For many beginners, holding a ping pong paddle isn’t a big deal. You’re probably more concerned about just hitting the ball or creating a good volley of hits. But, as your game improves, you’ll probably want to consider the grip on your paddle. Properly holding your ping pong paddle can make a huge difference in your game.
There are two grips that most people use for holding their ping pong paddle: the shakehand grip and the penhold grip. For most beginners the shakehand grip is the preferred grip, while more advanced players or competitive ping pong players often choose the penhold grip.
The Shakehand Grip
As we stated above, the shakehand grip is the best grip for beginners. However, variations of the shakehand grip are used by many professional ping pong players; particularly ping pong players from western countries. This grip is named as such because the hand position on the paddle mimics how you would shake hands with someone.
To properly hold your ping pong paddle with the shakehand grip:
- Start by wrapping your fingers loosely around the blade of the paddle.
- Move your index finger so that it is resting on the rubber of the paddle.
- From here, your thumb should naturally move to rest just slightly on the rubber of the opposite side of the paddle.
- Your other three fingers will continue to grasp the blade.
- The paddle base should rest comfortably in the V created by your thumb and index finger.
The Penhold Grip
This grip is most often used by professional ping pong players in Asia, specifically China and Japan. However it has become more popular with western ping pong players over the last few years. This grip is so named because the way you hold the paddle is very similar to how you would hold a pen for writing.
To properly hold your ping pong paddle with the penhold grip:
- Rest the blade of the paddle in the V between your thumb and index fingers.
- Your thumb and index finger will wrap around the blade and rest on the rubber of the paddle.
- Your third finger will rest on the opposite side of the paddle, on the rubber.
- Your ring finger and pinky finger will either stack on top of your third finger or they will rest on the paddle, providing additional support and control for your third finger.
There are other grips that are used by professional ping pong players, such as the V-grip and the Seemiller grip. These two types of grips are not commonly used, and are not great for beginners or people who play for fun.
If you are new to playing ping pong, holding your paddle properly is likely the last thing on your mind. However, when you finally get comfortable with your play, you may want to improve by adjusting how you hold your paddle. Utilizing the shakehand grip or the penhold grip will allow you to add spin, drop, and curve to the ball, taking your game to the next level.