The Best Table Tennis Grips: Pros and Cons

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The Best Table Tennis Grips: Service with Shakehand Grip.

Are you tired of struggling to hold your ping pong paddle right? Do you feel like your grip is holding you back from reaching your full potential? Well, fret not! In this blog post, we will be exploring some of the most popular table tennis grips. From the popular shakehand grip to the lesser-known Semiller and V-Grip, we’ll examine them all.

Furthermore, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each ping pong grip technique. But wait, there’s more! So sit back, grab your paddle, and get ready to learn everything you need to know about finding the best table tennis grips for you.

Shakehand Grip

The Shakehand grip is the bread and butter of many table tennis players. It is a favorite for a reason – it’s both versatile and popular among players of all levels. Imagine having the power to unleash strong forehand strokes with the flick of your wrist. That’s exactly what the Shakehand offers. And guess who’s responsible for all that control? The index finger! It plays a crucial role in maneuvering the racket.

It may have its drawbacks, but the advantages of the Shakehand, such as the ability to dominate the forehand side and unleash powerful shots, make it a top pick for players at the highest levels of the game.

Shakehand How-To

Pros of the Shakehand Grip

  • One of the main advantages of the Shakehand is the wide range of shot options it offers. From powerful forehand smashes to delicate backhand flicks, the Shakehand allows players to execute a variety of shots with ease.
  • Another benefit is the smooth transition between forehand and backhand strokes. With the shakehand grip, players can quickly switch between the two sides of the paddle, maintaining fluidity and speed in their gameplay.
  • Moreover, it is the most common grip among Western players, making it easily relatable for aspiring table tennis enthusiasts.
  • The shakehand grip also provides good control and precision, allowing players to accurately place their shots and maintain a steady hand during intense rallies.

Cons of the Shakehand Grip

  • But as they say, every rose has its thorn. For shakehanders, it’s the backhand side that tends to be their Achilles’ heel. The grip isn’t as natural for backhand shots, so it requires extra effort to develop consistency. However, if you’re willing to put in the practice, the deep shakehand grip can reward you with better leverage and power. It’s like finding the hidden treasure at the end of a challenging adventure.
  • Generating as much spin with the shakehand can be more challenging compared to other grips.
  • Another potential drawback is that players using the Shakehand may struggle with certain types of serves, as it may limit their range of motion.
  • The side of the racket can sometimes get in the way during certain shots, affecting shot accuracy and control.
  • Stamina can also be an issue with the shakehand grip because it requires continuous wrist movement, which can lead to fatigue over time.

Penhold Grip

This one involves holding the racket in a way that resembles holding a pen, hence the name. One of the advantages of the penhold grip is the better control it provides over the forehand side of the racket.

The penhold grip has its own unique playing style and strategies, making it an interesting option for players looking to try something different. It’s important to note that there are different variations of the Penhold, including the Japanese and Korean penhold grips, each with their own pros and cons.

Chinese Penhold explained

Chinese Penhold Grip

As the name suggests, the Chinese penhold is a favorite among many Asian players, renowned for its ability to maximize power and spin on the forehand side. But here’s the interesting part – players who use this one often have a strong backhand stroke as well.

It’s all about footwork and quick reflexes using this style. Chinese penholders can consistently loop on their backhand side, sticking a rubber on the backside of their rackets.

Now, let me tell you, the Chinese Penhold is not the easiest one for newbies. It requires skill, precision, and practice. But those who master it are rewarded with an arsenal of powerful shots and wicked spins that can leave their opponents in awe. And isn’t that what table tennis is all about? Pushing boundaries, exploring new techniques, and finding your own unique grip.

So, if you’re up for a challenge, give it a go. Embrace its advantages and conquer any cons along the way. Who knows, you might just become the next Xu Xin?

Pros of the Chinese Penhold Grip

  • The Chinese penhold grip, in particular, allows for greater wrist flexibility, which can result in more spin on shots.
  • One of the key advantages of this grip is its ability to generate powerful forehand shots with maximum spin, making it difficult for your opponents to return.
  • Another advantage of the Chinese Penhold Grip is the excellent control and touch it provides for close-to-the-net play. With this grip, you can delicately place the ball exactly where you want it, making it challenging for your opponents to counterattack.
  • Chinese players like Wang Hao have achieved great success using the Penhold, showcasing its effectiveness at the highest levels of play.
  • Quick and unexpected backhand shots are easy to do, catching your opponents off guard.

The Chinese Penhold offers a different playing style compared to other grips, making it a valuable tool in your table tennis game.

