Some people are very meticulous about their paddles and preserving them in pristine condition. Others may take care of their paddles but don’t really care about the dings and marks that are going to naturally occur on a paddle that is well loved and frequently played. And then there is a third group that you may be in, along with myself, who are lucky not to buy a new paddle every year due to the lack of care that we give our paddles.
When I am able to play pickleball, it is usually with my family, which means no one is able to watch the children. The adults take turns playing and watching the little ones. But every time I hear a cry, I have to stop playing in order to check on my daughter, feed her, change her, or any number of other things. By the time we leave, I am tossing my paddle into my diaper bag and hustling out to the car, where I end up leaving my paddle in the backseat. By the time we get home and manage to get everyone inside, the paddle is usually left in the car in freezing or blistering conditions.
I have worked as a customer service manager for Selkirk Sport and have spoken with a plethora of customers in each of these categories. There are those who do their best to responsibly care for their paddles, and those few who couldn't care less about what happens to their paddles.
For those of you hoping to learn how to better care for your paddle, here are a few easy habits you can implement to keep your paddle looking new and performing at its best.
Clean your paddle. The face and edge guard of your paddle can be cleaned with a glass cleaner and lint-free cloth. The graphics are going to wear over time; it’s the nature of any sport where you make contact with a ball. Do not worry if that happens to your paddle; it is a sign of a well-loved and well-used paddle.
Preserving the Grip
The handle is going to build up grime from your sweat and dead skin. Take a moment to wipe it off with a towel or damp cloth after play. This will help to preserve the life of your grip. At some point though, you may want to replace the grip. Replacing the grip is easy and can be done at home. Depending on your particular grip, you will be able to tell over time if the grip has lost its tackiness or cushion and should be replaced. How often you replace it really depends on how much you play and how much it matters to you.
Try to keep your paddle from extremes temperatures. If you live in colder temperatures, try not to keep your paddle in the trunk of your car or in your garage. Cold air can make objects more brittle and, therefore, more likely to break. You also do not want to leave your paddle sitting out in extreme heat. The paddle face can become softer after laying on a searing hot court with the sun beating down on it. It is also not a great idea to submerge your paddle in water or any other liquid. Most paddles have a honeycomb core that could trap water inside of your paddle.
The final tip for taking care of your paddle is to be gentle with it. Take a moment to look at your edge guard. The amount of wear and tear along your edgeguard is indicative of how often you hit the ground with your paddle. Most paddle manufacturers have lifetime warranties for their paddles, but these typically just cover manufacturer defects, not user error.
If you are about to take a tumble, treat your paddle like you would your wrist. Don’t land on it. Paddles were not designed to prop up over 100 pounds of dead weight.
Sometimes in the heat of the moment, someone (not you of course) may get a little hot-tempered. Paddles not designed to be smashed against the ground in fits of fury. Find another, less destructive way of cooling off.
Be mindful of where you place your paddle when not actively playing. Is it in your bag? Make sure your keys or metal water bottle are not scraping against it. This can cause undue wear on the graphics. Is your bag laying somewhere where other players can step on it? Or where people might just toss their own bags right on top of it? Be mindful of where your paddle is because other might accidentally damage it.
How Long Do Paddles Last?
Most paddles will last between 1-5 years depending on use and how well it is cared for. Selkirk offers a lifetime warranty on any manufacturer defects. However, paddles will have natural wear and tear and may suffer from negligence. In addition, with the fast pace paddle technology advancements, paddles become obsolete about every 2-3 years.
Add a couple of these suggestions into your daily pickleball routine to keep your paddle looking and feeling pristine. If you ever do have an issue with your paddle, contact Selkirk. They will be more than happy to help you with any issues.
By Lauren Barnes