“The “Pickleball Is All” Website is for Beginners wanting to learn the game and experienced players wanting to improve their game and reach their threshold of peak performance.

This is a teaching, explaining, and demonstration by illustration website for you to use as your blueprint for success. “Coach Joe” knows Pickleball, and Pickleball knows Coach Joe.

Since January 2016 when Coach Joe held his first Pickleball Paddle, he has played and coached Pickleball most every day (7 days per week). Averaging 6 hours a day court time, at a variety of public and private locations.

Coach Joe has earned the prestigious IPTPA Level II Pickleball Teaching Professionals Certification, and the IPTPA Certified Skill Rating Specialist CRS-4.

Coach Joe is also an appointed USAPA Pickleball Ambassador for Baltimore Co, MD.

During Coach Joe’s time spent teaching over 212 newbies ‘how to play pickle ball,’ helping many mediocre players to improve their game, and coaching competitive players to play winning pickleball, he learned there were common threads of physical unforced errors and mental mishaps that were generic to most all players.

The most frequent physical mistakes are caused by flawed stroke mechanics, inadequate shot development, poor shot selection, inaccurate shot placement, and the inability to play as a synchronized doubles pickleball team.

The mental mistakes evolve from a distracted mind on and off court. Pickleball is 70% mental and 30% physical. A negative mindset looses more games than poor physical performance.

Such mindsets contribute to a lack of motivation, low self confidence, self doubt negative thoughts , intimidation, and a fear of failure, while playing the game.

A quote from “The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey,” summarizes the effects of mind control, as, the opponent within your own head is more daunting than the one on the other side of the net.”

This Website is intended to address the physical and mental aspect of winning pickleball for all levels of play.

Coach Joe Update:

On November 25, 2019, Coach Joe tore his right leg Achilles Tendon while playing. This was a complex tear, that required healthy tendon to repair the weak tendon at the rupture site. Dr. Rebecca Cerrato, Surgeon, Director at the Instutitute of Foot & Ankle Research & Reconstruction at Mercy Hospital, Downton Baltimore, MD, performed this 4 hour long complex procedure to successful complete this repair.

Considering Dr. Cerrato’s patient was 78 years old, with double knee replacemnts, this was a significant challenge. But Dr. Cerrato knew how much I loved the game of Pickleball and my need to return to the game. I am now week 15 in recovery, still doing PT at home every day and hitting 200+ shots on my home practice device. Normally it can take almost a year of rehab before returning to any strenuous activity. I anticipate come May 2020 I will be back on the courts coaching & Playing

Welcome to my “PICKLEBALL~ IS~ ALL” World and now its your world too.

“Coach Joe”






by Coach Joe Palmere Jr.


Rally Scoring simply means a point is scored every rally, regardless of which team served the ball. Having play a few games under this scoring system, I have made the following observations.
Rally Scoring does speed up game play, and rewards the team who had the best performance during each rally. Often times we seem to play better and harder, when not serving, just to keep our opponents from racking-up the points. Then when its our turn to serve, we blow the serve or play like crap. And lose the serve and chance to make a point, back to the opposing team.
Under Rally Scoring, conservative defensive play, keeping the ball in play, patiently waiting for the other team to fault, can be rewarding against aggressive offensive, hard hitters and trick shot artist. . “The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth,” versus “Godzilla and Tron Destroy The World,” mindset. A team who has two great servers with an attacking style of play, ball crushing overheads, and rocket-like forehand drives, can over play themselves off the winners podium, under Rally Scoring.
Rally Scoring will all but eliminate a teams chances of making a miraculous comeback from being in the rears, say 1 to 9 points.
Faster games will reduce player between game wait times. Since a crowded venue often reverts to 9 point games, rally scoring may, at the least, all the game to be played out to 11 points.
Rally Scoring may also eliminate the traditional win by 2 points scoring, again reducing game time.



One of our most congenial and highly skilled players, Dr. Dahlia Hirsh, Edgewood Activity Center has taken the initiative to start ZOOM Virtual Pickleball Meetings to discuss “Edgewood Rec Picikleball,” and to reconnect players with each other to chat and view each other. She has also provide great health related tips to address this virus. Oher Doctors, Nurse Practioners, Nurses and Physical Therapist in our pickleball Family, can also provide helpful recommendations on how to prevent catching and transmitting this disease, while playing pickleball. Three of our Medical Professionals, Barbara Dual Johnson, Julio Perez, and Barb Elgin also serve as USAPA Pickleball Ambassadors. Barb Johnson & Julio Perez are Nurse Practioners. Barb Elgin, is a licensed Psychotherapist and Certifies Mental Wellness Provider, Barb could help us deal with our mental anxiety and stress of returning to pickleball play post C-19, after lifting of restrictions.