Cons of the Chinese Penhold Grip

  • It can be challenging to cover the wide angles on the backhand side, requiring more wrist flexibility and strength, which can be a hurdle for some players.
  • On top of that, players using the Chinese penhold may struggle with certain types of serves, as the Chinese Penhold doesn’t offer the same versatility as the Shakehand for example.
  • Another con is the reverse penhold backhand, which requires specialized training and practice to master.
  • Lastly, the Chinese penhold may limit shot variety compared to other grips, potentially making players more predictable on the table.

Japanese / Korean Grip Penhold

If you’re looking to add style and versatility to your table tennis game, the Japanese / Korean penhold grip might be your best bet. This unique grip, which is one of the three main table tennis grips along with Shakehand and Chinese Penhold, has gained popularity mainly among players from Japan and Korea. It offers a different style and technique that can enhance your gameplay.

By holding the racket with a slightly modified penhold grip, players using this grip often showcase a strong forehand and backhand, making them a force to be reckoned with on the table.

The Japanese penhold blade handle is much longer and thicker, creating a wide edge to rest your thumb and index finger. It’s also commonly made up of part cork to save on weight.

Japanese Penhold Tutorial

Pros of the Japanese Penhold Grip

So you’re considering the Japanese/Korean penhold grip for your table tennis game? Brilliant choice! Let me tell you, this grip has some amazing advantages:

  • Provides excellent power and spin on both your forehand and backhand strokes. It’s all about maximizing the potential of your paddle and getting those impressive shots in.
  • Not only that, but this grip also offers better reach and coverage on the backhand side compared to other grips. You’ll be able to defend and attack with finesse, leaving your opponents guessing.
  • The beauty of this grip lies in its ability to allow for quick and fluid shot transitions. You can smoothly switch between different strokes. It’s like dancing on the table, gracefully moving from one shot to another.

Cons of the Japanese Penhold Grip

One of the main cons of this grip is the limited backhand stroke options it provides. Due to the unique way the paddle is held in this grip, players may find themselves restricted when it comes to executing certain backhand techniques.

  • Not an objective con, but this grip is not as popular among Western players. While it may have achieved success in Japan and Korea, players from other regions tend to prefer different grip styles that suit their playing preferences and strategies.
  • The Japanese/Korean penhold may require more stamina due to its limitations in footwork. The grip’s unique positioning can make it more challenging to cover the table quickly and efficiently, resulting in increased physical exertion during longer matches.
  • Prolonged use of this grip can lead to strain in the index finger. The gripping motion and pressure required from this grip can put excessive stress on the index finger, causing discomfort or even injury over time.

It’s worth noting that the Japanese/Korean penhold grip can still be effective in the right (or left) hands. Players who have mastered this grip can overcome its limitations and find success on the table.

Other Table Tennis Grips

If you’ve explored the Shakehand Grip and the Penhold Grip with its variations, it’s time to dive into other notable table tennis grips.

Semiller Grip

This one is another favorite among professional players, offering a strong sense of control and stability on the table. It may require a bit of practice to get used to, but once you’ve really mastered it, you’ll see a significant improvement in your overall game. You’ll have the advantage of better maneuverability and increased precision.

The Seemiller is a lesser-known about type of table tennis grip, popularized by five-time U.S. Men’s Singles Champion Dan Seemiller. It’s very similar to the shakehand grip. You only need to adjust your thumb and index finger so that they rest on the outer edges of the paddle. This grip allows the free movement of the wrist so players can implement excellent forehand strokes.

Besides the ease it affords attacking play, this grip also enables users to easily block and counter-attack from the table’s forehand or backhand sides. It also supports flexible wrist movement, which eliminates the issue of the crossover point that opponents exploit.

The Semiller grip is not suitable for players with small hands or those who prefer a more relaxed grip style. However, if you’re looking to enhance your ball control and elevate your play, it may be an excellent option to consider.

Semiller grip explained.


Gripping hard within a clenched fist, this is an unorthodox, rather inefficient and uncontrollable grip that most people struggle playing with. The V-Grip also allows for effective use of the wrist and forearm in swings, giving you that extra power you need to win those intense rallies. So, if you want to try something new, give the V-Grip a try! However, the V is not recommended for beginners and only a few pros play it.

By holding the racket deeper between your fingers, similar to holding a wine glass, you have more control over the paddle, allowing for more precise shots. This can be especially beneficial when executing powerful forehands or making quick changes in direction.

Can the right grip improve your game?

Experimenting with different table tennis grips can dramatically enhance your game. Finding the right one is crucial as it can improve your overall performance, power, spin, control, and shot selection. Additionally, your grip can affect your footwork and ability to cover the table efficiently.

What is the Best Grip for Me?

Finding the best grip for you in table tennis depends on your playing style and personal preference. Experiment with different varieties to discover what feels most comfortable and natural for your game. Seeking advice from a coach or experienced player can also help determine which one to choose.