More and more pros and advanced-level players are adding lead to the edges of their pickleball paddles to add weight or change the weight distribution.
Adding weight adds power to your game. Force = mass x acceleration. More mass, more force.
When it comes to weight distribution, the effects vary based on where the weight is placed.
Chris over at The Pickleball Studio created a guide to visualize different weight distribution options:
Where to put lead tape on pickleball paddles
To put it simply, there are three zones where weight can be added:
- Zone 1 - Weight added to the top of the paddle adds power. The trade-off comes with decreased hand speed.
- Zone 2 - Weight in the middle of the paddle has a moderate effect on power and hand speed. This zone is best for stability. It will prevent your paddle from rotating when contact is made with the ball. In turn, the sweet spot can actually feel larger.
- Zone 3 - Weight added in zone 3 will have less of an effect on hand speed compared to weight in the other zones. It also comes with increased stability and an expanded sweet spot.
Why you should add tape
We've gone over how adding weight to your paddle can increase your power and stability in the hand, but there are a number of other benefits to experimenting with paddle weights, including:
- More spin: A heavier paddle can help generate more spin on the ball, giving you greater control over the trajectory of your shots.
- Improved consistency: With a more stable and balanced paddle, you may be able to hit shots with greater consistency.
- Improved confidence: Having a paddle that is customized to your preferences can give you greater confidence on the court and help you play at your best.
- Greater durability: By adding lead tape to the paddle, you may be able to make it more durable and resistant to damage from impacts or wear and tear.
- Reduced vibration: Adding weight to the paddle can reduce vibration and shock, making it more comfortable to use for extended periods of time.
"Lead tape has changed my game dramatically. Since generating power at my age is not an issue for me, I have added lead tape to Zone 3 on my paddle (on the bottom of the head of the paddle), bringing it from 7.9oz to 8.5oz," says Brodie Smith, who writes many of our paddle reviews.
"This slightly reduces my hand speed, but in return it opens up my sweet spot & creates much more control for dinks, resets, and thirds."
But don't take it from us. Many pro pickleball players agree:
"I use lead tape on my paddle to fine-tune the weight and balance. I like to have a little extra weight in the head of the paddle for more power and control. It's a small adjustment that can make a big difference in your game."
- Simone Jardim
"I've experimented with lead tape on my paddle and have found that it can make a big difference in how the paddle feels and performs. It's a great way to add some extra power and stability to your shots."
- Lucy Kovalova
"I've been using lead tape on my paddle for years. It's a great way to add a little extra weight and balance to the paddle. It's especially helpful for players who like to hit hard shots and need a little extra power."
- Ben Johns
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Where to buy lead tape for paddles
The placement and amount can be completely customized to your liking. We also recommend adding electric tape over the lead tape to ensure everything holds together.
Most paddles weigh between 7-8.2oz off the shelf. These days, players are adding tape and playing at a final weight of 8.5-9oz.
Take your paddle from off-the-rack to custom fitted. Experiment with additional lead tape in different positions. If nothing else, at least you can blame your next unforced error on the tape.
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