I predict that outdoor pickleball play will become more popular than indoor, especially with the onset of warmer weather. I would suggest, that if you do not have a supply of medical grade facemasks and surgical gloves, now is the time to start buying, along with ani-bacterial, disinfecting or alcohol hand and baby wipes and keep some in your vehicle and paddle bags. Last but not least, if you have a cough, sneeze, fever, or not feeling well, think of your fellow players, and stay home. We do not want to begin playing singles because of not enough players to make up a foursome.


PICKLEBALL~IS~ALL, Coach Joe Palmere Jr. Website


Pickleball IS All Blog URL: https://pickleballisalljoepalmere.blogspot.com/

Pickleball Is All Facebook Group Page https://www.facebook.com/groups/384817878593185/

I have obtained a permit for Honeygo Park, Perry Hall, to reserve the 3 outdoor pickleball courts, for pickleball play, every Tuesday evening 6 to 9pm. I will follow-up with the Park Admin to see when we can resume play there. If will all depend on the Govenor’s POA post C-19 home restriction policy of non-essential people, and usage of public parks.


by Pickleball Coach Joe Palmere Jr. ©



This post is not intended for all players. It is intended for the maniacally, obsessively, compulsive, addicted, fanatical pickleball player, such as myself, who needs to explore any and all parameters and paradigms, that will help improve their game.

I may be the very worse of the worse case of these conditions. Does this mean I will have to remain under strict home detention orders even after the virus restrictions are lifted, so I don’t spread my fetishes, phobias and neurosis to other players. I have already spent nearly 5 months (20 weeks) in home detention away from pickleball, due to a torn Achilles Tendon in my right leg.

It took two weeks of “SHOMA” before I was sliced and diced by my surgeon. My only escape began after 6 weeks of no bearing weight on my right foot post-op when I started PT, three times a week. PT visit to the facility were my only source of fun.

I could joke and kid with the therapist and some of the other patients. But that was cut short by the virus pandemic. And now that I can drive and get out to at least coach and watch pickleball, THERE IS NO PICKLEBALL. So if you’re moaning & groaning about being under home detention for the last 3 weeks, think of me having to spend 20 weeks away from the courts.

Enough of the self pity party and back to this screwed-up post. I am not going to tell you how to customize your paddle, in this post, but just tell you that another post is forth coming to tell you how to customizing your paddle.. Boy is this post out of context.

Back to the topic at hand. Ask yourself this question is it possible for a paddle maker to produce one SUPER PADDLE that would have all of the features that help each and every pickleball player to improve their game ?

But please continue to read on and have a drink of spirits, beer, wine, vodka or whatever else may wet your whistle, if you are inclined to do so, This will at least give you something to occupy your mind and get a feel good state of mind. There are enough of a variety of pickleball paddles being sold today to find the best of the best for you . . . . only if you are willing to make serval trips to the store, testing and retesting paddles, narrowing down the search each time you go.

Or if you can borrow another players paddle to use when playing in a game. And AGAIN, you are, at best, going to find a paddle that is “better than all the rest,” but its still not customized to help you play at your peak performance.

The old saying in pickleball that, a skilled player can play well with most any paddle, has some validity. But if you ask that skilled player if he or she has a particular paddle that they like more than any other . . . . the answer is YES!

Does paddle customizing help me play a better game. Or does it serve as a placebo, providing me with a winning mindset that I am playing with a customized paddle, and my opponents are playing with OTC paddles. And if I play bad, I cannot blame it on the paddle. I have probably customized at least 30 different paddles produced a a wide spectrum of brand name paddle, and even a few of the Brian Jansen, custom made POP Paddles that I ordered.

Have you every noticed how “some” celebrity pro players keep “jumping ship” from one paddle brand to another ? Look through the pages of back issues of any pickleball magazine and you will see exactly what I mean.

Pro Players need the sponsorship of major brand paddle makers for the royalties they receive for “photo ad endorsement of a product. Sponsorship helps them pay for the burdensome expenses of competing in the top Tournaments and Championships around the nation.

Many of our “Pickleball Pros” cannot support themselves or their families from their cash winnings in pickleball. Remember some “Pros” have to lose for other “Pros” to win. It costs the looser as much money to play in the competition as the winners. The losers collect e a lesser pay check or no paycheck at all.

Pickleball “Pros” need a fulltime career to makes ends meet. And support their Pickleball habit. What they collect in prize money will not make them rich. Often times it just pays for a portion of the travel, lodging, meals, and personal care needs expenses when going from location to location.

