How to Hold a Pickleball Paddle: All You Need to Know

Pickleball, like table tennis, badminton, and ping pong, is a racket and ball game played within a court area and consists of various rules and techniques. Originally invented by an American family 59 years ago while getting bored on holiday has now evolved into a professional game played at the international and national levels.

Some people think the pickle game is a mixture of table tennis, ping pong, and badminton hence named the pickle game. Consequently, the rules and techniques must also be a mixture of rules and techniques used in table tennis and ping pong.

However, this is true to some extent, but the technique for playing pickleball games varies differently from table tennis and ping pong.

While talking about the technique and rules, it is highly important to know the ways and techniques of holding a pickleball paddle for successful shots and long valley hours.

The way you hold the pickleball handle would define your success rate because how you hold your paddle would identify the face of your paddle and hence affect the shot pace and flight.  You Can also check the Gamma Pickleball Paddle.

Both right-hand and left-hand players of pickleball must be facing issues with executing the right shots in a precise manner while playing on the court. This article would somehow cover almost all the tips and tricks that should be adopted by beginners, seasonal players, and even professional players.

Pro Techniques to how to hold a Pickleball Paddle:

If you are a beginner at pickleball and struggling with the precision of the correct shot during fast-paced exchanges on the pickleball court (especially kitchen), then this is the time to analyze your weakness and practice your gripping techniques.

Pickleball is the kind of game that requires extremely swift action within a split-second moment without allowing the player to even think which grip should be taken at a particular move. Because the right grip, if practiced consistently, will be saved in your muscle memory, and the player would subconsciously make the right move.

This could self-explain the importance of the correct gripping style.

Important guidelines :

In this article, we will be discussing in detail the below important guidelines:

  • How would a player understand which grip is best suitable for him on the pickleball court.
  • How to understand the gripping style of the opponent and give him the toughest shots noticing his weak points
  • How to promptly change grip as and when required in the tournament
  • How much pressure should be maintained while handling a particular grip.
  • How to make sure that the pickleball grip I am practicing is the right grip for me.
  • If a particular grip is not best suited, how can I replace it while achieving the maximum expertise.

Let’s discuss the most commonly adopted methods, tips, and techniques of how to grip the pickleball paddle in the right way.

Three main techniques are used by the players around the world to grip the pickleball paddle:

  1. Continental / Hammer / Neutral pickleball Grip
  2. Eastern pickleball grip
  3. Western pickleball Grip

1- The first and the foremost gripping technique is the Continental Pickleball Grip:

Continental grip is known for other names as well, including the neutral grip, weak neutral grip, strong neutral grip, and hammer grip. The name indicates that this grip involves a balanced approach to handling the paddle so as to make sure that the racket is in a comfortable grip in your hand without making any external effort.

The handle of the pickleball racket is held in such a way that it automatically gets settled down, with your wrist being very comfortable for long playing hours.

With a continental grip, the player has an equal hold on both the front and backside of the racket, making it easier to switch the side while playing.

Now the question arises, is this technique applied equally to both right and left-hand players?

If the player is righthanded, he should grip the handle in a way that the forehand side is in front of the body; however, in the case of a lefthanded player, it would be vice-versa. Also, read the What is Pickleball Stacking?

Also known as hammer grip, the name indicates an easier explanation of how to hold the paddle in this technique. The hammering technique involves holding the paddle in a way as the player is hammering the nail with one side of the paddle.

Please note the below important tips and techniques advised by the experts:

  • The hand must be in the form of the V-Shape while holding the paddle
  • Index finger should bear more pressure as compared to the thumb
  • One side of the V should be the Index finger, and the other side should be the thumb.

Experts have further categorized the continental grip into three sub-categories based upon the gripping strength:

  1. Weak Grip
  2. Strong Grip
  3. Neutral Grip


A weak grip is used when the player is required to hit the ball closer to the net. Loosening the grip pressure so that the ball doesn’t go beyond the court.

weak grips

A strong grip is applied when the player is close to the court boundary and required to make the stroke with full strength. The grip will be very tight on the hand, making sure to exert maximum power on the paddle.

strong grip

When the player’s position is in the center of the pickleball court, the grip should be neutral.

2- Eastern Pickleball Grip:

The second kind of pickleball grip is the eastern grip which is mostly adopted by the expert level players, although some intermediate level players also use this gripping technique in their matches. The core of this grip is to allow the player to make both forehand and backhand shots at the same time without switching the gripping technique enabling him to respond to opponents’ tough moves in a fraction of a second without making a mistake.

The technique involves holding the pickleball handle in an outward direction in front of the player’s body. Let’s explain it in this way: the face of the racket of equally distributed towards the left and right sides of the body.

While making the shot, the hand is slid downwards the paddle frontside.

A few of the below important points would greatly assist in understanding the Eastern pickleball grip in an easy way:

  • The index finger is facing upwards, creating an angle of 90-degree toward the handle.
  • Palm of the hand would be facing towards the pickleball net, ensuring the double support for both forehand and backhand purposes.

3- Western and Semi-Western Pickleball Grip:

An ideal grip for beginners. Easy to hold the paddle and perfect for making fast-paced forehand shots. The position of holding the paddle seems like banging the flies. A western or semi-wester pickleball grip is the best grip for beginners who play in an attacking style hitting the best forehand shots. Also, check the What is a Pickleball Made of?

The points need to be pondered in western or semi-western pickleball grip as are follows:

  • The handle facing the front side of the racket is held in the palm of the hand in such a way as the palm is on the underside of the handle, and fingers are wrapped towards the foreside.
  • The wrist is faced towards the pickleball net while hitting the ball.
  • Index finger facing towards the flat side of the paddle.

The semi-western pickleball gripping style is almost similar to the gripping western style. In a western grip, the whole hand is wrapped around the paddle facing towards the front side and wrist towards the net while stroking, whereas, in a semi-western grip, the hand is wrapped around the paddle except the index finger. The index finger is placed straight towards the paddle face. You Can Also check the What is Pickleball?

The western grip is difficult to carry for the defensive players because the position of the wrist in this grip would only support the forehand stroke. The western grip is not suitable for backhand stroke, although the player can change the grip for backhand stroke while playing.


The success of any player on the battlefield depends greatly upon the techniques and experts’ advice on how to have a skillful approach to the gaming tools and how to use them. Similarly, in a pickleball game, there are only two tools involved upon which the player has to have a complete grip.  You Can also check the Best Selkirk Pickleball Paddle Reviews.

Various gripping techniques mentioned above would help you be the best in the tournament. However, consistent practice is very important because you never know how skillful the opponent could be. Even if you are skillful in one particular grip, it is important to practice all other gripping techniques to know the opponent’s tricky moves and smash his shot with the best move required at that particular stroke.

Summarizing the above discussion, I would advise the pickleball players to master all the gripping techniques instead of only one.

Frequently Asked Questions:

When is the player required to make a weak grip?

While playing, the player would be running across the court, making swift moves. The pressure on the paddle would vary depending upon the court position. When the player is very near the net, he would be required to put the lowest pressure on the racket, and that’s where a weak grip would be required.

Why do experts suggest a neutral grip to the players?

A neutral grip is an ideal technique to hold a pickleball racket in all situations. The player can easily make both forehand and backhand shots if holding the paddle in a neutral grip. The wrist is in such a position so as to make it very comfortable and flexible for the player to change the stroke at any time while playing.

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