How many handle types exist in table tennis? And what are the best type and the advantages of each type? Here is my answer.
The handle is very important in table tennis. It’s the place where you can apply pressure and play the “micro-adjustment”. Choosing the wrong types, or a too-small handle will ruin your development. Before buying any table tennis blade that suits your style, you should decide to select the best handle type.
New players often don’t know to choose which type of handle for their new blade. They often wonder
- “What is the difference between a straight and a flared handle for a table tennis paddle?”
- Or “How to choose the blade handle Type?”
Read more: Top 10 professional blades right now.
Choose the right handle is important
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Choosing the right Table tennis grip is crucial for your table tennis racket. Each type of grip will fit the blade handle.
It’s very important! There are 6 types of handles. Choose the right one that fits your playing style. Handle size is very important. It’s the place where you put your finger to apply the right pressure (place the thumbs on the neck of the blade).
You should choose flared, anatomic and straight handle.
- The flared handle has a gravity center that is closer to the grip and the blade fits in the palm of a hand. This handle provides confidence in your hand. That’s why the Flared handle is great for forehand dominant player, who prefers using powerful strokes at mid-distance.
- The anatomic handle has a wave-shaped grip that fits in the palm and provides stability. That’s why Anatomic handle is best for the hitter playing style, attacker close to the table.
- The straight handle enables players to change the way the handle is gripped in different game situations, which favors backhand-forehand transition.
You can play with any type of handle
Based on the official rule of table tennis, you can play with any handle in table tennis. Do you know this?
Here is some uncommon handle in table tennis. They are often hand-made custom blade.
The bottom one would be nice for pendulum serves, the right one would be good for reverse pendulum serves and the left one should feel odd but closest to a normal racket’s handle.
Left is pen holder since has two holes which would fit the index and middle finger.
You can have a pistol grip and it looks similar.
6 types of handles in table tennis
After deciding your grip, now you must choose the best table tennis blade handle that suits your playing style. Based on Palatinus (table tennis maker expert), there are 6 types of handles grips: Flared handle, Straight handle, Cpen handle, Anatomic handle, and Conical handle.
- Flared handle (FL)
- Straight handle (ST)
- Chinese Penhold (CPen)
- Anatomic handle (UTCan)
- Conical handle (Elcon)
- Japanese Penhond (JPen)
1 Flared handle (FL)
Flared handle (FL): best for forehand dominant player, best for looping style. Chinese players prefer FL handle the most.
2 Straight handle (ST)
Straight handle, both Round Straight Handle (RST) or Square Straight Handle (SQST), good for control style. Smooth backhand-forehand transition. European players prefer using this type of handle. It provides Balance between Backhand and Forehand Power.
3 Chinese Penhold (CPen)
Chinese Penhold, only used by Penhold player. Good to serve, and service return. Freedom of wrist. Good with forehand attack close to the table. Weak on the Backhand side.
4 Anatomic handle (UTCan)
Anatomic handle, preferred by a hitter. Fit very well in the arm. Mostly used in the USA. Provide deep grip (narrow grip for hitting). Weak at looping, weak at long distances.
5 Conical handle (Elcon)
Conical handle, similar to Flared handle, but rounder. Not very popular. Something between Straight handles and Flared handles. Good for the all-round style, soft style with spin. Not comfortable on a very big hand.
6 Japanese Penhond (JPen)
Japanese Penhold is another variation of the Chinese penhold style. However, the grip is more square. The main advantage of Japanese Penhold is that this grip is very good for blocking style. Chinese Penholder is more flexible, you can learn the RPB (Reverse Penhold Backhand) with the CPen. It’s harder to do the backhand topspin with the JPen.