Considering their unpaid hours of practice, court fees and coaching fees, they endure, they seldom break even. Of all the sports, Pickleball PRO’s hold themselves to the highest Levels of ethical standards and always put the welfare and respect of their fans and the game first. In 2015, some of these highly respected “Pros” committed their time and energy to serve as “Founding Members” of the “International Pickleball Teaching Professionals Assn” (IPTPA),

Many thanks to these “IPTPA” founding members, Seymour “rif” Rifkind (CEO), Dave Weinbach, Stephanie Lane, Wes Gabrielson, Enrique Ruiz, Kyle Yates, Gigi Lemasters, Jim Hackenberg, Yvonne Hackenberg, Rafael Siebenschein, Jennifer Lucore, Alex Hamner, Robert Elliot Matt Staub, Scott Moore, Dan Moore, Corrine Carr, Prem Carnot, A. J. Fraties, and Irene Fraties,

A note about the “IPTPA.’ The IPTPA made its inaugural debut in 2015. “Rif” and the “Founding Members” established the highest standards of excellence for teaching the beginner through the 3.5 player. They developed a stringent set of the criteria to determine whether a perspective coach met those standards. Prior to the IPTPA there were no minimum pickleball teaching standards existed.

The IPTPA Professional Pickleball Level II Coaching Certification is not obtained by attending a costly one day, 8 hour “certification mill” with accommodating different levels for instruction, administered under the subjective scrutiny of clinicians who seem to place a much higher value on a candidates playing skills, then the candidates teaching and communication skills, regardless of their game knowledge and academic history.

Okay, enough of this off-topic writing. I will be posting a forthcominhg in-depth “how-to” article on customizing your paddle to perform better than it did when you bought it .

The last time I posted my original article on Paddle Customizing and Weight Balancing it was plagiarized and appeared on another Picikleball site. I since learned to have my work copyrighted under my name and brand to prevent such reoccurrences. ©


by Pickleball Coach Joe Palmere Jr. 4/23/2020 ©

Grip circumference size can be increased or decreased with a variety of brand name replacement grips. Check the packaging it will give the grip thickness in mm.

A 1.25mm is about as thin as they come. This will reduce a 4.5″ factory grip circumference to 4 1/8.”But there is a little know trick when rewrapping a paddle grip. After removing the original grip material wipe off the exposed surface of the handle with denatured alcohol or rubbing alcohol to remove any residue from the old grip. A light sanding of the exposed wood with x-fine sandpaper also removes residue. Be careful not to round out the 6 sided hexagon shape of the handle. That is there for a purpose. Tennis racquets use 8 side octagon shape handles. Again for a purpose.

Another tip I will share is to remove the butt cap and leave it off. Its more decorative than functional. You will pick up another half inch of useable handle to reach those wide shots. Plus it make the application of a new grip neater. The butt cap end will expose the wood of the handle. Use a extra wide black permanent marker pen to color that in.

When ready to begin rewrapping of your paddle handle, first secure the paddle face (wrapped inside a bath towel) in between a sibling or or spouse’s knees, with the handle pointing out and unencumbered. The replacement grip material has a sticky side covered by tape. Peel off the tape about half way. Start the initial application of wrapping as tight as possible, without breaking off the handle or pulling it out of your assistants grip.

Find the starting end of the replacement wrap. It is usually tapered towards the end. Also make sure any logos are upright and not upside down. Sure give-away of an armature paddle smith at work.

I usually put a 2″ strip of 1/4″ wide black paddle edge tape on the starting edge to overlap onto the bare wood handle. This helps secure the first wrap in place as you wind the wrap carefully and slowly around the handle. Here is where it gets tricky. Most all rewrap has some stretchability.

Apply just enough pressure to stretch the wrap without pulling the paddle out from in between your assistants knees. The wrap needs to be applied as tight as possible without breaking off the handle end. As you wrap the lower end with one hand. hold the upper end of the handle in the other hand to prevent torqueing and possible breakage.

You will then make overlapping wraps of grip wrap material around the exposed handle. Make sure you do not overlap more than 1/8 to 1/4″. Keep your wraps neat, evenly spaced and snug as you proceed up the handle.

Finish the last wrap at the top edge of the handle just below the throat where the wood handle ends. This last wrap is extremely important. Do not overlap more than one covering of new wrap to finish off the top.

There should be only a 1/2″ overlap at the top of the handle so the sticky side will lay securely contacting the preceding wrap. As you begin to near the end you can also taper the the end of the new wrap so it angles upward for a more finished look. Again apply a 2″ strip of paddle edge tape to the end to help hold it in place to keep the sticky side in place.

You can also add one layer of paddle edge tape over top of the new wrapping so it stays in place. After you have completed rewrapping the handle, use you hand to press the new wrapping down against the wood handle in continuous spiral motions, following the wrapping from bottom to top. No edges of the wrap should be sticking up. If so, smooth them down onto the handle with hand pressure all around the grip bottom to top. Make it look like a professional job.

To finish off the wrap and smooth out the entire surface, and minimize your grip circumference to its smallest possible size, use a ball of heavy packaging cord available at Home Depot or UPS stores. Again you will need an assistant to hold the paddle face securely.

