If you are new to pickleball and are overwhelmed by the number of paddle options on the market, don’t lose your temper, just go to TMPR Sports (tmprsports.com) online.
TMPR Sports was started by Doug and Diana and their son Taylor Clark, whose initial market research showed that most of the top pickleball players migrate to the sport from tennis or another racquet sport. With that knowledge in hand, the Clarks decided to focus on how to improve on the design of a paddle in a way that would feel more natural to these players. In the process they discovered how the shape of a paddle affects how it performs.
“We worked with a team of tennis teaching pros to create prototypes and tweaked those models with their feedback,” Doug Clark said. “To people used to tennis, our paddles are more comfortable and what you’d be used to. We found that pickleball is the only paddle sport that has either rectangular or square-shaped paddles by default, with a few exceptions. It’s not just the core that’s important, but the shape, which impacts how it performs.”
TMPR (pronounced “temper”) creates paddles that are slightly rounded, resulting in a smaller profile that provides more aerodynamic use and is more accurate than other paddles on the market.
“Traditional square-shaped paddles have a sweet spot that’s close to dead center, so if you hit the ball on the tip or the side, you often experience more vibration and a less controlled shot,” Clark said. “Our designs help decrease that vibration, which also minimizes arm fatigue.”
Within the TMPR product line are four distinct shapes and a fifth one that will be launched soon. The Tantrum is a longer paddle that offers more head weight to help players get more torque on drive shots. The Ascend is specifically designed for tennis players. With a 5.5-inch handle, the Ascend is a longer paddle with a smaller profile face. Designed for players with greater hand/eye coordination, the Ascend is an advanced and aerodynamic paddle for players who already have a developed skill set in racquet sports.
For beginners, Clark recommends the Oculus. “It’s inspired by the shape of a tennis racquet and is very forgiving,” he said. “Having said that, advanced players like it as well because it has a very balanced head and handle, offering less strain going from forehand to backhand.”
The Rave is a specialty paddle with an elongated head. The Rave exists mainly for the players who want an extended reach and the momentum it provides. The Rave’s sweet spot is elongated, offering an enhanced, extended high- performance area. The Expanse GXT, in contrast, is a widebody paddle scheduled to debut this year that is suited more to those who value defense over offense.
Each TMPR paddle comes in one of three different cores (3 series) and various handle options, so that players can customize their paddle experience from shock absorbing and finessed to driving and aggressive. The Luxe core absorbs more shock from striking the ball, providing more control for dinks and drop shots. The GXT series offers players a carbon fiber face, absorbing even more shock for added touch. Lastly, the XT series offers more pop and power.
TMPR offers a demo program where, for $20, you receive a selection of paddles to demo for two weeks. After your two weeks, return the ones you don’t want with the included return label and the $20 is deducted from the price of your paddle.