How To Hold A Pickleball Paddle – 3 Essential Grip Techniques

One of the most frequently asked questions I hear from pickleball players is how to properly hold a pickleball paddle. Many players struggle to find the best grip for their playing style along with skill level. They frequently wind up using a grip that limits their ability, causes pain, or even results in injury.

As a professional pickleball player, I understand the importance of having a strong grip on your paddle. Your grip is the cornerstone of your game since it influences how you handle the paddle, generate power and spin, and avoid wrist problems.

In this article, I’ll reveal my special tips and techniques on how to hold a pickleball paddle for every shot like a pro. I’ll also show you various types of grips available, the pros and cons of each, and how to utilize them in different scenarios. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to figure out the optimal grip for your game and take it to the next level.

Three Main Types of Pickleball Grips

There are different ways to hold a pickleball paddle, but the three most common grips utilized by most players are continental, western, and eastern. Depending on your playing style and preferences, each grip offers pros and cons of its own. Let’s go over each one and how to utilize it.

How to Hold a Pickleball Paddle

Continental Grip

The continental grip is the most adaptable and often used pickleball grip. It’s also referred to as the hammer grip or the chopper grip. To employ this grip, hold your paddle with your index finger slightly distanced from the rest of your fingers as if you were holding a hammer or an axe. Your paddle’s edge should be perpendicular to the ground.

Continental-Grip.
Continental grip

I utilize this grip for the majority of my shots since it allows me to simply switch between forehand and backhand without changing my grip. It also allows me to have better control over the angle of my paddle face, which helps me to hit a variety of shots such as volleys, dinks, lobs, and slices. The continental grip can be used for beginners and intermediate players looking for a straightforward and effective grip.

However, the continental grip has significant disadvantages. It can limit groundstroke power and topspin, especially if I have a short arm span or a slow swing speed. If I utilize too much wrist activity or hold the paddle too tightly, it can also create wrist weariness or pain.

Western Grip

The western grip is the pickleball grip that is the most intense and aggressive. It is also known as the pancake grip or the frying pan grip. To utilize this grip, hold your paddle like a frying pan or a pancake flipper, palm down, and thumb wrap around the handle. Your paddle’s edge should be parallel to the ground.

Westren-grip.
Westren grip

I use this grip on my forehand groundstrokes because it provides me with more force and topspin. With a closed paddle face, it helps me to swing from low to high. It helps me to strike high balls with greater comfort and accuracy. The western grip is also suitable for advanced players seeking more attacking and dynamic shots.

But there are certain cons to the western grip as well. It makes hitting backhand strokes more difficult because it forces me to shift my grip or rotate my wrist significantly. It also makes hitting low balls or volleys more difficult because it opens up the paddle face too much. If we utilize too much arm action or have poor technique, the western grip can potentially cause elbow or shoulder issues.

Eastern Grip

When I initially started playing pickleball, one of the first grips I learned was the eastern grip. It is also known as the index finger grasp or the handshake grip. Hold your paddle as if shaking hands with someone, with your index finger pointed along the edge of the paddle. Your paddle’s edge should be at a 45-degree angle to the ground.

eastren-grip
Eastren grip

The eastern grip produces more power and topspin than the continental grip, but not as much as the western grip. It also provides more control than the western grip but less control than the continental grip. The eastern grip is the best grip for players who wish to mix offensive and defense.

But it can be more difficult to switch between forehand and backhand shots than the continental grip since it needs you to slightly shift your grip. It can also make it more difficult to hit flat or slice strokes than the continental or western grips since it closes your paddle face slightly.

Tips for Holding Your Paddle

Regardless of which grip you choose, here are some general tips that can help you hold your paddle better and improve your game:

Tips for Holding Your Paddle

Leave Room Between Your Fingers

When I was a beginner, one of the most typical mistakes I made was holding my paddle too tightly or too loosely. A tight grip can induce arm tension and fatigue, limit your feel and control, and increase your risk of injury. A sloppy grip can lead to shot instability and inconsistency, as well as decreased power and accuracy and an increased danger of dropping or losing control of your paddle.

Leave-Room-Between-Your-Fingers-
Leave Room between your fingers

To avoid these issues, keep some space between your fingers when holding your paddle. This will assist you in developing a firm but relaxed grip that will allow you to swing easily and smoothly. This advice came in handy when I was having trouble with my shots. I used to grip my paddle excessively tightly, thinking that would offer me greater force and control. But I quickly discovered that it was causing me to stiffen up and lose my sense of touch and feel.

Hold the Paddle at a 60-Degree Angle

Another typical mistake I made as a newbie was holding my paddle too flat or too vertically. A flat paddle might make hitting low balls or volleys more difficult since it opens up your paddle face too much. Because it closes your paddle face too much, a vertical paddle can make hitting high balls or slices more difficult.

