How to grip a pickleball paddle – overview of pickleball grips

The three common pickleball grips

For those new to the sport, you may not be aware there are different ways to grip the paddle during play. You’ll most likely use one of three grips when you’re playing:  the eastern, the western, or the continental grip. Each of the grips come with their own advantages. Choosing the best grip for you comes down to what best suits your mechanics and game style, but more importantly, what feels most comfortable in your hand when you pick up your pickleball paddle.

Continental Grip

The Continental favors a player’s backhand more than their forehand because of the angle of the paddle in your hand. This grip is relatively common as many player’s often remain in a backhand grip to block volleys back to their opponents while at the kitchen line.  It does make hitting a forehand difficult without changing your grip to accommodate. 

Western Grip

Opposite the Continental Grip, the Western pickleball grip favors the forehand grip, offering more spin. It resembles how you may hold a frying pan when you flip a pancake. While it gives a lot of spin on the forehand, the Western grip sets up a difficult angle when attempting a backhand. 

Eastern Grip

Last but certainly not least, the Eastern grip is the most common grip used.  Instead of favoring a forehand or backhand like the Western and Continental Grips, the Eastern Grip is a neutral grip that can be used for both forehands and backhands. Known as the handshake grip, the grip resembles how you would shake someone’s hand.

Which Pickleball Grip is right for you?

It is important to use a pickleball grip that complements your style of play. If you are a beginner, the Eastern Pickleball Grips is the easiest to start out with.  If you have been playing for a while, and you have a pickleball grip that works for you, keep it. Overtime, consider a mix of the Eastern and Continental Pickleball Grip.  Given that so much of the game in pickleball will be played at the pickleball net with backhands needed for nice dinks, you’ll want to enjoy the benefits of the Continental Pickleball Grip.

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