Mastering Pickleball Paddle Grips: A Comprehensive Guide


Pickleball is a dynamic and engaging sport that requires not just skill but also the right technique. One of the most fundamental aspects of playing pickleball effectively is mastering the various paddle grips. Understanding and utilizing the correct grip can significantly enhance your performance on the court. In this guide, we’ll delve into the three primary types of grips: the Western, Eastern, and Continental grips. We’ll also explore how to choose the right grip size, the importance of grip pressure, and specific tips for serving.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Grip Size

Before diving into the different types of grips, it’s crucial to select a pickleball paddle with the appropriate grip size. An ill-fitting grip can hinder your performance and even lead to injuries. Here’s a simple way to determine the correct grip size based on your height:

  • For players 5’2” and below: 4 inches
  • For players between 5’3” to 5’8”: 4.125 to 4.25 inches
  • For players taller than 5’8”: 4.5 inches

Once you’ve selected a paddle with the correct grip size, you’re ready to explore the different grip types.

The Eastern Pickleball Grip

The Eastern grip is often recommended for beginners and intermediate players due to its versatility. This grip allows players to hit both forehand and backhand shots without needing to adjust their grip mid-game.

How to Use the Eastern Grip:

  1. Hold the paddle out in front of your body with your non-dominant hand.
  2. Look down at the edge of the paddle.
  3. Place the flat of your dominant hand on the face of the paddle.
  4. Slide your hand down the paddle head until you grip the handle.
  5. Imagine you’re shaking hands with someone to complete the grip.

This grip is sometimes referred to as the “universal” or “neutral” grip because of its adaptability.

The Western Pickleball Grip

The Western grip is ideal for players who have a strong forehand. This grip allows for greater wrist action, which can generate more power and spin.

How to Use the Western Grip:

  1. Start with the Eastern grip.
  2. Rotate your wrist 90 degrees clockwise if you’re right-handed, or 90 degrees counterclockwise if you’re left-handed.

This grip is particularly effective for aggressive baseline shots and serves.

The Continental Pickleball Grip

Also known as the “hammer grip,” the Continental grip is excellent for players who favor their backhand. This grip provides stability and control, making it easier to handle shots on the backhand side.

How to Use the Continental Grip:

  1. Hold the paddle as you would a hammer.
  2. Ensure that your thumb and index finger form a “V” shape along the handle.

This grip is beneficial for volleys, serves, and overhead smashes.

Understanding Grip Pressure

Grip pressure is another critical aspect of pickleball. Unlike other racket sports where a tight grip is often necessary, pickleball requires varying grip pressures depending on the shot.

Grip Pressure Scale:

  • 1 to 3: Very loose grip, ideal for soft shots like dinks or third-shot drops.
  • 4 to 6: Moderate grip, suitable for most rally shots.
  • 7 to 8: Firm grip, used for powerful baseline shots or aggressive serves.

A grip pressure above 8 is generally not recommended as it can lead to injuries and reduced control.

Pickleball Tips for Serving

Serving in pickleball is always underhand, but the grip you use can affect the power and spin of your serve.

Recommended Grips for Serving:

  • Western Grip: Offers the best power and spin due to the wrist action it allows.
  • Eastern Forehand Grip: Ideal for players who prefer not to switch grips after serving.

For more serving tips and to see these grips in action, check out these 5 pickleball serving videos.


1. What is the best grip for beginners in pickleball?

The Eastern grip is often recommended for beginners due to its versatility and ease of use.

2. How do I know if my paddle grip size is correct?

You can determine the correct grip size based on your height. Refer to the grip size chart provided earlier in this guide.

3. Can I switch grips during a game?

Yes, advanced players often switch grips depending on the shot they are executing. However, beginners should focus on mastering one grip before experimenting with others.

4. How tight should I hold my pickleball paddle?

Grip pressure should vary depending on the shot. Use a loose grip for soft shots and a firmer grip for powerful shots.

What do you think?

Written by Billy Pickles

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