How to Properly Hold a Pickleball Paddle at the Net

Struggling with the right way to hold a pickleball paddle at the net? You’re not alone! It’s an issue many players face.

This article aims to make you a better player by teaching you how to correctly hold your paddle at the net using methods preferred by professionals in the sport. Let’s delve into it!

Key Takeaways

  • Knowing how to hold a pickleball paddle at the net greatly boosts your game.
  • The ‘ten o’clock’ position is what professionals recommend for effective shots and blockage.
  • Using grips like continental or eastern allows you to respond quickly to any shot.
  • Practice makes perfect – keep training until holding your paddle correctly feels natural!

Correct Positioning to Hold a Pickleball Paddle at the Net

In the game of pickleball, holding your paddle correctly at the net is crucial for powerful and effective volleys. The twelve o’clock position means having the top edge of your paddle face straight up like a clock pointing to twelve.

Meanwhile, positioning in a nine o’clock stance implies that your wrist has twisted so that if there’s an imaginary clock in front of you, it points towards nine. Pros tend to prefer holding their paddles ready at the 10 o’clock position; this provides them with better speed, agility, and flexibility when making volleys or dinks from their forehand or backhand side.

Twelve O’Clock Position

The twelve o’clock position is one of the most fundamental ways to hold a pickleball paddle at the net. Pickleball players place their paddles in this orientation to prepare for both a forehand and backhand return shot.

This positioning requires you to imagine your paddle facing directly upwards as if it were pointing towards 12 on a clock face, hence the name. This is generally considered a neutral grip and allows for better maneuverability during volleys or dinks over the net.

Nine O’Clock Position

Holding the paddle at the nine o’clock position, akin to a full backhand position, has its place. This technique provides excellent readiness for a quick volley on your left side if you’re right-handed and vice versa if you are left-handed.

However, pros express caution with this stance due to something known as exposing the ‘chicken wing’. Your elbow juts outwards when you hold your paddle like this: vulnerable and open for an experienced opponent to exploit it with unexpected body shots.

Despite this, many players from tennis backgrounds favor this style as it feels familiarly comfortable.

The Preferred Position by Professionals

Pros generally hold the paddle at a ten o’clock position, slightly favoring the backhand side at the net. They find this allows for quick reaction and swift movement in executing both forehand and backhand shots efficiently.

Moreover, it aids in blocking body shots effectively due to already having the paddle in the correct position to defend this type of shot.

Importance of Proper Pickleball Paddle Positioning at the Net

Optimal positioning of your pickleball paddle at the net can drastically change the course of a game. The ability to quickly transition between different shots is largely dictated by how you hold and position your paddle.

With it held up high and in front, you are ready for quick volleys, defensive blocks, or aggressive slams. A well-placed paddle gives greater control over shot direction; setting up either softly placed dinks into the non-volley zone or powerful drives toward the opponent’s feet.

Holding it too low makes you vulnerable to overhead smashes while keeping it too close to your chest reduces maneuverability for wide shots.

Mastering techniques like holding your paddle in a ‘ten o’clock’ backhand position increases anticipatory readiness for both forehand and backhand returns without needing to shift their grip dramatically.

Proper pickleball paddle positioning at the net enhances response time, improves shot versatility and provides maximum court coverage – critical elements to obtain match victories! Proper positioning also prevents potential sports injuries linked with abrupt swing adjustments due to inefficient pre-shot setups.

The Best Grip for Holding a Pickleball Paddle at the Net

Explore the essential grips – the continental, eastern, and western grips – to help you master holding a pickleball paddle at the net. Discover which grip suits your playing style best.

Continental Grip

The continental grip reigns supreme among pickleball players due to its versatility. It lets you hold the paddle in a way that grants you quick and effective responses against any shots that cross your path.

No need for fumbling or hesitation; instead, it guarantees a swift response from forehand to backhand, allowing an easy transition between different shot types.

This grip is particularly advantageous when standing at the kitchen line close to the net. You’re ready for a volley, equipped to launch dinks over the net, and geared up for powerful forehand and backhand strokes.

Whether it’s defending body shots or prepping yourself for speedy volleys, employing this grip adds control, which can play a huge role in scoring points off your opponent.


Eastern Grip

The eastern grip is commonly used among pickleball players, especially beginners. This style of holding the pickleball paddle is similar to the continental grip, although this grip has the paddle slightly tilted instead of straight up and down.

As one of the two most versatile grips in pickleball – alongside the continental grip – it bestows players with quick movement abilities and an excellent defense against direct body hits.

eastern grip pickleball 1

Semi-Western Grip

The semi-western grip yields potent forehand shots. Favored by players with formidable forehand abilities, this grip delivers swift forehand shots while in the ready position.

However, it presents challenges when trying to defend lower shots due to the paddle face angle.

Though powerful in specific instances, an understanding of its limitations can help pickleball enthusiasts best employ the western grip effectively.



Holding a pickleball paddle correctly at the net can significantly improve your game. It’s important to choose the best grip and ensure correct positioning for quick, agile movements and effective shot-blocking.

Keep practicing until this becomes second nature — remember, practice is key to mastering any skill.

Related: Check out my BALLR Pro Pickleball Paddle Review!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get into the right position near the net in a game of pickleball?

The key lies in standing close to the kitchen with touching the kitchen line. You should place your body directly towards your opponent holding your paddle with either an eastern or continental grip for better reach and paddle maneuverability.

Can certain positions help defend against hard-hitting body shots?

Absolutely! A high paddle position or full backhand position can allow you greater control on defending powerful body shots whilst playing close to the volley zone line.

How should beginners hold their pickleball paddle when preparing to hit?

Beginners are often trained to hold their paddle using the continental grip; similar to shaking hands with the paddle.

Does the positioning of my wrist matter while hitting a volley?

Yes! Ensuring that your wrist is straight and firm will allow you to hit effective volleys.

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