Table Tennis Grip Types: Pros And Cons

Table Tennis Grip Types: Pros And Cons

Since table tennis is a racket sport, the main weapon of the player is his paddle, which is what gives him the edge over his opponent.

For the purposes of this article, we are setting aside skills, techniques, and footwork, but one of the most obvious and important things a player must learn is how to actually handle his equipment, which is the table tennis or ping pong paddle.

A player has to decide on how to hold the racket before he or she can start learning about angles and swinging. Most coaches or trainers will give him or her some basic guidance on how to hold the racket.

There are a number of different table tennis grip types, so we will read about each of them so you can see how they hold the grip as well as any pros and cons of using this technique in a match against someone else.

The Shakehand Grip

There are many grips that can be used in the sport of table tennis but this is one of the most popular grips.

If you have seen people use it in the media, such as television or movies, persons who play ping pong are almost always shown to hold the paddle with their index fingers placed on the edge of the paddle directly facing their body, and their own thumb resting on top of the other fingers which are located around the handle of the blade. This is known as the shakehand grip.

A shakehand grip looks like one is about to shake hands with someone when the blade rests on one’s thumb and index finger in a V shape.

The other three fingers are tucked under the thumb and index finger, thus resembling the shape of one’s hand. At the base of the paddle area where one hits the ball, the index finger should be aligned roughly parallel to the rubber edge.

You will find that a lot of professional table tennis players use this grip as it is really comfortable for them and allows for swift movements with the paddle that can help give them better control of their shots.

Shakehand grips come in two different variations, shallow grips and deep grips. Despite the fact that, if you look closely, they appear to be about the same!

On the other hand, the shallow shakehand grip differentiates from the deep shakehand grip in how the thumb is positioned. Although this seems like a small thing, grip is incredibly important, and even a seemingly insignificant detail like where the thumb rests matters.

The thumb rests on the blade when holding the shallow shakehand grip. The thumb rests or relaxes on the rubber when using the deep shakehand grip.

Pros Of The Shallow Shakehand

  • Shaking with a shallow grip is more efficient than shaking with a deep grip because the paddle can be readjusted quicker because the grip is looser. In addition to this, one will also have the ability to move his wrist freely, helping him to attack or brush the ball with greater power and spin. A short ball lobbed over by the opponent would be effective with this tactic.
  • A loose grip allows you to shoot forehands and backhands, and it helps with your reaction to more difficult opponents that use different shots.
  • If you are a player who prefers to topspin, loop, or loop drives, you will usually use a shakehand grip that is shallow.

Pros Of The Deep Shakehand

  • A deep shakehand grip has the advantage that it prevents the paddle from moving too much in the player’s hand, thereby ensuring a firm grip. With this grip, wrist flexibility is not allowed, which allows for precise strokes that require fewer forces.
  • By using the grip to face different shots in front of you, the player is able to take both forehand and backhand shots.
  • Players who prefer backspin as an attack tactic tend to use deep shakehand grips.

Cons Of The Shakehand Grips

  • It is always possible for opponents to use a point of indecision to attack either of these shakehand grips. Crossover point or the playing elbow are other names for the point of indecision. Since the player holds the paddle with this grip as an extension of the arm, it is positioned on the chest, to the left or to the right depending on which of the two dominant hands is on the paddle, with the elbow jutting forward, leaving a gap between the underarm and torso. Having a point of indecision directly in front of the player makes it necessary for him to decide whether he should use his forehand or backhand stroke to counter the ball, since neither one can be executed optimally if the player does not move from his position.
  • It depends on the player you are and what type of shots you prefer playing as if you try to use backspin with the shallow shakehand, you will find that it will let you down more often than not. Additionally, if you rely on topspin shots to win and use the deep shakehand, then that will completely impede you in winning a match most likely.

The Penhold Grip

The Penhold Grip

A penhold grip is used in table tennis because of the similarity between the grip of the racket and the way that one holds a writing instrument.

When it comes to penhold, there is a great deal of variation in the style of play between player to player. There is a style of this that involves curving the middle, ring, and fourth fingers back towards the wrist and refers to it as the Chinese penhold style.

Alternatively, another method of holding a racket, sometimes called a Japanese penhold, involves extending three of your fingers out across the back of your hand.

There are many groups of players in Asia who favor Penhold styles. Some of these groups include players from China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea. It is traditional for penhold players to hit the ball with only one side of their racket during normal play.

Pros Of The Penhold Grip

  • It is the extended fingertips of the forehand that provide the holder support and power. This is an advantage of this grip type that gives the holder the advantage of attacking on the forehand side. Forehand strokes feel good with this grip, and the wrist is free to move from right to left and left to right, allowing for stronger spins when spinning and serving.
  • For offensive players, you will find that this grip will give you the best opportunity to take control of games, make your opponent defend as best they can, and force them to make mistakes.

Cons Of The Penhold Grip

  • Table tennis players are confined to using only their forehands when playing the game due to the grip on the paddle, which is due to the extended fingers on the back. Due to the fact that backhand shots are extremely limited because of this grip, it’s important to stay in control of your opponent and not to get caught in any traps.
  • As you will be playing a lot of powerful shots that will keep you on your toes and on the move throughout the entire game, you will need a lot of stamina to use this grip type throughout the entire game. It could prove to be detrimental later on in the game.


We hope now that you can try one of these grip types the next time you play to see which is most comfortable for you and the style that you play.

These are two of the most popular grip types that are used in table tennis, and we have pointed out the key pros and cons of each grip type so you can work out which one is best.

It all comes down to personal preference at the end of the day and how experienced you are playing the sport. There are variations of each of these grips that you may discover yourself so be sure to play around with how you hold your paddle in the future.

Dave White