Ping Pong Grips: How to Improve and Master Your Technique


Mastering the correct way to hold a ping pong paddle is essential for any player that wants to improve their game. It’s especially important to establish this habit early on and identify the most comfortable grip that helps you not only feel good but also play better at the same time.

Believe it or not, the grip is at the core of everything you try in ping pong. Without the correct grip, your strokes are much less accurate and stamina is often reduced due to inefficient strokes or discomfort in general. There are also many different types of ping pong grips from which to choose but the shakehand grip is undoubtedly the most popular.

But what ping pong grip should you actually master?

Let’s take a closer look at ping pong grips and how to hold a paddle correctly.


The Most Popular Types of Ping Pong Grips

Ping Pong Grips

Take time to choose the right ping pong grip because everything you do in ping pong will derive from this one decision. That is to say, no matter what skills you learn, these skills will always depend on the grip which enables you to deploy these skills.

As for which one to adopt, most players in Europe have already adopted this style but also North America and parts of Asia. The style took its name from the actual handshake as a player’s hand on the paddle looks like it’s just about to give someone a handshake. There is also a deep and shallow shakehand grip. Although very similar, the deep shakehand is when a player places their thumb loosely on the rubber. Alternatively, the thumb is placed loosely on the blade for the shallow shakehand style. This thumb placement is very important and decides how fast or accurate the shot will be. Here’s a bit more about each style of grip:

Shallow Shakehand Grip – A shallow shakehand grip allows for more flexibility in the wrist. This enables players to put more spin on their serve or shot. It’s quite a natural way to hold a ping pong paddle and most often allows for greater power. In case you might be wondering, it’s just as suited for backhand shots as forehand shots and players can attack from either side of the table with this approach. However, this style also requires players to have a high sense of awareness because this flexibility sometimes means that players need to decide which stroke they should use on the spot – this is called the crossover point.

Deep Shakehand Grip – For the deep shakehand grip, the thumb is placed on the rubber of the ping pong paddle. This allows the player to exert more flexibility in spite of having a solid grip on the paddle. It’s notably good for attacking play and the preciseness of accuracy means that players can make sure they place the ball close to the edge of the table during defensive mode. It’s also easy to switch sides with this grip but as with the shallow shakehand grip, indecision during the crossover point can cause problems from time to time.

Penhold Grip – Penhold is another popular type of grip and there are three different variations of this grip – the Japanese penhold, and Chinese penhold grip and reverse backhand grip. With this style, the thumb and index finger are placed at the front of the paddle handle and the other fingers are held at the back of the paddle head. As you might expect, this style was named penhold because the grip is similar to when one might use a pen for writing.

Chinese Penhold Grip – Most common in Asia, the Chinese penhold grip is best for players that like to stay close to the table. It’s more flexible than the shakehand grip and allows players to use a lot more spin, too. While it’s also easy to use the backhand side, topspin is challenging with this particular stroke and it’s necessary to twist the arm quite a lot which reduces stamina.

Reverse Backhand Grip – The reverse backhand grip enables players to use the backhand side of the paddle which is not possible with the other grip style above. However, the reverse backhand grip is much stronger than the Chinese penhold due to the freedom of movement in the arms. That being said, you can always switch from the Chinese penhold grip to the reverse backhand grip during the game.

Japanese Penhold – The Japanese penhold grip requires the fingers to be placed down the blade as opposed to being curled like the other styles above. The Japanese penhold also has a different type of handle and players never switch to the reverse backhand style. The crossover point is also an area in which players need to be especially focused with this style but otherwise, it’s really quite similar to those mentioned previously.

It’s true that other styles and techniques exist and some players even switch between styles depending on the circumstances. But for new players, it’s best to choose between one of these ping pong grip styles and sticking with that technique until you reach a desired level. With this in mind, handling technique is a significant consideration and just as important as checking out ping pong paddle reviews or choosing the right ping pong set or paddle case.


Final Thoughts

If you want to get good at any sport, you need to get the basics right early on. It’s true, you need to know the importance of using a ping pong paddle cleaner but also learning new skills and techniques that will enhance your game. You should also notice how the best ping pong players in the world stick with the same type of grip throughout their career. While a certain technique might be more common in your part of the world, it’s worth testing each style and at least knowing the difference when it comes to putting them into action. Also, it’s important to remember that you might not notice any benefits at the beginning but focusing on a particular ping pong grip will significantly improve your game in the long run.