Learn the correct grip and technique for holding a padel racket. Improve your hitting power, control, and wrist movements. In padel, a good grip not only helps you hit the ball better but also makes the game more fun and safer. Let's take a look at why the right grip is so important.

The importance of the right grip

The way you hold the racket is the foundation of everything in padel. It determines how well you can hit the ball, in which direction, and with how much power. A good grip can improve your game and make it easier to hit the ball the way you want. It's like finding the right posture to throw a ball or steer a bicycle; it might feel strange at first, but once you get the hang of it, everything improves.

Control and power

A correct grip gives you more control over where the ball goes and how hard it goes. This means you can play more easily and have better chances of scoring points.

Preventing injuries

A good grip helps you use your muscles and joints correctly, reducing your risk of injuries. This not only makes playing padel more enjoyable but also healthier in the long term.

Impact on shots

In padel, a basic grip helps you make many different kinds of shots without having to move your hand. Other, more specific grips can help with special shots, such as adding a spin to the ball.

The basics: The continental grip

When you start playing padel (or even if you've been playing for a while), there's one grip you really need to know: the continental grip, also known as the hammer grip. Why is it called that? Well, because you hold the racket as if you're holding a hammer to drive a nail into the wall. This grip is super important because it provides a good foundation for almost all shots in padel.

Follow these steps to use the continental grip:

  1. Imagine you're holding a hammer: Grab your racket by the handle as if you're holding a hammer.
  2. Place your hand: Make sure the bottom of your hand (where your wrist starts) aligns with the bottom of the racket.
  3. Thumb position: Your thumb lies flat along the back of the handle.
  4. Finger position: Your fingers wrap comfortably around the handle, but not too tightly. There should be a small space between your fingers and the palm of your hand, giving you some flexibility.

Remember: this grip should feel natural, as if you're ready to drive a nail with your racket as a hammer. This is the basic grip that helps you execute most shots in padel.

Variations on the continental grip

Once you're comfortable with the basic grip, there are a few variations you can use to make your shots even more effective.

Western Grip: For more slice

How: Rotate your hand further so that your palm faces more upwards when holding the racket.

When to use: Use this grip when you want to add a slice to your ball, meaning the ball gets a kind of backspin, making it slower when bouncing. This can surprise your opponent and change the speed of the game.

Enough space in your hand

When holding your racket, it's important that there's a small space between the palm of your hand and your fingers. This not only provides more flexibility in your grip but also helps reduce pressure on your hands. Gripping the handle too tightly can lead to fatigue and even long-term injuries.

How much space should there be?

The ideal space is about the width of an index finger. This means that when you hold your racket, you should be able to see the distance between your palm and your fingers, about as wide as your pinky.

Check the space: After holding the racket in the recommended manner, check the space between your palm and your fingers. There should be just enough space to provide flexibility without losing the sense of control.

Adjustments and overgrips

If you find that the handle of your racket is too thin, causing you to grip harder and have less space between your palm and your fingers, you can adjust this by using an overgrip.

Overgrip and base grip: An overgrip is an extra layer that you wrap around the handle of your racket to make it thicker. This provides more space between your fingers and your palm, giving you a more comfortable and flexible grip. A base grip is the first layer of grip on the racket, which can also be replaced for a better fit.

Choosing the right thickness: Be careful with adding too many layers, as a handle that's too thick can reduce the maneuverability of your racket and lead to wrist pain. The same goes for a handle that's too thin; it can cause the racket to rotate in your hand, which you want to avoid.

Extra tips for holding your racket

Holding your padel racket is not something you learn once and never adjust. No, it's a constant process of adjusting and refining, depending on the situation in the game. Here are some handy tips to improve your grip and thereby your game.

Correct hand position

It's crucial that your hand and fingers are positioned correctly around the racket. This is the key to an effective grip.

Fingers: Your fingers should wrap around the handle without using too much force. Imagine holding a living creature that you don't want to crush but also don't want to let escape.

Palm: This rests lightly against the handle. Your palm should not feel like it's enveloping the entire racket but rather playing a supporting role.

Adjusting the grip

Adjusting your grip based on the situation can significantly improve your game. Whether you're dealing with low or high balls, each situation can benefit from a little adjustment.

Low balls: Try positioning your hand slightly lower on the handle. This gives you more reach and helps you hit the ball easier from close to the ground. It also increases control over shots played closer to the net.

High balls: For high balls, do the opposite; shift your hand slightly higher on the handle. This gives you more power and control when hitting balls that are high in the air, like with a smash.

The more skilled the player, the more likely they are to hold the racket at the back. Certain professional players, such as Lamperti when performing the kick smash, choose to play with their pinky over the edge of the handle and use a thinner grip, which allows them to work more with their wrist. The Western grip is also considered ideal for executing specific shots, including the rulo, smash x3, slice, bajada, vibora, and the forehand volley.

March 29, 2024 — Jorn van t Klooster