These are the three common ways that players hold their pickleball paddles. Which one are you?
A. Eastern Grip aka “Shake Hands” Grip
The Eastern grip is the most common grip in pickleball. It is a neutral grip that can be used for both forehands and backhands without having to change your grip, which is helpful when you’re engaged in a handles battle at the non-volley zone line because you often won’t have enough time to change grips.
To find the Eastern grip:
- Place your playing hand on the face of the paddle
- Drag your hand down until you can grip the handle
- Your grip should resemble how you would shake someone’s hand
B. Western Grip aka “Frying Pan” or “Pancake” Grip
The Western grip is less common. This grip resembles how you may hold a frying pan when you flip a pancake. The Western grip favors the forehand and offers a lot of spin but a key disadvantage to using this grip is that backhand shots tend to be more awkward. This is why you’ll see players with a Western grip hitting their backhands and forehands on the same side of the paddle.
To find the Western grip:
- Place your playing hand on the face of the paddle and drag it down the face of the paddle, and grip the handle.
- Rotate the paddle roughly 60-90 degrees toward the ground (left side of the paddle face for righties, and the right side of the paddle face for lefties)
- Your grip should sit in your hand like you would grip a frying pan
C. The Continental Grip aka “Hammer” Grip
The Continental grip is another common way that players use to grip their pickleball paddle. This grip is similar to Eastern but, instead of shaking hands with your paddle, you’re gripping it like you would a hold hammer. Opposite of the Western grip which favors forehand shots, the Continental grip favors backhand shots because your knuckles are facing the net.
To find the Continental grip:
- Place your playing hand on the face of the paddle, drag it down the face of the paddle, and grip the handle
- Rotate the paddle roughly 60-90 degrees toward the ground (right side of the paddle face for righties, and the left side of the paddle face for lefties)
The various ways of gripping your paddle offer their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, you’ll want to choose a way of gripping your paddle that is comfortable and complements your style of play. If you prefer hitting mostly forehands and imparting a lot of spin, the Western grip might be ideal. If you tend to hit a lot of backhands, the Continental grip might be the way to go. If you are unsure of your natural tendencies or just starting to take up pickleball, Eastern grip is the probably the best option because it is a nice compromise between Western and Continental.
I honestly have not really thought much about how I grip my paddle. I just hold it in a way that feels comfortable for me and it has served me well. If I had to describe my grip, it’s probably Eastern/Continental. Anyway, check out this video from Glen Peterson and Pickleball Central. Glen does an excellent job of explaining the three types of grip above.