Start wrapping the cord over the new grip material, as tightly as possible, keeping the cord neatly aligned together all way up the handle of the paddle. When you reach the top, come back down and tie off the end so it does not unravel. Allow the paddle to stand upside down over night.

The next morning, un wrap the package cord and you should have a neat glove fitting grip of the smallest possible circumference. You want to be able to feel the solid wood handle inside the wrapping, as the ball contacts the surface of the paddle.

This will help you develop a better feel of the ball as it contacts your paddle. And determine whether or not you need to increase or decrease pace and power.

If you have done a good snug wrap you will have a good portion of new wrap unused. Save this for splicing repairs on short notice.

I am not a fan of “over-grip wrapping. It puts too much cushion between your hand and the feel of the ball. Its the lazy way of replacing worn grip wrap. If you want to increase the circumference size of your grip, several brand name replacement grips provide wrappings that are thicker with ridges that will sole the problem. And still maintain good feel of the ball.



At the request of one of my faithful blog followers, I have written this commentary on GEARBOX PICKLEBALL PADDLES.

Gearbox Paddles come in 11 models. Eight (8) models are branded as either GS6 Control and GS6 Power, and GS5 Control and GS5 Power.

The 8 PRO Models are block shaped. There are 2 tear drop shaped paddles and one elongated model.Most all list for around $140, except the Tear Drops & Long Faced Paddles are cheaper.

I have not yet played with or tested this brand of paddle. My commentary is based on the Brand Advertisement of the Features and Specifications.

The first thing I noticed was there was no mention of where these paddles are made. However the listing states, “USAPA Approved.”

The next thing was, most all of the feature and spec advertisement were similarly worded. This makes it hard for the consumer to distinguish the differences between the features and specs for each paddle.

I referenced this commentary on the GearBox Company Pickleball Paddle Website advertisement. https://www.gearboxsports.com/pickleball_en/pickleball-paddles.html

The key feature as advertised on these paddles are their “Solid Span Technology (SST).”

This is somewhat new compared to traditional Pickleball Paddle construction of composite paddles, that uses the hollow honeycomb cellular core design of either Nomex, Aluminum or Polymer.

GearBox Paddles has developed a solid carbon fiber chamber core with no delamination, no honeycomb design and no soft sports.

GearBox Paddles feature a single piece molded construction. The surface material is advertised as carbon fiber edgeless frame. Hyper Bite Spin Technology is advertised as offering more “Ball Bite for Max Spin on Demand.”

The GearBox GS6 Paddle OAL is 16~5/8.” The GS5 Paddle OAL is 15~7/8.” An optional feature is handle circumference offered in 3 5/8” or 3 15/16” grip. The handle length is 5~5/8” on most models. Paddle weight varies between modes at 7.8oz to 8.5oz.

The customer reviews on these paddles were 5 stars. But the number of customers reviews were relatively low ranging from 14 down to 2.

If you are into graphics these paddles won’t disappoint. A variety of color options with a large company logo adorn the surface of these paddles.

Without physically testing or playing with the GearBox Paddles, I cannot make an honest assessment on their playability, ball control, power and spin performance. However, the “Solid Span Technology” does intrigue me to the point where I want to put one to work on the court.

If you have the bucks, the GS6 Power or the GS Control, are worth a try. I would definitely try to demo or borrow one to play before I pay the price.


by Coach Joe Palmere Jr. 4/9/2020

I frequently conduct paddle selection clinics at retail racquet sport stores, such as HOLABIRD SPORTS on 9220 Pulaski Highway. The owner, David Hirschfeld and Son, Brian, have an indoor racquet sport demo court for customers to try out pickleball paddles, tennis and racquet ball racquets, while trying on a new pair of shoes, .

The store provides a variety of demo pickleball paddles for customers to try. I purposely add a few “colorful graphic, slick surface dud” in the mix, along with the paddles that I know to perform well for new or nearly new players.

After an explanation on paddle nomenclature, construction, comfort, fit, and performance, the customers can hit some practice shots with a variety different paddles, to see which ones feel most comfortable, and perform most consistently in their hands.

Inadvertently some customers will choose the paddle that is most decoratively eye appealing to them, even after it performs poorly in their hands. In good conscience, I try to steer them towards a paddle that I know will help their game. But some still choose to buy the pretty paddle.

Some of the brand name textured surface paddles with graphics,  for which I have written “independent product performance reviews,” have produced inconsistent ball control, spin and ball placement. This I believe, was due to the graphics on the paddle The method used to apply or impregnated the graphics on the paddle surface. And if these graphics created any dead spots on the surface.

Again, I claim no expertise, certification or creditability for testing paddle performance. I based my findings on my personal use and testing of the paddle in my hands. I can play right and left hand, and I have better than average ball placement skills. I use the same brand of indoor and outdoor balls for each test. I also conduct the test on the same indoor and outdoor court surfaces.

