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How to Hold a Pickleball Paddle? Detailed Guide

How to Hold a Pickleball Paddle? Detailed Guide

Pickleball is played by people of all age groups, including older men and women. Some many tips and tricks experienced and new players follow during their competitive or social competitions of pickleball sport. This sport is all about learning and implementing the rules and regulations associated with pickleball in which holding the pickleball paddle has great importance. How to hold a pickleball paddle?

You should wrap the hand around the grip and hold the pickleball paddle at shoulder height, in front of you, to the right and the left of you in the most sensible way. Focus on the V between your thumb and forefinger to line up almost exactly with the level of the paddle.

Pickleball paddle must be behold in a significant way to play a good game. Try a few imaginary serves, volleys, forehand, and backhand to find the most natural and accessible grip.

Different Pickleball Paddle Grips:

There are three types of pickleball paddle grips including:

  1. Continental 
  2. Western 
  3. Eastern

1. The Continental Pickleball Grip:

The continental pickleball grip is considered the most popular grip among pickleball players and is mainly associated with holding like a hammer. This grip is preferred by the players who use both the forehand and backhand strokes.

The V between the thumb and forefinger lines up with the level of the paddle in this grip and is also called a hammer grip. To find a continental pickleball grip, turn the wrist slightly in a counterclockwise direction for righties and slightly clockwise for lefties. In this way, the V-shape between the thumb and index finger is moved somewhat towards the non-paddle side. 

Continental pickleball grip slightly favors backhands, but it is challenging to hit forehand shots on the pickleball court. Continental pickleball grip enables a player to produce nice dinks and backhands as it is the opposite of the western pickleball grip.

This type of grip causes the palm to generally be behind the pickleball paddle on the backhand resulting in powerful backhands. A player has to struggle to get the pickleball paddle in a position to hit a forehand shot. 

Variants of Continental Grip:

How to Hold a Pickleball Paddle

There are three variations of continental pickleball grip including weak, neutral and strong grip. We will discuss each grip in detail as below:

The Neutral Grip

The Weak Grip

The Strong Grip

In continental grip, when V points towards the middle it is a neutral grip.

When V points towards the left it is a weak grip.

When V points towards the right side, it indicates a strong grip.

This grip is true for dinks and is useful for forehand and backhand dinks and drives.

This grip is not used much in pickleball games. It makes it impossible for the player to make some overhead smashes with the forehand.

A strong grip is used for aggressive shots and is useful for an overhead smash.

This grip allows the player to perform the vast majority of shots in a pickleball game.

This grip is only good if you are keen on using spin shots and cuts.

The strong grip provides a more wrist action which in turn gives more power as the paddle, wrist, and arm are all in the aligned position.

The continental grip allows a player to smash some balls as it starts with the hand-holding paddle in a neutral grip position. The paddle is rotated to the right side and the grip is adjusted according to ease.

2. Eastern Pickleball Grip:

The Eastern Pickleball grip is one of the most popular paddle grips in the pickleball world. All the beginners and intermediate players use this grip for their basic training in courts. The eastern grip allows to hit both a forehand and backhand shot and is neutral.

This paddle grip compromises a forehand pickleball shot and a backhand pickleball shot. If you want to try Eastern pickleball grip, hold the pickleball paddle directly in front of you by using your opposite hand. Hold it in such a way that the face of the paddle looks evenly to the left and right of your body.

3. Western Pickleball Grip:

In western pickleball grip, the pattern of Eastern pickleball is followed. A player rotates their wrist 90 degrees clockwise if he is right-handed or 90 degrees counter-clockwise if left-handed. Western pickleball grip makes it difficult to hit backhand shots on the pickleball court, although they produce much topspin.

The Western pickleball grip results in powerful pickleball forehands and generally causes the palm behind the pickleball paddle. A player will have little to no power on backhand shots. Players can hit a forehand shot in a backward way quickly.

It is recommended to target the player’s backhand side if you face a player playing Western pickleball grip. Some players use the Western pickleball grip and use a two-handed backhand which provides a ground for compensating a weak backhand shot.

Things To Remember While Gripping Paddle in Pickleball:

A player must keep several points in mind while gripping the paddle, which includes the following:

How to Hold a Pickleball Paddle

1. Tight Grip:

It has been keenly observed that the top-notch players in pickleball tend to grip the paddle in a relaxed and loose way. The loose grip helps to generate more power while effort is reduced. Tight grips result in an uncontrolled volley and third shot, creating problems. It also puts extra pressure on the player’s wrist, and shots are not managed easily.

2. Switching Hands In-Game

In a tennis game, it has been observed that players switch between hands and swap the racquets easily. The court size is bigger than the pickleball, and they get ample time for doing so.

It is not easy to switch hands in between the game in pickleball. The pro players of pickleball master this technique over time as this method requires much practice. There is a challenge to complete the switch without dropping the pickleball paddle, and a player needs to control the ball with a weaker hand. 

3. Finger On Surface:

Pickleball players belonging to table tennis backgrounds prefer to place their finger or a thumb on the surface of the paddle. It automatically creates a strong connection between the finger and brain of the brain.

