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12 Best Pickleball Paddles For Spin (2023 Paddle Reviews)

If you’ve landed here, I’m guessing you are probably looking for a paddle that can help you put more spin on your pickleball shots. Some of the best pickleball paddles for spin.

There is quite a bit of buzz in the pickleball world around the topic lately and every major pickleball brand has at least one paddle specifically designed and marketed to help you add spin to your game and the makers of pickleball practice machines have all upgraded to add a spin feature to their products.

Looking for a quick recommendation?

If we had to select one overall winner, our #1 pick for the best paddle for spin is the Oneshot Pureshot Middleweight Carbon Friber.

If you are looking for a budget paddle, take a closer look at the Franklin Ben Johns Signature Middleweight Composite. 

If you have the budget and are looking for a pro-level paddle the new Selkirk Amped S2 Middleweight. 

If you are looking for a traditional wide-body shape, I would take a look at the Epic. If you’re still trying to decide on which paddle is best, you can see our full overview of Selkirk paddles here.

However, with all the paddles on the market now, there are several other great options that we review below. The overall choice was also taking into consideration value for money since there is a wide range of prices on this list. Continue reading below for our full reviews of several other top-rated paddles for spin along with tips to improve your game to put more spin on a pickleball. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide at the end that answers frequently asked questions and what to look for in your next paddle.

If you are buying your first paddle or just want to see the best way to determine the best paddle for your grip size and playing style see our pickleball paddle buyers guide.


After years of playing other racket sports, we’ve fallen in love with pickleball and created this site to cover everything related to the sport.

We recommend products as a result of our analysis and research. A lot of the info in this site were gathered by talking to friends and competitors on the court – chatting about what they like and dislike and playing with each other’s gear to compare.

Best Pickleball Paddles For Spin (Summer 2023)


Electrum Pro Limited Edition

The Electrum Pro is one of the most unique and sensitive paddles on the market. (Image credit: Just Paddles)
Paddle Weight 7.8 – 8.0 oz
Paddle Face Material Super-Gritty Raw Carbon Fiber
Paddle Core Material Polypropylene Honeycomb
Paddle Shape Wide Body
Paddle Length 15 1/2″
Paddle Width 8 1/2″
Grip Size 4 1/4″
Handle Length 4″
Core Thickness 12mm

Upside :

  • High spin capacity
  • Good build quality
  • Growth potential
  • Great for soft game
  • Plenty of power

Downside :

  • Skinny handle
  • Thin core
  • Smaller sweet spot
  • Unpredictable ball response

Which company do you think is changing the world more, Electrum or Apple? Both designs based out of Silicon Valley and pay very close attention to detail? Electrum touts themselves as coming out with “groundbreaking” technology from Silicon Valley. Not to take away from the truth that pickleball is changing the world, but Silicon Valley is known for innovative tech start ups, not playful sports that use a plastic ball. 

Anyway, the paddle does have a very sleek look and feel. There is plenty of fun to be had with this paddle if you are an expert pickleball player, but it becomes a guessing game when you put this thing in your hands.  If you make solid contact, it will feel butter smooth. However, the thin core means that being laser focused is a must. It feels good when you hit the ball precisely in the center of the paddle, but you might as well be blindfolded outside of that.

Small cuts and scratches show easily on the surface of the paddle, but easily go away with some care. Overall a durable paddle that has a sufficient amount of power and more spin than you need, but can feel a little unbalanced due to the skinny grip and wide body. For the price, it gets you into the big leagues, but will make you look like an amateur. If you are playing doubles and often find yourself in the kitchen, this is a great paddle, otherwise, I would keep this one in the bag as a backup paddle. 

See our full Electrum Pro review here

Paddletek Bantam TS-5 PRO

If you’re looking for a great pickleball paddle that’s lightweight and has power with no vibration, the Paddletek Bantam TS-5 might be the perfect choice for you! The Bantam TS-5 Pro is super lightweight. SMART Response Technology gives you incredible power and a large sweet spot to play on the court with a lot of leeway.