The balls are fed to me by my Simon 2 Pickleball Throwing Machine.  I follow the same pickleball shot sequences, hitting the same number of balls for each test. As I go, I record my findings on my findings on my  “Paddle Test Performance Sheet.” which contains same performance criteria for each paddle.

When I encounter a poor performing textured paddle with graphics, further testing is conducted. A close visual inspection, followed by a touchy-feely inspection of the paddle, helps to determine if the graphics are impregnated into the surface material and follow the ridges and valleys of the textured surface, or if the graphics create smooth spots over the textured surface.  I run my finger nail over the surface to feel the textured ridges and valleys covered by the graphic or if they are smooth.

I then lightly spray clean water over the entire paddle surface. I wipe off the excess water with the palm of my hand. This allows me to see if any water collects in the texture valleys, or gets completely wiped over top of the graphics. Standing water shows the graphic is not interfering with the texturing. When the surface is wiped dry, it shows that the graphic is filling the texturing rendering it almost useless.   

If I find a correlation between poor performance and graphic overlay, I record my findings, and refernece these findings in a independent paddle review to place on my blog.  Again my findings are subjective and not necessarily scientifically valid. But they are cause for some serious consideration.  

I would like to see manufactures of textured surface paddles, conduct and publish testing on the effects of graphics on a textured paddle. And to determine if their method of applying graphics to a textured paddle surface interferes with the performance of that paddle. If so then change the graphic process or eliminate it entirely from the playing area of the paddle surface. And still comply with USAPA standards.

I also believe that many serious pickleball player such as myself, would be happier if the paddle makers would offer their textured surface paddles, with a “graphics free” option, except for that which is required by the USAPA.

The USAPA could be more relaxed with their restrictions on texturing paddle surfaces. I for one would like to see the USAPA redifine its restrictions on texturing of paddle surface to be more beneficial for many players, including myself. If players can improve their game with better textured paddles than not help them do so.

The current texturing restrictions infringe upon many players’ ability’s improve their ball control skills and adding a variety of spin to the ball, to help level the playing field with the more biomechanically fit and skilled players coming from a tennis background. Many new pickleball players are experiencing racquet style sports for the first time in their lives. Or they have mobility issues or physical impairments that limit their range of motion, speed and agility, that could be helped by using a paddle with more texture than that which is currently allowed.

The current texturing restrictions are archaic and somewhat discriminating against players who’s game would benefit by paddles with more surface texturing because of their lack of physical ability due to mobility issues, injuries’ or age. It’s not as if only certain players would be able to purchase better textured paddle. Any player would have this option.

What is it about Texture on a paddle surface that makes it such a bad thing ? Just maybe a less restive texturing rule, would encourage more players to participate in organized play, compete in tournaments, and enjoy the game even more. Isn’t this what Pickleball is all about ?

Another concern that I have are the heavy all wood paddles often  provided for instructing beginners how to play pickleball.  To date, I have logged several hundred hours of volunteer instruction of 212 new players. I have also logged many hours coaching small groups of improving players, 

I am not a fan of instructing or coaching players who use all wood heavy starter paddles, especially beginners. The add 3 or 4 ounces of weight at a time when someone is just learning the basic strokes of the game and how to swing the paddle.

They offer no ball control, and place far too much power in the hands of a new players. Their grip circumference is excessive, causing the user to grap hold of the paddle handle tightly to keep it from flying out into space. This excessive gripping cause a lot of unnecessary unforced errors.

Plus the heavy weight of these paddles wear quickly tire new players trying to learn the game. Aside from making the learning process harder,  the all wood paddle make the instruction process more time consuming.

The additional weight of the all wood paddles also causes injuries to the wrist, elbow and shoulder joints, especially in older players. A new player will learn faster having their own composite that is lighter and more comfortable to handle.

I now recommend that new players come to class with their own compositie paddles and three pickleballs.  Then they will have the equipment needed to learn faster and better how to play the game, and provide them the opportunity practice at home what they learned in class.

When we resume playing pickleball,  remember to sanitize your paddle handles before and after each game,  and especially if someone accidentally grabs your paddle.  



By Coach Joe Palmere 4/18/20


Sorry to say an article that I wrote on center of gravity weight balancing of a pickleball paddle in my early pickleball days, was republished on a celebrity pickleball players YouTube site.  No credit or mention of the  author of origin. That taught me to have my work copyrighted ©.

Many paddle gurus speak or write about composite paddle performance   based on the differences in core and surface materials.  The core  is the spacing material between the outer surfaces. This spacing material is not a solid heavy mass, except for the all wood beginners paddles. The core is based on the natural bee-hive honeycomb cell design.

