How to Hold Table Tennis Racket
Table tennis supports a large variety of playing styles. These playing styles are often facilitated by the table tennis grip the player uses. A table tennis grip refers to the way a player holds a table tennis bat. There are no regulations for table tennis grips. This means that there is a range of varying grips for players to use.
Owing to the nature of the game, the way a ping pong paddle is held is a critical skill to master. But before you can master table tennis grips, you’d need to know some of the significant types of table tennis grips there are.
The Penhold Grip
As the name suggests, the Penhold grip gets its name from the position of the fingers. With this table tennis grip, the player’s index finger and the thumb are usually kept at the front of the handle, and the other three fingers are folded behind the racket’s head. So the players hold a bat as they would a pen. Here are the three main versions of the Penhold Grip:
The traditional Chinese Grip
With this grip, the bat’s blade is held so that it faces the ground. It is used by tennis players who love to play close to the table, as it allows them to push or block shots using backhand strokes while attacking the ball with forehand strokes.
This grip allows free movement of the wrist so that players can implement excellent forehand strokes. It also lets them add power to their serves while blocking and pushing on the backhand side quickly. This way, players who use the Chinese grip can bend their wrists to block shots with the forehand side of the blade while pushing the ball using the backhand.
As a result, there is no problem of indecision since the player uses the same forehand stroke to attack, counter, or defend.
One downside of this grip is that executing backhand topspins can be difficult. The other downside is that its lack of flexibility drains the player’s stamina since a lot of footwork is needed to compensate for the constant use of the forehand stroke.
The Japanese or Korean Grip
With this grip, the fingers on the back of the bat are straightened instead of curling, and the index and thumb fingers hold the front of the blade handle. It is the preferred grip for table tennis players that attack with forehand strokes. However, they often play farther away from the table and use rapid loops in the topspin fashion through the forehand in addition to blocking with the backhand.
This grip allows the players to have more power when attacking with the forehand side because the extended fingers provide support. The wrist movement of this grip makes it great for spinning and serving the ball a lot better.
On the flip side, it is challenging to execute backhand topspins while the extended fingers restrict the movement of the bat’s blade on the backhand stroke. It also requires a lot of stamina because to support the needed swift footwork.
The Reverse Penhold Backhand Grip
This grip involves using the back of the bat to hit balls that come over to the player’s backhand side, although it still requires the same finger arrangement needed for the traditional Chinese grip. It is the preferred grip for attack-minded table tennis players who love to play heavy topspin on both sides.
With this grip, players get to create powerful topspin backhand strokes that have a broad reach. It also allows flexible wrist movements, which facilitates the attack of short balls with their backhand grip.
The disadvantage of using the Reverse Penhold Backhand grip is the point of indecision. Players who opt for this grip might not produce topspins on the backhand side that do not have a little sidespin to them.
The Shakehand Grip
The Shakehand grip involves holding the ping pong bat with the index fingers on the side of the body-facing bat.
With this grip, the thumb rests on top of the other fingers. This encloses the blade handle, while the index finger is almost parallel to the edge of the rubber.
This grip gets this name because the blade rests on the V-shape created by the thumb and index finger. So in a way, the grip is similar to how the hand looks when you are about to shake hands with someone. The Shakehand grip has two variations: shallow and deep.
Shallow Shakehand Grip
With this grip, the thumb is kept on the blade. Players that often smash and drive are the ones who mostly use this grip. It is also the grip of choice for players who favor topspins, loops, or drives.
These players often favor the shallow shakehand grip because it allows them to readjust the bat’s angle when needed.
This flexibility allows quick shifts between forehand and backhand strokes and grants them all the power and spins they need when attacking the ball.
Sadly, the strength of this grip is also its weakness. There will always be a point where the player is indecisive about which stroke to use and an opponent could always exploit this breach.
Deep Shakehand Grip
This grip is the more defensive of both Shakehand grips. With this grip, the thumb relaxes on the bat’s rubber. It is excellent for both backhand and forehand strokes because it allows players to switch between strokes easily.
By its design, this grip does not need the flexibility of the wrist. It gives players a level of bat control that enables backspins when hitting the ball. There is no need to move the pingpong paddle around, which reduces the need for attack balls over the table.
