Can you believe it, it’s SPRING?! And if you’re willing to roll down the Sierras, outdoor play is actually getting really nice.
So we figured it’s a good time to take a look at our gear and get things clean and ready for the new season. We are going to take a look at the essentials that should be in every bag, along with some tips for keeping your gear in good shape.
To begin with, let’s take a look at the absolute essentials for every bag as the outdoor season comes near (starting from left to right in the picture above):
- Hat — The best sun protection for your face, as sweat and hours of pickleball will surely wear off your sunscreen.
- Paddle(s) — Obviously you need at least one paddle, but having an extra paddle is a great way to not only share the game with new players but also to ensure your pickleball game doesn’t get cut short when your paddle inevitably breaks.
- Balls — You never know when you may need a new ball. The tournament quality balls will eventually crack and the indestructible Onix balls will become ridiculously soft (creating really bad habits). Make sure you can keep the fun going by doing your part with some extra balls.
- Band-aids — Yes, you will eventually scrape a knee or get your finger caught between paddles. Keep your blood off your clothes and the courts.
- ACE elastic bandage — This might sound like overkill, but some of the best medicine is keeping the inflammation from settling in on a fresh injury. That means stopping immediately if you do have a twist or pull, and at least compress the injury with the elastic bandage. Follow the directions on the package if you are unsure of how to apply an ACE bandage properly. Whether it’s a twisted ankle or a pulled muscle, wrapping the injured site is one of the keys to RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) therapy.
- Water Bottle — Keep yourself properly hydrated, indoors and out.
- Sunglasses — Protect your eyes from the sun and errant pickleballs.
- Safety Glasses — Sometimes it’s too dark for sunglasses, but there’s never a good excuse to leave your eyes unprotected from pickleballs.
- Glass Cleaning Cloth — Keep your vision clear so you can see the lines and call those out balls correctly.
- Sunblock — Make sure you get the backs of your hands and tops of your ears, it’s important to protect everywhere the sun DOES shine.
TIPS FOR CLEANING AND CARING FOR YOUR GEAR
It doesn’t matter where you play, indoors or outdoors, your paddle is going to get dirty. Now I’ve tried several of the different ways recommended to clean a paddle— and if you’re really concerned, then check out your manufacturer’s recommendation—but I’ve found the easiest way to clean my paddles is to just use a little window cleaner (Windex) and some paper towel.
In less than 30 seconds, you’ll restore your paddles clean surface. Additionally, you’ll likely notice that your paddle is playing a little more like new. That’s because you’ve cleaned the dirt off the face, so the original texture of the paddle can do its thing. (This doesn’t apply if the face of your paddle is completely worn away 😉
Here’s a quick before and after of my current Engage Maverick after a quick clean:
If you weren’t a racket sport athlete before discovering pickleball, you may not think much of caring for your grip. However, a solid grip is one of the foundations of great pickleball play. Over time, your grip will become dirty and your grip may lose it’s original suppleness and/or tackiness. To preserve your grip as long as possible, wipe your grip down with a lint-free cloth after games and pickleball sessions.
And if you need to restore your grip, you can either quickly apply overgrip to your current grip (I love the Xtremesoft overgrip from Head) or you can replace the grip entirely.
KEEP YOUR GEAR PROTECTED FROM EXTREME TEMPERATURES
Anything plastic, carbon, or metal is going to fatigue with exposure to temperature extremes. Considering our paddles are made out of at least 2 of those three, this means leaving your paddle in the garage or the car could be shortening the lifespan of your paddles. This also holds true for the balls you carry (since it’s a part of your essential pickleball gear), along with your nets, cones, or any other practice gear. Go ahead and bring your gear inside, this way you won’t have to thaw out your shoes in the winter either.
Thank you for taking the time to read and share our posts. If you have any added bag essentials or cleaning tips, add a comment below. And if you ever would like a certain topic covered, just reach out via the contact us page, and we will do our best to cover it in our next post or newsletter.