To avoid these issues, keep your paddle at a 60-degree angle to the ground. This might help you in keeping your paddle face neutral, allowing you to strike different sorts of shots with ease and precision.

Hold-the-Paddle-at-a-60-Degree-Angle-
Hold the Paddle at a 60 degree Angle

When I was playing against top players, this tip improved my game. I used to think that holding my paddle too vertically would increase the spin and angle of my shots. However, I quickly discovered that it was causing me to hit too many balls into the net or out of bounds. Holding my paddle at a 60-degree angle allowed me to hit more consistent and accurate shots.

Grip the Very Top

grip-the-very-top
Grip the very top

Another typical mistake grasping the handle of the paddle too low or too high. A low grip limits your reach and leverage, making it more difficult to strike balls that are far away or above your shoulder. A tight grip could limit your stability and control, making it difficult to smash balls close to you or below your waist.

Try gripping your paddle around the top of the handle, where it meets the paddle face. This can help you increase your reach and leverage while also improving your stability and control. Look at the end of your handle to see if you have the proper grip position. It should be slightly protruding from your hand, neither buried inside nor protruding excessively.

Use Gripping Tapes

Gripping tapes are thin, sticky materials that wrap over your handle to add cushioning, traction, and comfort. They can help you avoid slippage, sweating, blistering, and chafing on your hand while also improving your paddle feel and control.

Gripping Tape
Gripping Tape

There are various types of gripping tapes to meet different preferences and demands. Some of the most common are as follows:

  • Overgrips: These are thin, soft tapes that are placed over your existing grip. These are simple to apply and remove and come in a variety of colors and textures. These can help you in adjusting the size and feel of your grip while also absorbing perspiration and moisture.
  • Replacement grips: These are thicker, stiffer tapes that are used to replace your existing grip. Although they take more time and effort to apply, they are more stable and long-lasting. These tapes can let you modify the contour and softness of your grip while also increasing shock absorption and vibration reduction.
  • Cushion grips: These are new grips with additional padding and softness. These are suitable for players with sensitive or injured hands, as well as those who desire a more pleasing and forgiving grip.
  • Tacky grips: These grips come with increased stickiness and friction. These are great for players with sweaty or slippery palms, as well as those who prefer a more stable and confident grip. To get the most out of gripping cassettes, pick one that matches your unique preferences and playing style.

You should also replace them on a regular basis because they tend to wear out and lose their potency over time. When I discovered that my paddle was slipping from my hold on hot and humid days, I started using gripping tapes. I tried out overgrip tape advised by a friend and was totally blown away by how much nicer it felt on my hand.

Hold the Low End of the Paddle

Hold-the-Low-End-of-the-Paddle
Hold the low end of the Paddle

I learned this tip from observing some of the best pickleball players. I saw they were gripping their paddles differently than I was, and I was curious why. I attempted to imitate their technique and discovered that it provided me with more force and spin on my shots. This strategy also made it easier for me to hit diverse angles and positions.

This works because your hand and the ball contact point are separated by a longer lever arm when you hold the low end of the paddle. This gives you greater force and speed on your swing, as well as more angular momentum and spins on your paddle face. This can result in more forceful and spinny strokes that are more difficult to return.

To get the most out of this tip, change your grip slightly depending on the sort of shot you intend to make. For example, to hit a topspin shot, hold the paddle slightly lower than usual, with the bottom edge aligned with the center of the ball. To hit a slicing stroke, raise the paddle slightly higher than usual, such that the top edge is aligned with the center of the ball.

Conclusion

Holding a pickleball paddle is not as easy as it seems. Grip styles vary depending on different playing styles and preferences. There are also several ways available to help you enhance your grip and game. Now that we’ve discussed how to utilize gripping tapes on your paddle handle, how to grasp the low end of the paddle for extra leverage and power, and some recommendations to improve your grip technique in this post we hope you found this to be useful and instructive.

FAQs

How do I know if my paddle grip is correct?

Check that the handle runs diagonally across your palm, with your fingers comfortably wrapped around it. Make sure the thumb is on top for stability and the index finger is slightly spaced for control.

Can a grip change affect my swing?

Yes, a grip change can have a significant effect on your swing’s control and power. A sturdy grip enables more precise shots by improving wrist motion and control over the club. A weak grip can cause slices, hooks, and decreased distance in your swing.

Can I use a tennis grip for my pickleball paddle?

While some pickleball players choose to use a tennis grip on their paddle, it is not a typical practice. Pickleball grips were designed to meet the sport’s unique characteristics.

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