Like all other games, table tennis also involves various techniques for the players to help them win the battle. Holding the ping pong paddle is the key point to successfully running the show. However, various other factors are also kept in mind while discussing a game, but here, we will be mainly discussing the methods and techniques of how to grip the ping pong paddle/ racket.
Any game requires a master level of skills to make it entertaining as well as passionate for the audience. The body language matters the most since the players are expected to deliver the best moves that would make the audience crazy and the match worth watching.
Why are holding techniques of pingpong paddle so important?
You must wonder why just the holding and gripping technique is vital to this game. The answer is quite obvious and simple. The game’s name indicates that it is a game of quick moves and decisions. While playing, the players have to be the best in the tools operation skills as it wl be a matter of seconds for them to win or lose the game.
If the tool is not handled skilfully, how would the player make a prompt decision within seconds to hit the right shot?
Hence, gripping the racket is of great importance. For beginners, the first and foremost thing their coaches train them is the gripping skills.
Also, one obvious reason is that nature has created every individual with a specific body physics and mechanism. Not one technique can fit every player. For that reason, the coaches first learn the body mechanism of their student players and, based on their experience, guides them on which technique to choose.
Let’s now come to the point and discuss in detail what are the best gripping skills and holding techniques for ping pong players.
Different methods involved in ping pong grips:
The key is to hold the racket not too tight, not too lose because holding it too tight might cause your hand to get tired too early, making it difficult for you to stand long playing hours, and holding it too lose would not allow you to have a strong hold on your shots while striking the ball. Hence, the racket should be held with a balanced grip.
Below are the most commonly used techniques that have been adopted worldwide by seasonal and professional players:
1- Shakehand Gripping Technique:
The first and the foremost gripping technique is the shakehand technique, widely adopted by players worldwide. As the name is self-explanatory, gripping the paddle in this technique would make it the shape of a handshake.
In shakehand technique, the player holds the racket with his palm wrapping the three middle fingers around the paddle handle. The index finger is positioned towards the corner of the racket’s backside, whereas the thumb is adjusted in a position facing toward the corner of the front side. Also, Check the Best Ping Pong Tables.
The index finger and the thumb are perpendicular to each other, making an angle of 90 degrees.
Advantages of shakehand grip:
Shakehand grip is the only technique that gives maximum hold onto the racket. The player’s hand would not get tired easily, and after certain practice, this grip would naturally get aligned with the player’s hand making it feel like he is naturally striking the shots without any external effort and power.
Below points should be pondered very carefully while playing with the shakehand grip:
- The paddle’s blade should perfectly fit in the gap between your index finger and the thumb.
- The three middle fingers, including the ring finger and the two pinky fingers, should be equally rolled around the paddle, ensuring the ease of the grip.
- The position of the three-finger while wrapped around the ping pong handle should look like you are shaking your hand with someone.
- After gripping the paddle with the shakehand technique, always make sure that the grip is easy and comfortable to your hand by shaking your hand in 4-dimensional movement. If you feel that the grip is comfortable, then you are good to go with this particular technique.
2- Penhold Technique:
The second famous technique used in ping pong grips is the pinhole technique. Same as the shakehand, its name is also self-explanatory means while holding the paddle, the shape of the hand would be like holding a pen.
The technique of holding the racket is to make a V-Shape while holding the racket with the index and thumb. The gap between the Index finger and thumb is in the middle of the handle edge, and the rest of the fingers are wrapped around the paddle. You Can Also check the Best Table Tennis Rubbers.
The penhold technique was invented by Chinese players and later gained popularity among American players.
However, the Americal Players invented the shakehand technique, and later on, Asian Players adopted this technique.
Points to Ponder:
Below points should be given importance while using the penhold grip:
- The handle should be resting in between the space of the thumb and index finger.
- Handle should be firmly gripped between thumb and index.
- The rest of the three fingers should be in a relaxed position to ensure greater flexibility for the wrist.
- This means the pressure should be on the thumb and index finger and not on the other three fingers.
- In case a powerful and strong stroke is required, make sure that your middle three fingers are in a straighter position.
Advantages of Penhold grip:
- The penhold method is very famous for its high success rate. Gripping the handle in the penhold position would enhance the movement making it easier to push the ball and block it if required.
- When a player is not standing close to the table, and the next stroke is required instantly, the penhold method would allow him to return the ball easily and quickly.
Disadvantages of the penhold method:
- Holding the paddle in the penhold method would make it difficult to spin the ball with the outer side of the racket.
- Since the middle three fingers are kept straight, it will hinder the swift movement of the racket blade. Swift movement is highly important to switch the side of the paddle for reaching out to the ball before making a stroke.
3- Seemiller Grip:
Another important gripping technique is known as the seemiller grip, which is named after the player seemiller who invented it.
In the seemiller technique, the middle fingers are wrapped around the paddle; the index finger is placed towards the backside blade, keeping it very near to the bottom portion of the edge. At the same time, the thumb is used to firmly hold the racket face supporting the index finger.
Advantages of seemiller grip:
- A perfect grip for shots that are required to be hit from bigger angles.
- Requires a specialized coach and long hours of practice to grab this grip.
- The flexibility of the wrist gets limited, making it difficult for the player to make backhand shots.
It is highly important to learn basic techniques of ping pong handle grip. The beginners might find it difficult to decide and identify which technique is best suited to them, but if you find the right coach. With consistent practice, you will easily identify your grip kind, ensuring the best results on the game field.
Apart from the above-mentioned techniques, there are various other techniques as well which are not so commonly used but are legally allowed by the Federation of International Table Tennis. In international and local competitions, players also use various versions of shakehand and penhold techniques, such as shallow shakehand, deep shakehand. Both of these are further extensions of the shakehand technique with slight variations.
Similarly, there are further variations made by the Chinese players in the penhold techniques, such as the Chinese penhold and the Japanese penhold. In the Chinese penhold, the paddle blade is in the downward direction, and in the Japanese penhold, the blade is upwards. Also, check the History of Table Tennis.
Another type is the Korean grip used by Korean players. Moreover, reverse penhold is also a variation of penhold techniques.
Wanting to learn more about gripping techniques would make the player all-rounder because even if he is not adopting all of them, he would have an idea of the opponent’s tricks and can be useful in the playing field.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1- How to identify which gipping technique is the best among all?
It is not easy to identify which technique would be best suitable because each individual has his own body structure and flexibility. Some players naturally have high wrist flexibility, and others naturally have a firm grip on the fingers.
The specialized coach would first identify your body mechanism and then advise you on the method which would suit your body.
After some days of practice, you would get to know which technique is made for your body type.
2- Why do Americans use the shakehand technique and the Chinese use the Penhold technique?
Various advantages and disadvantages are involved in both the Chinese and the Penhol Techniques. Since the shakehand technique was introduced by Americal Players, this has been adopted by most of the Americal players, whereas the penhold technique was first introduced by Chinese players, which Chinese have widely adopted.
But now all the nationalities are adopting all kinds of techniques, whichever is suitable to their grips.