Have you ever seen a pickleball paddle with holes in its surface? They’re not very common, but they do exist.
In pickleball, the standard paddle has a smooth and solid surface that helps you hit a pickleball with ease. So how does having a perforated paddle help? Would it affect your game in any way?
Back then, people had the same questions too. They became curious enough to test it out, so now it has actually become a game-changer.
Is It Possible For A Pickleball Paddle To Have Holes In It?
Yes, it is possible for a pickleball paddle to have holes in it. But are these unique paddles even allowed on the field? Well, the answer is yes and no.
There are multiple governing bodies in pickleball that set the guidelines and rules for how we play the sport. The most prominent and notable ones are the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) and the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP). These governing bodies have provided certain standards for pickleball paddles in the field of play.
According to the 2022 IFP Guidelines, holes in a pickleball paddle are strictly prohibited (see 2.E.2. under Paddle Specifications). The only alterations approved by the guidelines are tapes, grips, and aesthetic decals. All large-scale events—especially those sanctioned by these governing bodies—are subject to these rulings, so you won’t be able to use whatever perforated paddle you want.
There are exceptions though. The USAPA has approved some paddles with holes for tournament play. If you’re wondering whether you’ll be allowed to use your paddle with holes in a tournament, check if it’s on this list of approved pickleball paddles by USAPA. Paddles such as the Labs Project 005 Invikta and the Vanguard Power Air Epic Midweight are some examples of ventilated paddles allowed in tournaments.
What Makes A Pickleball Paddle With Holes Better
Now, a lot of factors separate a standard pickleball paddle from a pickleball paddle with holes. Here’s a list of the pros and cons of using a hole pattern paddle.
First, let’s talk about why they are advantageous:
Reduced Wind Resistance
The most notable plus factor of playing with a pickleball paddle with holes is that you deal with less air resistance every time you swing. A perforated paddle is a more aerodynamic paddle because the hole on the surface allows wind to pass through. If the reduced resistance can help you hit a fast pickleball ball just a second sooner, it could spell the difference between winning or losing the rally.
Notice tennis and badminton rackets, which are netted and full of holes. These rackets are easier to swing due to the wind being able to go through the racket’s face instead of pushing against it.
The reduced wind resistance on a pickleball paddle with holes also means you are able to maintain a better grip on it as you play. You can swing faster and stronger, and have better control over your swings.
Added Playing Surface
There are standard dimensions to a pickleball paddle’s surface area that you have to follow. But when you add a hole in the paddle, the connecting parts don’t count as the paddle’s surface area. This gives you more playing surface compared to a typical pickleball paddle!
It is a small loophole that could prove to be a nifty advantage in a tournament. The added playing surface allows you to hit the ball easier. You can also put various spins on it thanks to the edges of the hole.
Lighter and Faster
A pickleball paddle with holes on its surface is lighter and faster. Since there are holes on the paddle’s surface, the total mass of the paddle is reduced. This makes your paddle feel lighter and easier to maneuver.
Lightweight paddles are advantageous for in-game mechanics, and they’re also easier to carry around. Having a lighter load in your backpack ensures that you are in tip-top shape once you step onto the court.
Better For Your Arms
The holes on a pickleball paddle can reduce the impact and vibrations every time you hit the ball. This is because the shock in every hit travels towards the holes and dies out, resulting in less impact reaching your arms.
Strain is minimized and you will be able to play in longer stretches. You will also have a more comfortable experience while playing the game, which helps you enjoy it more rather than have it become a physical burden.
What You Have To Look Out For
A pickleball paddle with holes isn’t perfect. There are disadvantages that come along with the advantages that we discussed earlier. However, this is not something that should discourage you from using it. Take it as a guide on what you should look out for when purchasing, making, or using such paddles.
Durability and Irreversibility
Since there are holes on the paddle’s surface, they can make the paddle weaker overall as compared to those with solid surfaces. It’ll be easier to damage or break the paddle where the hole is located.
So take into account the reduced durability and shorter life spans of these paddles when deciding whether or not to get a pickleball paddle with holes.
As mentioned earlier, the holes in the paddle’s surface help generate spin on the ball. However, this is only applicable if you master the art of hitting it. The holes on the paddle mean more edges that a ball could hit when you swing. This could affect where a ball will travel once you hit it.
Newer players could have trouble controlling where the ball will go when they use a paddle with holes. If you can’t hit it hard enough, you might end up messing up your shot instead.
Pickleball paddles don’t usually have holes. But there are some paddles that have openings below the paddle’s face that are allowed in competitions by the USAPA. The “holes” are more of a ventilation opening rather than the typical circular holes you see. This is a loophole that slips through the guidelines and allows you to have a slight advantage on the court.
Relax and have some fun playing pickleball with your friends using perforated paddles. You might find these paddles easier to use and less straining, giving you a fresh and fun experience in the game of pickleball!