Whenever playing Pickleball you might get confuse about how to grip your paddle. This is a common problem among new comers whereas Pro player might be comfortable about their ways of doing things. Among every racquet sport gripping the equipment is one of the key and basic elements and there is various method to hold your paddle. Whereas there are pros and cons to every grip. It’s up to you which grip you prefer and what things that grip has to offer?
Pickleball is a newer sport as compare to other tennis sports and gaining popular in recent times hence many tennis players are shifting to Pickleball. There are a lot of similarities in both games. But unlike tennis whose court is little longer and you get the time to change grip in every shot in this regard Pickleball is faster as you don’t have enough time to switch your grip between shots.
Many new players avoid learning the technique of gripping the paddle in right ways this may affect their game in a longer run because every grip has their own benefits. Once learning the in the course of time as you progress, you should be able to adjust your grip based on the shot and situation.
The continental grip is the first skill to master, as it can be utilised to hit any type of Pickleball shot. This grip puts the racquet’s face in line with the palm, which can help you optimize your forward power on volleys, backhands, dink strokes, and overheads due of the flatness. The founder of Level-Up Pickleball Camps Wayne Dollard explains this grip as “Grab the handle and shake hands with it. Imagine it’s a hammer striking a nail. That’s your continental grip.”
This grip is referred as a “neutral” grip since it is reasonably easy to use the forehand and backhand sides with the same grip. It’s not a particularly strong for forehand grip, but it’s also not a particularly weak one. It’s described as “neutral.” The same is for backhand grip — neither strong nor weak.
How to hold continental grip
You should hold paddle by your fingers in such a way that there should be a space of one finger between your palm and your fingers moreover make sure the paddle grip isn’t buried in your palm by wrapping your entire hand over it.
Slide your hand down the paddle and onto the handle by holding it over the edge of the paddle with your thumb and index finger on either side of the paddle. When your finger lands on the second bevel, it will form a V shape that points directly at you.
If you are buying a paddle, you really need to consider its handle size as everyone have different size of their hand and different preference according to it so, if you use a neutral continental grip on the paddle, you should be fine for most shots, including forehands, backhands, drive shots, and dink shots.
Variation in holding your continental grip
When it comes to gripping your paddle, you have been educated about the continental grip but there are three slightly different variants that will work with variety of shots. These variations are
1. Neutral Grip
2. Strong grip
3. Weak grip
As earlier you have been told about the continental grip mostly used by players. But there are some variations in this grip which is about holding them in a certain manner. When having a continental grip, you can hold your paddle in a neutral manner if hitting a forehand shot, dinking, close to the net, with forehand or backhand spin and slicing the ball.
You can hold your continental grip in a strong way so that you can have powerful drives from the baseline or strong overhead shots. This grip is best for overhead smashes and forceful forehand shots. Whereas this grip isn’t ideal for underhand strokes, or dinking. It’s best to utilize a neutral grip when you’re at the net.
A weak grip is where your hand rotates to the left and isn’t very much useful in the game. With a weak grip you have shaky hands due to which forehand overhead smashes are difficult to hit. The one advantage which can be observed from adopting a weak grip is that it’s easier to open the paddle face. If you enjoy employing spin shots and cuts, this is grip can be useful for you.
The Western or Semi-Western Grip
In western grip you need to hold your paddle in such a way that shifts your hand to the back of the paddle as if swatting a fly. Like a Fly swatter as if you are going to swat a fly in front of you.
Because your palm is behind the flat side of the paddle, this grip is ideal for forehand strokes. Soft shots become more difficult. If you find yourself gripping the paddle in this manner, try switching to a continental grip.
Your forearm will be perpendicular to the plane of the paddle face if you use a full western grip. A semi-western grip isn’t quite perpendicular to the ground.
The backhand becomes more difficult for the players with this grip. Because your wrist is now facing the net and you find difficult to hit that backhand smash. Few players with a semi-western or totally Western grip will adopt a two-handed backhand to obtain more force out of their backhand stroke.
Both the forehand and backhand strokes come into act in this grip. This is by far the most popular grip in Pickleball, and it resembles shaking hands with the paddle. In this grip your index finger knuckle would be on bevel 3 instead of bevel 2. It’s a hybrid of the hammer (continental) and fly swatter (western) grips. If you’re experiencing trouble with your forehand or backhand, it’ll help you out.
This grip is slightly better for forehand and hard volleys, but it can still be difficult when hitting a backhand like a western grip. The grip resemble continental in style, but with a slight slant to the face. As a result, players who use the Eastern grip hit more forehands than backhands.
Putting fingers on the surface of the paddle
When you place your finger on the paddle surface, a connection is formed between the finger and your brain. This link will constantly be telling you about the paddle’s orientation and the best stroke to use.
If you also want to get a better sense of the angle of your paddle when you’re swinging, you can stretch your index finger (or both your index and middle fingers) straight so any of them can rest on the paddle’s face. This will help you maintain control by keeping you aware of the angle of your paddle.
Some player put two fingers and a thumb, whereas some lay four or five fingers on the surface of the paddle. The players demonstrate their exceptional control and stability on the paddle by placing their finger on the face pf the paddle. Make sure your fingers/thumb aren’t protruding out too far onto the paddle’s face, otherwise they’ll get in the way of hitting the ball cleanly off the face.
Switching hands between shots
When gripping your paddle, you can think of switching your hand to hit the ball which is a common practice in tennis due to a lot bigger court then pickleball which gives them ample of time to be doing this.
But when coming to Pickleball this game can be faster than tennis in these terms as the court are half the size of tennis court and you more are closer to the net. You also have seen many Pro player doing this practice in their game. This technique will require you a lot practice to be doing in your game.
You will have to play a lot with your weaker hands and avoid dropping your paddle from you hand during this practice. Moreover, trying controlling the ball with weaker hands as more as possible in order to master this technique.
I hope you may have got the idea of all the grips used in Pickleball. Holding your paddle in a right manner is the basic element of the game. You can try each grip and get an idea which suits you moreover with time, you will get used to it. The comfort level and your control will help you determine which grip is best for you.
With time your will master this act and also the technique of switching hands between shots so that your performance may not hindered by any little disturbance.
Q1- which is the best grip used in pickleball?
Ans- The continental grip is the first skill to master, as it can be utilised to hit any type of pickleball shot. This grip puts the racquet’s face in line with the palm, which can help you optimise your forward power on volleys, backhands, dink strokes, and overheads due of the flatness.
Q2- Can we switch hands during shots in pickleball?
Ans- The paddle is usually held in one hand by most pickleball players. While switching hands, you can drop your paddle. You can switch hands for bounced balls and keep the paddle in your strong hand for backhand volleys. Moreover you can master this technique by lot of practice.
Q3- How to pick a pickleball grip size?
Ans- A pickleball player can use a ruler to establish the proper paddle grip size by measuring his or her grip size. From the tip of your ring finger to the middle crease in your hand, measure the distance. There are three creases on your palm. Grab the paddle with your natural grip to see if the grip size is correct.