It does swing light, but you do not lose any speed coming off of the paddle. With its light weight and power, the Paddletek Bantam TS-5 Hybrid Pickleball Paddle is perfect for any player. The sensitive Paddletek Bantam TS-5 paddle with the traditional Bantam PolyCore gives you the power you need for any shot, while still providing the responsiveness and feel of a sensative paddle. This hybrid pickleball paddle provides the perfect balance and outpaces other paddles in its class.

The company offers a lifetime warranty that protects against defects in its products. Customers need to register their paddles within 14 days of purchase at paddletek.com in order to have coverage activated. The warranty only applies to the person who registers the product.

Head Extreme Elite 

The Extreme Elite also has the diamond-shaped core, which is supposedly for control, but the OTC honeycomb polymer shell does feel solid on hard-hitting shots. The Composite Hitting Surface is a little bit smoother than the other paddles on this list, but it does drive the ball a bit better and has good speed.

Putting spin on the ball with this paddle is still fun. There is no limit to who can use this paddle, it definitely has a universal feel. The surface is a little bit louder than the other spin options out there, so if you want to mute the ball, I would recommend you back to the Paddeltek TS-5 PRO.

Head Extreme Tour

The extreme spin texture on the surface of the Extreme Tour provides more bite and precision. The GHS provides a premium feel when hitting the ball, making it ideal for those who are competitive… The material is lightweight, so it offers good responsiveness when hitting the ball.

The diamond shape is supposed to help with more control when hitting the ball, but I hardly notice this tweak in their designs. The lighter head allows the player to swing faster, which gives them a better chance of reacting in time. The ball incorporates an Optimized Tube Construction (OTC) honeycomb polymer core and a carbon graphite hitting surface, which is what Head commonly uses to maintain consistent performance. The Extreme Spin texture is durable and puts a lot of spunk on the ball, and their is pretty much no vibration and really is a comfortable experience.

The CST technology provides torsional stability, which basically means that they can build lighter paddles without having to sacrifice the feel of a solid hit and no vibrations. The weight in this paddle is distributed evenly I will say and is fun to slice and dice with. The Ergo Grip is made of special PU material that makes it softer and more comfortable to play with. Putting spin on the ball with this paddle is still fun.

All products, excluding customized items, may be returned for a full refund to the original payment method provided the items are returned to us within 30 days of you receiving the products.

Selkirk S2 Vanguard

The Selkirk S2 Vanguard is a high-level performance paddle that took a lot of research to develop. There is nothing like it on the market. They use two layers of carbon fiber on each side, which has not been done in the industry. The sweet spot on this paddle is massive and very reactive. This paddle has no shortage of speed power and control. I have played with many paddles that claim ” proprietary technologies” and it ends up being hard to tell the difference, but the Vanguard S2 has made a noticeable difference that you can feel as soon as you start using it. The paddle is still USAPA approved.

Many other paddle brands will add a spin texture that works well for a couple of months, but once it wears off it loses its effectiveness. That is not the case with the S2 because they are using a durable proprietary carbon fiber design.  Hard to find anything bad about this paddle.

Selkirk is a family business based out of Idaho and have been leading the charge in the pickleball industry ever since they started. They include a limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty for new paddles and if you grab a used one from JustPaddles, they offer a 30 day money back guarantee.

Gamma Twister

 and GAMMA have produced The Twister a viable paddle for senior or junior players who want to develop touch with a lighter weight model. 

The graphics are printed on the face of the paddle so the designs will not have any negative effect on contact with the ball.  The Twister has a softer polymer core and texture composite face that makes it easy to control your shots. At 7.4 ounces, this paddle is great for novice players who want more touch and a light weight that is easy to maneuver. However, I would not recommend this model for more experienced, stronger players who want more power and a solid feel at and through contact. 

GAMMA has you covered with a 1-year Limited Manufacturer’s warranty on this paddle, so be sure to reach out to them for assistance if you need it.

Gearbox GH7 plus

If you are looking for a high quality pickleball that won’t break the bank, the Gearbox GH7+ is a great option. The GH7+ is a solid mid-level honeycomb paddle but it’s a departure from the traditional Gearbox edgeless design. It’s as if Tesla decided to make a gas powered car to add to their line.  

