How to Grip Your Pickleball Paddle!

A number of years ago, I put out an article on how to grip your paddle.
Even though it’s a pretty in depth article about the different grips (e.g., the handshake grip, the claw grip), there’s more to talk about when gripping your paddle!
If the claw grip works for you, keep using it! Same for the handshake grip!
Because it doesn’t stop there – depending on the situation, there’s a bit more information about grips other than which one you use! Including what you can do to prevent those dreaded pop-ups!

On a Scale of 1 to 10

At both clinics and bootcamps, during the session on the drop shot I’ll ask what type of grip should you use.
But I’m not referring to the handshake or claw grips!
I clarify my question – “On scale of 1 to 10, with a 1 about to fall out of your hand, and a 10 being the death grip, how strong should you be gripping your paddle?”
I typically recommend somewhere around a four or five for the drop shots.
When you use that death grip, holding onto the paddle for all that it’s worth, that strength and power is transferred to your paddle!
Often resulting in popping the ball up for an awesome putaway by your opponent!
Keeping the grip at a four or five softens the strike on the ball, giving it the opportunity to fall into the Kitchen!

Getting Even Lower

You may need to adjust your grip further depending on the situation!
I ask the same question when we’re about to get to dinking.
No one volunteers that the death grip is recommended for dinking!
At the line during dinking rallies, I recommend that the grip be even softer, somewhere around a 3 on our scale of 1 to 10.
A soft grip helps you make those unattackable dinks!

BONUS! How to Prevent the Death Grip!

Move your feet!
“Excuse me – I thought we were talking about how to grip your paddle?”
We are! Especially when dinking, I recommend moving to get in front of the ball.
If you plant yourself in the center of your side of the court and don’t move side to side, there’s a good chance you may be stretching or reaching for the ball.
Stretching that arm out makes that grip even tighter, resulting in, you guessed it, a dreaded popup!
Moving side to side and getting in front of the ball prevents you from reaching for the ball, which also helps in controlling that nice, soft grip that you’ve developed for your dinks!

HELP! I Can’t Seem to Loosen My Grip!

So you keep popping the ball up, and you know it’s because of how tight you’re holding the paddle.
But you can’t seem to loosen that grip!
Here’s a couple of tricks you can try!
First, try taking your thumb off the paddle!
If that feels too awkward (like it seems if the paddle will fall out of your hand!), you can try a grip where your thumb is on the side of the handle.

When you put your thumb on the side, or completely off the paddle, it’s very difficult to tighten your grip, so your strike on the ball is much softer!
At my clinics and bootcamps, you’ll hear me say “Paddle Up!” and “Don’t Back Up!” a lot! “Loose Grip!” is a close third!

Want to Have an Amazing Pickleball Experience?

I just completed another successful bootcamp in Tucson, and the eight participants were thrilled! Not only did they love how their games improved, they had such a great time and lots of fun! One participant stated this was the best holiday she ever had! If you’re ready to experience yourself how to play smarter, get a perfect drop shot, unattackable dinks, dance with your partner, and have a super fun time, sign up for a bootcamp today!

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