How to Hold a Ping Pong Paddle

Many people who start off playing ping pong often hold their paddles like they would a tennis racquet. Although this isn’t wrong–you can play however you want to–it’s not ideal. That’s because ping pong is a sport that requires a little more precision in the way you grip your paddle. Thus, you should learn how to hold a ping pong paddle correctly before anything else. By choosing not to pay attention to the different types of ping pong grips now, it’ll be a bigger hassle later on. Better to learn now then try to correct course after you’ve gotten used to another grip. So let’s learn how to hold a ping pong paddle today!

Types of Ping Pong Grips

Before we talk about how to hold a ping pong paddle, let’s go over the types of ping pong grips. There are a number of ping pong grips out there (including weirder ones) but we’re going to focus on the two most widely used. Notably, the Shakehand grip and the Penhold grip. However, both types of ping pong grips have different variations.
Type of grip: Shakehand Grip Shakehand-Grip - How to Hold a Ping Pong Paddle Penhold Grip Penhold-Grip - How to Hold a Ping Pong Paddle
Overview: Similar to holding a tennis racquet, the Shakehand is a comfortable, balanced grip that allows you to rally at farther distances as well as produce more power. Consequently, it’s considered as the “tennis players” of ping pong. Similar to holding a pencil and the less popular grip of the two. However, this grip–which often feels awkward at first–allows for tactical strategy upfront as well as the ability to exploit angles. Accordingly, they specialize in serve and kill.
Pros:
  • Easiest grip to master
  • Most preferred grip of Western players
  • Most stable grip
  • Allows for more power
  • Allows for more control
  • Angle controlled by thumb and index fingers
  • More balanced style/diversified
  • Allows greater distances
  • Allows wrist to move freely
  • Quicker and more flexible returns
  • Allows for more precise control of angle
  • Same hand always used to return strokes; focus on forehand and footwork
  • Surprises most opponents who are unfamiliar with the style
Cons:
  • Locked wrist
  • Difficult to determine whether to use a forehand or backhand return
  • Attention must be put on forehand as well as backhand
  • Weak backhand, although New-age Reverse Penhold Backhand compensates
  • More difficult to master backhand
  • Requires more footwork
  • Struggles at far distances
  • Less power
Variations:

*Written with the help of this Quora thread

How to Hold a Ping Pong Paddle

Now that we’ve covered the different types of ping pong grips, let’s figure out how to hold a ping pong paddle already. But this tutorial will be targeted toward right-handed players, so just invert the instructions if you are left-handed. Shakehand Grip
  1. Ping-Pong-GripsHold the handle of the paddle toward the top
  2. Next, have the paddle head fit comfortably into the “V” of your thumb and index finger
  3. Let your index finger rest on the bottom edge of the backhand side of the paddle
  4. Tuck your thumb so that it is parallel with the bottom edge of the forehand side
  5. The other three fingers can hold the handle either tightly or loosely
  6. Keep your wrist straight with your forearm
Penhold Grip
  1. Imagine the grip as if you were holding a pen
  2. Wrap your thumb and forefinger around the start of the handle with the head facing down
  3. The rest of your fingers can either be curled so they don’t get in the way of a backhand or laid across the other side for a firmer grip

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