Lead tape is a great way to customize your pickleball paddle. These days there are many pro players who use lead tape to not only add weight but to also shift the weight balance point on their paddle and ultimately change (often increasing) the swing speed of their strokes. The additional weight from the lead tape will also increase the power behind their shots.
This paddle started at 7.6 oz and after lead and protective tape it now weighs 7.74 oz
A PickleballGuys customer came into our store requesting we customize the paddle for her. She uses a popular paddle but is finding that it's too light. Usually, a lighter paddle is meant to provide exceptional control of the ball and to prevent wear and tear on your arm, shoulder, and elbow. But if a paddle is too light then it can actually have the opposite effect and begin to cause pain to your arm.
Customizing your paddle with lead tape can be an easy way to make the paddle even more unique to you. In this case, the client was looking to increase the stability in addition to increasing the weight of her paddle.
We started off by weighing the customer's paddle on a scale (this Selkirk Invikta first weighed in at 7.62 oz); and then I found the balance point by using a balance "beam". Once the paddle was centered, I found the balance point by using a measuring tape (this balance beam is designed for tennis so the measuring tape is necessary for a pickleball paddle).
We used 1/4 in GAMMA lead tape and cut it into strips that would eventually be applied to the edges of our customers paddle.
Lead tape is typically weighed in grams, so just do a quick conversion to oz. Approximately 1 inch of tape is equal to .25 grams. In this case, we wanted the Invikta paddle to weigh around 7.75 oz before the protective tape was applied. We decided to add the majority of the lead tape to the bottom of the paddle (to not disrupt the balance point too much, or pull the "sweet spot" too far up the paddle) and some at each of the top corners to increase swing speed.
The final weigh-in: 7.76 oz.
As you decide how much weight to add, be sure to remember that if you decide to place protective tape over the top of the lead tape, it will also increase the weight be a small amount.
In this case, our customer will apply her own protective tape and the paddle will then weigh in around 7.8oz, the exact weight she wanted to be. After the customization was complete we reminded the customer that it will take some time getting used to the new weight and balance, and to be patient with the process. There's also no harm in shifting around the location of the lead either.
For more information on customizing your paddle, come by our store and speak with our Pickleball Specialist.