I don’t remember when I started wearing a glove on my paddle hand when playing pickleball.
But I liked the way it felt.
“Why are you wearing a glove?” a player I respect asked me when he first saw me wearing one. “You lose your feel for the paddle with a glove.”
“You do?” I said. “Not to me.”
Maybe it’s because I never had any feel for the paddle to begin with. But I never felt that whatever shortcomings I was having in my game was due to the addition of a glove.
I just know that without my glove I was always wiping my hand on my shirt and pants while playing in the South Florida heat. And that once I started wearing the glove, I stopped being conscious of having a sweaty hand.
Every place else on me felt swampy, but not my hand.
I also feel that with my glove and a tacky overgrip I have on my paddle handle, I can hold it very loosely, allowing my pinky to sometimes slide off the bottom of the handle.
This ability for more paddle extension is especially useful when reaching for a ball hit low and wide on the court.
Who knows? I may be imagining it, but I figure my glove’s doing a lot of good work.
Just look at this photo of my glove at the time I replaced it with a new one.
As you can plainly see, that old glove had been through a lot. Anything getting that beat up, must be doing something right.
But I do note how relatively few pros I watch on YouTube and rec-level players I encounter on the local courts wear gloves while playing.
The question is: Are they gloveless because they don’t know how good it feels to play with a glove? Or are they gloveless for the reason my pickleball-accomplished friend said: That gloves introduce an artificial barrier to your hand that keeps it from being in perfect communion with your paddle handle?
All I know is that after wearing a glove for a while, I got my wife, and constant doubles partner, to try wearing a glove too.
And now she’s a convert. We’ll sometimes lose our first game, and she’ll go to the sideline and hunt in her bag.
“I forgot to wear my glove,” she’ll say, putting on the glove.
“No wonder why we lost!” I’ll say.
Neither of us believe it, but it’s important to have a go-to bogus reason to cite for sugar-coating a loss.
You might want to get a glove just for this reason. Keep it in your bag and then blame pulling defeat out of the jaws of victory on the failure to glove up. It’ll be worth the modest expense.
Now, if you’re like me, you’re going to need more than one glove, because I sometimes play twice a day – once in the morning and once at night.
I know. It’s a problem. I may have to resort to counseling. Sometimes I miss playing pickleball while actually playing pickleball. That’s how bad it has gotten.
Anyway, I wash my glove with soapy water after each use, because there are few things more disagreeably stinky than reusing a sweat-soaked leather garment.
So, rather than use my wife’s hair dryer and do an emergency drying session, which usually involves roasting my hand inside the damp glove, I let the morning session glove dry naturally, while using an already dry and ready-to-go evening glove.
Right now, I’m alternating two different styles of gloves. I’ve got the full-fingered Selkirk model ($30) with … let’s see, let me look it up.
Here it is. It’s got something called “perforated coolskin”, whatever that is, and “premium kangaroo leather.” Rest in peace.
I had no idea kangaroos were involved, not to mention premium kangaroos.
For my other glove, I went with the Aerow Recon model ($15), which is an open-fingered glove made of “cabretta leather”, which is apparently a kind of sheep’s hide.
Well, at least no marsupials were harmed in the making of that glove.
I got the open-fingered glove because it said that the “exposed finger design increases control with a natural grip feel to your paddle.”
If so, I haven’t noticed it. I find myself liking the full-fingered glove better. Maybe I’m just partial to premium kangaroos.
Anyway, if your game is lacking something, I recommend trying a glove. It won’t fix what’s wrong.
But maybe you can talk yourself into believing it.
MURMURS FROM THE LOSERS' BRACKET
Read past editions of Murmurs from the Losers' Bracket, including:
- The Ozempic Ad
- Ball On Court? Maybe Not
- The PPA, the APP and Monty Python
- Time to Get Help at Bangers Anonymous
- "It's an Injury Sport"
- A Pickleball Translation Guide
- What's Your Pickleball Nickname?
- Tennis the Menace
- Is There Such a Thing as "Pickleball Torture"?
- How to Be an Effective Pickleball Snob
Frank Cerabino is a long-time columnist for the Palm Beach Post in Florida, a pickleball addict like the rest of us, and a newly published author. Check out Frank's newly released book, I Dink, Therefore I Am: Coming to Grips with My Pickleball Addiction (available on Amazon and a great read (or gift!) for any pickleball player), for pickleball tips and laughs!