TODAY WE WANT TO FOCUS AGAIN ON ONE OF THE HOTTEST TOPICS FOR ANY FAN OF PADEL: THE BLADE AND ITS PROTECTION THROUGH ACCESSORIES SUCH AS THE BUMPER OR PROTECTOR
The bumper or protector if you do not use it, you have certainly seen it applied on the blades of some opponent, sometimes with certain blades is the manufacturer who sells the combo blade + head cover.
In fact it is a strip more or less as wide as the thickness of the blade that is placed on the head of the latter.
Its use is optional, even if at a competitive level we strongly recommend it.
As you can see from the beginning of this article, this accessory helps us to take care of our racket and to make it last longer.
This band is not purely aesthetic, it is made rather of a material that has the task of absorbing vibrations and shocks, precisely with the intent to preserve the integrity of the structure of the blade (which as we have already seen, even with only small cracks can gradually lose its effectiveness until it breaks completely).
In padel, resistance is a must and just as we must be physically resistant to give our best on the court, it is important that the blade is too.
If you have already played a few games, you know that it is quite common to hit the glass or the grate with the paddle in an attempt to recover a particularly insidious ball.
The protector allows us to live these moments with more lightness and more margin in our shots because it can prevent the surface of the blade from cracking permanently.
But it is not the only use we can choose to make of it!
Although it may not seem like it on the surface, shovels are a collection of different characteristics that vary quickly and with little.
In fact, everything we put on the blade goes to contaminate the manufacturing balance, shifting the weight and thus changing the characteristics as well.
The bumpers themselves, have different thicknesses (and therefore weights) and it is important to choose which one to apply also in relation to the reaction that it will generate on the whole tool.
A few grams on the head of the blade will increase the weight and therefore the power of execution (you could then find yourself with a round blade, more control, which has the weight unbalanced upwards. Thus taking some benefit of the diamond blades in terms of power).
Just as an additional overgrip (or hesacore) can give you more weight at the bottom of the blade, helping you to have more control.
Does it help us to know all of this?
Whether you’ve carefully chosen the blade you play with for its characteristics. Because if you are happy with its balance but you want to be able to protect it better, you will have to opt for the thinnest head cover on the market and consider, if it is a control blade, to balance the handle in some way (for example by adding an overgrip or hesacore).
Or again, maybe you chose a control blade to start with, maybe you don’t feel ready to change it yet but you want to change things up? In that case, adding weight to the head allows you to make your control blade a little more aggressive in terms of power as well.
There are all kinds of bumpers, even ultra-customizable or completely transparent so you don’t have to worry about not finding the right one for you, if that’s the solution you’re looking for.
Of course, there are of different brands, designs and materials. Some of these protectors are even created to “match” your shovel (although they can be used on any brand and type).
So, to recap, the main advantages of using the head cover or bumper in the shovel are:
1. extension of the life of the shovel
2. possibility to act on the balance of the blade, making it more powerful.
How to put a bumper?
This is a delicate phase, we recommend that you take your time and do not start this activity when you are running.
Bumpers are designed to last a long time on our shovel, the glues used really stick and it is better to spend a few more minutes rather than find ourselves with the tap glued crooked or with other mishaps that affect the blade.
So, having established this it is good to equip ourselves with cotton, alcohol, a pencil and a hot air dryer.
So we can proceed in this order:
1. Clean the frame with cotton and alcohol.
2. Mark with a pencil the area where the protector will go
3. Remove the adhesive from the protector without touching the glue area
4. Apply the protector by applying light pressure along the middle (DO NOT press on the sides yet)
5. Heat the protector with a hair dryer along its entire length (now start gluing the sides, being careful not to form wrinkles) Start at one end and work your way to the end, then move to the other side)
** If a wrinkle appears, lift the area again and press again while heating.
6. Let dry a few hours until you play again.
Things NOT TO DO when placing the protector:
DO NOT overstretch the protector
DO NOT heat the protector with a hair dryer before putting it on
DO NOT touch the glue area of the protector too much.
And when we want to remove it or change it, how can we remove it without affecting the paint of the paddle?
We asked our trusted expert, better known as Massi of Ripara Padel, how we should proceed.
We’ve read many remedies online, more or less picturesque, but talking to Massi we realized that it can be much easier than that!
His advice in fact is to use heat. A domestic hair dryer or, for those who have it available, an industrial hair dryer even better.
You need to arm yourself with calm and patience.
The heat is used to soften the adhesive, so you have to proceed one piece at a time, putting the heat between the protector and the blade.
You have to proceed in this way until it is completely detached. In this way, the paint on the plastic is not damaged, but be careful, if the blade has been chipped by some blow, some pieces will come off. In this case, the damage must be evaluated, if it is only superficial or affects the performance of the blade.
In both cases, you can go to a good professional (like Massi :)).
He also did us the courtesy to make a video demonstration to remove the protector!
by Roberta Lozza