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3 Different Ways To Hold a Pickleball Paddle

February 27, 2023

Weighing the pros and cons of the three different ways to hold a pickleball paddle helps you understand which grip is the best for your game.

Every sport requires participants to have the proper mechanics to perform well. For pickleball, you can attribute much of what happens on the court to your grip on the paddle. There are three different ways to hold a pickleball paddle, so let us highlight the pros and cons of each before you settle on one. 

The Eastern Grip

If this is your first time picking up a pickleball paddle, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the eastern pickleball grip. An eastern grip is ideal for beginners because many picklers feel it is the most neutral of the three. Its neutrality should allow you to use your forehand and backhand without much interference, although it slightly favors the forehand. 

To establish the eastern pickleball grip, take your non-dominant hand and position the paddle directly before you. Then, slide your dominant hand down to the handle, gripping it as if you were giving someone a handshake. 

The Continental Grip
The sibling to the eastern grip is the continental grip. This grip is also popular amongst picklers, regardless of your skill level. A continental grip is relatively neutral like the Eastern grip, but it requires placing your palm on the paddle’s side—or in front—to strike your forehands. Hence, the continental grip is better for players with a strong backhand. 
After playing a few games, you can determine whether your backhand or forehand is stronger. Once you assess your skills, you’ll know if the eastern or continental is for you.

The Western Grip
The western grip is the last grip you can try, albeit the least common of the three. With a western grip, your palm will be behind the paddle, leading to a prodigious forehand. The downside of having a lethal forehand is that the backhand is your vulnerability.
Strong picklers can recognize your grip and attack your weaknesses accordingly, so a western gripper should prepare to face many shots on their backhand side. If this happens, you can try a two-handed backhand to compensate for the lack of oomph of your regular backhand. 

How Much Pressure Should You Apply?
You should know what grip favors your game the most, so how tight should you grip the paddle?
Tightening your grip on the paddle generates stress in your wrist, torso, and arms, potentially causing your mechanics to hit the fritz if your grip is too tight. The easiest approach to determining the right amount of force in your grip is to grab the paddle enough to feel it in your wrists but not your arms or shoulders. 
If your forearms stiffen, you can loosen your death grip. The perfect grip is one with firm wrists and loose arms. 

There’s no magical grip between the three different ways to hold a pickleball paddle. Remember that the eastern is the most neutral while slightly favoring your forehand, whereas the western isn’t neutral and strongly favors the backhand. The continental is the inverse of the eastern, as it’s somewhat neutral and encourages the backhand players. You can’t test your grip without pickleball paddles, so get yours at Fromuth Pickleball! Get the paddles and gear the pros wear to feel like an all-star on the court.

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