The GH7+ paddle now has a softer feel thanks to its new 12mm polypropylene honeycomb core. The surface is built with a six-ply glass fiber structure, which provides the power and consistency needed for optimal performance. This paddle has a molded handle that makes it more comfortable than most other paddles, although its shorter length is not suited to a two handed backhand stroke. Hyper-Bite Spin Technology is now included in Gearbox high-performance models, such as the GH7+. For a novice player, spin is not so essential, but a more experienced pickler will appreciate the spin that all Gearbox paddles provide.

The GH7+ is highly recommended as a superior paddle to most starter paddles at or below its price range. With the GH7+, you’ll be able to elevate your game as a beginner and transition to a sleeker, more powerful model as your game progresses.

Oneshot Purshot Middleweight 

The Pureshot Carbon Fiber Paddle uses a leading spin texture that still maintains the USAPA-approved status. The texture allows you to impart top/backspin with minimal effort. The Pureshot grip has a circumference of 4 3/8″ and weighs between 7.9 and 8.3 oz. The inner polymer core is (16mm) thick, which is thicker than your typical Pickleball paddle, resulting in a softer feel that reduces vibrations.

This is the first time that Oneshot has created a paddle that is carbon fiber and has a spin texture. They teamed up with Brian Ashworth to design the paddle and wanted to focus on responsiveness, balance, and control. Although it fits well in the spin category, the polymer core has plenty of kick and boasts a large sweet spot that can favor any style of play.

This family company is out of Seattle and offers a limited lifetime performance guarantee against manufacture defects if the original owner submits the paddle within 15 days of the purchase.

Engage Encore Pro Paddle

The Encore Pro has the largest sweet spot of the Engage “Encore” Line. The key when it comes to spin and the reason why it came out at the top of our list is the paddle’s specialized fiberglass “skin”  that is specifically designed to maximize the time the ball stays on the paddle face, this extra “bite” as some call it lets you impart more effect on the ball.

Beyond just surface “roughness” or texture the Encore Pro uses the fiberglass face in combination with a new poly core designed specifically for control players using what Engage has trademarked as “ControlPro™ Technology”

This mid-weight paddle comes with an average weight of just around 8 ounces and has a 4 ¼” grip (medium size). The Pro is available black, red, purple, and green – which is really just a discrete color accent on the top right corner of the paddle.

Not only is this paddle approved by the USAPA for tournament play, but it’s also used by national champions: Marcin Rozpedski,  Brian Staub, and Phil Bagley.

Engage Encore Pro Paddle holds up well under daily use and it has a comfortable grip so it makes it easy for you to play for an unlimited amount of time without suffering from hand fatigue. It has an excellent balance and it is very easy to maneuver for touch shots at the net. The paddle face has enough “bite” to allow for a fair amount of spin on your serve or other shots.

Price-wise it’s in line with most of the other paddles on this list.  The one downside might be the weight, at right around eight ounces, it might be a little too heavy for some players

The Crush PowerSpin Composite Paddle by ProLite is named after the company’s proprietary, textured PowerSpin™ paddle surface, which helps add some extra  “grab” to the pickleball. As we’ve discussed the textured surface is a key element to adding spin.

This pickleball paddle by Prolite represents a great combination of control, power, and spin. It is built on the Magnum shape- the most successful shape from ProLite. This paddle was designed to deliver enhanced ball spin abilities with a new surface – SPINtac™.

These new SPINtac™ fiberglass panels cover the QuadCore polymer honeycomb paddle core. This newly designed fiberglass face creates a surface that is evenly responsive. The company stands behind the construction with a 5-year No-Dead Spot Warranty (in addition to their Limited lifetime warranty).

Click Here to read reviews of the Crush PowerSpin on Amazon

The Crush comes in at 7.4-7.8 ounces, so the light head weight makes for faster response and the smaller grip is good for adding control shots at the net and slower finesse game.