Man-made honeycomb core cells are primarily hexagonal ( 6 sided ) hollow shapes formed between thin vertical walls.  The material has minimal density, strength in tension and high out-of-plane compression properties.

Most composite paddles are made with 3 different honeycomb-like core materials . . . Polymer, Nomex and Aluminum

Nomex Cores

The first composite pickleball paddles used Nomex honeycomb core cellular construction. Nomex is still the leading core material in today’s paddles. This type of core begins as a cardboard-like material formed in a honeycomb design, before it is dipped in resin.

The resin creates a honeycomb of very durable material that is then laid in between the two faces. This design of honeycomb cell is smaller, denser and lighter than other core material. The smaller denser cores are what produces the power.  They’re easy swinging but the core generates a lot of power.

The Nomex core paddle “center of gravity” (COG) is more horizontally and vertically centered over the face, which places the sweet spot close to dead center on the surface. Nomex core paddles can deliver backcourt power drives and hard crushing smashes up at the net. Nomex core paddles are the loudest all paddle cores.

Amarid Cores offer a cheaper option to Nomex for beginner to intermediate players looking for power in their game.

Aluminum Cores

Aluminum core paddles are lightweight and produce a weaker response. Finesse players, of the control game at the net, often prefer the weaker reaction of the aluminum core for optimum ball control, and its ability to take pace and power off incoming balls.

Aluminum core paddle center of gravity (COG) is more towards the handle, making it easier to swing.  This eases stress on the wrist, elbow and shoulders of older players or players with injuries.  

Polymer Cores

Polymer is the term used to describe plastics, which are synthetic polymers. Generally, plastics are flexible and durable.  A Polymer Core paddle combines the best features of Nomex and aluminum, which is power and control. Neucore Poly and Sensa Poly are part of the polymer core family.

Paddle Surfaces

Now we look at the three most common exterior surface paddle materials.

Thin sheets of graphite, fiberglass and carbon fiber sandwich the core material on each outer side. Paddle surfaces are commonly referred to as the “face.”

Graphite paddle surface material is strong and provides great ball control but you’ll sacrifice a bit of power.

Fiberglass is the most common facing on the courts. Its strong as graphite or carbon fiber but has more power.

Carbon Fiber surface is similar to graphite but more durable, this material provides the ultimate in ball control but lose a bit of power.

Choosing Paddle Core and Surface Material Combinations

Combining the core material with the surface material determines the playability of the paddle. Paddle playability is a matter of personal preference.

When choosing a paddle you need to know what style of game you play.  Are you a backcourt banger or a finesses soft dinker at the net ? 

Most beginners to low level intermediate players play the banger game.  Most high level intermediates and advanced players are finesse players up at the net.

Nomex Core with a Graphite Surface Paddle combines the power of the Nomex honeycomb core with the ball controlling effects of a graphite surface. The marriage of these two materials in a paddle, delivers a controllable hard ball backcourt drive, or a long precise drop shot to the opposing kitchen. At the net, this paddle can produce soft dinks, or hard pace changing volleys put-aways or reset the point. Needless to say this “beast” is best played in the hands of a skilled player.  It is not meant for the beginner or low intermediated player.

Aluminum Cores with a Fiberglass Surface Paddles are lightweight and deliver a weaker response with optimum ball control. Another plus is its ability to take pace and power off incoming balls to reset the point.

Finesse control players at the net, often prefer this combination for their style of play. These players are often masters of the “third shot drop” from the backcourt that lands into the opposing NVZ, and seldom need to execute a long line drive to get to the net.

Polymer Core with a Carbon Fiber Surface Paddle is  flexible and durable. This combination is the ultimate in ball control. but you sacrifice some power. In the hands of an experienced player in the intermediate to advance range, this paddle got game.  

We discussed paddle construction but did not address the importance of the grip size or weight.  Grip circumference size and paddle weight are important comfort features when selecting a paddle. These features will be discussed in a follow-up post.  

My Perspective on Paddle Cores & Surfaces

There’s a paradigm in pickleball that proclaims a skilled player can play well with most any paddle core and surface combination, because he or she has learned the technical mechanics of each stroke and how to control the ball by properly aligning the paddle and executing a near flawless swing that follows the path of the ball to the intended target. This is not to say that the right paddle core and surface combination would not make the task easier. 

Pickleball Spin & The Paddle

The one paddle feature that most contributes to spinning a pickleball in a variety of ways is surface texture.  The more texture the better.  But it cannot exceed USAPA standards.  And the paddle must be listed on the USAPA Approved Paddle List.  Surface texture also helps with ball control Some have said that surface texture changes the There is one more secret about spin that I have learned, and it’s how you position your wrist.  And that’s all you are going to get for now.

