Mastering the Grip: How to Hold a Pickleball Paddle

by Kristina Tamas on October 06, 2023

A proper grip is essential for success in pickleball. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced player, knowing how to hold a pickleball paddle correctly can greatly improve your game. In this article, we will guide you through the different grip techniques, providing easy-to-follow instructions based on relevant sources. Let's dive into the art of holding a pickleball paddle and learn how to optimize your grip!

Understanding the Basics

Before exploring the various grip styles, let's establish a few fundamental principles that apply to all grips:

Relax Your Grip

Avoid tensing your hand or gripping the paddle too tightly. Keeping a relaxed grip promotes better wrist action, agility, and overall comfort.

Maintain Balanced Grip Pressure

Find the right balance between a loose and a tight grip. Your grip should be firm enough to control the paddle, but not so tight that it restricts your wrist's natural motion.


Being adaptable on the court is crucial. You may need to adjust your grip based on the shot you want to execute or the situation at hand. Familiarizing yourself with different grips will provide you with the versatility needed to respond effectively.

Girl playing with a pickleball paddle


Learn About Three Primary Grip Styles

Eastern Grip

The Eastern grip is the most popular and widely used grip in pickleball. Follow these steps to optimize your Eastern grip:

  • Hold the paddle with your non-dominant hand, positioning the handle against the base of your fingers.
  • Wrap your fingers around the handle, allowing your thumb to rest comfortably on the paddle's face.
  • Maintain a relatively neutral wrist position, neither excessively cocked nor overly extended.

By mastering the Eastern grip, you will have a balanced grip that offers both power and control, enabling you to execute various shots, including forehands, backhands, and volleys.

Continental Grip

The Continental grip is commonly used for serving and executing backhand shots. To optimize your Continental grip, follow these steps:

  • Begin with the Eastern grip as your foundation.
  • Gradually adjust your hand position by slightly shifting your grip towards the center of the handle, bringing your hand closer to the face of the paddle.
  • Position your thumb more towards the left side (for a right-handed player), aligning it with the left edge of the handle.

By optimizing the Continental grip, you will enhance wrist mobility, making it easier to generate topspin and execute precise backhand shots.

Western Grip

The Western grip is less common in pickleball but can be useful for specific shots. Here's how to optimize your Western grip:

  • Start with the Eastern grip as your base.
  • Gradually shift your hand towards the right side of the handle (for a right-handed player), placing your thumb closer to the right edge of the handle.
  • This grip creates a more pronounced angle between the paddle face and your forearm.

Optimizing the Western grip allows you to generate topspin more effectively and provides better reach for shots requiring greater wrist pronation, such as low volleys and high lobs.


Experiment and Find Your Ideal Grip

While the Eastern, Continental, and Western grips serve as the foundation for holding a pickleball paddle, it's essential to find what works best for you. Consider experimenting with different grips and adjustments to determine which one feels most comfortable and allows you to execute shots effectively.

Mastering the art of holding a pickleball paddle is key to improving your game. Remember to prioritize relaxation, balance, and adaptability in your grip. If you are still beginner you can check our tips for beginners and learn more about pickleball serving rules so you can get more insighs which grip would be the best for you.

To summarize, optimizing your grip involves finding the right balance of pressure, adapting to different shot requirements, and experimenting to discover your ideal grip style. By following these guidelines and practicing regularly, you'll be well on your way to improving your pickleball game.