What is the best grip in table tennis? Shakehand or penhold? What is the best handle in table tennis? Flared or Straight handle? I will explain the pro and cons of each grip and handle type, based on the Chinese coaching on PingSunday.
How to choose the best table tennis grips that suit your playing style? Today I explain to you 2 things:
- how to hold the table tennis correctly!
- and how to choose the right handle for your racket.
Chinese coach focuses a lot on table tennis grip. Read the best tips from the Chinese coach for the grip here.
5 types of table tennis grips:
∎ Page Contents ∎
In general, there are 3 main grips in table tennis: shakehand grip (or European grip), penhold grip (Chinese grip), and Japanese/Korean Penhold grip (variation of penhold style). There is also a small variation like V-grip (American style), pistol grip (unorthodox style). However, in modern table tennis games, the main grip style is: Shakehand (95%), and only 5% of players use the Penhold style.
Each type of grip has some pros and cons.
- Shakehand grip
- Penhold grip
- Japan/Korean grip
- Pistol grip
1. Shakehand grip
Shakehand grip is the best for balance and adaptive playing style.
Timo Boll‘s grip is very narrow and has a clearly Forehand oriented grip. The index is very high and can support your Forehand stroke.
His grip is very compact. The thumb is a little bit higher which supports his backhand.
While Ma Long’s grip is forehand/counter loop oriented.
2. Penhold grip
Wang Hao always has 2 fingers on the bat at all times, so he can have a very good Reverse Penhold Backhand. These fingers serve as good support for your backhand.
The thumb is on the forehand rubber and is not as deep as Ryu Seung Min’s forehand grip.
While Ryu Seung Min’s forehand grip is “deeper” (his thumb is very forward), his traditional backhand grip is different. His fingertips don’t touch the rubber.
Ma Lin is somewhat in between. Liu Guoliang says if you want a good backhand like Wang Hao to use Wang Hao’s grip. If you want good forehand use Ryu Seung Min’s grip. If you want a good third ball, serve, and serve return, use Ma lin’s grip.
3. Japan/Korean grip
Japanese and Korean Penhold grip is very good for powerful blocking style on 2 sides.
Nowadays, most table tennis players will choose to play “shakehand”. It’s considered the modern table tennis grip. China is the only country that promotes the conventional “penhold style”.
It’s important to keep the style of penhold because of its flexibility and variation. It is part of the beauty of table tennis.
I think that table tennis coaches should help promote penhold to western players.
V-grip is the best grip for fast attack style on the forehand.
V-grip is an orthodox grip. It’s similar to Danny Seemiller’s grip.
5. Pistol grip
The pistol grip has the main advantage that is the easiness to spin.
The pistol grip is an orthodox grip, it’s a lite variation of penhold grip. However, it’s more comfortable on the backhand side.
Comparison of shakehand versus penhold:
- Shakehand grips propose many advantages: the balance between forehand and backhand. Power away from the table. No weakness at the two wide sides. Aggressiveness to return the ball (with the backhand flick over the table).
- Penhold grip gives you the advantages of service and 3rd ball attack.
- There are some advantages of a penhold that many people don’t think about. Such as the wrist flexibility close to the table, the ability to quickly change directions without making it obvious the way shakehand is (for example, the flick is very easy to see for shakehand, but you can make it much more deceptive for penhold)
- Penhold doesn’t have the “elbow weakness” because the penhold style covers very well in front of the body. The main weakness of “shakehand grip” is the elbow.
- You follow, and attack to the elbow! It’s deadly to the shakehand player!
|Pros||balance between forehand and backhand||deceptive serve and 3rd ball attack|
|Forehand cover||Good||Very Good|
|Backhand flick||Good||Good and Deceptive|
|Backhand loop||Good||Average (without RPB)|
|Elbow weakness||Very weak||No|
|Third ball attack||Good||Very Good|
|Quick rally - counter attack||Good||Bad|
|Require||Balance footwork||Quick footwork|
Keep the beauty of penhold style:
I encourage coaches to not just give a shake hand paddle to every kid, but to choose some of the kids that are quick to adapt to try penhold.
Liu Guoliang gives us a good introduction to grip the bat based on your playing style.
Holding your racket is the first and the basic technique that you should master!
These are example of good grips that you should learn. The grip of a professional table tennis player is worth studying. You can modify your grip based on your penhold style or shakehand style.
How to hold the bat correctly
I will explain to you how to hold the table tennis bat/racket correctly by using Chinese coaching.
“Holding a table tennis racket” is the first table tennis lesson. Having a good table tennis grip is crucial as it allows you to optimize your technique.
Without a correct grip, you cannot do the strokes correctly and never improve to a high level of table tennis.
What does the correct shakehand grip look like? Here you are!
Learn to hold on the first day
Some coaches didn’t correct the grip or didn’t show their players how to hold the bat correctly at the beginning. That’s the main reason that the players never progress or just improve slowly.
The coach just said “Hey, pick up your racket and start training on the table”.
It’s not a good way of coaching the beginner player.
In China, the coach shows the principles of the grip and lets the young kids play with the ball (without the table) at least one week. The kids must feel his racket and adapt his grip. This first lesson is very important as the grip will stay with you all of your table tennis life.
Watch this video.
Table tennis grip tapes
If you have any problem with your blade handle, you should use table tennis grip tapes. Why?
Because if your table tennis handle is too slim, too thin, it will affect your game. A too-thin handle is very dangerous because your blade can fly away at any time.
Or you need to hold your racket tightly, and you know “Holding too tight your racket will kill your game“!
Should I use table tennis tape?
Yes! Using a table tennis grip can enhance your execution of shots and improve your game.
The grip tape is normally very light and thin! It only adds about 2g – 3g to your blade. However, it is sticky/ grippy, which can enhance your grip and your feeling.
Which is the best table tennis tape?
Nittaku grip tape will do the job perfectly! That’s the one that I like the most!
Nittaku Table Tennis Bat Wrap Handle Grip is useful! And they last for a long time! At least 3 years if you keep your handle properly.
Xiom or Paddle Palace is another cheaper solution if you don’t buy the Butterfly or Nittaku grip tape.
You can also buy some cheap Anti-Slip Sweat Absorbing Soft Grip Tape from China. Another good solution is Butterfly table tennis soft grip tape. Or you can buy XIOM Table Tennis Racket Grip Tape GT1, Excellent Grip Tape, Made in Korea (2 Grip Tapes in a Package).
- Table Tennis Grip: Chinese Coach Explication
- How To Hold a Table Tennis Racket
- Chinese Table Tennis Footwork
Please share this article with your teammate.
©PINGSUNDAY. Unauthorized use, translation or duplication of this material is strictly prohibited. Link and excerpt may be used, provided that clear credit is given to PingSunday with the specific link to the original content.
Sign up and join +65k readers. Get free coaching ebooks and coaching advice every week