This link helps tell about paddle orientation and preferred strokes. Players put and adjust their fingers on the paddle according to their ease.

Some prefer to put two fingers with a thumb for grip, while some prefer to have four or five fingers. The proper adjustment of fingers on the pickleball paddle shows the incredibility and stability of the paddle. It results in great control in stroke play.
How to Hold a Pickleball Paddle

When and How to Change Your Pickleball Grip:

There is not much time between the pickleball game for changing the grip between shots. It is one of the main differences between tennis and pickleball. Tennis players tend to change their grip more frequently on racquets during the game. It is not easy in pickleball as it is mainly played in the kitchen line where there is not enough time to change the grip.

The player needs to stick to one kind of pickleball grip on the court: Eastern grip or the continental pickleball grip. But still, there are chances for small pickleball grip changes, including:

  • When a player plays at or near the baseline on pickleball courts, the grip can be changed during serves, return serves, and third shots.
  • Pickleball players who are masters in this game can make small grip changes during their shots.

For changing small grip changes, place your fingertips of the non-paddle hand lightly on the outside edge of the paddle when you get the time to manipulate your pickleball paddle between shots; use fingertips to torque the pickleball paddle.

Keep the grip strength on the weaker side of the paddle for easily manipulating the paddle. You cannot torque the paddle if you hold the pickleball paddle tightly from a non-paddle hand. 

Pickleball Grip Size: 

The rules of pickleball do not regulate the thickness of the pickleball paddle. It includes the grip size of the pickleball paddle. The thickness and thinness of the pickleball paddle depend on the player’s desire. The pickleball grip size comes down to the players’ preference, including the weight, comfort, and bulk of the pickleball grip.

If a player is unsure about the preferred grip size of the pickleball paddle, they can try a few tests to determine the best pickleball grip size, including the height test and finger length test.  

1. Height Test:

Height of the playerSuggested pickleball grip size
Below 5’3’’4’’ circumference of the grip
5’3’’ to 5’8’’4.25’’ circumference of the grip
Above 5’8’’4.5’’ circumference of the grip

2. Finger Length Test:

How to Hold a Pickleball Paddle

Finger length test helps determine the best grip size for the pickleball player. It could be the length from the tip of the paddle-hand ring finger to the middle of the paddle-hand palm.

The resulting measurement is the best pickleball grip size for the player. If two dimensions are deducted after the measure, the player must switch to the smaller pickleball grip size.

Pickleball Grips and Pickleball Overgrips:

A Pickleball grip is a covering of leather or other soft material on the handle of the pickleball paddle. It has a sticky backing, and some handles are cushioned too.

This cushioning is necessary to cover the handle’s material, mainly made of wood or other composite material. This covering is essential as it provides a comfortable feel to the player’s hand and helps attain a perfect hold and grip on the paddle.

There is also a pickleball overgrip, a thin and spongy wrap covered on the top of the pickleball grip. These grips provide a tacky surface to the grips of the paddle. Overgrips offer additional comfort and are also suitable for absorbing sweat too.

Both the pickleball grips and overgrips can be worn out quickly if not handled with care. These can be replaced rapidly and worn out if the player plays pickleball daily. The pickleball overgrips are less expensive as compared to pickleball grips.

Also Read:

What Kind of Ball is Used in Pickleball?
What is A Volley in Pickleball? All You Need to Know

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What is a neutral grip in terms of pickleball?

A neutral grip is also called a continental pickleball grip. It is relatively easy to use the forehand side and backhand side of the paddle using the exact grip, which is neutral.

Is it possible to modify the pickleball paddle?

It is impossible to alter the paddle excessively, but a player can still play with wrap and grip size for perfect timing. The surface of the paddle is affected by pen markings and excessive thick decals, which eventually affect the roughness.

How often can a person replace the paddle of pickleball?

The paddle of the pickleball lasts between 1 till five years. It depends on the use and care given to the pickleball paddle.

What does the term 'grounder' means in pickleball?

Grounder or groundstroke is a type of stroke made in pickleball which is seen just after the ball bounces off the ground. The half volley is also associated with a groundstroke shot where the paddle connects the ball immediately when it bounces off the court and before the ball rises to its potential height.

Are there holes in a pickleball paddle?

The hitting surface of the pickleball paddle should not contain any holes, indentations, rough texturing, or any objects which will hinder a player from imparting additional spin on the ball.

Do pickleball paddles go bad?

The high-quality pickleball paddles can last a year, but things can switch early if an aggressive player uses them. But in the case of a player who plays well while keeping care of paddle and paddle feels poppy, something might have gone wrong with the material.

Which is the best core material for a pickleball paddle?

The best core material for the pickleball paddle is wood. It is the best option for pickleball beginners as wood is the least expensive and offers less playability.

How much cost is required to make a pickleball paddle?

The cost of the pickleball paddle depends mainly on the material. The wood range for pickleball paddles falls between $13-$36. The composite material falls in between $45-$145, while the graphite material paddle falls in between $60-$145. Wood pickleball paddle is the least expensive with a solid plywood core.

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