During my benching period of 15 weeks and counting, recovering from a right leg Achilles Tendon Tear, that required grafting of health tendon from the big toe to make the repair, I practice most every day with my in-home pickleball practice device, hitting several hundred balls with 5 different types of spin, in preparation for my return to the courts.

Whether or not you are going to apply spin to a pickleball,  you need to know how to defend and return a pickleball with spin. That will be a subject for another time. Or when my next Pickleball Book is published, there will be an entire chapter devoted to the science of pickleball spin, offensive and defensive, with original illustrations, visually showing how balls react with different kinds of spin.  And what you can to recognize and counter the effects of that spin.     

BUT!  Most all of us are caught up in the “paddle performance placebo effect” of brand advertising, promising power, ball control, spin and miraculous performance on the court. 

I have 8 paddles that are exactly the same in brand, core and surface material.  However I customize each of my paddles to weigh an exact weight and I customize the circumference of grip wrapping to be smaller than what I can purchase over the counter. And I can honestly say that no two of those 8 paddles perform the same.  I have each paddle numbered so I can tell them apart.  Depending on where I am playing indoor or out, the level of play at a specific venue and if I will be playing a control game at the net, attacking the middle of my opponents with hard punch volleys  or resorting to an all spin shot game, that will determine which of the 8 I will choose.

So as not to keep you guessing what my favorite combination of paddle core and surface material is, its Nomex close cell core and a carbon fiber graphite surface.  I also like the newer paddles with the thicker cores.   

My perspective on paddle cores and surfaces is highly optimistic.  Materials are starting to change,  Kevlar and carbon fiber will be the next generation for surface covers.  Cores will be developed from reactive polymers that can absorb and repel force. 

I do have one concern.  Being a coach who has taught several hundered new player and half that many improving players, I am not a fan of the all wood heavy starter paddles especially for beginners.  The add 3 or 4 ounces of weight at a time when someone is just learning the basic strokes of the game and how to swing the paddle.  They offer no ball control, and place far too much power in the hands of a new players.  Their grip circumference is excessive, causing the user to grap hold of the paddle handle tightly to keep it from flying out into space.  This excessive gripping cause a lot of unnecessary unforced errors.  Plus the heavy weight of these paddles wear quickly tire new players trying to learn the game.  The weight also causes injuries to the wrist, elbow and shoulder joints, especially in older players.  It takes twice as long to teach a new player just to hit the ball with a wood paddle than if they were learning with a lighter more resilient composite paddle that was comfortable to hold.  I have started requiring new players to come to class with their own composite paddle and 3 indoor pickleballs.  They will learn faster, enjoy the lesson and be able to practice at home with their own paddle.

Stay well, stay safe this too shall pass.


By Coach Joe Palmere Jr.

April 15, 2020

Word count 1,625

When we are permitted to resume playing pickleball we must follow the guidelines of the medical professionals and caregivers, for prevention of spreading, and awareness of protective measures against contracting any  C-19 virus “remnants,” that may still be around. Realistically, as pickleball players we will have to take additional precautions that will apply to the playing of our sport.

Pickleball players know where, and when  we are most vulnerable to spread or contract this virus, on the court while playing, before and after the game waiting to play, and our social interaction and love of sideline gossip.

In addition to following the guidelines of our medical professionals and caregivers, “we” can apply a little precautionary pickleball common sense.  And remembering what our beloved moms’ told us about washing our hands, behind our ears, and wearing clean underwear.  

Here are some suggestions for players to consider before stepping on the courts.  You can bide your time at home during this quarantine period by gathering these precautionary supplies together and packing them into your paddle bag or a separate fanny pack.  When the “stay at home” sanction is lifted, and we get the okay to resume playing, you will be ready and prepared to go. 

The large gallon and quart size Zip-Loc Bags are great for separately storing surgical masks, surgical gloves, alcohol wipes, hand sanitizer, a bar of hand soap, personal temperature thermometer, and some antiseptic baby wipes.  These separate bags will fit nicely into one of the compartments in your paddle bag.