The ProLite Crush is approved for noise restricted communities and USAPA/IFP approved for tournament play (opens PDF). Like all of ProLite’s other paddles, the Crush is made in the USA.

Since the grip measures 4 1/8″, it’s a grip size that will fit the average player.  The Crush comes with Pro-Lite’s  No-Slip Thin Grip. If you’re looking for a mid-weight all-around paddle that will help you put some massive spin on your shots, the ProLite Crush is worth taking a closer look at.

ProLite Rebel PowerSpin

Prolite Rebel PowerSpin Pickleball Paddle (Blue)
Prolite Rebel PowerSpin Pickleball Paddle

The Rebel PowerSpin is another paddle in the Pro-Lite lineup that also features their textured PowerSpin™ paddle surface.

The paddle has a good amount of “pop” and the extra-long paddle face (16 inches) gives a bit of extra reach.

The texturing of the surface is strong enough to give the ball a good spin but is also subtle enough so it doesn’t feel like a big change compared to other composite paddles since the PowerSpin texture itself doesn’t feel overly rough.

It has a 5-inch long grip handle, so if you like a longer grip or you have bigger hands, this might be the paddle for you.

The grip circumference is 4 1/4″ so on the small side. It’s heavier than the other Pro-Lite paddle we reviewed above (Crush) with weight on this one weighing in about half an ounce more with ranging from 7.7 – 8.1 ounces.

Click Here to read reviews of the Rebel PowerSpin on Amazon

This might be a good choice for your first “spin” paddle or experienced pickleball players alike. It is and USAPA approved and is “green zone approved for quiet communities. The paddle handle is finished with ProLite’s Comfort Contour™ grip, quality, and comfortable grip which helps give better control.

Onix Composite Z5 Pickleball Paddle

Tyler Loong (Source: Instagram)

If you have good ball control and are looking for more pop from the baseline, Onix Composite Z5 might be the right choice for you.

This paddle can provide great power for your hits and the wide body of the paddle (8 ⅛”) prevents you from missing balls coming from difficult angles. The Z5 continues to be one of the most popular paddles on the courts and is still the company’s best selling paddle.

The paddle falls under the heavy-weight category with its weight ranging from 8.4 oz. to 8.7 oz making the heaviest paddle on our list.  It has a honeycomb core and a fiberglass face which “grabs” the ball which should help you put more spin on the ball.

Click Here to read reviews of the Onix Z5 on Amazon

As we said, this is a heavy-weight paddle so it might be too heavy for players who are looking for a lighter paddle and want to make fast moves while playing. If you are confident in your wrist and arm strength, then the weight of this pickleball paddle shouldn’t be a problem.

The grip is a little thicker and is similar to tennis racket grips. A few potential drawbacks to the Z5 are that the handle is on the thicker side so it might be difficult to quickly switch to a backhand. Also, the disposition of the weight combined with a thicker grip of the paddle might make it a bit more difficult to handle.

With all of this said, this paddle would be a great addition to your pickleball equipment if you are an experienced player.

The Z5 has been one of Onix’s best selling paddles for years. The paddle also comes in a graphite finish, if you are looking for spin make sure you get the composite version, not the graphite.

We covered the differences between the two Z5 models here

It’s very common to see this paddle on the courts and pro players like Tyler Loong plays (see photo) plays with this paddle is a testament to its quality.

Paddletek Bantam EX-L

Paddletek Bantam EX-L Pickleball Paddle | Aurora (Purple)

The Paddletek Bantam EX-L paddle is suitable for beginners and experienced pickleball players alike.

The Bantam ranges from 7.9 to 8.3 oz, a good weight range if you are looking to add a bit more power to your strokes. It has an extra-large surface with a larger sweet spot, which makes it very forgiving of possible mistakes you’ll make. The ProPolyCore was designed to decrease vibration and provide more control to your game.

The vibration reduction is also a welcomed feature for anyone suffering from “pickleball elbow”.

The 4 ¼ – inch grip is a good match for anyone with medium-sized hands and will make it easier to change grip position from forehand and backhand. This paddle’s weight of right around 8 ounces delivers an extra boost of power while the paddles still offer plenty of control for your soft game.

