How To Hold A Ping Pong Paddle - Learn The Best Way To Hold

How To Hold a Ping Pong Paddle Like a Pro

Last Updated on March 26, 2024

Ping pong is a popular sport and is played all around the world. With that being said, you can understand that there are different playing styles and ping pong grips which depend on the region and culture. Different grips, such as the shakehand and various penhold styles, have been developed and popularized in different parts of the world, each contributing unique advantages and characteristics to a player’s game.

One of the biggest differences between playing styles from different regions and cultures would be the way players hold a common grip on a ping pong paddle. Many ping pong players use one way of holding a ping pong paddle that is called shakehand grip, choice for players. while some of the other players prefer holding the ping pong paddle in a different way that is called penhold grip.

Maybe you have a question, how to hold a ping pong paddle chinese style?

Well, European players are mostly using shakehand grip while with some Chinese players, you will most likely spot penhold grip more often.

Steps to Hold a Ping Pong Paddle?

1. Fingers around the table tennis bat grip, thumb sealing the fist.
2. Before lifting up the paddle handle, open your index and thumb to avoid space between your bat padding and middle finger.
3. Rest your thumb on your middle finger toward the forehand inverted rubber and index finger on the backhand rubber.
4. The middle, ring, and tiny fingers softly clasp the handle.
5. The thumb closes the fist and the index finger grips the other hand.

How To Hold a Ping Pong Paddle?

Gearing up for a game of table tennis? One of the first skills to master before you start rallying is understanding the different grip types and the proper way to hold a ping pong paddle. Finding your natural grip that provides a comfortable and natural feeling is crucial.

The grip you use can drastically affect your gameplay, impacting your excellent control, spin, and overall performance. Let’s explore the various grips and understand how to hold a ping pong paddle for optimized play.

Shakehand Grip

How to Hold

  • Extend your hand as if you are going to shake hands with someone.
  • Place the handle in your palm, with your fingers wrapping around one side and your thumb on the opposite side.

Benefits: This popular grip offers balanced control for both forehand and backhand strokes and is intuitive and comfortable for most players.

Penhold Grip

How to Hold

  • Imagine you’re holding a pen to write.
  • Hold the handle with your thumb and index finger encircling the handle.

Benefits: The Penhold Grip allows for superior control and ball spin, especially for forehand strokes, and facilitates quick, agile play.

The V-Grip

How to Hold

  • Position the handle between the V shape created by your thumb and index finger.
  • Ensure your thumb is on one side of the handle and the index finger on the other.

Benefits: This grip enhances spin and speed and allows for rapid wrist movements for unpredictable and strategic play.

The Seemiller Grip

How to Hold

  • Hold the paddle with a closed fist.
  • Let your thumb and index finger rest against the bottom of the handle.

Benefits: The Seemiller Grip is perfect for defensive play, providing a strong block and a deceptive anti-spin for a wide variety of effective strokes.

Experiment and Choose

Each table tennis grips have their unique advantages and may cater to different playing styles. To find the one that suits you best, spend time experimenting with each comfortable grip. Pay attention to the control, flexibility, and comfort each one offers, and consider how it complements your balanced playing style.

Difference Between Ways To Hold a Ping Pong Paddle

Shakehand vs Penhold Grip

(Shakehand vs Penhold)

Shakehand Grip

Grip Style

  • The racket is held similarly to how one would shake hands, with the handle resting in the palm. The thumb and index finger are placed on opposite sides of the racket handle.

Playing Style

  • The shakehand grip is more balanced for both forehand and backhand play, making it easier for players to switch between the two.
  • Generally preferred by European and North American players.

Blade Design

  • Rackets used for the shakehand grip often have a flared or straight handle design, making them comfortable to hold in this position.

Advantages

  • Easier to learn and use for beginners.
  • Provides good balance for both forehand and backhand strokes.
  • More flexibility for varied playing styles.

Disadvantages

  • Players may find it slightly harder to generate as much spin compared to the penhold grip, especially on the serve.

Penhold Grip

Grip Style

  • The racket is held with the handle between the thumb and index finger, similar to holding a pen.
  • There are different variations, including the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean penhold styles.

Playing Style

  • Traditionally, the penhold grip is more focused on forehand strokes and may have a weaker backhand, although modern players have developed effective backhand techniques.
  • Generally preferred by Asian players.

Blade Design

  • Rackets used for the penhold grip usually have a shorter and rounder handle.

Advantages

  • Potentially better wrist movement, allowing for more spin, especially on serves and over-the-table strokes.
  • Some players find better control in their strokes.

Disadvantages

  • May be harder for beginners to learn.
  • The traditional penhold backhand is generally considered weaker compared to the shakehand grip.

(The Seemiller Grip vs The V-Grip)

The Seemiller Grip

Grip Technique

  • Holding Method: The paddle is held with a closed fist for a firmer grip.
  • Position: The thumb and index finger rest against the bottom of the handle.

Playstyle

  • Suitable For: Defensive players.
  • Characteristic Strokes: Strong blocks and deceptive anti-spin strokes.
  • Control: Offers excellent stability and control over the paddle.

Advantages

  • Defense: Ideal for players who prioritize defensive play and control.
  • Variety: Allows execution of a wide variety of strokes with stability.

