One would easily be tempted to think that holding a pickleball paddle is easy. On the contrary, it is not about how hard or easy it is. It is all about getting the proper grip. Holding the paddle right will give you a better start and stance during the game. What most people need to learn is each grip comes with an advantage. Therefore, you must find a grip suitable for your mechanics and playing style.
Now that we have a good head start on this article, let’s dive right into it. You will learn the best pickleball grips and where and when to hold a specific part.
Enough of the chit-chat; let’s get started.
Three Most Common Pickleball Grips
Holding a pickleball racket is as easy as grabbing a kitchen knife from the counter. However, holding it with the correct grip during a game is different. There are various grips you can employ depending on your mechanics. Today, we shall focus on the most standard and popular grips among pickleball players.
The Eastern Grip: The “Shake Hands” Grip
This grip is one of the most popular grips among pickleball players. It is also highly recommended for pickleball beginners. This grip works perfectly for both forehand and backhand. Using this grip is very easy because you will not need to keep switching your holding positions.
This neutral grip is very similar to that of tennis and racquetball. How you hold your pickleball equipment when playing is precisely the same as when holding your tennis racket.
Here is how you should hold your pickleball gear when playing.
- Rest your hand on the front part of your pickleball paddle.
- Slide your hand downwards until your hand clutches at the handle.
- Ensure that your grip gives the impression of “shaking hands.”
The Western Grip- The “Frying Pan” Grip
This grip limits both hand and wrist movement; therefore, it might not be ideal for beginners. This pickleball racquet is becoming less and less common on the courts. Nevertheless, you will see it more often among seasoned pickleball players.
Think of how you hold your frying pan when making your breakfast omelet. That is how you achieve the Western Grip, otherwise known as the Frying Pan Grip. Holding your pickle paddle with this grip places your hand at a very challenging angle. You will most often see players who employ this grip hitting their foreheads.
Here is how to hold your pickle gear when using the Western Grip.
- Hold your pickleball paddle using the Eastern grip.
- Gently slide your hand to the face of your paddle and slide it down to the handle.
- Tilt your pickleball racket to any angle between 60-90 degrees.
- Your paddle should be facing the ground, giving the impression of someone holding a frying pan.
The Continental Grip
This grip is yet another commonly used grip among pickleball players because it is relatively easy to use. Some have nicknamed this grip a “hammer grip.” Most people prefer Continental because it gives a neutral grip that is easy on both backhand and forehand.
Here’s how you can find your continental grip on your pickleball paddle.
- Clasp your pickleball equipment to get the Eastern grip.
- Slowly rotate the paddle to any angle between 60-90 degrees to achieve the opposite of the Western grip.
- Voila! There you have your continental grip.
Strong, Weak, and Neutral
Aside from the grips, there are grip variations that you must master in order to achieve the best out of your pickleball paddle.
- The Strong Grip
When using a strong grip variation, your grip stays constant. However, the orientation of your pickleball paddle will slightly face upwards. This grip gives you a superior forehand hit. This grip variation is suitable for strong, aggressive players. It provides that strong forehand smash. On the flip side, this grip variation is limiting as the quality of your shot. It also limits the backhand angle, thus reducing your performance.
- The Weak Grip
This grip variation is less used in pickleball because it handicaps the player. However, it is easy on the backhand shot because the paddle is forward. On the other hand, you might get very unlucky with the forehand shot. To successfully employ this grip variation, you must switch the orientation on the paddle, which you must do with swift successive motions.
- The Neutral Grip
This grip variation comes off as two people firmly shaking hands. When using this grip variation, the pickleball paddle rests heavily on your grip. Your paddle is always vertical and should not lean heavily on one side. Most pickleball players prefer this grip variation provides better power. It is also ideal when going for both forehand and backhand shots. It is also recommended for beginners because it is the easiest variation to execute.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Use Continental Grip for Longer Shots and Drives?
You can use a continental grip for longer shots and drives sometimes. The continental grip uses the neutral grip variation; therefore, your shots might not be as strong as you would want them to be. However, consider switching from the Continental to a more suitable grip on your pickleball paddle.
Best Grip For Pickleball Drives With a 2-Handed Backhand?
You can employ the continental grip when hitting pickleball drives with a 2-handed backhand. Rest your dominant hand on the bottom of your pickleball paddle and grip the bevel with your thumb. If you are hitting with your non-dominant hand, the Eastern grip is highly recommended. The 2-handed grip provides excellent flexibility when hitting pickleball drives.
How Tight Should you hold a Pickleball Paddle?
