The best grip for most pickleball players is the continental grip. To use a continental grip, hold the pickleball paddle as if you were attempting to hammer a nail with the side of the paddle. Alternative grips include the western grip, the eastern grip, and the eastern backhand grip.
The Best Pickleball Grip: The Continental Grip
The best pickleball paddle grip for most players is the continental grip. It is a pickleball grip that is more suited to hitting backhands and allows for good versatility of dinks, volleys, and topspin forehands.
The continental grip makes it easier to hit pickleball backhands without popping the ball up in the air. Since the backhand side is an area of weakness for many pickleball players, having a grip more suited to this side of the game can help balance out your play.
The continental grip is often also referred to as the ‘Hammer Grip.’ The easiest way to find this grip is to imagine you were trying to hammer a nail with the side of the paddle.
To correctly perform the continental grip, look down at your hand. Form a V between your index finger and thumb on the paddle handle.
Another way is to imagine your paddle handle split into eight bevels (like the grip on a tennis racquet). If the top bevel, sitting parallel to the sky, is bevel number one, in a proper continental grip, your index finger should be wrapped around bevel number two.
Though the continental grip is one every pickleball player should have in their arsenal, there are different grips you can try out if it’s not working for you. Beginner players may benefit from the eastern grip, for example. Check out the replacement grips below, try each, and work out the best one for you.
Alternative Pickleball Grips
The Eastern Grip (aka “Shake Hands grip”)
The eastern grip is perhaps the most ‘neutral’ of the grips, and works well for beginners and as an all-around option.
It’s often given the nickname ‘the shake hands grip.’ This is because when it is used successfully, your hand should be positioned as if you are shaking hands with the pickleball paddle grip.
The great benefit of the eastern forehand grip is that (despite the slightly confusing name) it can be used for both forehands and backhands without change. This can give you a competitive edge. You’ll be ready to hit your shot much faster than if you had to move to a different grip.
The Eastern Backhand Grip
The eastern backhand grip is another popular tennis grip. It works in the same way as the eastern forehand grip, but is slightly rotated.
The eastern backhand is popular with players who like to hit a one-handed backhand stroke.
The Western Grip (aka “Frying Pan Grip”)
The western grip is sometimes referred to as the ‘frying pan grip.’ This is because you hold the paddle as if you were attempting to fry an egg on the face of the paddle.
The western grip allows you to create a lot of topspin on your forehands and generate a lot of power through your shots. However, it can create difficulties when attempting to create the correct angles for backhands. This is why you’ll see many people favoring the continental instead of the western.
A slight variation on the western is the ‘semi-western’ grip. This is one of the most popular tennis grips, so it can be a good option for tennis players transitioning to pickleball. To use a semi-western grip, find the western position, then rotate your hand very slightly to the right (for right-handed players) or the left (for left-handed players).
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