It’s USAPA approved and like all Paddletek pickleball paddles is made in the USA.

The EX-L and often be seen in the hands of professional pickleball players such as gold medal winner Kyle Yates. If it’s good enough for a pro who gives pickleball clinics all over the US, it’s good enough for me!

Selkirk Pickleball Prime S2

Selkirk Prime S2 Pickleball Paddle - USAPA Approved - X4 Polypropylene Core - FiberFlex Fiberglass Face (S2, Fields of Green)
Selkirk Prime S2 Pickleball Paddle

Selkirk’s own website recommends the PRIME S2 as the best replacement for the Pro S1C which was our previous pick for spin.

You can see a full overview of both product lines here on our Selkirk brand overview page.

This paddle has a shorter handle allowing for an increase in head size. The S2 has a traditional Pickleball paddle shape but with the shortened handled, Selkirk is able to a paddle that is slightly longer than most traditional paddles with a height of 16″ and width of eight inches. The paddle has a nice large sweet spot and the handle is covered in Selkirk ComfortGrip.

If you are thinking of choosing this paddle it might be useful to know that the handle is 4.5″, which is a little bit shorter than the average pickleball paddle so if you have large hands you may find yourself needing to choke up on it a little.

While this paddle is a great option for any player, it was designed for professional players and is most suitable for intermediate to advanced competitive players. However, that said, even if you are just starting out- if your this fits your budget and you prefer quality gear this paddle would be an excellent way to begin your pickleball journey (with a nice head start).

As we mentioned in the intro, the AMPED paddles are a great option if you have the budget. All of the paddles in that line feature their new X5 core which adds a balance of touch and power and their “FiberFlex” fiberglass face which is great for controlling spin.

The Selkirk AMPED paddle line includes several models of varying shapes and each has a light-weight and mid-weight option.

Gamma Micron 2.0 -Budget Paddle

GAMMA Sports 2.0 Pickleball Paddles
GAMMA Sports 2.0 Pickleball Paddle

The Gamma Micron 2.0  is a good match for you if you are looking for an excellent mixture of power and control at a budget price. At the time of publishing this, the Micron was the least expensive paddle on this list of best spin paddles.

The Aramid Honeycomb core of this Gamma paddle provides you with both. This paddle falls under a mid-weight category (weight range: 7.5 – 7.8 oz.) It has a 4 “ Honeycomb grip which makes the grip softer and more comfortable. It has a Durable Edge Guard which protects your paddle from damage during long hours of playing pickleball.

The textured composite face of the paddle is rougher than average pickleball paddles so it helps with top and backspins and reduces air resistance.

The narrower width (7 ¾ “) makes it easier to swing the paddle through the air and control your moves while keeping the precision of your hits.

Other paddles we considered for spin:

Paddletek Phoenix Pro

Paddletek Phoenix Pro Pickleball Paddle, Black
Paddletek Phoenix Pro Pickleball Paddle

If you are looking for the right balance of control and power, the Paddletek Phoenix Pro is worth a close look.

It was made with Advanced ProPolyCore which was designed to reduce vibration and give you more control.

This paddle falls under the middle to heavy-weight paddles with its weight ranging from 8.4 to 8.5 oz. It has a 4 ¼ inch grip. Its velvet-textured poly surface was designed specially to add extra spin to your hits and the weight is distributed evenly on this paddle’s extra-large surface.

Adding to the long list of qualities, this paddle has a very durable surface and a 5-year guarantee against soft spots.

The Paddletek Phoenix Pro meets all USAPA guidelines and is fit for noise restricted neighborhoods and it’s also affordably priced compared to many of the others on the list.

Selkirk Sport 200P Pickleball Paddle

Selkirk Sport 20P Epic Polymer Honeycomb Core Composite Pickle Ball Paddle, Cyan Blue, X-Large
Selkirk Sport 20P Epic

The Selkirk 200P paddle is slightly textured so it provides good spin and allows more control. The face of the paddle is covered with a vinyl laminate and it is UV protected so the color and the design of the paddle stay vibrant after many hours of pickleball wear and tear.

