With so many new players this year it's been hard to meet each and every one of you but I am trying. Your names and information pass through my desk as I enter your registration information on my computer before passing your membership payments to Glenda Jackson our Club Treasurer. As I see a new face on the courts I will try and introduce myself and if possible play a game with you. I also am trying to have a game with as many other members as I can too - we are at 429 members as I write this - that's a lot of games. I may not make it!
What I have found this year playing with different players is the amount of paddles that the edges are loose and can actually be peeled back. How can I tell? It's a very distinct sound when the ball deflects off the paddle. Once you hear the sound and have been made aware of it, you should be able to hear it too.
Why does it matter? Your paddle won't properly do the job that it is designed to do. As you are moving your paddle through the air, air is also leaking for lack of a better term through the unglued areas and will create a deflection that is less that what you would have achieved if it was glued properly. Most of the time when I hear the 'sound' and watch how the ball leaves the paddle - it usually isn't a great shot.
I have had the odd person say to me - I don't really mind, I'm just playing for fun anyway. I want to encourage you to fix your paddle - it's very easy and for good reason. If you continue without fixing it, it will eventually chip &/or break along the edges and you will then have to buy a new one so much sooner than you would have needed to. Paddles, like every other item we buy are usually more expensive the next time we replace them and with our Canadian dollar down it makes many of the paddles that are imported now higher in price.
So ... let's fix yours up. It's quite easy - you will need some glue. You can use crazy glue but I find it hard to work with and then my fingers are stuck together or onto what I'm gluing. I like Gorilla Super Glue - the one with the blue cap. A picture is on this page. I carefully peel back the edging if most of it is loose right down to where it comes out of the handle. Using the glue tip, rub glue inside the channel being careful to not use too much glue - just a small bead using the tip to rub it around and on the sides a bit. Then carefully lift the edging back over the paddle making sure it's all smooth and not bent under. Give it a good rub all around the edges pressing tightly and then check for any glue leaking out - wipe up quickly with a rag. I then like to take some green or blue painters tape and tape across the paddle from side to side and an X from corner to corner both sides to help hold the edging tight. Leave overnight and peel off in the morning. Give it a gentle check to make sure it's all sealed tight and you should be good to go.
If you have a new paddle check to make sure it isn't still under warranty as you may be able to exchange it. The odd time as paddles are made one ends up not getting enough glue around it - especially with honeycomb type paddles as there isn't a whole lot to glue onto around the edges. You should also make a habit of checking the edges of your paddles every few weeks, especially if you play regularly.
I also suggest that you don't leave your paddle anywhere in extreme heat or cold for any length of time. If you keep your equipment in your garage for example - you may want to bring it inside for the winter. This goes for your pickleballs as well. They are plastic and don't like extreme temperature changes - especially cold weather.
With a little TLC your paddle should last you for a long, long time!
Lana Nunweiler, Pickleball Kelowna Team