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Should you use different paddles for singles and doubles pickleball?


By Brynn Grissom

on Dec 21, 2023

Different pickleball paddles can be used for singles and doubles matches.

Competitive pickleball features three main events: gender doubles, mixed doubles, and singles. 

For each event, there are different strategies and skills necessary to succeed, and players train accordingly. However, there is one often-overlooked simple variable that if changed, could drastically improve your performance in each event: your paddle. 

Most recreational players are content with using a single pickleball paddle for all their events, and in most cases, that’s fine. However, as you progress in the sport, you might start noticing subtle differences between your singles and doubles play. 

For more advanced players, especially those looking to be competitive in tournaments, it might be time to consider using different pickleball paddles for your singles and doubles matches. 

Best pickleball paddles for singles matches

When it comes to singles play, the primary reason players opt for a different paddle is because they’re solely responsible for covering the entire court, which calls for specific paddle characteristics.

Typically, longer, thinner mid-weight paddles are preferred for singles matches. Paddles such as the SLK Halo and the Vanguard 2.0 Invikta provide more reach, which is essential when you're the only player on your side of the court. 

Singles matches tend to be less of a kitchen game and more about groundstrokes. A longer paddle can be advantageous because it allows players to reach more balls and execute fast, powerful passing shots. 

As you often have more time to react in singles, you don't need as much forgiveness for off-center hits, making a wider paddle face less necessary. Additionally, a longer, thinner paddle face offers increased leverage, which can make a significant difference in singles play. 

The serve plays a pivotal role in singles, as a well-placed serve can force your opponent to hit a poor return, making it easier to set up a passing shot. Having a longer paddle gives you more leverage, enabling you to serve harder, deeper, and with more spin, thereby gaining a strategic advantage.

Finally, singles players often opt for midweight paddles, which provide more power. This added power can be advantageous in executing powerful serves, precise groundstrokes, and quick passing shots.

Best pickleball paddles for doubles

Conversely, when you step onto the doubles court, a different pickleball paddle design is more suited to the fast-paced exchanges at the net.

In doubles, a shorter, wider, and lighter paddle is preferred, making paddles such as the Luxx Control Air, the Vanguard Power Air, and the SLK EVO 2.0  good choices. 

The wider surface area provides a forgiving shape, meaning that even if you don't have the time to hit the ball right in the center of the paddle every time, you can still achieve success with your shots. 

The forgiving nature of these paddles helps mitigate the risk of mishits, which can be especially crucial at the kitchen line.

Shorter paddles are also easier to maneuver, allowing for swift reactions at the net and precise placement of shots. Doubles players often opt for lightweight paddles, which give them quicker hand speed. 

In doubles, quick hands and controlled dinking are a must, and a paddle that offers control without compromising power is key to maintaining the upper hand during rallies.

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