There are so many paddle paddles available on the market that people who practice this sport often ask themselves which one is the best, or which one is best suited to their physical condition and level of play. The most expensive shovel is not necessarily the best, and if you are thinking of buying one for the first time or renewing the one you have, in this article we explain the factors you should take into account when choosing the most appropriate for you.
Before explaining the factors that determine which type of paddle you should choose according to your type of game, it is a good idea to know the parts that make up a paddle and the materials with which each one is made, and which can help you when choosing one or the other.
Basically, and as shown in the image, a paddle has two fundamental parts, which are divided in turn into other areas, and which are: the grip and the body of the paddle.
Handle or grip
It is the area through which the player holds the shovel, and we could say that it extends from the cord until the body of the shovel begins. Unlike tennis rackets, the grip usually has only one size in terms of thickness, and it is the player who fits his hand by putting more or fewer overgrips on it.
Depending on the blade, the area for the grip is longer or shorter, there are even blades, such as the NB AEROX, which have a slightly longer grip to facilitate play for players who come from sports such as tennis. The grip is the point by which we hold the blade, so it is necessary to invest more and change the overgrip when it is beginning to lose its grip.
Body of the shovel
The body of the shovel is the entire surface of the same, which goes from the end of the grip to the frame above it, or the plastic protector if you have it. This zone is divided in turn into different zones as detailed below:
Heart or neck of the shovel
It’s the central part of the shovel. It has a triangular shape and usually has a hole in the centre, but not always, as some manufacturers begin to make the heart of the blade without a central hole, more with a design goal than the real utility. In this part is the free hand of the player between strokes and has its importance, as it is the one that will help change grips in the case of expert players who do.
They are the columns that join the handle to the body and usually serve to provide flexibility and strength to the blade and, in some cases, reduce the vibration of it. There are also different shapes and thicknesses depending on the design of the paddle.
Profile or frame
The profile is the external part of the blade that covers the playing surface. It can vary in thickness, and in some cases, it has more than the 38 mm that the hitting surface usually has so that a blade is regulatory.
Shovelhead or hitting surface
The head of the shovel or hitting surface is any area with which the ball is hit. The maximum thickness of the paddle is 38mm. It is usually composed of rubber of different hardnesses and fibres to cover the rubber (carbon fibre and other components).
The sweet spot is the optimum hitting point, i.e. the point at which hitting the ball at an X speed would result in the ball being thrown away at a greater distance than if you hit it anywhere else in the head. This is going to be an important factor when choosing the shovel depending on the type of player you are and whether you want to get an orientation towards the control of the ball or the power.
Materials with which paddle paddles are made
The paddle paddles are made up of different elements, the composition of which we explain in detail:
It is usually a rope of braided threads attached to the bottom of the blade. Some brands bet on a type of flat cord with a sliding knot, which fits better to the wrist of the player.
It usually consists of plastic coated with an overgrip that provides grip and support for the player.
Frame or profile of the blade
It is usually made up of materials that are both shock-resistant and lightweight: carbon, graphite and fibreglass are the most common materials.
For the paddle’s hitting surface, materials similar to those of the frame are used, even this part can be made of the same material as the frame. The most common materials are carbon fibre, glass fibre, Kevlar, basalt fibre and aluminium fibre.
This part of the blade usually consists of EVA rubber of different hardnesses. It can also be formed by foam, which is a softer material that gives more power to the blows. It must be said that normally paddle paddles with excessively soft rubbers make the player get a better feeling of touch, but usually split earlier by the great stress suffered by the fibres of the face of the shovel.
Some shovels have a plastic protector adhered with adhesive or embedded with holes or metal screws to the shovel. This protector gives extra protection to the shovel in the hits against the walls.