How to rough up pickleball paddles

how to rough up pickleball paddles

Okay Pickleballers, it’s time to talk paddles. Specifically, how to rough up pickleball paddles for better grip and control. We all know a slick new paddle can betray you at the worst moments – say hello to flying pickleballs! But before you resign yourself to waiting months for a grippy surface, listen up. With a few simple tools and techniques, you can put the traction back in your game.

This quick DIY guide will have you smashing, dinking, and volleying in no time. We’ll cover everything from sandpaper grits to rubbing compounds so you can get the exact texture you need. Your new grip will be the envy of the courts! Let’s get that pickleball paddle prepped and show everyone what you’re made of.

Why You Should Consider Roughing Up Your Pickleball Paddle

Let’s face it, a brand new pickleball paddle can feel like hitting with a slick sheet of plastic. Roughing up the paddle face helps give you more control and spin by creating texture.

Adding Grip

A rough paddle surface grips the ball better, allowing you to put more action on your shots. It’s easier to slice, drop, and drink when you have more friction between the paddle and the ball. Your shots will have more backspin, giving your opponent trouble returning the ball. Increased Power

Texture also helps you hit with more power. When the ball sticks to the paddle a fraction of a second longer, you can swing through and accelerate into the shot. Rough paddles are ideal if you like to hit hard and aggressive.

Customized Feel

By sanding and roughing the paddle face yourself, you can customize how much texture you want. Start light and keep testing until it feels right for your playing style. Some players like it lightly sanded while others prefer an almost gritty feel. It’s a matter of personal preference, so take it slow.

While a rough paddle may take a bit of getting used to, the benefits to your game can be huge. More spin, extra power, and a customized feel—what’s not to love? If you’re looking to step up your skills, consider roughing up your pickleball paddle. Your opponents will wonder what happened to your game!

How to Rough up Pickleball Paddles and Enhance Your Texture Surface:

There are a few ways to rough up your pickleball paddle and improve your game. By creating texture on the paddle face, you’ll get more spin and control on your shots.


Lightly sanding the paddle face with fine-grit sandpaper is an easy DIY method. Start with 400-grit and work your way up to 600 or 800-grit. Gently sand in small circular motions, checking your progress frequently. Be very careful not to over-sand, as you can damage the paddle surface. Wipe away dust with a tack cloth and you’ll have a lightly textured paddle perfect for slicing and dicing.

Racquetball Tape

Another simple solution is applying strips of racquetball grip tape to the paddle face. Use 1/2-inch wide tape and place strips about 1/2 inch apart, at an angle. The strips will disrupt air flow and create texture, while still allowing most of the paddle face to contact the ball. You can also experiment with different tape patterns to find one you like. The tape is easily removable if you want to switch things up.

Commercial Texturing Solutions

For a more permanent solution, you can purchase commercial pickleball paddle texturing kits. These kits use light-activated chemicals to etch micro-grooves into the paddle surface, creating a light tacky texture. The kits typically come with sanding pads to prep the paddle face, the etching chemical, and a UV light to activate it. With some light sanding and the etching treatment, you’ll have a paddle with texture tuned to your exact specs.

While there are many ways to enhance your pickleball paddle, start with the basics. Try sanding the paddle lightly or applying some grip tape to the face. Once you get a feel for how different textures impact your game, you can explore more advanced and permanent options. The key is to start gradual and find what works for your playing style.


That’s all there is to it! Roughing up your pickleball paddle might seem intimidating at first, but with a little bit of sandpaper and elbow grease, you’ll have that paddle grippy and ready for action in no time. Just remember—focus on the hitting area, go with the grain, and don’t overdo it. A little texture goes a long way.

Now get out there and start smashing those pickleballs with your newly roughed up paddle! Your improved control will have you playing better in no time. And who knows, maybe all that extra spin and power will help you finally beat your rival. Just don’t forget a glove—nobody wants blisters!

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