Whether you are a novice teaching yourself the sport of table tennis, or you are learning from a teacher in a class, the very first thing you need to know is the basics of table tennis grip and how to hold the bat correctly.
It’s crucial that you learn this early on since adjusting your grasp later in life is a long and annoying process. Once you are used to doing things one way, learning an entirely new way can be difficult.
If you’re a beginner, well done for recognizing the importance of a good grip so early on in your table tennis career. If you’re a non-beginner reading this and you notice that your grip isn’t quite correct, work on it.
Yes, it will make your shots substantially worse in the short term, but the long-term benefits will outweigh the short-term drawbacks.
In this article, we will be coving everything you need to know about the shake-hands grip. At the end we have also listed some of the other common grips you can try, so you have options to see what’s best for you.
Here is an in-depth look at the shake-hands grip.
What Does The Shake-Hands Grip Look Like?
The shake-hands grip, like all other types, requires your hands and fingers to be in certain positions so you are holding the bat correctly and have the most control. To do the shake-hands grip you must have:
- Your index finger resting on the back of the paddle
- Your thumb tucked away on the forehand side
- Your other fingers wrapped around the handle
- Have no gap between the top of your hand and the top of the handle
- Find the “V” crease of your hand – this must be in line with the edge of the bat.
Many beginners try to play with only two fingers or no fingers at all on the bat. This is called the hammer grip.
Some players wrap their fingers around the handle improperly, while others place their thumb on the forehand rubber.
Many people have a wide space between their hands and the top of the handle, but readjusting this position is easy.
These first four criteria are straightforward to apply, and you should be able to tell if you’re doing something improperly.
The fifth criteria require the most improvement in a lot of beginners, as this position can take a while to get used to.
If you are struggling with how to hold your bat correctly, either ask your coach for advice or if learning by yourself, take a look at a few pictures or videos so you can see what you’re supposed to do.
It all comes down to the location of your hand’s ‘V’ or crease to get that perfect grip. In the ideal grip, that crease should be aligned with the bat’s edge. The backhand grip shifts your hand’s forehand side to the backhand side.
When the thumb comes up and the hand slides around, the crease or ‘V’ is left on the forehand side. The backhand grip is the opposite of the forehand grip.
As the hand swings around the bat, the crease shifts to the backhand side.
Why Not Just Use The Forehand Or Backhand Grip?
While these are very popular grips used by table tennis pros, there are two main issues that players face when using this method.
Some people like to switch back and forth between the two to have the best of both worlds. This will often work in practice or at a higher level if you have time to anticipate the ball and alter your grip.
Unfortunately, as you progress to a higher level, you’ll discover that there’s no time to worry about changing grip in the middle of a rally, and your reliance on altering grip will make you a horrible player.
Others keep to a single grip, resulting in one good and one terrible wing (depending on which grip they employed).
Because your thumb is on the bat, a backhand grip, for example, allows you to have a lot of control as well as generate a highly wristy shot because your grip allows your wrist to move freely.
However, you’ll probably find it difficult to play a solid forehand, with a tendency to ‘hook’ the ball or slightly drop your wrist.
Pros And Cons Of The Shake-hand Grip
- Perfect for beginners as it is very easy to learn and feels natural
- Allows for more control
- Works with a wide selection of bats
- Perfect for attack-dominated players as it provides more power to your strokes
- Can cause a locked wrist which means a player will have a hard time adjusting to their opponents’ strokes
- Crossover point issue – when you may not know whether forehand or backhand will work best with what your opponent is doing
The Penhold Grip
The Penhold Grip is part of a style family, meaning that it has some variations. The three most popular Penhold Grips are Traditional Chinese Grip, Reverse Penhold Backhand Chinese Grip, and Japanese/Korean Grip.
The “V” Grip
The V Grip originated in China, where the forefinger and middle finger were used to form a “V for victory” sign. Because the extra fingers are under and on top of the grip, a special bat is required.
The V Grip provides more spin, power, and leverage, but it is less flexible, particularly when returning shots to the elbow.
When getting into table tennis, it’s best to get the correct grip as soon as possible, as you may struggle to unlearn any mistakes that you have picked up in these early days.
For the shake-hand grip, the best thing you can do is follow the instructions carefully, make sure that you are not gripping the bat too hard, and keep practicing until you get it right.
Keep in mind that everyone’s grip and hand are slightly different.
Don’t obsess on whether or not your grip is “perfect.” Just make sure it’s not too terrible that it affects your performance. You should be at ease and confident with your grasp.
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