The Seemiller Grip
This table tennis grip is seen as a variant of the Shakehand grip because of the similarities in the position of the fingers holding the table tennis bat. With this grip, the tip of the forefinger is placed around the edge of the paddle. Both thumb and index fingers hold either side of the table tennis bat at a 90-degree turn.
This grip allows the free movement of the wrist so players can implement excellent forehand strokes. Besides the ease it affords attacking play, this grip also enables users to easily block and counter-attacks from the table’s forehand or backhand sides. It also supports flexible wrist movement, which eliminates the issue of the crossover point that opponents exploit.
However, the Seemiller Grip has a poor backhand wrist movement that is its weak point. This flaw restricts topspin and returns when playing. So with this grip, the spins and returns are average at best.
With the V-grip, the blade of the table tennis paddle stays between the player’s index and middle fingers. These fingers fold in such a way that they form a “V” shape.
The paddle’s blade should allow the player’s index and middle fingers to wrap around the edge. The grip is such that the player’s ring and pinky fingers cover the paddle’s handle, and the thumb remains in the most comfortable position.
It is the grip of choice for table tennis players looking for more power and spin when attacking the ball. This is because players who use it have excellent control and increased leverage that allows them to execute wide-angle shots due to the nature of the grip.
On the flip side, opponents can aim shots at the elbows of the player using the V-grip since the grip does not allow players to handle such shots. This is because using forehand and backhand strokes requires some overlapping — which the V-grip won’t allow. The only way to manage these elbow shots is to have speedy footwork to compensate for the lack of flexibility.
One other downside of the V-grip is that it is still in its experimental phase, so there are not too many coaches who have mastered it enough to teach it. So you might not find a seasoned V-grip coach.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
What Is The Best Grip For Beginners?
Different beginners of the game of table tennis will have different capabilities and, by extension, different preferences; the Shallow Shakehand is an excellent choice for beginners.
This is large because of its natural grip that gives the player a sense of balance. Better still, it is less complicated than the other table tennis grips.
What Are Some Best Pingpong Grips For Attacking Players?
Attacking play in a table tennis game will require some level of flexibility and excellent wrist movement. Most of the best attack-minded players prefer the following ping pong grips: the Seemiller Grip, the Japanese/Korean Penhold Grip, and the Deep Shakehand Grip.
How to Hold Table Tennis Racket / Bat / Paddle?
- Hold the handle of the table tennis bat with your fingers wrapped around it, and the thumb closing the fist.
- Open up your index finger and thumb before pushing your hand up the handle — this prevents space between your bat padding and your middle finger.
- Place your index finger on the backhand rubber while resting your thumb on your middle finger towards the forehand rubber.
- Now, your middle, ring, and pinky fingers shouldn’t be wrapped around the handle.
- Your thumb should be closing the fist and the index fingers firmly placed on the backhand side.
What Is Penhold Grip In Table Tennis?
The Penhold grip in table tennis is a kind of grip where the table tennis bat is held with the head facing down. The bat is held like it is a pen hence the name “Penhold”.
What Are The Different Types Of Grip In Table Tennis?
There are multiple grips in table tennis which are often variations of the following:
- The Penhold Grip
- The Shakehand Grip
- The V-Grip
- The Seemiller Grip
What Is The Best Grip For Table Tennis?
That depends on the table tennis player because there are both left-handed and right-handed players with varying capabilities. So what works for you might not work for the next player. That said, the Shakehand grip is the most commonly used because of the technique and how easy it is to learn it.
Table tennis is an individual sport that requires a lot of speed and split-second decision-making. One way to enjoy the game is to know the correct table tennis grips to use. And the best way to know the correct grip for you is to understand all the grips out there. That way, you get to know what works for you and what doesn’t.
Hopefully, this article has been able to help you identify the ping pong grip that suits you best. Well, now that you know, how about using the information you just gained?
My name is Cosmos Boll and I’m 26 years old. I’m Chinese and live in Shanghai.
I am a table tennis enthusiast and a professional table tennis coach.
My idol is Timo Boll who is the greatest player in the world.