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How to choose the best pickleball paddle grip shape for you


By Brynn Grissom

on Feb 13, 2024

Pickleball paddle grip shape and size can affect a player's performance.

When selecting a pickleball paddle, there are many considerations to make, including the paddle face and thickness. 

But one often overlooked area can greatly affect a player’s comfort with a pickleball paddle: the handle. 

The handle can vary in both grip size and length, both of which can affect how a player performs and cause physical problems if not matched correctly. As more paddles hit the market, another factor has become a consideration — the shape of the handle. 

How pickleball paddle grip thickness affects performance

The circumference of pickleball paddles varies, generally anywhere between 4 inches to 4.75 inches. 

There are numerous methods to select which grip size is best for you, but typically you should search for a handle that fits snugly in your hand. Not only will this allow you the most control, but it also can prevent injury. 

A grip that is too large can cause your hand to open too much, restricting wrist motion. A grip that is too small can cause you to over-squeeze the paddle while playing and lead to tennis elbow. 

Pickleball paddle handle length affects the sweet spot

Pickleball handle lengths not only affect a player’s reach but also where a sweet spot sits on the paddle. 

Typically speaking, the longer the handle, the more reach a player has. However, a longer handle — typically 5.5 inches or longer — also moves the sweet spot higher up on a paddle face. Longer handles are typically ideal for players who prefer a two-handed backhand or who want to generate more power. 

A shorter pickleball handle — typically 4 inches to 4.75 inches — is usually associated with a greater, more centered sweet spot. As such, paddles with shorter handles typically allow players to minimize mishits. 

How to choose the right pickleball grip shape for you

The shape of your pickleball paddle grip can also impact how comfortable you feel with a paddle. 

Generally, most pickleball paddles will come with a uniform grip shape, so players may have to decide whether the grip shape or paddle face is more important to them. That’s why it’s important to test your pickleball paddle before buying. 

Round

A rounded grip shape can be a good option for general players because it fits universally in each player’s hand. It can lend itself to any type of playing grip, whether continental, semi-Western, or Western. 

Square

Players who converted from ping pong often prefer a square-shaped handle because it feels similar to a ping pong paddle. This shape is also beneficial for players who prefer the continental, or “handshake,” playing grip. 

Octagonal 

Octagonal grips are often preferred by players with tennis or other racket sports experience. The octagonal shape, featured in the Vanguard Control, allows players to easily find their preferred playing grip as they switch from backhand to forehand shots by feeling for the ridges. 

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