Here is the comparison table to show the pros and cons of each handle type:
|Handle Type||Benefits for playing style||Weakness|
|Flared||Best for forehand dominant player (looping style).||/|
|Straight||Good for control style. Smooth backhand-forehand transition.||/|
|Chinese Penhold||Good to serve, and service return. Freedom of wrist. Forehand attack closed to the table.||Weak on Backhand side.|
|Anatomic||Good for hitter. Flat hit, quick attack close to the table.||Weak at looping, weak at long distance.|
|Conical||Good for the all-round style, soft style with spin.||Not comfortable on a very big hand.|
Best handle that suits your playing style
Here, I will resume and explain the advantage of each type of blade handle in table tennis. It depends on your playing style, that you can decide to choose the best handle for you. Choose wisely between these 6 main handles in table tennis equipment.
Handle for forehand looping style
If you are the forehand dominant player (who loves to finish the point with a Forehand loop), you won’t go wrong with the Flared handle. The flared handle has a bigger flare at the end, which gives you more confidence during your forehand shots.
Handle for a backhand dominant player
If you are the backhand favorite player (you stay close to the table and attack with your backhand drive or topspin), you should buy a Straight handle. The straight handle allows quick transition from backhand to forehand and inverse. A backhand player doesn’t need to hit hard, but they need “speed”. Straight handle offers this option.
Blade handle for hitting style
If you are the hitter, who hit on the bounce, you can choose an Anatomic handle. The anatomic handle gives a unique feel to your hand. It fit very well your palm. This handle type is used to hit hard. It doesn’t suit spin-oriented players. For a hitter, you can choose a hard carbon blade!
Blade handle for defender, chopping style
Defender prefers playing with “long” and “straight handle”. The advantage of a long handle is: they give the defender more power, more torque power away from the table.
And why do defensive players love straight handle? Because, in many situations, they need to chop, to defend the ball just in front of their body, or far at corners.
So straight handle gives them the ability, the easy maneuver to transfer between the forehand and the backhand side. The best way to attack the defender is to attack the ball “directly to the body” of the defender. So to deal with that, the defender prefers using the Straight handle.
My advice: If you are the defender, the best handle for you is: RST (Round Straight Handle).
Many top players, professional defensive players choose the ST handle.
Choose the best handle size
I don’t like (hate) the handle of several commercial table tennis blades. It’s too small. The handle doesn’t give the “confident feeling” in my hand.
Many players give “thank you” and “positive feedback” about my advice on choosing equipment. They improved a lot faster!
Why is the handle too small now?
I really love the old blade in the years of 1960s to 1980s. The handle is well designed, very comfortable, and gives me so much feeling.
But then, the blade handle nowadays is too small. Why? The manufacturer just wants to reduce the price of the blade for more competition, for the business. They reduce the handle size because the handle takes a large portion of the wood material. But it’s not good for us, players.
The too-thin handle is bad for your feeling and confidence. You have 2 solutions: You can add the extra grip tape (Butterfly soft grip tape/ Check price 2/ Read Review) or order a custom handle. Pro players played with a custom handle.
Here is the list of the most common grip tapes that many players used (including pro players like Samsonov).
The optimal blade handle size
Based on the Chinese coaching, the handle must be thick enough. So you can execute correctly the pressure on your shots. Normally, the pressure is performed on your thumb and your index finger.
- Use the Index finger to increase the quality of your forehand shots.
- Use both Indexes, and Thumb fingers to increase the quality of the backhand shots.
With the thin handle (especially too thin at the top of the handle), you can’t perform well in your shots. It’s very bad!
Choose the handle with the thickness more than 22.5 mm on the edge (the head of the handle where you put your finger).
I have known many cases that a player throwing away their racket because of the bad handle.
Blade handle length
The perfect handle length is about 100 to 102 mm. Sometimes, the defender (chopper) will prefer a longer handle of 103 – 104 mm. A longer handle gives you more torque power. The longer handle is better for mid to long-distance playing style: like chopper or two wings looper far from the table.
But don’t choose too short a handle if you are not a Penhold player. Nowadays, the commercial blade, the handle length is just only about 90 to 95 mm. They reduce the production cost to increase gain. But this is bad for the players.
Optimal handle length is about 100 to 102 mm.
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