The Engage Product Team put together a list of some of the most common questions people have regarding our paddles.
1) What is the difference between the Poach Advantage and Poach Icon?
Both paddles have the Engage Control Pro Black Polymer core which is a Patent Pending black polymer honeycomb that is the softest core on the market. The difference lies in the skin. The Poach Advantage skin is a proprietary 6-layer skin the Engage R&D labs created. The 6-layers are laid in varying angles to one another to provide the ability when you swing slow, the paddle remains extremely soft for control and as you swing faster the fibers tighten to create a harder and faster hitting surface. Making it the softest feeling paddle when you are at the net with maximum power when you need it. The paddle also has a Patent Pending Unidirectional skin Engage labs also created. This technology allows you to create more spin than any other paddle by only having a texture that hits the USAPA limits east to west, with no roughness north to south (enabling the paddle to hit a truer and more consistent spin.
The Poach Icon as noted above, has the same core. However we put the proprietary 'chemical bond' fiberglass skin created by the Engage labs for the Elite Pro on it. This skin is the roughest skin on the market for those that want a paddle with maximum roughness across the entire paddle face. The chemically bonded fiberglass face also provides a more solid firmer feel at ball contact.
So for those that love a soft feeling paddle, with control at the net and increasing power the faster they swing with maximum spin. The Poach Advantage is the paddle of choice.
For those that like a more solid feeling paddle with slightly less power and maximum roughness. The Poach Icon.
2) What are the differences between the Poach Advantage and Poach Extreme?
Both paddles have the identical core and skin. The only difference is the shape of the paddle. The Poach Advantage is 16 inches x 8 inches while the Poach Extreme is 17 inches x 7 inches. Both hitting the USAPA limits in overall size. The Poach Extreme hitting the USAPA limit on length.
The advantages of each. The Poach Advantage provides a slightly wider higher zone (0.5 inches on each side). The Poach Extreme provides additional reach (1.0 inches) therefore creating slightly more power, spin and of course reach.
3) What are the differences between the Elite Pro, Elite Pro Maverick, Elite Pro Widebody and Elite Pro Blade?
They are all identical paddles. The have the same Control Pro II core Engage developed that works as one with the proprietary 'chemical bonded' skin Engage created making the core and skin with in synergy with each other. The difference is only in the shape of the paddles and the characteristic each shape brings to the table.
The Elite Pro is 16 inches x 8 inches. Hitting the USAPA limits in overall size.
The Elite Pro Maverick was designed to provide a little more reach along with power and spin. The Maverick is 16.5 inches x 7.5 inches, also hitting the USAPA limited on size. But the additional 0.5 inches in length provides additional reach and power without sacrificing paddle width and blocking ability. The Maverick also has a 6" grip length. 1.0 inches longer than the Elite Pro and most other paddles. This grip length was chosen purely to enable the paddle to increase power and spin the faster you swung the paddle. So when at the net, the paddle does not flex providing maximum control. But the faster you swing the more the paddle flexes creating a whipping action that increase both power and spin. The added benefit is for those that have a two handed backhand now have additional space for their 2nd hand.
The Elite Pro Widebody was designed to take the Elite Pro but to slightly decrease the power, increase control and provide a larger sweet spot and ability to block the ball. The paddle is 15.5 inches long x 8.5 inches wide. 0.5 inches shorter but wider than the Elite Pro. This makes the Widebody version extremely well balanced, with more control and a very large sweet spot and ability to block those hard hits.
The Elite Pro Blade was designed for maximum power, reach and spin. The Elite Pro is the most powerful paddle on the market. It was designed that way. To maximum power and spin, but it also has a very large sweet spot and an amazing amount of control for a powerful paddle. So the Blade version takes that paddle and extends the length to 17 inches hitting the USAPA limit on length. The paddle hits the overall USAPA limit on size too due to it's 7 inch paddle face width. Therefore hitting both limits along with hitting the maximum roughness allowed by the USAPA which all the Elite Pro variants do. So by extending the paddle length the power, spin and reach of the Elite Pro is enhanced even more. Of all the Blade paddles, the Elite Pro Blade has the largest sweet spot.
4) What is the difference between the Encore and Encore Pro?
The Encore Pro is a heavier version of the Encore which therefore provides a firmer more solid hitting surface. The sweet spot is also enlarged due to the weight of the paddle. When hitting both paddles, you will have a lighter pop feel at the point of contact with the Encore and a more solid firmer feel with the Encore Pro. That firmer feel provides more control and better ball placement. They are both 15.5 inches long x 8.125 inches wide making an extremely well balanced paddle for quick maneuverability.
5) Should I go with a heavier or lighter paddle?
Heavier paddles have innate advantages. Since they are heavier they will slow your swing speed down when at the net therefore providing more control and better ball placement. Heavier paddles also provide a greater ability to absorb force therefore will make it easier to block those hard hits. They also have larger sweet spots relatively speaking compared to their lighter counterparts and allow you to hit back hard shots with more ease.
Many instructors tell people to go with a lighter paddle because you are quicker. The top instructors will teach you how to position yourself better and to move with less effort therefore making you a lot quicker than the difference in few tenths of an ounce. So now you can take all the benefits of the heavier paddle and still be quicker.
6) I have a tendency to get Tennis elbow, should I go to a lighter paddle?
Not right away. If you have the tendency for tennis elbow most likely you are using too much wrist in your shots. With Pickleball you should only use your wrist for an overhead. All other strokes you should have a firm wrist. But if you do use your wrist, the first thing you should do is temporarily increase your grip size. One common way to do this is to use an over-grip. The larger your hand is open the less the tendency there is to flick your wrist. Then you can try to find an instructor that understands proper mechanics to help you eliminate flicking your wrist when you make contact with the ball. Depending on how you swing, and the reason you use your wrist, a heavier paddle can actually help you reduce Tennis elbow because you will use less effort to hit the ball. So if you use your wrist to generate more power, you can benefit from a heavier paddle. If you use your wrist just because some other reason, or you have a racquetball, badminton or table tennis background which are sports that your flick your wrist, then a lighter paddle will help. Please consult a leading instructor to help you determine which is the best course of action. If you would like to use overgrips, we have our Engage over-grips for sale under > Pickleball > Gear.