There are a number of other factors that go into play in being a great table tennis player and they all depend on the basics. Handling the paddle is a key basic skill in successful shots against an opponent in table tennis. Without proper gripping technique, a player leaves themselves vulnerable to making avoidable mistakes that weaken the defense. Here, we look at two of the most popular and versatile techniques t to hold the table tennis paddle: the shakehand and pen-hold grips, as well as some tips on how to maximize grip technique during gameplay.
The shakehand grips
This is one of the most widely used handling techniques for amateurs and professionals. It’s a product of a number of variations on the same basic grip throughout the history of the sport that is used predominantly amongst competitive western players. Here is how to get this grip: Hold your hand out as you would when shaking someone’s hand (the basis of the name). In the V shape created between your index and thumb, place the handle. The index finger and thumb will be the only two fingers on the paddle head and they should lay parallel to the straight edge of the rubber at the base of the paddle head. The rest of the fingers should wrap around the paddle handle The shakehand grip is a great starter technique because it’s natural and easy to master over time Even for seasoned players, ones who prefer to attack generally choose this grip because it provides more power to strokes in addition to added control on both backhand and forehand shots. On the downside, the locked wrist position can reduce a player’s options when needing to adjust to respond to the opponent’s shots.
The penhold grip
This is another family of grips with varieties within it, but they all generally follow the same basic handling rules. The penhold grip involves handling a paddle the way you would hold a pen–with the thumb and index finger in contact. Here’s how to achieve the grip: Hold your arm out and extend your fingers as if you were holding an imaginary pen The thumb and the index finger hold the paddle at the base of the paddle head The rest of the fingers curl around the grip This is a very delicate grip and it usually does not work well with heavy paddles. It requires a lighter paddle to avoid injuries. And because it’s a delicate grip, it allows the wrist to freely move and adjust positions for quicker and flexible shots. This makes this a great grip option for players who are more inclined to tactical and quick players. However, the big trade-off here is that it doesn’t offer power maximization and has a weak backhand due to the holding position.
Maximizing grip techniques during gameplay
We’ve only touched on two of the most used grips because they’re versatile in terms of control and power. For a beginner, a great place to start is mastering the shakehand and advancing to the penhold. During gameplay, it’s good to consider an opponent’s style and learn to quickly adapt to respond to their approach and get points. This can only be done when the player is thoroughly confident and mastered the grip technique they intend to use because it gives them opportunities to get a good smash of table tennis paddle in.