Grip Types

One of the most important decisions you will make during your table tennis career is the decision about which grip you will use to hold your bat. Although it is possible to start with one grip and change to another type of grip later on, there are relatively few advanced players who have successfully managed to make the change without a lot of intensive re-training. So if you are a new player, it's a good idea to spend a little time thinking about which grip is best for your right at the start of your career.

Major Table Tennis Grips

There are only a handful (!) of basic grips that have proven to be popular and successful over the years (these being the shakehand and penhold grips), and you will find that almost all top players use some variation of these grips. Each of these grips have a number of strengths and relatively few weaknesses, making them effective in elite level play and generally recommended for new players.

Minor Table Tennis Grips

There are also some relatively minor grips that have had occasional success and surges in popularity at various times. There are significantly less number of players at both high and low levels who use these minor grips, but it is not always easy to say whether this is because of a grip's limitations, or whether it is because most coaches and reference materials recommend the standard, most popular grips to new players.

Why Is Choosing The Right Grip Important?

Choosing the right grip is an incredibly important step in your table tennis career, since your choice of grip will have significant impact upon what strokes and techniques you will find easier to perform, and which you will find more difficult. Most coaching materials will recommend choosing a grip that matches your playing style. Unfortunately, this is a bit of a chicken and the egg situation, since it usually takes at least 6-12 months to start developing a style of play, by which time you have probably gotten comfortable with the grip you have originally selected! By this stage many players are understandably reluctant to change to a different grip, even though it may be much more suitable for their particular style of game.

Grips In Detail

In this Grip Types section of the Guide, I'll discuss all the major grip variations, as well as the most important of the minor variations. We'll look at their relative strengths and weaknesses, and talk about which grip I'd recommend to a new player just starting his table tennis career. I'll also discuss some of the finer points of table tennis grips (such as grip tightness, changing your grip during a rally or during service), and highlight some common grip errors to avoid. Finally, I discuss the subject of changing your grip (both to correct small errors and to completely switch to a new grip), and the pros and cons involved (I've done both types of change during my time in the sport).

Shakehand Grips

One of the two major grips, the shakehand grip is arguably the most popular grip in modern table tennis. There are two main variations of this grip, which differ on how far down the handle the racket is held.

link: shakehand shallow grip
link: shakehand deep grip

Penhold Grips

The other major grip found around the world is the penhold grip. Traditionally more popular with players in Asian countries, the penhold grip previously had two major variations, the Chinese style and the Japanese/Korean style. The grip has seen something of a resurgence in popularity due to some elite player's success with the relatively recent Reverse Penhold Backhand innovation, which essentially uses a Chinese penhold grip but uses the back of the racket to hit backhands.

link: Chinese Penhold grip
link: japanese/korean penhold grip
link: reverse penhold backhand (RPB) grip

Minor Grips

While there are many different ways to hold a table tennis racket, most of these are some variation of the shakehand or penhold grip. There are only a small number of other unique grip types which are distinctly different, and apart from the Seemiller grip, very few of these have seen any success on the world stage.
link: seemiller grip
link:, v grip
link; pistol grip
link: bat mittens?

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Greg's Table Tennis Guide