How to Hold a Ping Pong Paddle: Two Types of Grips with Variations

This post compares two common ways to hold a paddle – shakehand and penhold, and different options within the two.
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Last updatedLast updated: November 16, 2022
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Ping pong Trusted Source Table tennis - Wikipedia Table tennis is governed by the worldwide organization International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), founded in 1926. ITTF currently includes 226 member associations.[3] The table tennis official rules are specified in the ITTF handbook.[4] Table tennis has been an Olympic sport since 1988,[5] with several event categories. From 1988 until 2004, these were men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles and women’s doubles. Since 2008, a team event has been played instead of the doubles. en.wikipedia.org is one of the most engrossing sports in the world. It is enjoyed by thousands around the globe, whether in bars or at picnics. To get the best from playing ping pong competitively or with friends and family, you need to know how to hold a ping pong paddle. This post focuses on some of the best and most creative ways you can hold the paddle.

After reading this post, you will wow your friends and watchers with your grip and your overall gameplay. Apart from showing you some common ways of holding the paddle, we also compare the most popular ping pong grips and help you to determine which one would suit you best. Read on to find out more.

Why Your Paddle Grip Is Important?

How to Hold a Ping Pong Paddle: Two Types of Grips with Variations

If you play ping pong or any of its variants like table tennis, the paddle grip is so vital to any player’s gameplay.

If you are new to the game, you might wonder what the fuss is all about the grip. Learning the right or best way to grip your paddle is important because only with the right grip would you be able to strike your ping pong ball with any accuracy or confidence.

Performing the proper grip is important for all players because the grip controls factors like:
  • Paddle’s angle
  • The direction of the ball
  • Speed
  • Depth
  • Spin


If you don’t get the right grip, you will hit the ping pong table net more times than you get points. If you are looking to win or even enjoy your game, then you need to get the right paddle grip.

You also need the right paddle, and Stiga continues to be one of the biggest manufacturers of high-quality paddles.

Is There One Correct Way to Hold a Paddle?

No, there isn’t.

As we shall see in this post, there are several ways that you can hold the paddle. The best way is one that is compatible with your technique, dominant hand, and comfort.

As we go on in this article, we will discover the main types of grips that there are and the variations of each type.

Different Ping-Pong Paddle Grips

There are different types of ping pong paddle grips. In this section, we cover the basics of each grip. At the end of the post, you should be familiar with each type of grip and how to execute it perfectly when you play.

Shakehand Grip

How to Hold a Ping Pong Paddle: Two Types of Grips with Variations

The Shakehand grip is one of the common types of grips in ping pong. The name comes from the fact that you grip the paddle as if you were shaking someone’s hands.

In this type of grip, the only fingers that are used to hold the racket include the ring, little, and middle finger. As for the thumb, it lies on the forehead while the index finger is on the backhand side of the face.

This description is just how you shake someone.

This type of grip is good because it offers you more control of the paddle, and you can control the ball contact better than before.

Now, they are different variations of this type of grip. Let’s discuss each of these variations.

Shallow Shakehand Grip

How to Hold a Ping Pong Paddle: Two Types of Grips with Variations

This type of Shakehand is quite popular, especially among beginners. Check out this post about the best paddles for beginners.

Here the thumb lies under the rubber part and opposite the index finger. There are some advantages to this type of grip. For one, it offers more flexible footwork, better balance, and it supports backhand and forehand strokes.

Deep Shakehand Grip

How to Hold a Ping Pong Paddle: Two Types of Grips with Variations

This next type of grip is focused on a relaxed thumb position. With the thumb in this position, you get more powerful strikes. However, you will lose some accuracy in your strike.

To apply this perfectly, the thumb relaxes against the rubber. It is best for players that have a powerful backhand as it makes their strikes even more powerful.

Advantages of the Shakehand Grip

  • This grip distributes power equally whether you are striking forehand or backhand. Therefore, you don’t require to change your grips as you play.
  • It is very easy to learn.
  • It is preferred by most professionals and coaches.

Disadvantages of Shakehand Grip

  • As it is the more common type of grip, your gameplay is more predictable to your opponent
  • Since it allows you to change grip mid-play, the split second between changing grips might be costly.

Penhold Grip

How to Hold a Ping Pong Paddle: Two Types of Grips with Variations

The second type of paddle grip is the Penhold grip. It is an excellent technique that is sweet for beginners. In the base variant of this grip, the index finger and thumb hold the paddle handle and the other fingers curl around the rear of the racket – similar to how you hold a pen.

The main advantage of this grip, according to many users, is that the player is comfortable holding the paddle.

However, comfort isn’t all that the player enjoys. This grip ensures that the player has an advantage on the forehand, helping to boost the serve. The downside, though, is that the player might have trouble on the backhand, especially if they aren’t skilled.

The Killerspin ping pong paddle is one of the best options if you enjoy the Penhold grip.

Chinese Penhold Grip

How to Hold a Ping Pong Paddle: Two Types of Grips with Variations

The first variant of the Penhold grip is the Chinese Penhold grip. In this technique, the fingers are folded at the back of the paddle. It is best for paddles whose handles are symmetrical and short.

This type of grip offers better support at the paddle’s back and makes your serve more powerful. As with techniques that increase your power, you will likely struggle with accuracy.

Japanese/Korean Grip

How to Hold a Ping Pong Paddle: Two Types of Grips with Variations

In this variant of the Penhold grip, you hold the paddle to extend your middle finger on its reversible side. Unlike the Chinese variant, the handle of your paddle does not need to be symmetrical. However, the cork should have excellent coverage on the back of the paddle.

Advantages of the Penhold Grip

  • This grip offers you better control
  • It looks stylish and unique
  • Since it isn’t a common type of grip, it is more difficult to predict
  • Easier to spin the ball with this grip

Disadvantages of Penhold Grip

  • Tricky to master
  • It restricts your movement

Shakehand vs. Penhold

Now that we have considered two of the best paddle grips that you can use, which of them is better for you? To know which is better for you, there is a need to check out the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

The two styles are good, and more often than not, the better option is one that you are more comfortable with.

The Shakehold grip offers even power distribution over your forehand and your backhand shots. However, it has a wider crossover point between the forehand and the backhand.

The Penhold grip has seen a decline in use due to its weakness on the backhand. However, if mastered, the player can be nearly unstoppable. If you are already learning as an intermediate player, check out these paddles for intermediate players.

If you are a beginner, then the Shakehold grip might be the best for you.

The best way to know which one is better is to try out the different grips and stick with one that you enjoy using and that improves how you play.

Final Thoughts

This post has shown you how to hold a ping pong paddle. If you are a starter, then the Shakehand grip is easier to learn. To be the best player that you can be, though, you should try out using all the grips we have considered and decide which one is best for you. When deciding, choose a grip that you are most comfortable with. As you choose the grip, consider choosing an affordable paddle here to up your game.

References

1.
Table tennis - Wikipedia
Table tennis is governed by the worldwide organization International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), founded in 1926. ITTF currently includes 226 member associations.[3] The table tennis official rules are specified in the ITTF handbook.[4] Table tennis has been an Olympic sport since 1988,[5] with several event categories. From 1988 until 2004, these were men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles and women’s doubles. Since 2008, a team event has been played instead of the doubles.
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