This paddle comes in two sizes: L and XL. The XL might be the right paddle for you if you are looking for a bigger and heavier paddle. The XL paddle is slightly longer than the L paddle (15.75 inches vs. 15.5). Both versions have the same grip size – 4 ⅛ inches. The most important difference is weight- The L paddle weighs 8 oz. and the XL weighs 8.8 oz.

This polymer honeycomb core composite paddle has a low-profile edge guard that provides protection to the paddle, it prevents damage or chipping of the material but is subtle enough so it doesn’t affect the quality of your shots.

If you are a power player looking for a beefy paddle on the heavier side, that also offers good spin this paddle would be a good match. The Selkirk Sport 200P is USAPA approved and made in the USA.

Head Radical Pro Pickleball Paddle Review

Head Radical Pro Pickleball Paddle The Radical Pro is Head’s premium power pickleball paddle. It has a what head calls their “Dynamic Power Shape” which enhances the sweet spot and thicker honeycomb construction, which makes it more stable and secure.

This paddle weighs 8.1 oz. on average coming in on the heavy range of the spin paddles we reviewed. However, this added weight will be welcomed for any power hitter looking to boost their shots.

The Radical Pro’s 16” length gives it ample reach. The new Ergo Grip is 4 ¼ “ and it creates a softer feel, so combined with the weight and length of the paddle makes for a good all-around solution for the versatile player.

The ergo grip is also designed to decreases paddle vibration and makes it more comfortable to play. The width of the paddle is 7 ⅞ “. This new Head pickleball paddle features their “Extreme Spin Texture” on the fiberglass hitting surface designed to add spin and control to your game.

In theory (if you have the skills to put junk on the ball, this new textured surface should give you a slight edge over other composite paddles on the market that do not have any kind of spin enhancing texture. Read reviews of the Head Radical Pro by Amazon Customers.

Head is new to the pickleball game and recently launched a full line of paddles, and this Radical Pro (along with its sister, the “Extreme Pro” which features a diamond shape paddle head) are the top of their paddle line.

If it’s spin you’re looking for from Head, then the Radical Pro is the choice for you.

Venom pickleball paddlePickleball, Inc. Venom Pickleball Paddle - Aramid Honeycomb Composite (Venom2 - Blue)

The Venom pickleball paddle by Pickle-ball Inc. was inspired by the style of popular wood paddles and its “tear-drop” shape resembles a tennis racket. It also has a longer handle (5 ½ “) than most pickleball paddles, which can help increase control in your game. The PFG2 Core is made especially for this paddle by Pickleball Inc.

For inquiring minds that really want to know…the PFG2 is a Nomex honeycomb core with aramid fibers that have been saturated in phenolic resin). For most of us that don’t work in paddle construction that really doesn’t help much but basically those kinds of fibers and resin make for a strong and durable paddle.

The Venom Composite paddle surface provides a lot of friction on the ball which helps increase spin and while making for a quieter hit. This paddle is shaped to be “head-weighted” (more of the weight is in the top end of the paddle) to significantly increase the power behind every hit while making it easier to maneuver and create spin.

The weight of the paddle ranges from 7.6 to 8 oz., which makes it solid but light enough to not cause fatigue when you’re playing for multiple hours. It’s a good mid-weight paddle for cross over tennis players.

If you are thinking about choosing this paddle, it would be good to keep in mind that it might take some time getting used to it because of the weight distribution and the longer handle. Since it is more of a unique paddle, it is more suitable for intermediate or professional players than someone brand new to pickleball.

FAQs About Spin In Pickleball:

What’s the big deal about pickleball spin?

…and why are so many people talking about it now?

From what I see, there seem to be two main reasons for this growing trend:

1) The sport continues to evolve. Compared to the game’s early days, pickleball has progressed from a slower dinking game to a much more athletic sport, and players are more technically skilled than before. More athletes are being attracted to the sport and companies have responded with high tech paddles to meet this demand.

