Pickleball grip is the way you would hold the handle of a paddle. You have to find the paddle that perfectly fits your grip. However, some people prefer to get a smaller or larger grip according to their requirements.
- Small Grip – Small grip provides more control and power on the handle of a paddle. It also helps in getting the topspin. If the grip is too small, your hands, arms, and shoulders will get tired due to extreme force.
- Large Grip – Large grip provides more stability. However, if the grip is too large, it may cause a wrist injury.
3 Types of Grips
You must be thinking that holding a paddle can’t be difficult. Well, you are right, but the three types of grips are challenging to understand.
The three types of grips i.e. Eastern, Western, and Continental. They might be difficult to comprehend at first since all of them are very different from each other.
There are pros and cons of every pickleball grip. Ideally, you must master all of the grips to play forehand and backhand shots effectively. However, beginners can start with the Eastern grip, master it and then learn the continental and western grips.
By mastering the pickleball grips, you can make trick shots to manipulate your competitor. You can also see the grip of the competitor to analyze their strategies. This will help you eventually win a pickleball game.
Here is a detailed guide on the 3 types of pickleball grips;
Most beginners start their pickleball journey with this grip. The eastern grip is used both in pickleball and other racket games. The Eastern grip evolved from the continental grip in 1920 in order to have good control of the tennis racquets.
You have to switch between different grips in tennis and some other games to play a backhand or forehand shot. But in pickleball, we have the eastern pickleball grip, which is versatile because it can be used for both backhand and forehand shots.
Mastering the eastern pickleball grip is important as it will build a foundation for learning other grips. For instance, the continental grip is a modified version of the eastern grip.
How to Use This Grip?
You can use the handshake method to develop a firm eastern pickleball grip. Here’s how it’s done;
- Place your dominant hand on the face of the paddle, such that the face of the paddle is facing the left side of your body.
- Slowly drag your hand until you reach the grip of the paddle.
- Lastly, grip the paddle: at this moment, your grip should look like a ‘handshake.’
Based on the ground shots, there are two types of eastern pickleball grips;
- Backhand Eastern Grip – This grip gives extra strength to the shot and is used to make strong backhand shots or spin. To use the backhand grip, place your hand on the paddle grip with a handshake method so that the knuckle of your index finger is on top of the grip.
- Forehand Eastern Grip – This grip gives less strength than the backhand grip but gives the player stability for hitting soft shots. The position of the knuckle is aligned according to the direction of the flat side of the paddle.
- It can be used for both forehand and backhand shots.
- It is easy for a player to switch from a continental to an eastern grip.
- The eastern grip is flexible and comfortable.
- It is challenging to generate topspin with an eastern pickleball grip.
A continental grip is quite similar to an eastern grip. The only difference between both is the position and direction of the index finger and thumb.
Players can use this grip for a backhand shot, as the back of the hand faces the net while holding the pickleball paddle. This is also why forehand shots are not recommended with a continental pickleball grip.
How to Use Continental Grip
Continental grip is often described with an example of a hammer. You have to use the continental grip so that it looks like a hammer about to hit the nail. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown;
- Hold the paddle with an eastern grip or handshake grip.
- People with a left dominant hand should turn their wrists clockwise, and righties must turn their wrists in a counter-clockwise direction.
- By the end, you must have a v shape between your thumb and index finger.
- Best for hitting a backhand shot.
- It is easy to get good dinks and blocks with the continental grip.
- Not ideal for hitting a forehand shot.
Western Pickleball Grip
Most players, especially beginners and intermediate players, avoid this grip. A western pickleball grip forces the palm to face the net. Therefore this grip is very useful for forehand shots.
Although some players might use a two-handed backhand to shoot a backhand, however, most players can’t use a western grip for the backhand due to the positioning of their hands.
How to Use Western Grip
The western grip is the exact opposite of an eastern grip. To use this grip, you must hold the paddle like a frying pan. Here is how it’s done;
- Hold the handle of the paddle with an eastern grip.
- If you’re right-handed, turn your wrist clockwise with a 90° angle. People who are lefties must turn their wrists anticlockwise with an angle of 90°. Or you can rotate the pickleball paddle 60-90° toward the ground.
- In the end, you should be holding the paddle like a frying pan.
- Considered the best grip for forehand shots.
- Generate a lot of topspin.
- Difficult to make a backhand shot.
Read more: “How To Hit a Pickleball Harder: Topspin Hitting Technique”
Pickleball Grip Size – How to Find Your Size?
Choosing a pickleball paddle according to your grip size is as important as choosing the perfect size for your shoe. Having a paddle with the right grip size will not only give you more flexibility and control but will also prevent wrist injury.
Here are some pickleball tips that you can use while finding the best grip size for yourself.
- If you are unsure about your size grip while buying a pickleball paddle, choose a smaller one. If the smaller one doesn’t fit, then you can increase its size with an overgrip.
- Never buy a paddle with an extremely small grip, as it will cause more fatigue due to the force of the shot.
- Also do not buy a paddle with an extremely large grip. Paddles with large grips will make it difficult to switch between different gripping styles.
To find your grip size, you can either use an index finger method or the ruler method.
The index finger test is helpful if you are buying a paddle from a brick-and-mortar store. But if you plan to order it online, then we recommend the ruler test.
Follow these guidelines to find the perfect grip size for yourself;
For this method, you only need a measuring scale or a ruler.
- Fully open your hand such that all fingers must be connected.
- Place the ruler on your hand. One end of the ruler must be aligned with the ring finger, and the other should be on the bottom crease of the palm.
- Measure the distance from the bottom crease to the top of the middle finger. This distance is your grip size.
Index Finger Method
With this method, you’ll need a pickleball paddle to check the grip size.
- Hold the paddle with an Eastern grip or a handshake grip.
- Now place your other hand’s index finger in the gap between the palm and thumb of the gripping hand.
- Ideally, the finger should fit perfectly in this area. However, if there’s still a gap between the palm and thumb, then the grip is too big. But if you can’t fit your finger in the gap, the grip is too small.
Overgrip can be used on the handle of a pickleball paddle. This can cover and protect the original handle of the paddle. Another benefit of overgrip is that you can customize the grip size of any paddle by adding or removing the overgrips.
All in all, all three types of pickleball grip are different from each other. Learning the eastern pickleball grip should be on a to-do list of all pickleball players whether they are beginners or intermediate.
To perfect your gripping styles, it is important to have a paddle with the most suitable gripping size. Use the tips and methods to find the most suitable grip size according to your hands.
If you have any tips and tricks, please share them in the comments. Let’s rule the pickleball with the perfect gripping style.
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