Use the numeric scale of 1-10 to measure your grip pressure on your pickleball equipment. Unlike tennis, it is important to remember that you are dealing with a very light ball. Also, take into consideration that your pickleball paddle is small in stature.
With ten being the tightest, use a pressure of 4 or 5 for shorter shots. When serving or going for the hard shots, increase your pressure to either 7 or 8. Avoid going for the hard-hit with ten because it will make it hard to control the ball. Always focus on the finesse of the hit and not the force employed. Holding a pickleball paddle is synonymous with holding a golf club. Always watch your knuckles; if they are getting too white or red, your grip is too tight!
Does Grip Size Matter in Pickleball?
The grip size of your pickleball paddle matters a lot because it determines the paddle’s angle and the ball’s speed. When shopping for pickleball gear, always strive to find the right size for your hand. A perfect size will significantly improve your performance and gives you a better grip.
Most pickleball rackets range between 8″ and 16″ long. Most handles are 4.5 inches long. However, you might find a 6-inch if you are keen on the two-handed shots. You might also have to think about the thickness and texture of your paddle, which should be in accordance with the size of your hands. Your fingers should comfortably wrap around the handle and give the impression of a snug fit.
What is a Pickleball Overgrip?
A pickleball Overgrip is an additional thin layer on the paddle. It is adhesive and goes over and all around the original grip to provide comfort. It also improves the grip of the paddle and moisture absorption because your hands are likely to sweat a lot when playing.
An Overgrip is mostly popular among players during hot seasons. The extra cushioning will act as a sweat absorbent. It also improves the tactile texture of the handle. The Overgrip is available in various materials, textures, and lengths depending on your needs.
Why Overgrip Your Pickleball?
Many benefits come with over-gripping your pickleball paddle. It does not only boost your performance, but it also makes your playing experience excellent. Here’s why you should overgrip your pickleball paddle.
Griping a paddle for a long time can cause fatigue to your hands and fingers. You could also develop ugly blisters! Good quality overgrip will provide excellent cushioning to your hands. It also gives a more comfortable texture where your palms and fingers rest during a grip. If you have sensitive skin on your palms and fingers, ensure your paddle has a good overgrip.
- Moisture Absorption
Consider getting a good absorbent material for your overgrip. Especially if you are playing during a hot season or in humid environments. An excellent absorbent material will help wick away moisture, especially from sweat. It also prevents your pickleball paddle from slipping off your hands because of moisture.
Overgrips are easy to replace. They are cheap, and you can choose the material type to use. Too much use of a paddle can make the overgrip tacky and worn. That should never be an issue of concern because you can easily replace it to suit your liking. A good overgrip gives a consistent grip and protects the original grip.
Who doesn’t like their stuff customized? You can actually have an overgrip that matches your taste. Overgrips are available in different materials and colors. You are also flexible in choosing the thickness and textures that best suit your playing tactics. Comfortable grip, comfortable playing experience.
- Reduce Vibration
When smashing at that ball, some vibrations are inevitably emitted. Especially when the face of the paddle hits the ball, a good overgrip will act as a vibration absorber. The overgrip will reduce the inconsistency impact on your gripping hand. If you have any previous injuries on your active hand, an overgrip will most definitely protect it from the effects of hit vibration.
- Enhanced Grip
Last but not least, you want an enhanced grip for better performance. A tacky overgrip provides better control. It will also help you maintain the much-desired precision when hitting on that ball. Remember that the game’s name is finesse and power; to achieve that, you need a good grip.
How to Overgrip Your Pickleball Paddle?
It is easy peasy, and you need no rocket science to ad an extra overgrip at home. All you need is an overgrip material with adhesive. Once you have everything ready, carefully wrap the adhering overgrip around your paddle handle. You should start the wrapping from the tip of the handle and work your way up to where the handle meets the face of your paddle.
You can make the wrapping lose or tight. It all depends on how you want the grip to feel in your hands. Ensure that the overgrip covers both the handle and the paddle. A good overgrip will improve your pickleball paddle’s aesthetics and longevity.
The best part is that the overgrip is usually sold in a big roll. The overgrip means that you can constantly change it without returning it to your wallet to purchase a new one. Besides that, you can build your overgrip to a suitable thickness. As you build it up, ensure your overlap is consistent and smooth.
Endeavor to perfect your grip pressure. Playing your best requires your skills and a good pickleball paddle. However, that is hardly enough if your paddle grip is uncomfortable. These two go hand in hand for better performance and experience. Since the grip will primarily affect your performance, learn as many grip variations as possible until you find what works best for you. On top of that, try out different pickleball handles, especially if you have sensitive hands that can easily blister.
And there you have it! Hopefully, this comprehensive article will improve your pickleball performance and playing experience.