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focus training pickleball paddle

Focus Training Pickleball Paddle


Pickleball is a game of not only strength but also control. It’s not enough to hit the ball hard, you also need to hit it accurately toward specific areas in the opponent’s court in order to score points. This is crucial in pickleball strategy and ultimately gives you the upper hand in the game.

However, to be able to hit the ball accurately toward the opposing zones, you need to know how and where to hit it on your paddle. To practice this and improve accuracy, some players use focus training pickleball paddles. Let’s talk a little bit about that in this article.


What Are Focus Training Pickleball Paddles?

To help you hit that sweet, sweet spot on the paddle as you swing, focus training paddles are employed. These paddles provide you with visual guides so you know where to hit the ball.

focus training paddle

Repetition is important while using these paddles, to have a feel for the movements until they become muscle memory. When you switch back to using the actual pickleball paddle, the movements will feel more natural!


Why Do You Need To Hit The Sweet Spot?

Hitting the sweet spot is crucial if you want to direct the ball toward certain spots on the court accurately. I think you’ll agree that it can be frustrating when your ball goes one way even though you wanted it to go somewhere else.

Accuracy in hitting the ball is a crucial factor in pickleball that can and will help you win games. This is why focus training pickleball paddles are an important piece of gear for your practice sessions.

Mishits are normal while you’re training your technical skills. But mishits during a match could really cost you the game.


The Similarities and Differences Between Focus Training & Standard Paddles

Before talking about the differences between focus training pickleball paddles and standard pickleball paddles, let’s take a look at the similarities first. Focus training paddles weigh the same as standard paddles. This is extremely important for your muscle memory. You won’t be as effective at using your practice swings in an actual game if your paddle is way heavier or way lighter than you’re used to.

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NOTE: You can go for a lightweight training paddle if you want to decrease the strain on your arms and joints while training. After all, you’ll be doing the same movements over and over again until they’re mastered. Still, it’s better to train with a paddle that has the same weight as your regular one.

The structure of a focus training pickleball paddle can be both similar to or different from the standard paddle. Focus training paddles that have a similar structure are usually paired with visual guides on where to hit the ball.

Other training paddles have unique paddle structures, usually having a smaller surface area to give a smaller margin of error. This trains you to hit the ball in the exact spot or you will miss it entirely. With these paddles, training sessions are harder but more fruitful.


How to Use Focus Training Pickleball Paddles

There are various methods for using the focus training paddle during your practice sessions. You can try using each of these methods and stick to the one that feels right for you.

using focus training pickleball paddle

Use It for The Entirety of Your Practice Sessions.

Say goodbye to your standard paddle and use focus training paddles until you deem yourself ready. This can help build that muscle memory we’ve been mentioning, so you can hit the ball on the regular paddle’s sweet spot more regularly.

This is an especially good method for training paddles with a smaller surface area. Once you get a hang of it and are able to hit most—if not all—of your shots, switch back to the standard paddle and see the results.

Assign Training Days Using Specific Paddles. 

You can use the training paddles on days when you want to hone your technical skills such as dinks, volleys, and smashes. This will sharpen your ball-handling skills as you train.

For training days where the focus is more on tactical and in-game skirmishes, you can opt for the standard paddle. Switching between both is a good way to hone your skills without losing your feel for your trusty game-ready standard paddle.

Alternate Usage During Training.

Another method you can go for is to alternate between paddles while in a training session. You can warm yourself up by using the focus training paddles during the early stages of your training, and then switch to the standard paddles halfway to finish things off.

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NOTE: Too much switching might actually prevent you from getting a good feel for any of the paddles. It’ll take longer for you to become comfortable with them, so try sticking to one paddle on most days, and alternate between both just once in a while. 


Best Ones Out There

There are tons of pickleball training paddles to choose from, both official and unofficial. However, we recommend three of the best ones that you can look into the next time you’re in a sporting goods store.

The original Focus Training Paddles are patented pickleball training paddles that are designed to simulate the same weight and feel of a standard paddle while having a smaller surface area and a visual guide.

It is made out of a dense yet lightweight core which is strengthened by a rigid substrate layer. It is topped off by a durable fiberglass face with a subtle texture that reduces sound and vibration. All of these provide a combination of power and finesse.

It is about 14” in diameter and has a 4 ?” grip length. It is the perfect all-around training paddle that you can use in all of your training sessions and practice games.

The Top Rally Training Paddle is a good alternative to the original Focus Training Paddles in terms of simulating the weight and feel of a professional pickleball paddle. However, it has a longer grip and overall paddle length, but a smaller paddle face.

It is composed of a honeycomb polypropylene core and carbon fiber face, materials that are present in most top pickleball paddles. These materials allow spins and better control for hitting the ball with power.

The Top Rally Training Paddle comes in two different colors, each with its own weight. The blue option comes in the standard 7.9 to 8.1 oz weight, while the purple option is slightly lighter at 7.6 to 7.8 oz, which reduces the strain on your arm.

If you’re up for an extreme challenge, the Vulcan V100 is perfect for you. It has the smallest surface area among all the training paddles available. Just like all training paddles, it is designed to help you improve your accuracy in hitting the ball. You will struggle to land hits using this paddle, but your improvement will be greater. 

With its small surface area, the Vulcan V100 can improve hand-eye coordination in various hits such as dinks and drives. It is great for technical practice and drills while preparing for competitive games.

It is constructed out of solid wood composite and measures 16” in length, 4” in width, and has a 5” grip length.


Things To Remember

There are a few things to take note of before heading on to practice with focus training paddles:

practice with focus training paddle

Practice Takes Time.

If you are in a rut and keep missing all your hits on a new training paddle, don’t worry! This is normal. And it is natural to be frustrated at first. These paddles are designed to make you miss more, hence the smaller surface area. That’s the whole point. So, just be patient and keep practicing. You’ll be happy with the results! 

Always Prioritize the Time to Practice on A Standard Paddle.

Remember, training paddles aren’t the ones you will be using in a game, even if they are designed to simulate standard paddles. No matter how similar in weight and size, a standard paddle will always feel slightly different in your hand.

So, drill your shots using the focus training paddles, but also take time to get to know your standard paddle. A great way to do this is to schedule games with your buddy every week. 

These Paddles Are Not Mandatory.

Although they are extremely helpful in training your accuracy, you don’t need these paddles if you’re strapped for cash. So, don’t feel bad if you aren’t able to acquire one. There are many other ways to improve your control and accuracy!


Wrapping Up

Training paddles are extremely useful in helping you train your accuracy and control in pickleball. Their small surface area and visual guide help you know where to hit that super sweet spot on your paddle.

The smaller the paddle face is, the harder it will be to hit the ball. However, the harder it is to hit the ball, the better your accuracy will be as you progress. No pain, no gain!