“It has to scratch a little”: just as fashion is for men with beards, snowshoes are for rough surfaces. Most pala brands now offer racquets with a “grain”, which is supposed to increase spin and control. And perhaps also the confidence of their owners...

We will not go into the technological nuances, but this relief is of two types: either it is integrated into the mass of the racquet thanks to small inlaid patterns, often in graphite, or it is a sandblasting added after- cut. There are also sprays that allow you to optimize your racket by increasing its roughness.

Spin the ball

Many of you – thank you – gave us your opinion on the question “do you have to have a “grain” to play better?” And among the respondents, many are fans of a specific model from the Nox brand...

The effects.- Your feelings confirm what the brands say about taking effect. More than 75% of our respondents believe that gritty racquets spin the ball more or even provide better control.

This is what Will tells us, for example, a player with a defensive profile ranked around the 2000th place in France: “I feel like I can sand the game better”, evoking better control and more accentuated effects. His favorite racket? A Nox AT10 12K.

This allows to obtain “more ball spin and increase spin when hitting the ground and glass”, says Alexgassi, who is a fan of the Nox Ultimate Power 3.

Same opinion with “BigWill” (1694th), who sees “a real difference. I play with a sand racquet, and you clearly feel more control to the touch. On serves, volleys and smashes, touch, control and spin make the difference. I tried to play in the meantime with a smooth racquet (02 Hack de Bullpadel) and I had the impression that the ball was sliding on the racket. I didn't like it at all, I had a lot less control”. He also plays with the Nox AT10, in Genius 18k version: “A treat between mastery and power”.

Steve, a Belgian top 100 player, also believes that his Nox AT10 12K offers better “touch” than a smooth racquet, especially for volleys and drop shots.

The effect…placebo.- Nearly one in four respondents, however, is skeptical about the benefits of grain snowshoes. For them, it's useless, unless you believe it: it's a “placebo”, believes Clem (1230th), who plays him with a smooth racket (the Joma Yukon). What Lucas confirms: “It may be a placebo effect, but I think I have more control, and especially feel the ball better” (and he also plays with an AT10!).

“A pure placebo”, adds Richard, who notes that “the roughness always goes away with time. You might as well take a 3D racket, with relief”.

Real relief is relevant

Durability.- “If the racquet is sandblasted, it comes off”, also regrets Didier (2000th). A widely shared observation. For example by Sébastien, who plays with an Adidas Adipower 3.1, or Thibault, who alternates between a Siux Electra and Adidas Power Control.

Jean-Marc (160th), if he appreciates the “better spin”, criticizes the “lifetime of roughness depending on the brands. A real relief like on Adidas, Dabber or StarVie is really relevant. But the system Bullpadel, for example, is totally ineffective: after a month of use, the racket is smooth”… A defect that Didier also points out, about his Vertex, which is less and less rough.

Same story with Julien (400th): “Very rough, my Royal Padel Whip got smooth within a few sessions, especially in the centering area. But I don't feel like I've lost any effect”. A criticism which does not spare Gaël's Nox, which notes “a decrease in the sensation of effectiveness of the shortbread after two months of use”.

But wear and tear does not only affect rackets, but also balls: “The longevity of the balls is reduced due to repeated friction”, emphasizes Maxime.

With a minimum of gestures, a maximum of effects! That's the promise of a rough racket and it works! Viboras and bandejas are accentuated by the rough appearance. Coming from tennis, like a large number of French players, I try to reproduce the effects that can be achieved with a strung racket. With smooth racquets, it's almost impossible... But the problem is there... We are looking to reproduce a sport that is not the padel…Learning to play with a smooth racquet to play padel and not at padel-tennis, wouldn't that be the solution?

Maxime M., 13th, Adidas Metalbone ctrl 3.1

Less fast, less strong.- Aside from wear and tear, our players have few complaints about the grainy palas. “Maybe less power”, Guillaume tells us, imitated by Will: “Less speed”.
Another “regret” in the form of membership formulated by Jean-Marc: “It's hard to switch back to a smooth racquet after trying the rough models because the feel is so different”.

The price.- Lucid, Sébastien does not believe in the effect on the ball, nor in the placebo effect, but in the one on sales: “I admit that it's something I never believed in... What is certain is that it has an effect on the price of the racquet".

Nothing replaces technique.- We will leave the conclusion of this article to Gaël, who speaks with the voice of wisdom: “Roughness has a small influence on spin… but negligible compared to technique. You may have the roughest racquet, if you don't know how to spin…”

Wilson Bela Pro Rough Surface
Some palas have reliefs integrated into the mass of others added to the surface

After 40 years of tennis, Jérôme falls into the pot of padel in 2018. Since then, he thinks about it every morning while shaving… but never shaves pala in hand! Journalist in Alsace, he has no other ambition than to share his passion with you, whether you speak French, Italian, Spanish or English.