How to Hold a Pickleball Paddle | Three techniques with tips

Most of the time when you can’t hit the ball as you intend despite following nearly all the techniques. the problem can be a wrong holding method. Because believe it or not, the skill for playing pickleball like a pro basically lies in holding the pickleball paddle correctly. So the matter of concern is, how to hold a pickleball paddle and where exactly to hold it.

Well, there are three paddle holding techniques – continental, western, and eastern, but prior to that it always comes down to basic paddle grabbing way. Other than these techniques there are a few other concerns as the tackiness of the grip, hand switching, and tips regarding finger placement on the paddle. The paddle holding technique is also affected by the grips on your paddle so crosscheck the grips as well and make sure it fits on your hand perfectly.

How and where to hold a pickleball paddle; Pickleball Paddle Holding Techniques:

To start explaining how to hold a pickleball paddle, let us begin with the three pickleball holding techniques i.e continental, eastern, and western. These grips are also popular with different names as the standard, semi-western, and hammer grips but they are all the names of these three. So let’s get with the continental first.

Standard or Continental: Easiest Pickleball paddle grip

 Easiest Pickleball paddle grip

Continental grips, perhaps are the easiest and most popular gripping technique. The grip is simply like you are shaking your hand or holding the hammer. These are one of the reasons this technique is called the “shaking hand” or “holding hammer” technique. In fact, many beginner players use standard grips without even knowing it. 

However, in order to make sure you are using the continental group the right, here’s what you need to comply with; “The V you have made with the thumb and the index finger should point you straightly”. 

However, the condition is not compulsory. Meaning that it allows for variation for how you want the “V” to face you. Though, it does affect the gripping power as neutral, weak, and strong. So let’s deep dive into what position can give you what benefits. 

The neutral grip is exactly what condition we have explained above i.e when the “V” is facing straight towards you. It allows for switching between forehand and backhand pretty easily – one of the lovely benefits of this grip type. Other than that, it gives little to no strain compared to other gripping types and it allows for hitting a good variety of shots

When the “V” is facing towards your right hand, it is called the “strong grip” and it actually lives up to its name. Those players obsessed with overhead smashes use this technique most often and overhead shots are exactly why this technique is famous for. However, it never goes well for underhand shots and dinks. 

The last we have is the weak grip in which the “V” will point you towards the left. As per the name, it actually is a weak grip for all the shots unless you use spin shots. Likewise, it is the least used grip in pickleball. 

Western or semi-western: best forehand pickleball paddle grip

If you have ever flown a swat (obviously, who didn’t?) you’ll get a good hand on this grip type. The trick is simple, you will have to put your hand at the back of the paddle so the paddle’s surface will be at the front. For calculation purposes, turn the wrist in the right angle clockwise for the right-handed players. Left-handed players will do the same in an anticlockwise direction. 


Though, this is mostly preferred for intermediate and experts as to how professional it is. In addition, it also allows adding power while hitting the shots and you can make pretty nice overhead shots as well. 

The western technique is basically for the forehands and topspin. It gives power and precision to play and ace all the forehand shots. However, on the downside, western pickleball paddles make it really to play backhand shots. 


The last holding technique is the eastern one, and it is quite similar to both above; the continental grip from the holding point of view and positioning from the western grips. For the eastern grip, you have to grip a pickleball paddle like shaking your hand the paddle should be in between the center of your body facing right and left equally. 

It is compatible to use for both backhand and forehand shots and this is what most players use who can’t decide which one (forehand or backhand ) grip should opt for.

Other factors to look into:

Tight or loose grips:

The grips on your hand must be firm but not too much that it starts making red marks on your hand. It also causes staring and fatigue as well. On the other hand, a loose grip will not give you enough benefits for making powerful shots. Therefore, a firm but the decent grip is recommended i.e something like 70% tight and 30% loose. 

In addition, you also have to check the position as you are holding the paddle with your palm or your fingers. Generally, it is recommended to have your fingers dominate the paddle other than the palm otherwise the handle will end up getting choked. 

Top or bottom:

bottom grip

Whether you hold the pickleball paddle from the top or bottom – entirely depends on what condition you choose from the following; 

A bottom grip will give you more reach towards the nets so that you can hit without missing any shot. Another benefit of a bottom grip is the power that the ending of the handle provides for making shots smooth and powerful! 

In contrast, holding the paddle from the upper side of the handle will give more control than power. Though, this is for making spin shits too. Moreover, it decreases the reach of the paddle too.

Frequently asked questions:

“Continental grips” are the most common and frequently adopted ones in pickleball. Since they are the simplest, cause the least strain, and are most effective to play a number of shorts, they are the most popular grip in pickleball.

In most cases, a grip on your paddle decides the power of your paddle so it should be tight and firm, but not too much that it starts causing straining and stretches in your arms and hand.

It is allowed to switch hands in pickleball, however, it can be a bit hard sometimes, especially when exchanging volleys.


With the three best pickleball holding techniques i.e continental, western, and eastern, we are now hoping you have a better understanding of how to hold a pickleball paddle. Although, it always comes down to which one’s the most comfortable for you, in what grip you feel the more reach and power, and which one works fine for you.

Well, here’s a tip; you can try and practice each of them to decide which one’s right for you and then keep sticking to it. Moreover, you can also reach us through comments for any paddle holding query and any suggestion, we’d love to hear from you.

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