How To Hold A Pickleball Paddle

While it may not seem difficult, holding a pickleball paddle is an art form in itself.

How To Hold A Pickleball Paddle (1)

Although you may think that you just need to pick up the paddle and swing it at the ball, there are some fundamentals we all need to learn first.

How you hold a paddle can make the learning curve easier, so that’s why we’ve made this helpful guide.

Once you know how to hold a pickleball paddle correctly, you’ll be able to avoid bad habits that will be tough to unlearn. 

So, let’s take a closer look at how you should grip the paddle. Once we’ve covered how to grip it, we’ll take a look at other ways you can grip the paddle and why you should adjust every now and then.

Once we’ve covered these, we’ll tell you where you need to hold the paddle and where you need to hold it on the court.

Gripping Your Pickleball Paddle

Sure, anyone can pick up a pickleball paddle, but how many people can grip it correctly?

Even if you’ve picked one up, it doesn’t mean you’re holding it correctly. Thankfully, once you know one grip, it will be easier for you to learn and experiment with others in the future. So, let’s talk about how to perform a standard grip in pickleball.

The standard or continental grip is one of the easiest ones to get a hold of. All you have to do is hold out your hand to your pickleball paddle as though you want to shake hands with the handle.

Once your palm is towards the handle, you must wrap your hands around it. You know that it will be the correct grip when your thumb and index finger make a “V” shape directed at you.

Types Of Standard Grip

Now that you know how to perform the standard grip, we’ll give you tips on how to use it in other ways. The grip that we just taught you is essentially a neutral grip. A neutral grip will have a “V” with the point directed at you.

There are two other versions we’ll teach you, such as the weak grip and the strong grip. The “V” will direct the point to the left when your grip is weak. A strong grip will direct the point of the “V” to the right.

Once you learn the grips, you should be able to move between them unconsciously, you’ll just need a little practice first.

When you’re using the neutral grip, you’ll find that most of the shots are pretty easy to perform. These are best for forehand and backhand dinks. However, they’re pretty handy for drives too.

However, let’s say you’re using a strong grip. We love strong grips, as they’re perfect for aggressive shots such as an overhead smash. 

If you want to switch your grip from neutral to strong, all you need to do is rotate your grip to the right. Left-handed players will find it easier to rotate their own grip to the left instead.

Once you adjust your grip, so it’s comfortable, you’ll find it easier to perform aggressive shots against your opponent. 

Admittedly, we don’t use weak grips as much. However, you might find a weak grip useful if you like to use spin shots or cuts. Strategically, however, it doesn’t serve much use for beginner players.

So, we recommend keeping this one on the back burner for now.

Holding Your Pickleball Paddle

Now that we’ve explained your grip, it’s time to find out where you actually hold your paddle. When first learning pickleball, it can be difficult to find where you need to hold your paddle.

How To Hold A Pickleball Paddle (3)

You’re not sure whether it should go to your side or whether you should hold it in front of our faces. If you’re unsure where to put it, don’t worry because there are two positions for your paddle.

When you start playing, you should be in the neutral position. In the neutral position, we suggest keeping your paddle in a comfortable position. If you enjoy tennis, you’ll find that you might automatically switch to putting your paddle in front of you.

This is fine, so don’t worry if you shift to your tennis habits. So long as your paddle is positioned so you can hit the ball, you won’t have anything to worry about. Truthfully, you want to think more about your legs.

They should be kept shoulder-width apart, but not when you’re serving. This is better when you’re responding.

If you want to keep more balanced, you can always rest your non-dominant hand on the top of your paddle. Holding your paddle like this can keep it more still, and we find it offers a little more reassurance. 

What If You’re At The Net?

When you’re at the net, you should be in a similar position as you normally would. However, you also need to be ready for any overhead smashes that may come your way. Ideally, you should bend your knees.

This is why it’s better for your legs to be shoulder-width apart so that you can stand your ground. At the net, you should always keep your paddle out in front of you so that you’re ready for any shots that may come your way.

Bottom Line

Holding your pickleball paddle is more about getting the grip right than it is about positioning. Many players come from different backgrounds, so you may find yourself shifting to a natural position that works for you.

That doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Instead, you should focus on mastering the standard grip and learning how to shift positions naturally. To practice, consider some exercises where you shift your grip while you’re warming up.

The best way to shift grips is by adjusting them to your muscle memory. Once you do that, changing between them will come naturally.

If you want to know more about pickleball, then feel free to check out some of our other helpful articles to find out more.

Damien Dansel
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