Pickleball is a popular paddle (not racket) sport that is amazingly easy to play and very social. The sport is extremely popular and if you have not even heard the word “pickleball” let us know and we’ll send you $100. (Fake news disclosure: we will ignore you request and deny we ever said this.)
Choosing the right equipment can make all the difference to your performance. One common question that new and even more experienced players have is whether they can add stickers (also called decals) to their pickleball paddles.
Can you put a sticker on a pickleball paddle?
Stickers and decals are quite a common way to personalize and decorate just about anything and pickleball paddles are no exception.
Pickleball paddle stickers if you’re playing in a tournament
The official pickleball rules, and these are more for tournaments, state that the paddle’s surface must be “free of texturing and other treatments except for incidental nicks or abrasions incurred in manufacturing or regular use”.
In other words, adding decals or stickers to the surface of the paddle may not be allowed in official tournaments.
But there is a catch…
You can add decals to the pickleball paddle (and tape) to the area within 1 inch (2.54 cm) from the top of the grip and 0.5 inches (1.27 cm) from the edges of the paddle, whether it’s the outer edge or the edge guard.
Handwritten markings in pen are permitted anywhere on the paddle, but they should not impact the roughness of the paddle and should be in good taste.
It’s important to follow these guidelines to ensure that your paddle complies with the regulations for official tournaments.
Decals on paddles for casual pickleball players
In reality, not many of us play in pickleball tournaments. If you do, then let us know and we’ll send you $100. (Refer to our fake news disclaimer.)
For a pickup pickleball play, which is really most of the country, feel free to add decals and stickers to you favorite pickleball paddle – just make sure it’s yours and not someone else’s…
Just be aware that even casual pickleball players can be very competitive and are looking for any advantage to win. Not only are there tremendous health benefits to playing pickleball, it’s still a sport and folks can be very competitive.
Serious pickleball players may not recommend adding stickers to your paddle as they can affect the paddle’s performance. Stickers can add weight, change the balance of the paddle, and even alter the aerodynamics of the ball’s flight. Therefore, if you want to maintain the best possible performance, it may be better to avoid using stickers on your pickleball paddle.
What makes a pickleball paddle illegal?
An illegal pickleball paddle is one that does not meet the USAPA’s standards for equipment. There are several characteristics that can make a paddle illegal, such as a surface that is too rough or porous, an elongated or oversized paddle, or a paddle that’s too heavy.
Pickleball equipment rules ensure fair play and prevent players from gaining an unfair advantage through equipment. Though there are some very unreasonable pickleball rules and get more absurd each year amd 2023 was no exception.
In conclusion, while adding decals to your pickleball paddle can be a fun way to personalize your equipment, it is important to consider the rules and recommendations regarding paddle modification.