How to Hold a Pickleball Paddle – Pickler Guide

How to Hold a Pickleball Paddle – Pickler Guide

The first step to enjoying a pickleball game is playing the game by its rules. A basic rule for a pickler is knowing how to hold a pickleball paddle when serving or receiving the ball. 

This sport entails learning creative ways to play without fault. It involves engaging your opponents in a challenging yet fun game.  As trivial as holding a paddle the right way may seem, it sets the mood for the entire game. Thus, it will help your game if you know how to hold a paddle in a pickleball game.

We will learn the tricks of holding a paddle without defaulting. We will also see the penalties for the wrong paddle holds. This is sure to boost your performance in your next pickleball game. Let us get into it!

How to Hold a Pickleball Paddle – The Right Way

How to Hold a Pickleball Paddle

The logical way to hold a paddle is to grip its handle. It will help to hold the paddle at shoulder height, in front of you, to the right and left.

 Always pay close attention to the V formed by your thumb and forefinger. This will help you to align well with your paddle before taking a shot.

A pickleball paddle must be visually appealing to play well. Try Pickleball drills, or attempt a few false serves, volleys, forehands, and backhands to see which grip feels most comfortable and accessible.

There are three basic types of paddle grips. These include:

1. The Eastern Pickleball Grip

A popular paddle grip in the pickleball community is the Eastern paddle grip. It is a favorite of beginning and intermediate players during their fundamental court training in this hybrid sport. The eastern grip is neutral and enables forehand and backhand shooting.

This paddle grip often compromises both a forehand and a backhand pickleball shot. Use your opposite hand to hold the pickleball paddle straight if you wish to try the Eastern pickleball grip. Hold it so that the paddle’s face gets an even balance between the left and right of your body.

2. The Western Grip

The western pickleball grip is a player’s paddle grip choice in a game. If a player is left-handed or right-handed, they rotate their wrist in the opposite direction. 

Backhand grips are challenging to perform. Although you can use it for topspins, it is not for rookie players.  

The western grip produces strong forehand shots. The players perform this, by placing the palm behind the pickleball paddle. Backhand shots by a player will have little to no power. Players can make rapid backward forehand shots using this technique.

If you come up against a player using the Western pickleball grip, it is advised that you go for the player’s backhand side. Some players employ a two-handed backhand with the Western pickleball grip, which gives them a base for adjusting for mistakes.

3. The Continental Grip

The continental pickleball grip is the favorite paddle grip among pickleball players. Players that employ both forehand and backhand strokes favor this grip.

In this grip, sometimes known as a hammer grip, the V between the thumb and forefinger lines up with the level of the paddle. Turn the wrist clockwise for lefties and counterclockwise for righties to find a continental pickleball grip. Doing this, the V-shape formed by the thumb and index finger slightly shifts to the non-paddle side.

Forehand shots are difficult to make on the challenging court. Although the continental pickleball grip somewhat favors backhands. Because it is the reverse of the western pickleball grip, the continental grip can produce great dinks and backhands.

Common Errors of Holding a Pickleball Paddle

Common Errors of Holding a Pickleball Paddle

1. Insufficient Dropping of Paddle Head

Having good technique implies swinging in a fluid, slow motion. Power should emanate from throughout the body, not just the arms and wrists. You must lower your paddle head (as you would on a forehand) and swing from the bottom to the top to accomplish this with the backhand.

By lowering the paddle’s head to this level, the ball will travel upward rather than straight or downward. Using this upward swing, you may increase power and get the ball over the net. 

Start your backhand swing around your back ear, glide in a circle to get below the ball, and finish with a backhand swing.

2. Wrong Use of Non-dominant Hand

Your non-dominant arm helps shots have a greater force and acts as a counterbalance for your body, which improves balance.

Think about observing someone navigate a balance beam. Do they support themselves by lifting their arms instead of walking with them rigid at their sides? They usually raise their arms. 

Now picture the arm you don’t swing when you hit a pickleball. How does it work? Even if you don’t intend to, you probably utilize it for the same motives.

We automatically look for a means to stay upright and position ourselves for the next shot as our momentum builds up throughout the current shot. Players then make the error of failing to use their non-dominant arm as a helper.

To fix it, when you hit your backhand shots, keep an eye on your non-swinging arm to observe if it moves back or remains at your side. Make it a point to fix it, then see the increase in strength and balance of your shots.

3. Slapping at the Ball

Slapping at the ball instead of aligning their body to perform a full backhand swing is one of the most frequent errors players make, if not the most.

Slapping the ball can lead to mishits and put too much stress on your elbow and shoulder. Thus, doing so is a mistake.

If you have trouble slapping, concentrate on getting into a decent position and pay attention to making contact with the ball while it is in front of your body. Then, rather than simply your wrist and forearm, you should turn and pivot into the ball with the whole body.

Do Paddles Wear Out?

Do Paddles Wear Out

Sometimes, the state of your pickleball paddle affects your grip and service techniques. Some picklers often wonder, “Do paddles wear out?”. Is there a need to change paddles at intervals?

Yes, pickleball paddles wear out. The lifespan of a paddle depends on:

  • Frequency of use: A paddle will last much longer for a recreational player who only plays once or twice a week than a tournament player who plays five days a week.
  • Aggressiveness: After receiving a bad hit, do you throw your paddle to the ground or keep your composure? That has a considerable effect.
  • Storage: Your paddles do not enjoy moisture. So, it would help if you stored them in dry places and away from extreme temperatures. 

Additionally, you should check that it is not hitting anything hard when you place it in your backpack.

Treating your paddle as if it belonged to a friend and taking all reasonable precautions to protect it is a good general rule.


The Eastern might be your best option to begin with if you’re new to the game and want advice on how to grip a pickleball paddle. The sooner you get into the appropriate grasp, the more successful you will be because grips are a difficult component of the game to break.

Common Questions People Ask

Here are some popular pickler questions:

How tight should you hold a pickleball paddle?

When dinking, pickleball players do not need to use much force. Grip pressure should range between three and five on a scale of one to ten. The paddle is frequently held too tightly by novice and intermediate players, who frequently score between an eight and nine.

Do you change grip for a backhand in pickleball?

The Eastern grip is neutral. The players can use this for both forehands and backhands without switching hands, like in racquetball or tennis. To place the Eastern grip, put your playing hand on the paddle’s face. When you grasp the handle, drag your hand downward.

What are the 3 types of grips used when playing pickleball?

In pickleball, there are three standard paddle grips:

  • Eastern Paddle Grip
  • Western Paddle Grip
  • Continental Paddle Grip

Understanding each of these pickleball grips and their advantages and disadvantages is crucial. This is because they can affect how the pickleball travels and how quickly you can reposition yourself for the next shot. 

We have provided accurate information in this article to help guide you on each of the paddle grips. You can use the information to understand your opponents’ playing strategies and exploit flaws in their pickleball grips.

Which Grip is Best for Pickleball?

The continental grip is the first technique for all players to master. This is because the player can use it to strike all types of pickleball shots. It helps you improve your forehand shots. You need this during volleys, backhands, dink, shots, and overheads. It makes striking easier as it puts the racquet’s face in line with the palm.


This article is a learner’s guide on how to hold a pickleball paddle. It is your first step to becoming a pro at the game you love. The pickler is a constant learner and we hope you will not stop learning the game’s intricacies. We are rooting for you. 

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