Gripping the padel racket correctly and properly is essential to execute good shots and, at the same time, prevent injuries.You can hold the padel racket in different ways, but if one of them stands out above the others due to its great versatility, it is the continental grip.
This is the grip with which we will play with the vast majority of the time and, with it, we can execute any padel stroke. For this reason, this is the first thing that one should learn when someone starts to play padel, to hold the racket correctly using this grip.
In today’s article we are going to talk about the continental grip, the most versatile and universal grip in padel.
HOW TO HOLD THE CONTINENTAL GRIP
The easiest way to teach how to hold the padel racket with the continental grip is to tell the person to hold the racket as if it were a hammer and you wanted to drive a nail with the racket, it is as simple as that. This is why it is sometimes also called and known as the hammer grip.
With this grip, if you look at your hand from above, you will see that a sort of “V” is formed on the left side of the handle (if you are right-handed).
BENEFITS OF USING THE CONTINENTAL GRIP
– Easy to learn.
It is probably the easiest and quickest grip to learn. Anyone, even the first day they pick up the racket, will be able to ”get to grips” with this grip quickly and easily.
– You can use it for all strokes.
As we have already advanced in the introduction, with this grip we will be able to execute any stroke in padel.
– We are always ready.
In padel, the distances are small and the ball often comes at us very quickly, so we don’t have time to change the grip and hit comfortably. So, the fact that we don’t have to change grip is great for us.
– Favours a simple and efficient game.
Holding the racket with this grip allows for more linear and flat strokes.
In addition, with just a few small adaptations in the movement of the wrist and elbow joint, we can execute the different strokes in a simple and effective way.
– Allows an impact close to the body.
This grip favours hitting close to the body, ensuring a solid and stable point of impact, which gives us greater control of the ball and greater safety in our shots.
– Helps prevent injuries.
Equally important – It is a grip that feels very natural and the wrist is not forced in any stroke. So it is perfect.
– It avoids mistakes.
Furthermore, by not having to change grip, we ensure that, whatever the ball that comes, we will not have a bad grip on the racket for the next shot.
– Makes it easier to hit shots below the waist.
In addition, this grip makes it easier to hit shots below the waist. This is very important because, in padel, except when we make a smash, our opponents will always try to bring the ball down as far as possible.
– Helps to execute the slice shot.
This grip will allow us to easily execute flat shots and also the slice shots, frequently used in padel.
WHEN TO USE ANOTHER GRIP
As a general rule, for beginners and even intermediate players, we recommend not to change grips and to always play with the continental grip because of the difficulty that this implies.
However, we can find some cases in which some players are almost “forced” to change the continental grip for another one.
For example, most children, because they are not tall enough and not strong enough, cannot hit forehand and backhand shots safely and effectively with a continental grip. In these cases, it is very common to see how they hold the racket with a forehand (eastern) grip to hit the forehand and with a backhand (eastern) grip or with two hands to hit the backhand.
It is also very common to see, at beginner levels, how some players use an East forehand when the ball comes high and they have to hit a smash with the continental, because they don’t know how to make the wrist movement that is necessary.
In advanced or professional levels this is not the case because, sometimes, during a point, they find themselves with some shots or very specific situations with which, with a continental grip, they would not be able to get all the performance and benefit they could from that shot.
Thus, for example, advanced and professional players usually change the continental grip when they have a smash and want to hit the ball out x3, or when they want to return the ball to their court, or when they want to make a curl, or when the ball has been left behind them and is almost touching the ground, etc.
However, as mentioned, the cases in which you need to change grip will still be few if we compare them with the amount of strokes we will make with the continental grip.
CONSIDERATIONS WHEN GRIPPING THE PADEL RACKET
In addition to teaching how to hold the correct grip to play padel, when a person starts playing padel, it is also worth observing how they are holding the racket while they play, as they can often hold it in the wrong way.
The 3 most typical mistakes that occur in beginners when gripping the padel racket are:
– Gripping the racket too low. Part of the hypothenar eminence and the little finger (and sometimes even the whole finger) are off the handle.
– Holding it too high. Part of the handle protrudes below your hand.
– Extend the index finger over the handle.
– Hold the padel bat with two hands by placing one hand on top of the other.
You should hold the padel bat so that the base of the hypothenar eminence rests on the underside of the handle and all fingers are gripping the handle. We should feel completely comfortable with the grip.
While we are not hitting the ball, the bat should be held securely so that it does not slip away, but not too tightly either, otherwise our forearm would be exhausted in a very short time. It is only when we are about to hit the ball that we must have a firm grip on the racket to ensure a solid and stable impact.
Although the continental grip is the most versatile grip, the most used and the one that should be taught to anyone who is starting out in padel, this does not mean that other grips should not also be taught.
In fact, when a player has already left behind the initiation stage and has already acquired a certain level and solidity in his game, it is good that he learns and tries other types of grips, in this way, he sees and experiences for himself what results he obtains, in what type of balls and situations it works for him, etc.
The first step, therefore, would be to learn how to hold the new grips, and then to learn how to change the grip while we are playing. But of course, mastering how to change grip efficiently and quickly during a point is going to take some practice, especially in padel, where distances are short and the ball comes at us very quickly.
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