This combination of skill and better paddle technology continues to push the level of play. Advanced skills – like putting spin on the ball – have become mainstream. It’s pretty clear that pickleball equipment makers have taken notice of this trend by launching paddles that are optimized for the style of play we are seeing on the court…with new textured surfaces to maximize spin.

2) As the sport continues to grow, pickleball is attracting an increasing number of former tennis players. Most advanced tennis players are skilled at putting different effects on the ball (topspin, backspin, side spin) and most are able to put some pretty decent spin on their serve.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a seasoned tennis player that isn’t able to put spin on the ball. Most veteran players have a strong topspin serve, can place a well-targeted drop shot with backspin and are able to handle returning a serve with a lot of “junk” on it. If you watch pro tennis you’ll see forehand topspin as a dominant weapon in the sport.

Why Are Composite Paddles Best For Spin:

If you look closely at the face of a composite paddle you can see the texture of the material (normally fiberglass) compared to the glossy finish of a graphite/carbon fiber paddle face. You can also feel it (and probably hear it) if you scratch your fingers back and forth over the face of a composite paddle. That texture is what gives the paddle some “bite” or “grab” so when you slice it across the ball it gives it spin.

On a tennis racket, the player (or a Pro shop) can enhance the “bite” factor on their racket by using rougher, textured, or tacky strings to “grab” the ball by modifying the space between the strings (more space between strings for the ball to sink into). So while in tennis you can modify your strings to help increase spin, with a pickleball paddle you are stuck with the paddle face you buy, so no real way to increase texture or “grab” after you’ve bought the paddle.

Why Graphite Paddles are not the best pickleball paddles for spin.

Graphite paddle paddles are known for being lightweight and strong, are. The one feature they have been missing (up until now) was texture. Graphite/carbon fiber are high gloss and slippery surfaces and lack surface roughness we just discussed that composite materials are known for. Things changed when Engage Pickleball released what they call “liquid graphite”, a chemically bonded surface that lays over the surface of the paddle and enhances the texture to give it extra touch and feel.

Engage has added the new technology to its line of Encore paddles. In addition to enhanced touch and “playability”, the bonded “skin” gives it the bite you would get from a composite paddle. This new material could be a major milestone since it would deliver the benefits of graphite paddles (lightweight, durable) with the paddle surface grab that was lacking up until now.

Why Pickleball Paddles Alone Don’t Put Spin On Your Shots!

While high-quality sporting goods can definitely help improve your game but many players overestimate how much impact the equipment has. Just as buying a $400 titanium golf driver won’t make you hit hole-in-ones, buying a paddle marketed as a “paddle for spin” doesn’t automatically add effect to your shots as soon as you pick it up!

While the paddle face surface does help, there’s no doubt that a high-end composite paddle with a textured face or a new “liquid graphite” face will make it a lot easier to spin the ball – compared to a slippery face of a cheap wood paddle- buying a new paddle is not a magic wand!

To put lots of spin on your shots, first, you need to develop pickleball skills and practice your shots- A LOT! The combination of skill plus a quality paddle that is designed for spin can take your pickleball game to the next level. Below you’ll find several tips to add spin to your game.

Video- How to Put More Spin on Your Serve:

Here’s a great video by pickleball coach Deb Harrison (AKA “Ping Pong Deb”) teaching how to do the “Snap Serve”. She is a long-time player and teaches pickleball in The Villages (FL). Harrison runs her “Intense Pickleball Workshops” around the country and is a Pro-Lite Pro (sponsored by Pro-Lite, one of the leading paddle makers. I love her videos because they are concise and full of great tips, lots of valuable nuggets in just a few minutes. You can learn more about Deb Harrison here on her website.

Her videos also have great quality footage and show you the drill or shot from multiple angles, and the same is true in this video where you see her hitting the serve but also the ball coming at the camera so you can see the spin effect or “junk” as she calls it 🙂 coming off the bounce. She goes over how to keep your spin serve legal and as a bonus, in this video, she also goes over the return of serve applying under-spin. So in one video you learn how to do a spin serve and hit a return with spin on it. She also explains you can easily tweak the angle of the spin (side-spin, top-spin) by adjusting the angle of your stroke.