  1. Players with any illness symptoms from a runny nose, coughing, fever  on up should stay at home and contact their doctor a.s.a.p.  
  2. Players who do participate should cleanse their hands before, after and upon arrival at the courts with soap and hot water, hand sanitizer or alcohol wipes. 
  3. Facility managers should supply a surgical gloves, surgical face masks, hand sanitizer and a disenfectant spray for general use.
  4.  Disinfectant spray or alcohol wipes can also be used to clean off the balls, paddle handles, toilet seats, toilet and urinal flushers.
  5. A bar of antibiotic hand soap or small bottle of hand sanitizer  comes in handy if the soap dispensers in the rest rooms are empty.
  6. A plastic trash bag handy for discarding any used protective items.
  7. Upon arrival at the courts all players should wipe down the handles of their paddles, clean their hands and put on a pair of surgical gloves.
  8. Player rotation paddle boxes may need to be redesigned to separate paddle from contacting each other. 
  9. Surgical gloves should be worn when setting up the nets.
  10. Keep extra pairs of surgical gloves, hand sanitizer  and a small bar of soap in you paddle bag.
  11. Eye protection is always essential, especially now to prevent touching your face around the eyes with your hands even when wear surgical gloves.
  12. Any ball striking your eye can cause serious damage to your cornea, and retina, and contribute to a loss of vision.  
  13. Prescription glasses will provide some protection. 
  14. Adding a pair of Safety Glasses that fit over your eye glasses provides a lot more protection.
  15. Carry a personal thermometer in a quart size Zip-Loc Bag in your gear bag, to check your body temp if feeling flush, over heated or dizzy.  
  16. Wipe off the thermometer before and after use, with alcohol wipes.
  17. If you don’t have a paddle bag use a fanny pack to carry hand sanitizer, clean tissues, small bars of soap and personal snacks.
  18. Avoid physical contact with other players, keeping your social distance when waiting between games.
  19. Social Distancing mandates may even necessitate playing in shifts by skill levels, during an allotted time frame of 3 hours to minimize the number of players and afford ample distance between them.
  20. Court numbers would determine the permissible number of players.
  21. Each skill level would be allotted an equal amount of time to play and then leave before the next group of players arrive.
  22. Play can be assigned by beginners, intermediate & advance.  
  23. The ball needs antiseptic cleaning before and after each game.
  24. Don’t trade snacks or drinks bring your own supply.
  25. Be cautious when using public rest rooms, sitting on toilet seats should be avoided. 
  26. Toilet seats can be covered with clean toilet paper in urgent situations.
  27. Bring a small size bar of soap with you for when you use the rest room. 
  28. Normally the soap dispenser is out or not working. Was your hands after using the toilet or stand up urinal.  
  29. Put on a new pair of surgical gloves before returning to the courts.
  30. Taking down the net make sure to wear surgical gloves and mask. 
  31. Upon leaving the courts put all discarded gloves and wipes in the plastic trash bag and depositing that trash bag in the proper trash receptacle.  
  32. Before touching a steering wheel clean hands & wheel with sanitizer.
  33. When you arrive home wipe off your paddle handle and balls with sanitizer before storing.
  34. Spray down your paddle packs before storing. 
  35. Wash your hands up to your elbows before touching anyone or anything in your home.
  36. Take a showers with antibiotically soap.

According to the April 16, Presidential News Briefing at the Whitehouse, there is some light at the end of the tunnel of pickleball stoppage due to the Virus Pandemic. The Feds are proposing a gradual return to near normal series of phases.

These phases will be a gradual increase in ending the home quaranteen that most Americans have been enduring for the past month. But don’t expect to be dusting off your paddle soon. The lifting of sanctions will be based on a state by state decline of virus infected cases. Some states are ready to proceed to Stage 5 (near normalcy).

They had few if any cases of the C-19 and they have not had to resort to social distancing, home detention, wearing of masks, and pure unadulterated boredom. Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho will probably lead the way, and proceed to Stage 4 (near normalcy) . New York, New Jersey and Wisconsin will be still in lockdown awaiting to start Phase 1.

Maryland, my Maryland, possibly is closer to starting Phase 1 of lifting restrictions on work, and travel. But I don’t forsee the opening of public funded indoor pickleball providers. Private sector racquet clubs, fitness centers and gyms may open there doors, if the Governor lifts restriction on small business owners. But you can bet your paddle that there will be restrictions and conditions. We may be playing with surgical masks and surgical gloves. Facility managers may limit the number of players based on available court space to maintain social distancing. Admittance will be restricted and probably scheduled by skill level of players. Example: 3 hours of play: one hour for beginners, one hour for intermediates and one hour for advanced. If the facility has 3 courts this will provide play 12 people at one time with no one waiting to play. We will just have to wait and see how this is all going to play out. I hope the facility managers are wise enough to consult knowledge players to determine these new standards of play.

If you choose to play with a group of friends indoors or outdoors, please take the necessary precautions.  Better yet, wait it out home, and practice hitting a ball up against a wall.  Those soft Penn (red & yellow) foam practice balls for tennis are great for living room practice.  Or you can make your own home practice aid pictured in the attachment.  This is a fun project, cheap and occupy your time.  And you will have a neat home practice device to use at will.

I am sure that others have additional suggestions they can share with all of us so we can get back to doing what we love to do best … PLAY PICKLEBALL !   



Coach Joe Palmere Jr.

IPTPA Pro Pickleball Coach Level 2

IPTPA Certified Rating Specialist CRS-4

USAPA Ambassador Baltimore Co. MD

“The “Pickleball Is All” Coach Joe Palmere Jr. Website is designed for pickleball players as a reliable resource to learn how to play and win the game, at all skill levels.