There’s something you might have noticed on my Head pickleball paddle. Frankly, if you look closely you will see that many professionals have adapted their paddles in this manner. Lead tape is the key.
It is possible to make a tape of lead – also called lead tape – by using heavy metals. If you add a few milligrams of lead tape to your pickleball paddle, you will generally benefit from a stronger stroke, a bigger “sweet spot” on your paddle, and a bit more pop when striking the ball. The practice of adding lead tape to pickleball paddles is becoming increasingly popular among pickleball players, especially professionals.
Lead Tape For Pickleball Paddles
Lead tape for Pickleball Paddles will be covered in this post, and we will also answer questions like “Why should I use lead tape?”, “How should I use lead tape?”, “Why do I need lead tape on my paddle?”.
As a result, I discuss these questions and my lead tape method in the video below, plus where I recommend most of my students start adding weight to their paddles to get more stability, balance, and comfort. Here’s what you need to know…
Should You Add Lead Tape to Your Pickleball Paddle?
The number of pickleball players adding lead tape to their paddles is steadily increasing, especially among competitive players. As a result of lead tape, the following may occur:
- More Power – Pickleball paddles with lead tape are heavier. As a result of this additional weight, your pickleball shots will be more powerful, including drives, overheads, volleys, and other aggressive shots. Adding weight to your pickleball can also give you more spin on the ball and allow you to defend against opponents and put away shots more effectively.
- Larger Sweet Spot – The “sweet spot” on a pickleball paddle gets bigger when it is taped with lead. When you strike the pickleball with your paddle, you’ll have more stability and margin for error. Your pickleball paddle will have a larger sweet spot if you add lead tape, allowing you to dink and block more easily.
You may want to consider adding lead tape to your pickleball paddle, given the potential benefits to your game and the relatively low cost of lead tape (less than $10). Your pickleball paddle can easily be removed if you don’t like the lead tape.
A pickleball paddle made with lead tape is heavier than one without. Having said that, heavier pickleball paddles may not be appropriate for everyone, especially if you have poor mechanics and fundamentals on the court. They may even cause injuries as they can put unnecessary stress on your elbow. It may not be a good idea to add lead tape to your pickleball paddle if you have elbow pain, such as “pickleball elbow” or tennis elbow.
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Pickleball Paddle Tape Rules & Regulations
First, let’s talk about the rules. During local recreational pickleball play, well-meaning individuals often tell you local folklore, not the official pickleball rules. We learn everything we need to know about modifying pickleball paddles in Rule 2.E.5.
2.E.5. Modifications. A commercially made paddle can only be modified or added by adding edge guard tape, lead tape, modifying the grip size or grip wrap, and adding decals and/or markings to identify it. When a paddle edge guard is attached, desiccating, marking, and tape cannot extend more than 0.5 inches (1.27 cm) inside the outer edge of the paddle. All specifications must be met by altered paddles.
Providing that we stay within the parameters shown above, we can change the edge of the paddle, add a grip, or add a name or decal.
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Paddles for Pickleball: An Important Issue
As a result, now that we know it is possible, let’s ask “why?”. The weight and balance of the paddle are altered when lead tape is added to a tennis racket. Approximately two grams of 1/2 inch tape make up a four-inch strip. I often use a Head Extreme Pro paddle that weighs 7.6 ounces. My 7.6-ounce paddle will weigh 7.74 ounces if I add 4 inches of tape to the edge. The difference may not seem significant to you…but paddles are quite light, so a few ounces make all the difference.
Aside from modifying the balance of the paddle, it alters its weight distribution…that is, the relative weight of the handle versus the face. There are many times when players think one paddle weighs more than the other when they pick up two paddles. The two paddles, however, weigh exactly the same when placed on a scale. Due to the distribution of weight outside the handle, the player perceives the one paddle as heavier. The two grams mentioned above are palpable.
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What is the reason?
It is actually quite common for me to tape over the top edge of my paddles. In most cases, pros do this in order to increase head speed during a swing through the ball. Increasing the head weight of the paddle adds power. Some of the whippiness of the paddle can be reduced with tape applied to the top edge.
