Heavy pickleball paddles are often presumed to fall under the sole domain of power players. You have more heft in your hand, so you can slam, smash and drive kill shots down the court all day.
This scenario is a reality for some players, but to shoehorn heavy paddles into such a niche role is a disservice to their versatility. You may even be missing out on the excellent benefits these paddles can provide if you've been presuming their weight is too much to handle.
Hilary Marold is one example of a pro player who bucks the stereotype of heavy paddles only being suitable for big and bulky athletes. She even believes that heavy paddles are particularly helpful to senior players, a demographic which is often advised to steer clear of anything that could strain their joints.
Hilary is known as the 'Queen of the Courts' due to her extensive high-profile background in racquet sports. This includes multiple gold medals and hall of fame inductions within tennis, platform tennis, badminton, racquetball, pickleball and more, so it's worth hearing her out!
In the video below you can listen to Hilary explain why she enjoys using the Paddletek Phoenix Ultra II, which weighs in at 10 - 10.5 oz.
Hilary explains that paradoxically, heavy paddles often stress the body less than lightweight options. Their larger mass provides more speed and pop with less work from the player.
In an extreme example, think of whether it would be easier to return a ball with a banana leaf or a baseball bat. While the leaf is obviously faster and easier to wield, the bat adds far more of its own power during acceleration rather than relying on a player to throw all of their strength behind it.
She notes that heavier paddles provide better defense since their weight defuses the power behind slams. The paddle won't vibrate or churn as much in the hand, allowing for an easier response.
For those who play outdoors, a heavy paddle will also offer more support when counteracting wind during a difficult serve or return.
If you experience sore wrists or arms during play, we believe it's at least worth trying a heavier option to see if it can alleviate some of the tension that can result from using a light paddle. You might be surprised by the results! (Remember our 30-day test drive policy allows you to try equipment worry-free.)
If you've tried heavy paddles before to no avail, be aware that a paddle's weight distribution greatly effects how it feels in the hand. Paddles that are head-heavy, those which focus most of their weight near the top of the face, often feel right at home in the hands of former (and current) tennis players. However, they might feel draining and awkward to someone who doesn't want to battle against gravity during games.
Thankfully, there are options on both ends of the spectrum whether you want to try a paddle with a balanced weight distribution or something more specialized. If you love your current paddle but think there might be something to the weight debate, you can also give lead tape a shot and cheaply add more strength to equipment you already own.
For those wanting to test something new, the following are great options in the heavy paddle category:
Paddles with a Balanced Feel
Phoenix Ultra II - Up to 10.6 oz
Z5 Composite - Up to 9.2 oz
Vertex - Up to 8.9 oz
Phoenix Pro PTK - Up to 8.8 oz
Bantam EX-L – Up to 8.8 oz
Bantam EX-L Pro – Up to 8.8 oz
Wilson Tour Pro - Up to 8.7 oz
Paddles with a Head-Heavy Feel
Paddles that Allow You to Choose a Heavy Weight
What are your thoughts on heavier paddles, and do you feel they've helped improve your game? Which heavy paddle do you think has the best feel?