A padel racket needs to be replaced when it loses responsiveness when hitting the ball. A compromised racket makes a dull thud when you hit the ball. Damage that can compromise a padel racket ranges from cracks in the frame or face of the racket to heat damage softening the core.
Let’s study the factors that will influence whether your racket is playable, whether the damage can be rescued, or is it is best to replace your racket altogether.
Different Types Of Cracks That Padel Rackets Can Get
The first kind of racket damage that our padel rackets get when we start playing is cosmetic damage. These are the little scuffs and scratches in the paintwork of the racket that gets picked up from the court surface when playing low shots. These have no negative impact on the performance of your racket.
Sometimes you also pick up a very fine crack between the face or the racket and the frame. If that crack is just in the paint then your racket will still be fully playable. However, you will want to keep an eye on this type of crack that it doesn’t develop into a deeper crack.
The next type of crack that you get is on the face of the racket between the holes. Some players may tell you that it is from hitting the ball really hard. This is highly unlikely unless the foam in the racket has gone soft from heat damage. More usually this kind of damage is self-inflicted when a frustrated player hits their racket against a knee or foot.
The more serious types of crack are those that form in the frame of your racket. These usually happen when you clash rackets with your partner. Racket frames also crack when you hit the glass, fence, or floor of the court while playing a shot.
Type Of Racket Damage That Is Still Playable
This is one aspect of a padel racket that sets it apart from stringed rackets like tennis rackets. When you snap a string on a tennis racket it makes the racket completely unplayable within 3 or 4 shots.
Padel rackets by comparison remain playable to a certain extent after getting damaged and you can almost always finish playing your game without replacing your racket – especially at a recreational level.
Therefore both the cosmetic, scuffed paint and the little hairline cracks won’t affect your playing sensation at all.
Even the deeper kind of crack between the holes of the racket can still leave the racket usable even if it is compromised on one side.
At one stage I used a racket with a small crack on the face for a few months. My normal position is playing the backhand side of the court in casual games. So, I held my racket with the good side for my backhand and the compromised side for my forehand. I decided to do that as my backhand was weaker and needed more practice, so having the good side of the racket on my backhand would force me to play more backhand shots rather than trying to keep everything on my forehand.
Type Of Racket Damage That Requires Replacement
Cracks in the frame of the racket will mean replacing the racket if those cracks go all the way through the frame material.
This is because a badly cracked frame compromises the structural integrity of the racket and can lead to entire pieces of the racket breaking off and causing injury.
So, if your racket frame is cracked completely through then it is best to replace the racket as soon as possible.
The One Type Of Racket Damage Mentioned In The Rules Of Padel
There is only one form of padel racket damage that is specifically mentioned in the rules of padel.
What I am talking about relates to the wrist strap of the padel racket. The rules of padel state that every racket must have a wrist strap. This is for safety reasons as a racket slipping from your hand while you are playing can cause severe injury to any of the other three players on the court.
For this reason, the rules state that if the wrist strap becomes detached from the racket, the racket must be replaced at the end of the point being played.
Tips To Rescue A Slightly Damaged Racket
If you notice a crack in your racket face or frame that has not yet extended to the point of compromising the performance of your racket there is one hack available to you so that you can extend the life of your racket a little.
The hack that I am referring to is putting a little superglue into the crack to bond the two sides of the crack back together.
This is not a long-term solution for your cracked racket but it will buy you a little time while you are shopping for a new racket.
Ways To Lengthen The Lifespan Of Your Racket
The first thing that you should do after buying a new racket is to put a protective strip along the end of your racket frame. This will protect your racket against most of the scuffs, scratches, and small cracks that can easily happen along the end of your racket frame.
You can even ask the shop where you are buying your racket to fit the protective strip for you when you buy your new racket.
Over time these protective strips can begin to peel off your frame, so keep an eye on them and replace the protective strip if needed. It is way cheaper to replace the protective strip than it is to replace a racket.
It is a good idea to keep your racket in a protective racket bag or sleeve rather than just tossing your racket into the boot of your car after a game. This will help prevent your racket from getting cracked or damaged as it slides around.
If your racket gets wet, allow it to air dry out of the direct sun. While rain won’t immediately damage your racket, you don’t want to store it wet for any length of time.
Heat, on the other hand, can damage the foam inside your racket and even cause your racket to delaminate. So don’t keep your racket stored in the car where it can bake hot as if it were in an oven – especially during summer.