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3 Things to IMMEDIATELY Do With Your New Paddle


Author: Joel Onyshuk | MPC 2023 Membership Chair So you got a new paddle? What now?

It may be tempting to immediately go and start playing with your amazing new paddle. After all, you've probably been eyeing it, researching it, and waiting for the right time to buy, and now it's finally yours. But before you take to the courts, there are three critical things that I suggest you do in order to keep your paddle in good condition and maximize performance.

 

EQUIPMENT USED: 1. Basic kitchen scale 2. Electrical tape


SUMMARY OF STEPS: STEP 1: Add electrical tape to edge guard STEP 2 (OPTIONAL): Add lead tape for weight and added power

STEP 3: Wrap paddle grip with overwrap

 

STEP 1: Add electrical tape to edge guard Adding standard electrical tape to the edge guard of your paddle is a great way to keep your edges looking fresh and new, even after you experience bumps and scrapes on the courts. You could add a layer of electrical tape alone, or, if you are adding the optional extra weight of lead tape, you can add electrical tape, followed by lead tape, and then more electrical tape like a lead tape sandwich. In this tutorial we are adding the lead tape, so the example below will follow instructions toward that end.


You'll notice that my new JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16mm is weighing in at 8.1 ounces. This one is a little lighter than the average for this particular paddle, which typically comes in at about 8.4 ounces. I am definitely going to add extra weight to it with lead tape, but I'll first start by adding an initial layer of electrical tape. While optional, I like to do this in order for my lead tape to grip onto the electrical tape vs. directly on the paddle edge guard. However, this step isn't necessary, and you may choose to skip to STEP 2 if desired.



My personal preference is to keep the JOOLA logo visible, which is arguably pretentious and unnecessary. You may choose to simply wrap the edge of the entire paddle with electrical tape with no gaps, and that would be entirely reasonable.


However, I will choose to leave this logo gap visible on both sides, wrapping the electrical tape evenly. It is important to keep gentle tension on the tape, pressing down on the tape to seal it cleanly, leaving no bubbles along the way, which is simply more aesthetically pleasing.



STEP 2: Add lead tape for weight and added power


I like my paddle to be on the heavier side, which more easily absorbs the ball during defensive play at the net and adds more swing speed and power for my serves and attacking shots.


I have chosen to add roughly 1 ounce of weight to my paddle, most of which will be from the lead tape. However, adding my overwrap and additional electrical tape will also add a minor amount of weight as well. I have cut 4 equal pieces of lead tape, which is showing to be just shy of 0.8 ounces of weight. Two pieces will be added to the top of the paddle, and two will be added to the lower sides as well.


The lead tape is sticky, but forgiving. If you don't put it in the exact center of the edge guard atop the electrical tape, you'll have a few extra opportunities to peel it off and reposition the tape as desired.


I have chosen to place two pieces of lead tape to the top of the paddle, adding to the swing speed and power for my shots. You could choose to add only one, larger piece of lead tape if that's your preference. Personally, I find adding two pieces allows me to more easily reposition the individual pieces and that it is more convenient when it comes to working with it overall.




Just like in STEP 1 with the electrical tape, I added the remaining pieces to each side of the lower half of the paddle, below the JOOLA logo.


Be sure to press the electrical tape down firmly all around the paddle, ensuring a strong connection and seal.


You may find that you add more or less lead tape than what I have shown in my example. For stronger players, heavier paddles may offer a wonderful, aggressive impact on their play. Some women and men may find too much weight to be difficult to wield or that it may cause shoulder pain over time.

Finally, add one final layer of electrical tape over the lead tape to seal it off and create a more streamlined, attractive aesthetic. Once again, this will add significant additional protection to your paddle, allowing you to remove the tape and replace it if you experience the typical scrapes and gashes that are normal for many players.

As previously stated, you may choose to tape all the way around, as well, not leaving a gap for the JOOLA logo (or whatever logo you may have), covering every inch. I have chosen to leave my JOOLA logo visible.


STEP 3: Wrap paddle grip with overwrap

I highly recommend purchasing and installing overwrap to your pickleball paddle handle. The tackiness of the overwrap will add significantly more confidence and consistency to your shots, allowing you to grip the paddle without risk of slippage. For those with larger hands, overwrap may also provide a desirably larger grip circumference.

Start by peeling away the outer, protective plastic layer of your overwrap to expose the tacky overwrap surface underneath. Whether you peel the entire plastic layer off immediately or "as you go" while adding the overwrap to your handle is completely up to you.


For those wrapping their paddles for the first time, you may be expecting the surface to be far stickier. Don't worry, upon installation you'll see just how tacky it will be.





Start by adding the overwrap to the bottom of the grip, flush with the base. Wrap completely around once, and then begin to angle the overwrap, following the natural angle of the grip as your reference point.


You will see in the image how I've chosen to follow the grip grooves around and around, being sure to be consistent in the amount of overlap.


A critical piece of advice here would be to keep tension on the overwrap. There should be constant, even tension, all the way around the grip as you wrap. Do not wrap loosely or inconsistently.



Depending on the amount of overlap, you may end perfectly at the top of your paddle handle, or you may have a bit of extra overwrap. While you may choose to wrap it repeatedly to use all of the overwrap at the top, I like to trim the extra off. This avoids a bulky, inconsistent look and feel if I do have extra overwrap at the end.


Just like at the beginning of installing the overwrap, end as you started, with the overwrap evenly wrapping around the grip horizontally and no longer at the angle you were following to this point.



Using the included tape with your overwrap, wrap the tape around the very top of your paddle to ensure the overwrap does not begin to peel away or loosen.

Congrats! At this point, you've become completely competition-ready with your new paddle! You should immediately note the wonderful swing weight, balance, and control you'll feel with the lead tape and the tacky overwrap you've now successfully installed.







After adding the JOOLA logo grip band (installed as standard on this particular paddle) to the top of the grip, you can see that the paddle now weighs a hefty 9.2 ounces. For some this may be on the heavy side, but as a player who relies on his powerful serves and plays an aggressive game, this is a good weight for me. Because lead tape and electrical tape are inexpensive, don't be afraid to play with various weights and lead tape arrangements. You may choose to install lead tape only at the top of the paddle, for example. It's up to you, and exploring your preferences is part of the fun!


Find these instructions confusing? Have questions? Want to add your expertise or opinion? Comment on this blog and share your thoughts with the other readers and myself. I'd love to hear about your experience with lead tape, overwrap, and whether these instructions have been helpful for you!

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