The V-Grip

Grip Technique

  • Holding Method: The handle is positioned between the V shape created by the thumb and index finger.
  • Position: Thumb on one side and index finger on the other side of the handle.

Playstyle

  • Suitable For: Offensive players who focus on spin and speed.
  • Characteristic Strokes: Enhances spin and speed in serves and strokes.
  • Control: Requires mastery for control but allows quick wrist movements.

Advantages

  • Offense: Ideal for aggressive play with enhanced spin and speed.
  • Unpredictability: Makes it harder for opponents to predict shots due to rapid wrist movements.

What Is The Best Way To Hold a Ping Pong Paddle?

Holding Paddle

Different ways to hold a ping pong paddle are

  1. Shakehand grip
  2. Penhold grip
  3. The V-Grip
  4. The Seemiller Grip

This different ways of holding ping pong paddle are one of the most common ways, and while there might be other ways to hold ping pong paddle, professional players stick to these two.

They’re the most efficient ways to hold a ping pong paddle, and no matter how much you debate which holding style is better than the other, it’s mostly up to the personal preference.

Shakehand Grip

The Shakehand Grip is one of the most popular grips in table tennis, resembling a handshake. It offers a balanced control for both the forehand and backhand strokes, making it a versatile choice for famous players. The grip is intuitive, ensuring that both beginners and advanced players can use it comfortably. Additionally, the Shakehand Grip allows for a wide range of movements and techniques, giving players an opportunity to explore different styles and strategies in their game.

Penhold Grip

The Penhold Grip is another classic grip in table tennis that’s predominantly used by Asian players. It is characterized by holding the paddle similarly to a pen, providing superior control and spin, especially for the forehand strokes. The Penhold Grip might require more wrist flexibility and strength but allows for quicker and shorter strokes, offering a unique playing style that can confound opponents.

The V-Grip

The V-Grip is a relatively new grip in the table tennis world. Players using the V-Grip hold the handle between the V of the thumb and index finger. This grip enhances the spin and speed of serves and strokes while maintaining control. It allows for quick wrist movements, making it harder for opponents to predict shots, although it might take some time for players to master this excellent technique.

The Seemiller Grip

Named after the famous American table tennis champion Danny Seemiller, The Seemiller Grip involves holding the paddle with a closed fist ensuring it doesn’t grip loose, with the thumb and index finger resting against the bottom of the handle. This grip offers a strong block and a deceptive anti-spin, making it particularly effective for defensive play. Players using the balance grip Seemiller Grip can execute a wide variety of strokes while maintaining stability and control.

When you are beginning to learn table tennis, most likely you will automatically start by learning with the shakehand grip because it’s one of the simplest yet most efficient ones.

However, later when you become a more intermediate player you might decide to transition yourself.

Conclusion

There have been many discussions about which paddle holding style is the best, and whether is it worth switching to another holding style with a purpose of improving your skill.

In my opinion, you shouldn’t obsess yourself with finding the correct grip or holding style, and yet use that time to practice and improve your game skill in another way. Over time, you’ll find a type of grip that offers a natural feeling and enhances your gameplay as you continue to practice and refine your skills.

“Especially if you’re a beginner, it’s important not to waste time thinking about the perfect paddle holding style, including the grip for beginners, until you’re at least an intermediate player. Switching between paddle holding styles as a beginner or an amateur, it’s only going to slow down your learning curve and delay finding your optimal control grip of choice.

FAQS

What is the professional way to hold a ping pong paddle?

The professional way to hold a ping pong paddle depends on the grip style you choose: shakehand or penhold. Both are professional and widely used in table tennis. For the shakehand grip, the handle rests in the palm, with the thumb and index finger on opposite sides of the racket handle. For the penhold grip, the handle is held between the thumb and index finger, similar to holding a pen.

What is the best grip to hold a ping pong paddle with?

There is no objectively “best” grip to hold a ping pong paddle as it ultimately depends on the player’s comfort, style, and control. The shakehand grip is more balanced for both forehand and backhand play, making it easier for beginners and offering flexibility. The penhold grip allows for excellent wrist movement and potentially more spin, especially favored for its forehand dominance.

Is there a wrong way to hold a ping pong paddle?

Yes, there is a wrong way to hold a ping pong paddle. Holding the paddle incorrectly can limit your range of motion, control, and the ability to apply spin to the ball. It may also lead to discomfort or injury over time. Both the shakehand and penhold grips have specific positions for fingers and thumb to maximize control, spin, and power, and deviating from these can be considered incorrect.

How do Chinese hold a ping pong racket?

Chinese players often use the penhold grip. In the Chinese penhold grip, the blade handle is held between the thumb and index finger, with the other fingers curled around the back of the blade.This deep grip allows for a wide range of wrist movement, offering good spin and control, particularly on the forehand side. The backhand side is often played by using the same side of the racket as the forehand, although advanced techniques allow for a traditional backhand stroke.

author avatar
Ashton Brown
Ashton Brown spent a lot of time in after school programs as a child. In a local community-run recreation center in Boston, they had a ping pong table, and since then he has always played. He had a ping pong table in his college dorm, and a mini one in his office for giggles. After playing for years, Ashton wants to show you how to get started with ping pong, learn the tricks of the trade, and equip yourself with everything you need to be better at the game.

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