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Vaughn has an interesting history both as a tennis and Pickleball player.  He played Division I college tennis and later joined Wilson Sporting Goods where he worked with  well known players like Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, and Jimmy Connors.  During the interview Vaughn even shares a story about Chris Evert and her footwork.  Today, Vaughn has just returned to the court after some injuries and when he is not teaching or playing Pickleball, he writes a Pickleball column for the Coastal Point newspaper in Delaware.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Vaughn started writing a Pickleball column for the local newspaper (1:03)
  • The importance of balance in your Pickleball game (2:58)
  • Vaughn’s job at Wilson Sporting Goods and his work with tennis legend Chris Evert (4:48)
  • What it means to wrong foot the ball (7:00)
  • What it took for Vaughn to get back after his Pickleball injuries (9:19)
  • Vaughn’s advice for beginning Pickleball players (11:21)
  • What paddle brand Vaughn really likes and why (15:31)

Vaughn Baker

Show Notes:

Mentioned in the Show:

Paddletek Paddles

Vaughn’s article on Balance on Coastal Point

Notes from Vaughn on Choosing Your First Paddle

I play with the brand Paddletek, but the paddle you choose should be your decision. I said YOUR decision, not mine, not your instructor’s opinion nor the better player at your home courts. If you are like 90%+ of most pickleballers, you are going to hit a lot of pickleballs and it must first be comfortable in your hand.

Handle length. If a player comes to pickleball from a racket sport, they might prefer a paddle with a longer handle.

Handle circumference. Many players say they want a very small handle. I am of the opposite school. A larger circumference puts more hand surface on the handle and helps reduce torquing on off-center hits off your paddle.

Paddle weight. There is one school espousing very light paddles, but I am of the school suggesting that you need some weight in the paddle. After all, it is a tool to help you hit and control the ball. What weight is best? Actually, swing-weight is the more important factor, and is the mathematical relationship between weight and balance.

Paddle balance. The balance point of almost every paddle can vary slightly, and in combination with different weights can sometimes mean the difference in preferring one paddle over another of the same brand and model. This is why I always allow players to try their paddle before I cash their check. (I also weigh and balance every paddle I sell and record it  so if they order another I then know exactly what they desire in swing-weight.)

Shock absorption. Another consideration is shock absorption. The material used in the paddle face, or formulation of the material in the honeycomb core can make a major difference in shock absorption. A combination of both materials can make an even greater difference. Unfortunately, shock absorption isn’t one of those things you detect immediately. After you begin playing frequently, you then begin to feel it in the elbow and shoulder. Hitting off balance (which many players do as they learn the sport) with a paddle that transmits shock is not a recipe for success.

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