Lead Tape for Pickleball Paddles Guide: Why to Use Weight, Where to Place, Is it Legal
Lead Tape For Pickleball Paddles
This blog covers everything you need to know about adding lead tape to pickleball paddles. Below, we answer the most commonly asked questions, such as “Why Put Lead Tape on Pickleball Paddle?”, “Where to Put Lead Tape?”, "Is it Legal to Add Lead Tape?", " Do Pros Add Lead Tape", etc.
Pickleball is a game of inches…and ounces. Although pickleball paddles only weigh around 8 ounces, the balance of the paddle's weight has a large impact on feel of the paddle. If your favorite pickleball paddle feels too light overall or the balance does not fit you, it is easy to alter this balance by placing ounces of additional weight around the edge of the pickleball paddle.
In addition to effects on total weight and swing weight (balance), where that weight is placed on the pickleball paddle affects what benefits or differences you feel. Adding lead tape is also a fun way to customize your pickleball paddle, because your paddle should be the perfect fit for your game.
PCKL Paddle Weights make adding weight to your pickleball paddle easy and effective. The 3-gram strips are precision cut and feature a 3M adhesive to keep them in place during the most intense matches. They’re also legal for tournament play. Grab a 10-pack of PCKL paddle weights here.
Why Put Lead Tape on Pickleball Paddles
The additional weight could improve your game by the slightest margin. And where you choose to put the lead tape determines the type of benefit you could experience. Adding tape is not unique to pickleball. Added weight has been used on golf clubs and tennis rackets for a long time to add weight, more stability, and additional power.
Benefits of adding lead tape include: customized feel and swing weight (balance), larger sweet spot, increased power, increased stability, reduced mishits, and hand speed. These translate into your game in ways like better resets, faster drives, etc.
Why do Pros Add Lead Tape on Pickleball Paddles?
Many professional pickleball players apply lead tape on the rim of their paddles to increase the weight and generate more power.
Pickleball Pros (and ambitious amateurs looking for every advantage) add lead tape to pickleball paddles in order to gain certain benefits, which vary based on where you place lead tape. Primarily, it is used to generate more power and increase sweet spot of the pickleball paddle.
Does Ben Johns use lead tape?
Ben Johns does add lead tape to his pickleball paddle; around a four inch strip. Most professional pickleball players put lead tape on the edge to increase power and customize the feel of the pickleball paddle. Does that mean you should use as much lead tape as Ben Johns or other pros? No, you need to find what configuration gives you the most confidence in your pickleball paddle.
Where to Put Lead Tape on Pickleball Paddle
Adding weight to the top of your pickleball paddle, also known as the head of the paddle, increases power. A top-heavy paddle allows you to swing harder through the ball and generate more power, but this will slow your hands down at the kitchen line as the swing weights increases.
Adding weight on the pickleball paddle's sides increases stability, widens the sweet spot, and reduces mishits and the vibration you feel when you do mishit. Placing lead tape to the sides improves sweet spot more and has less effect on hand speed, compared to when placing weight at the top of your paddle.
And placing lead tape near the handle gives you an increase in power, broader sweet spot, and stability, without having to sacrifice as much hand speed. Adding more weight to the handle can actually increase your hand speed and will even out the balance of a heavier paddle.
Is it Legal to Put Lead Tape on Pickleball Paddle?
Yes! It is legal to add lead tape or weighted tape to your pickleball paddle.
USA Pickleball rules allow players to add lead tape to a pickleball paddle. Two pickleball rules should be known; which relate to permitted alterations of paddles including lead tape, edge tape, grip, etc.
Rules & Regulations About Adding Lead Tape to a Pickleball Paddles:
2.E.5 Alterations. Altered paddles must meet all specifications.
2.E.5.a The only alterations or additions that may be made to a commercially made paddle are edge guard tape, lead tape, changes to the grip size or grip wrap, and name decals and/or other identification markings on the paddle face.
2.E.5.b Decals and tape can extend no farther than 1.0 inch (2.54 cm) above the top of the grip nor more than 0.5 inch (1.27 cm) inside the outer edge of a paddle or, if an edge guard is in place, 0.5 inch inside the edge guard.
Pickleball Paddle Edge Guard Tape
Another alteration you can make to your paddle is adding edge tape. Applying edge tape can be done directly onto the sides of the paddle, or over lead tape weight. The USA Pickleball rules specify that tape can extend no farther than 0.5 inch (1.27 cm) onto the paddle face.
In addition to protecting your paddle, edge tape can change the cosmetics of the paddle by changing the color of the edge guard or adding an accent color. There is edge tape armor that is made for pickleball paddles, but many just use electrical tape.
Final Thoughts on Paddle Weight
So, what should you do with lead tape?
Start by adding a few strips of lead tape, then add or subtract once you find what works for you. Is adding lead tape to your pickleball paddle a placebo? Maybe. But we’re not against tricking our minds to improve our game.
At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference and comfort with your pickleball paddle weight and paddle speed. The more comfortable you are with your paddle, the better you are going to play.
Grab a 10-pack of PCKL paddle weights here and start customizing.