The stability of the ball may be important to some players when they mishit it. The center of the paddle’s face can’t be worn away by every player. Put the lead tape at 3 and 9 o’clock on your pickleball paddle face if you think of it as a clock. Similar to perimeter weighting a golf club to compensate for off-center hits, paddle manufacturers also perimeter weight their paddles.
It is possible that you will find that you tend to hit the ball closer to the paddle’s tip. If you move the tape to 2 and 10 o’clock, your sweet spot will be raised and your game will be more powerful.
The weight of the paddle can be increased without changing the balance by adding tape closer to the handle.
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Lead tape weight experiment
My trick to remind players to swing tip first is to add a few inches to their paddle at the tip when I am teaching. In my opinion, this is not appropriate for everyone:
- Overextending your wrist or elbow can cause injury if your paddle is too head-heavy.
- A paddle that is too head heavy for you is likely to drop the head of its head or lag behind its butt.
You will always find me encouraging you to try new things if you are a regular reader. For less than $20, you can buy 100 inches of Lead Tape For a Pickleball Paddle, so you can experiment without breaking the bank. It may feel more comfortable to alter your pickleball paddle. Playing better pickleball requires comfort.
What is the purpose of lead tape on pickleball paddles?
Players at the professional level are always looking for legal ways to gain the slightest advantage over their opponents.
They sometimes choose different types of paddle materials, cores, and grips to get the best performance.
Additionally, they use lead tape to improve their game, which is a small but important step. Here are some reasons why most professionals add lead tape to their paddles and what you can gain from it.
Paddle weight should be increased
The power generated by the strokes will be increased if the lead tape is applied to the paddle. Swing power generated by a paddle increases with its weight.
Hitting through the ball is also easier with a heavier paddle. To increase power in shots, add tape to the head part of the paddle to increase the weight.
The lead tape should be added to the 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock part of the paddle to gain extra weight.
By adding lead tape to the paddle, one might wonder how much weight can be added. If the length of the lead tape is around four inches, a half-inch wide tape weighs approximately two grams.
The weight will be around 7.54 ounces after you put the tape on the paddle that weighs around 7.4 ounces without. In the grand scheme of things, these extra 0.14 ounces or four grams don’t seem like much, but it makes a big difference to a paddle.
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Paddle Balance Point Change
In addition to changing the point of balance, players tape lead tape to their paddles. It is possible to make your paddle head-heavy or more balanced by adding lead tape to one side.
Players can place more lead tape on the paddle between the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock areas if they want more weight on their heads. Increased paddle power and head speed can be achieved by adding tape to the head.
Pickleball is played with a paddle that feels heavy in the hand but produces a lot of whip in the shots which aren’t ideal.
Taping the middle to lower part of the paddle will give the player a bigger sweet spot, more power, and a lighter feel without compromising the feel and lightness of the paddle. As a reminder, we should tape the 2 o’clock to 10 o’clock part of the clock analogy.
It is not common for players to add weight to the lower half of the paddle. Adding weight and feel to the paddle is the only benefit.
Because the lower half of the paddle is closer to the grip, adding lead tape will not add additional weight to the hands.
A handle can be made heavier by removing the grip, sticking lead tape to both sides of the handle, and then reinstalling the grip.
Reduce vibrations and increase stability
Some players struggle to hit consistently from the sweet spot and some don’t have the same level of accuracy when it comes to hitting.
Players often prefer adding a bit more weight in the middle of a paddle rather than having extra power in a head-heavy paddle. Mishits and off-center strokes are more forgivable, and the sweet spot is increased.
The vibrations caused by the impact of the paddle can be reduced by making the paddle head heavy, just as making the paddle head heavy makes the strokes heavier and more powerful.
By absorbing shock vibrations and reducing arm impact, the lead tape can be compared to racket stringers.
Final Words on Adding Lead Tape to Paddle
In order to get the best results from lead tape on a pickleball paddle, it is important to know beforehand what the purpose is.
It’s not harmful to beginners or casual players to do it, as long as they have thought it through. Professional players have specific goals when they do it.
It’s best to experiment with tape and see what works and what doesn’t by applying it to different places in the paddle. The use of a lead tape will prevent any injuries or side effects, as well as allow you to explore and understand your game better.
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