What’s the best grip for pickleball?
Like most things pickleball, the answer is it depends. If you come from another
racket or paddle sport, chances are you’re going to
bring that grip with you. But what if you don’t come from another
sport or what if that grip isn’t working in your pickleball game? What then? Hey everybody it’s CJ Johnson. In
addition to coaching pickleball, I coach skiing and golf. You can tell a lot about a person’s
aptitude for the sport by how well they do the basics and pickleball is no exception. If you want to get better and get
better quickly focus on the basics. Things like footwork and grip. Today
we’re going to focus on your grip, but if you stick around to the end, I’ll make sure to share a link to
one of my favorite footwork videos. Some of you might be thinking, Hey
CJ, what’s all the fuss about a grip? I mean hold the darn paddle. Well, how you hold the paddle is going to
influence the trajectory and the speed of the ball. I’m curious, which grip do
you use? If you know the name for it, put it in the comments below or if you
brought it from another racket or paddle sport, share that down below as well. When I’m teaching new players or somebody
who’s struggling with their grip, I prefer to teach the continental grip. I think it’s the most universal grip
for moving the paddle from your forehand side to your backhand side. In tennis, most players use one grip on the forehand
and a different grip on the backhand. Unlike tennis, the court’s much shorter and there’s not
a lot of time to change from one grip to the other. The continental
grip looks like this, the V formed by the thumb and the four
finger are on the side of the paddle and the joint just below your
index fingers sits on the top. If you hold the paddle like this and
simply slide your hand down to the grip, you should be in the correct position. Another way to approach the paddle
is like you’re shaking hands. When my hand is in the correct position, if feels like I’m using my
fingers to control the paddle. I often see players start with the
continental grip and then they allow it to slide into the palm of their hand. When it’s not in your fingers and
it’s more in the palm of your hand, it becomes more difficult
to control the paddle face, which in turn impacts the
trajectory of the ball. You might just be experiencing more popups
if you’ve got that paddle in the palm of your hand. Often you’ll see a player grip the paddle
with one or more than one finger on the paddle and typically it’s the index
finger or the second finger on the back of the paddle. I’m not a big advocate of that unless
you bring that grip with you from ping pong and that’s something
that you’re used to. Now the advantage to it is it helps to
stabilize the paddle movement by having the finger there. The big disadvantage is when I turn
and I put this on the back hand side, those fingers take up a lot
of room on the paddle face. The other thing that tends to
happen is when I start to do that, I tend to move the paddle into the
palm of the hand and as I said before, often when the paddle is
in the palm of your hand, it’s very difficult to control the
trajectory of the ball as long as we’re focusing on grip. Let’s focus
a little bit on grip pressure. When you have tension in your grip, it travels from your grip into your
forearm all the way up into your arm and shoulder. It impacts your natural ability
to swing the pickleball paddle. It is extremely difficult to hit soft
shots with a lot of grip tension. Here’s something that may help.
Let’s use a scale of one to 10. One will be your lightest grip pressure, so hold the paddle with a grip that’s so
light that if I walked by and pulled on your pickleball paddle, it would
come right out of your hand. Now let’s go to the other extreme 10. I want you to hold that pickleball
paddle so tight it almost makes your arm hurt. If I tried to pull it out
of your hand, it won’t budge. Now that you know the two extremes, I want you to hold the
pickleball paddle one more time. This time find number five, something that’s right in between your
number one lightest and your number 10 the hardest. Most pickleball shots should be played
with a grip pressure of somewhere between three and five. Another strategy that I use to alleviate
tension while I’m playing games is to actually take the pickleball paddle
out of my playing hand between points. That allows my hand to loosen up
and when I take my grip again, I’m aware of my grip pressure
and keeping it light. One last consideration is
the grip size of your paddle. A general rule of thumb is there should
be enough space to fit your index finger between your Palm and your fingertips. This grip is just about
right. This grip is too small. See how my thumb overlaps my fingers? If you’re purchasing a new pickleball
paddle and you’re not sure what size to get, use a ruler. Your
palm has three creases. Measure the distance from the tip of your
ring finger down to the middle crease in your Palm as shown in this photo. If you’re in between sizes, make
sure you choose the smaller size. It’s much easier to build up a grip
than it is to make a big grip smaller. A couple caveats about grip.
If you come from another sport, tennis racket ball ping pong, try
that grip on the pickleball court. See if it works for you. If
it doesn’t, don’t change it. If you decide to make a grip change, I run command applying the two
PP’s, precision and patience. Precision. When you’re changing
that grip every time you do it, take your hand off and put it
back on the pickleball paddle. Making sure that your hand
is in the right position. Patience because you’re
changing your grip, you are changing your only
connection to the pickleball paddle. Chances are you’re going to hit some
errant shots during the process. Improving the basics is going to help
you become a better pickleball player. By the way, here’s that link to the
footwork video that I mentioned earlier. If you got value from watching this video, give it a thumbs up or share it with
your pickleball playing friends, because together we can. Train Smart, Live Bold and Age Well.

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Dennis Veasley

5 thoughts on “Pickleball Basics-The Best Pickleball Grip”

  1. Continental grip. I just realized watching that only a short time ago I'd started putting a finger on the back to "stabilize" my paddle (on the well-meaning advice of an instructor). Coincidentally, in the last little while I have had balls bounce off fingers of my paddle hand. I hadn't realized the correlation until just now…that never happened when I didn't have a finger on the edge of the paddle face. Time to change back!

  2. I came from squash and found I struggled with my grip when starting out in pickle ball. I am still a newbie and am still adjusting my grip. this video as well as your others are greatly appreciated.

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