I’ve noticed in her videos that Deb is always wearing a pickleball glove.

Many players find that a glove (as in racquetball) helps get absorb sweat, gives better grip and reduces hand fatigue. We wrote about pickleball gloves here and gave some recommendations here.

Why you shouldn’t try to spin every shot:

Once you learn to put different kinds of spin on your shots, it’s tempting to put spin on every shot. The problem is that although novice players are often at a loss on how to handle spin, experienced players can read the spin on a pickleball pretty easily and will be able to take advantage of your shots. Advanced players can predict the bounce by visual clues: the angle of the paddle during your swing and the spin on the ball in flight- the large holes on pickleballs makes a spinning ball is easier to read than other racket sports.

Is it legal to put spin on a pickleball serve?

More than once, I’ve seen a game come to a complete stop while players from both sides debate whether or not a player’s serve is legal or not. As more tennis players migrate to pickleball I think this is going to be a more common dispute since they are used to putting spin on the ball…and a lot of pickleball players (especially beginners) may not be used to seeing so much effect coming off the ball. So, can you put spin on a pickleball serve and still keep it legal?

You can definitely put spin on your serve and be legal but there are a few important factors to consider about the general pickleball serving rules to make sure your serve is legal. Here is the official rule from the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) Tournament Rulebook.

Section 4– Service Rule #4.A:

Serve Motion. The serve must be made with an underhand stroke so that contact with the ball is made below the waist level (waist is defined as the navel level).

4.A.1 Underhand Defined. The arm must be moving in an upward arc and the paddle head shall be below the wrist when it strikes the ball (paddle head is that part of the paddle excluding handle. The highest point of the paddle head cannot be above any part of the line formed where the wrist joint bends). Click here to open the official Pickleball Rule Book in PDF.

So based on the rules, there are three main criteria to keep your serve legal: 1) your arm must be moving in an upward arc. or, the paddle needs to be going in an upward motion, (2) contact with the ball must occur below the waist and (3) the highest part of the paddle cannot be above the wrist.

Here is a good video by Mark Renneson of Third Shot Sports where he breaks down how to put more spin on your serve. Toward the end of the video, he shows a slo-mo video of his serve mechanics. Although some people in the comments have the opinion that he is doing an illegal serve, if you watch the end and pay attention the contact is made below his waist and the paddle is below his wrist so it is legal based on the IFP rules.  He is putting some pretty wicked serve on his serves so it’s a good example proving you can perform a legal serve.


As the sport of pickleball evolves, the intensity of play and overall skill level of the average player is on the rise. That, compounded by the huge influx of experienced tennis players that have migrated to pickleball, have made spin a bigger part of the game that it was just a few years ago.

Intermediate and advanced tennis players use ball spin as one of their many weapons on the court and more players are now selecting their pickleball paddles with spin in mind. When looking for a new paddle to replace their used paddle or a new convert choosing their first paddle, many players are now taking a closer look at composite paddles and/or paddles that have some kind of enhanced surface texture to give them some extra “bite” on the ball.

We’ve talked to many crossover tennis players looking for paddles and many have said that spin is one of the top priorities for them. Having played tennis for years I understand where they are coming from- for a veteran tennis player, spin is a major part of their game and a very important skill to have whether it’s having a wicked topspin serve or a surgically placed backspin drop shot just over the net. For an informative look at how to deal with an opponent’s topspin vs backspin see this answer by national pro-level player Michael Shinzaki.

So the idea of relinquishing their ability to put spin on the ball with a glossy graphite paddle with little to no surface texture most players is not an appealing option and will gravitate towards a paddle designed, at least in part, for pickleball spin.

Pickleball companies are obviously aware of this trend and have stepped to the plate to deliver what the players want. In 2017-2018 we saw a “spin paddle” (paddles marketed specifically for spin) released by almost every major pickleball manufacturer and looking forward to will bring in the pickleball market and how much the spin factor will continue to influence the development of paddle technology.

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