A Pickleball paddle edge guard is purpose built and pretty much does what its name is- It guards or protects your paddle from incidental nicks and bumps that may happen to your paddle during a game or if you accidently drop it in transport.
It is a plastic or rubber surround not amour plate steel so it does have limitations. However, if you exceed the protection offered by your pickleball paddle edge guard then maybe it might be a good time to re-access either why or how this came to be because a paddle is simply a playing instrument for the game of pickleball and not an instrument of war or something to bang nails into a wall with.
The simple technicalities of a paddle are that it has three layers in its make-up. An outer or top face, a middle or core and an outer or bottom face. The top and bottom (both outer faces) are stuck or laminated to the core which typically is a composite material in a honeycomb design.
It is at the edge where these 3 layers are exposed that need to be sealed and protected and there are two ways that this is typically done. Some manufacture’s will route the core material a small depth and then fill it with adhesive putty and others will opt to use an edge guard. While adhesive putty has its own fan base of players who prefer this type of edge, others prefer to sport a physical edge.
The 3 typical cores used in paddles are:
2. Nomex (cardboard-like material that is then dipped into resin to strengthen it)
and what they call a…
3. Polymer core – (a plastic blend material)
And each have their own idiosyncrasies and performance characteristics.
Aluminum core pickleball paddles are said to provide great touch which is to say that they offer great maneuverability, ball placement and finesse at the net enabling a player to be able to perfectly place a shot. Players also report that the ball ‘pops’ off of the paddle a bit slower than paddles with other cores giving you more time to manipulate the ball.
Nomex core pickleball paddles are reported as being the loudest of the three cores, as well as the hardest. Nomex cores reportedly will give you great pop and the ball will seemingly fly off the paddle’s surface.
Polymer core pickleball paddles are the softest and quietest cores on the market. Because it is a plastic, each hit is quieter since the surface isn’t quite as hard. It is reported that polymer paddles give you an immense amount of control over shot placement because of its soft core.
All and any cores and their top and bottom faces however need to be sealed and protected from both the elements and minor protection from playing incidences and is why the Pickleball paddle edge guard is applied.
The finesse and finish of guards on professionally made
paddles in todays market are excellent and serve their purpose well however
some players are subjectively critical of them saying that it adds weight to a
paddle and therefor decreases its maneuverability while others have reported
that the extra weight – which is frankly indiscernible in a blind test, adds to
the power available.
Personally, a pickleball paddle edge guard protects my investment and is simply a part of the paddle. I cannot honestly say that it makes any discernible difference to the way I play or how I play or to any shot that I have ever made and while it has never really been tested, the guard does exactly what it supposed to do perfectly.
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