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Tips for the Perfect Paddle Swing

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Don’t Blade

Blading is a personal foul, a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness and should be punishable by fine. It’s a heinous act. If you don’t know what paddle blading is, it’s when the pledge’s ass is struck with the edge of the paddle, 90 degrees from the appropriate wood-to-cheek, flat-side surface. Blading brings the pain of a thousand paddles. It’s excruciating to witness, and devastating to endure. The force that comes with blading is so great for two reasons:

No wind resistance: Swinging a paddle fat-side, square to your intended target is more difficult than turning it perpendicular. It’s the airplane wing effect. Flaps come up to slow that thing down. Just simple physics here, people. Come on. Read a book.

Smaller surface area: It’s like some ninja shit. They have these little intricate fighting techniques that involve single knuckle strikes and pressure points. Smaller surface area strikes increase PSI.

I can hear the “pledges don’t deserve our respect” crowd now, and their points are valid, I’m sure. A line has to be drawn, though, and that line is just short of blading. If we were to allow it, what’s next? A baseball bat? A leather whip? What’s to stop you from shelving the paddle in lieu of a grown man axe and going Patrick Bateman on a pledge? There’s a reason the paddle is used, and there’s a reason for its design. It inflicts pain, but it keeps the pledge on the safe side of the old “Are you hurt or injured?” question.

I had a front row seat to a blading one time. I’ll never forget the look on the poor bastard’s face.

Do Clear Your Mind

A paddle swat is commonly inflicted upon the pledge for which you have the highest level of respect or admiration (Read: hate the least) among his shitty pledge class. Some may find this sentiment disadvantageous in regards to exerting maximum paddling effort. It can be fixed, though. This is a rite of passage, not a harsh method of punishment or egregious act of hazing. Big brother night comes to mind. This is why it’s vital, for the sake of the paddle swing, to extinguish any flicker of “Hey, this kid’s alright” from your mind. Pain is the goal. They are, afterall, sub-human.

Many methods can be effective, but it’s important to find what works best for you. By the time you’ve performed the proper mind-clearing exercises, and if done right, you should be able to unload on your own mother if it came down to it.

Don’t Miss

I’ve seen it. It happens. Not a swing and complete whiff, but I’ve seen hammies and lower backs take shots, and it’s not pretty. You don’t need a full semester in an upper-level anatomy class to know that the ass is the meatiest part of one’s backside. That’s why it’s the target. It’s best suited to take a swat. We’re not animals here, guys.

Take some practice swings if you must. The goal is to trust your hand-eye coordination while delivering the swing at maximum velocity.

Do Use a 3-Step Delivery

The 3-step delivery is the standard power maneuver in any athletic motion. Baseball crow hop: 3 steps and throw. Football placekickers: 3 steps and kick. Beer league softball: 2 small momentum steps followed by a full stride and swing. Happy Gilmore 400-yard drive: 3 steps and swing. It’s common technique, and it’s effective.

There is no difference in the pledge paddle swing. If you want to deliver a strike with maximum force, a 3-step delivery is the way to go to achieve ultimate pain infliction.

Don’t Telegraph

Anyone who’s had the great misfortune of facing away from a paddle-wielding dickhead with bad intentions, with your bony ass staring down the barrel, knows the anxious, empty feeling of anticipation. With eyes affixed to a spot on the wall in front of them, the pledge must wait and guess the moment of impact while clenching his cheeks. It’s a helpless feeling, and only remedied with the sweet knowledge of knowing when your attacker will strike.

Don’t do that pledge any favors. Keep him guessing. Remember, this experience isn’t intended to be a pleasant one. A phony countdown always works. Striking on 2 during a standard 3-2-1 will catch his relaxed glute by surprise. Even a silent 2-count after a full countdown will send his mind into a “What the fuck is he waiting for?” frenzy of paranoia. Both strategies are effective, but I suggest the “silence before the storm” approach. This achieves maximum anticipation while adding a dash of paranoia and a hint of mystique to the mix.

Do Hit Through the Pledge

Let’s delve into the standard power athletic move topic again. If you have ever received proper instruction in any sport that involves force (all of them, basically), then you’ve been coached to swing/hit/punch/throw through the object. It’s simple physics. Boxers don’t punch at their opposition’s face. They punch through them. This creates the greatest force.

When you’re swinging on a pledge, imagine the Bubba Watson follow through, and apply it.

Tip for pledges:

1. Tuck your balls up.


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Dillon Cheverere

Dillon Cheverere (@DCheverere) is the Vice President of Media for Grandex, Inc. Email:

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