle racers all felt they had to shave their legs and wear chamois-lined black wool shorts to be competitive, the fastest racer in New York started showing up with hairy legs and his shorts inside out. He still won most races.