How to Hold an Arcade Stick – Guide

How to Hold an Arcade Stick – Hand positioning

Frequently asked questions surrounding new owners of Fight sticks or even more experienced ones are: How do I hold this? What should my hand position be? Is the grip really that important?

The simple answer is not really. The hand positioning is not significant in any way, just as it is with a simple PC mouse. It is all a matter of personal preference. There is no perfect way to grip an Arcade stick. The only thing to avoid is grabbing the joystick from above, without the hand being planted on the Arcade stick. Many people complain about their fingers or hands hurting after a longer session, which is as annoying as easily corrected. With that being said, we can talk about the different type of grips that people use:

The two finger grip

In all of these grips we will be using our thumb, so just remember that as we’re moving along. The two finger grip includes your index finger and your middle finger (and of course your thumb). It’s as simple as grabbing your index and middle finger and putting it on your joystick with your thumb behind it, while your hand stays planted on the surface of the Arcade stick.

The three finger grip

This includes the index, middle and ring finger. This is more of a cupping motion, where you cup the joystick ball in the spot across these three fingers, with your thumb supporting it from behind. This grip to some people provides more control over the joystick, but yet again it is all personal preference.

The simple hand grip

This is fairly simple, its simply cupping the ball of the joystick inside your palm using all fingers (from the sides).

The “wine glass” grip

In this case you use your index and middle finger, or middle and ring fingers and putting it between the shaft of the joystick, and then you put your thumb over the balltop, and you hold it basically like holding a wine glass, hence the name.

The monkey grip

You take your ring and pinky finger and you put them on the shaft. Your index and middle finger hold the balltop, and you put the thumb over at top. You’re technically holding it like a monkey would, hence the name.

The eagle grip

You take your middle finger, press it against the shaft (that is pointing to you), your index finger goes behind the ball top and your thumb goes on top. It is important to have your wrist and hand straight when using this grip. You are using your thumb to guide the balltop and your two fingers to flick it (index and thumb).

The grip of doom

You put your palm on the balltop and grip it with your whole hand. This provides a lot of control, although it can exhaust after a while.

The douchebag

You put the palm on the top and that’s it. You don’t even grip it. There’s nothing interesting about this one really… hence the name.

The no homo

I’m not even kidding, that’s how its called. You put your pinky finger on the bottom side of the shaft, your ring finger on the top side of the shaft and your middle and index fingers on the top of the ball, and you only occasionally use the thumb. You have to hold the shaft and make sure you’re gripping the ball strongly for this method to work. You won’t have a straight fist for this one, your hand will have a diagonal position which will come natural.

In summary

It’s in your hands to find out which grip fits you best. Make sure to test all of these out, and if you encounter any discomfort switch to the next grip immediately.

Let’s talk about choosing the right surface

As far as positioning goes for Arcade sticks, there seem to be two choices. Either hold it in your lap, or place in or something stable. In the end, as long as the Arcade stick is stable and you have good control over it, this is still a matter of personal preference.

Your Lap

This is fairly simple, you place it on your lap and you’re good to go! A big plus for this is that you can play on your Arcade stick anywhere you wish without having to think of a good sturdy object to place it on. Of course, if you cannot manage to keep it steady, and if it’s dangling around this is not the ultimate choice for you!

A flat surface

It seems like there are two sub-points here that we need to address, and they are steadiness and comfort. Not all flat surfaces are comfortable, especially when you take into consideration the height difference between them and what you’re sitting on, which is why you will need to test different objects out.

As far as steadiness goes, if the Arcade stick does not… well, STICK to the surface, it seems rather smarter to keep searching for another object.

In the end you can even place it on the floor as long as the two criteria (comfort and steadiness) are met. We suggest you experiment and find the best option for yourself!