Table Tennis Grips

Table Tennis Grips – Shakehand or Penhold?

Wondering if you should use the Shakehand or Penhold grips?

In the game of Table Tennis, there are quite a few grips that you can choose.

These will affect your gameplay, and it really depends on your playing style. Some Table Tennis grips will offer better spin and some better control.

It will also change the way you play strokes.

Holding the Racket

This brings us back to the basics. No matter your playing level or experience, you’d agree it’s all about holding the racket properly.

Whatever grip you select, you need to hold the Ping Pong racquet correctly.

Without a proper grip, you’ll run into several issues. There’s a reason why coaches all around the world stress on how important a grip is.

The Various Table Tennis Grips

There are a few Table Tennis grips, with each having a handful variations.

You may want to practice a few games using each, and then pick one that suits you best, more specifically your gameplay style.

So, what options do we have?

Most of the players prefer what we called a Shakehand grip. It looks like a shake of hand, hence the name.

1. Shakehand Grips

This grip is more common in the Western countries. You would hold the paddle the same way as you would shake someone’s hand.

A shakehand grip can have a few variations (depending on what you prefer):

  • Shallow grip – with this grip, your thumb will rest on the wooden blade
  • Deep grip – with this grip, your thumb goes deeper and rests on the rubber instead. Thumb placement will affect your speed and accuracy.

This grip is better suited for most players including beginners, but it has cons. There can be a crossover point, a weakness that your opponents may exploit.

If you can live with it, this grip offers great forehand and backhand shots. If accuracy/control if your top priority, go with a shake hand grip.

2. Penhold Grips

Penhold is the most common grip after Shakehand. It’s similar to holding a pen in hand, hence the name.

With this grip, your thumb and the index finger rest on the front side of the handle. You’ll fold the other three fingers on the back-side of the paddle.

There are three versions of a Penhold grip:

  • Korean/Japanese grip
  • Reverse backhand grip
  • Chinese grip
Penhold Grip

As it may be obvious at this point, a Penhold grip will allow better wrist flexibility since your thumb and index finger rest on the blade.

Better and faster wrist movements means more spin in both serves and strokes. There’s no crossover point disadvantage either as your wrist moves freely.

However, producing backhand top spin can be an issue at times because of unnatural hand/wrist twists, and this may wear you out if you try this too often.

With a Chinese grip, the three fingers will be curled on the backside. With Korean style, the three fingers are straightened to add more power to your shots.

A reverse backhand grip tackles the issues one may face with a Chinese grip. It strengthens the backhand strokes by allowing free hand movements.

Here’s a short video that shows this grip in action:

Conclusion - Which Grip to Select?

Well, it really depends.

Even more than your style of play, it depends on your experience with the game.

If you’re just starting out, try your hand at Shakehand grip. If you’re a more advanced player, try Penhold grip.

The former offers better speed/control and the latter better spin on your strokes. With backhand shots, the latter may become a handicap at times, though.

At the end of the day, we all want to be better Table Tennis players. So, it will be best if you try both grips, and then stick to one that you like better.

If you don’t have players, you can perhaps practice with a Table Tennis Robot.

So, which of the two Table Tennis grips will you select?

Have you tried either of these? How was your experience with them? 

Let us know in the comments down below!

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