Originally Posted by skod
...I always take my own pedal now.
... if a pedal is so nasty stiff/sloppy/gnarly that you have to adapt your technique to it, and you practice extensively with it, then it can and very definitely will *influence* your technique. Improve or harm is in the eye of the beholder at that point.
I know that it took me a long time to recover from the bad habits I learned to make my first crappy pedal work: when I got my first Speed King with nice smooth non-gummy bearings, it was quite a revelation, and my playing did improve in ways that simply would not have been possible with the original. So I would counsel caution in making blanket statements like "It's not the pedal". Fact is, there really *are* some out no-name/budget/old/abused pedals out there that are mechanically bad enough to screw a young player up- especially if they aren't taking lessons from a good instructor...
Dropping cash on gear certainly isn't a cure-all, but there are some specific issues that improved gear can help cure sometimes. Maybe it isn't common, but it does happen.
I went through a multi-year process to learn this myself. I had to get rid of my cheap Ludwig pedals. But I think I knew this because of how my Ludwig pedals didn't do what I kept asking them to do.
Same with drum head (tension). I don't place emphasis on the drum head (regarding technique) as much as I do the tension (for rebound, etc...). I do think the stick is the glue that makes all things possible. The pedals and the sticks. Those are your only inputs. Sticks are easier, but the pedals rely on so much other stuff.
I'd make them count. It just so happens that sticks cost $10/pr, and pedals can run around $200+/- for a single. But the differences between them is astronomical when processed by your toes/ball of your foot, legs, balance, brain, etc...