Table Tennis Grip: Chinese Coach Explication

Table Tennis Grip "How to Hold the racket" Chinese technique

Based on the Chinese coaching, having a grip is very important. If you want to have a good technique, a correct grip is a must. However, some table tennis coaches don’t explain “how to hold the racket” carefully to new players. Today let’s learn the principle of a good grip in Chinese philosophy.

Why having a good grip is important in table tennis

The grip is one of the first lessons that every player should learn carefully. Holding the bat correctly will help:

  • Improve the power of the stroke
  • Improve the spin of the ball
  • Let you feel the ball with your hand (most important in Chinese philosophy of table tennis)
  • Easy transition between Backhand and Forehand

How to hold the bat correctly? Tips of Chinese coach

These are some tips, advice of the coach to the new players.

1. Hold the racket loosely

  • Hold the racket loosely with the web between your thumb and index finger, touching the curve of the blade. Some amateur players hold his racket too firm, hence they can’t “accelerate” into the ball.
  • Chinese coach focuses a lot on this aspect. They said that “Someone behind you, can pull out your racket easily”. Holding loosely also increase the feeling during the shots.
Zhang Jike's grip: Hold the racket loosely
Zhang Jike’s grip: Hold the racket loosely

2. Form a straight line

  • Keep your wrist straight with your forearm and don’t angle it up or down
  • You need to form a straight line from your hand to the head of the racket. New players just hold the racket like a “knife”, where the racket is perpendicular to the hand, which is not good.
A straight line from your hand to the head of the racket during the Forehand strokes
A straight line from your hand to the head of the racket during the Forehand strokes
A straight line during a backhand stroke in table tennis
A straight line during a backhand stroke in table tennis

3. Compact grip is better

  • All of the fingers are compact, the fingers are close together.
  • Compact grip will help you make a stroke correctly, and rapidly. Look at the way how Zhang Jike holds his racket: Very compact.
  • All of his fingers are placed close together. Compact grip improves the power of the strokes.
Kong Linghui has a very compact grip
Kong Linghui has a very compact grip
The grip of Zhang Jike is also compact. All of his fingers are close together.
The grip of Zhang Jike is also compact. All of his fingers are close together.

4. Where to put the index finger on the racket

  • Index finger rests on the Backhand rubber, and parallel to the handle. The index finger is the main support for your Forehand strokes. That’s why the index finger must be placed along at the edge of the blade. If you place it too high on the rubber, it will block the acceleration of your wrist.
  • Chinese coach also emphasizes the use of the wrist during the forehand shots (forehand flick, and forehand topspin).
Index finger is parallel to the blade edge (or perpendicular to the handle)
Index finger is parallel to the blade edge (or perpendicular to the handle)

5. Correct grip with the thumb finger

  • Thumb finger always fixed on the handle -> consistent grip -> good technique.
  • Having a consistent grip is crucial for new players. The thumb is always on the “head of the handle”.
  • Use thumb to apply the pressure during your backhand strokes.
The thumb is always on the edge of the handle
The thumb is always on the edge of the handle

Good table tennis grip: Pinch the blade with your index and your thumbs

Liu Guoliang explained how professional table tennis players hold their racket
Liu Guoliang explained how professional table tennis players hold their racket

How to hold a ping pong paddle correctly?

If you a new in table tennis, these are the best tips to correct your grip. (These tips are based on several good Chinese coaches that I’ve met).

  • Have a nice soft loose grip on the handle, wrist straight and relax (give a good feeling and increase the spin of the ball)
  • Index finger should be parallel with the blade edge (increase the contact and increase the power of the Forehand stroke)
  • Thumb finger is always fixed on the handle (support to your Backhand flip, and Backhand loop)
  • All of your fingers should be compact, this style won’t block the wrist rotation during the shots.
Zhang Jike has a very good shakehand grip. You should learn from him.
Zhang Jike has a very good shakehand grip. You should learn from him.
Chinese coach says "When you hold your racket, focus on the feeling"
Chinese coach says “When you hold your racket, focus on the feeling”

Best tips from Chinese coach:

“When you hold your racket, focus on the feeling”

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