How To Grip A Ping Pong Paddle & Different Types Of Grips?

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Ping Pong proudly stands as the fastest game on earth. With such a reputation the sport also comes with a bag-full of regulations and techniques. 

Imagine a Kung Fu fighter balancing his body on one foot at the edge of a cliff. Now think of the hours, days, and years he would have contributed to attain the stability. The same goes for Ping Pong. However easy and smooth it may seem to the eyes, it’s equally tough and labor-demanding. It rests upon a number of tactics, strategies, and routines that are bound to be followed if someone wishes to play Ping Pong for real. It calls for passion, aggression, and thrill. 

It roars for speed!

You can’t say you were watching a Ping Pong match if your heart wasn’t racing at the speed of light throughout the game. Now, for attaining such smooth a visual-finish, a Ping Pong player needs to have a fine knowledge about the positions and the grips that would help in getting maximum positive results. The way you hold a Ping Pong Paddle speaks for your hold on the game!

Why Is Ping Pong Called ‘A Game Of Speed’?

Ping Pong is a game of technique, and undoubtedly of speed. One needs to train one’s body and mind in a certain way so that the coordination is at its best while playing. You don’t get even a complete second to think and act, the whole process of striking, watching, apprehending the counterattack and striking back, everything happens in that very fraction of second. It’s very much like a reflex, only here you have to train your mind to incorporate such reflexes. 

Did You Know? 

The fastest Ping Pong or Table Tennis (as called in International Tournaments) hit by a 

human is 116 kilometers per hour and was achieved by Łukasz Budner from Poland in Częstochowa, on 4 June 2016.

Why Is It Important To Choose A Grip?

Like it’s mentioned earlier in this article, Ping Pong needs concentration, speed, and perfection in technique. The way of holding the Ping Pong Paddle is an art in itself. It’s always better to be trained with the art of gripping before letting your body act in its natural way of hitting the Ping Pong ball. If a player is never trained with the grips, it’s pretty obvious for him to get his game worsened with time, and eventually losing interest in it. 

Although there’s no perfect way of gripping the Paddle, yet, there are some ‘right grips’ to play Ping Pong the correct way. 

Different Types Of Ping Pong Grips:

The Shakehand Grip: 

The Grip got its name (as obvious it is) from the hand position, which mostly resembles the grip someone would use when shaking hands. It’s one of the most common grips in the West and with time, has gained high popularity among the Asian players as well. 

In this basic Shakehand Grip, the Ping Pong player has three fingers of his fist wrapped around the blade, with his index finger reaching the edge of the rubber. The edge of the blade is then tucked into the crease between his thumb and the index finger. Placing the edge of the blade in the natural V of the hand is pretty crucial for wrist flexibility and paddle-control.

Types Of Shakehand Grips

The Shallow Shakehand- 

Here the hand is positioned as mentioned earlier, while the thumb rests slightly curled on the blade. The shallow shakehand grip is a natural, and moreover a relaxed way to grip the Ping Pong Paddle. Is is seemingly easy for beginners to learn. 

 Advantages 

  • Natural and comfortable feel in the hand
  • Wrist flexibility is great 
  • Can be used backhand and forehand 

 Disadvantages 

  • Lesser power on attacks
  • Weak crossover point 

Note: A crossover point is the very moment of decision when the Ping Pong player has to decide upon the use of grip, i.e forehand or backhand stroke. Delays in these decisions can be crucial in Ping Pong.

The Deep Shakehand- 

Here, the hand is placed again, as described above, only the thumb is raised comparatively higher, which further relaxes on the rubber of the bat. The Deep Shakehand grip is often advised for beginners. 

 Advantages 

  • Natural and comfortable feel in the hand
  • Can be used backhand and forehand 
  • Adds more power and precision to the attacks

 Disadvantages 

  • This grip trades wrist flexibility of the Shallow Shakehand grip for an increased power that resulting from a stabilised wrist. 
  • Weaker crossover point

Did You Know? 

Even though the game finds its origin in England and the Chinese have been dominating it since a good time now, it’s a Swede name that stands proudly as the history’s best Ping Pong player. He is Jan-Ove Waldner, “the Mozart of Table Tennis”.

The Penhold Grip: 

Much suggested by its name, The Penhold Grip is held with the Paddle’s blade pointing upward, and it’s surface pointing downwards, exactly how we hold a pen. It is one of the most popular grips among the Asian players, which now has gained as much popularity in the West as well. 

In a basic Penhold Grip, the edge of the blade is made to tuck into the V of the hand, that’s between the thumb and the fingers. The index fingers and thumb are then curled around the blade eventually resting on the rubber. 

Types of Penhold Grips:

The Chinese Penhold-

In this technique, the blade is gripped downward, where the index finger and the thumb are wrapped around in the basic Penhold way. The three fingers of the playing hand are then curled gently, holding the rubber stuck to the opposite side.

 Advantages 

  • Here the crossover point weakness of the Shakehand Grip is eliminated as the same paddle side is used for both forehand and backhand strokes, relying completely on the  lateral wrist rotation and not flipping from side to side.
  • Great wrist flexibility 
  • Applicable for both attack and defense

 Disadvantages 

  • Difficulty in imparting backhand topspin
  • Here the elbow is raised and the wrist is rotated continuously which is physically tiring. It eventually drains out the stamina of the player. 

Japanese or Korean Penhold- 

The only thing that differentiates the Korean grip from Chinese grip is the fact that,  here the fingers placed on the back of the Paddle are straightened, and not curled.

 

 Advantages 

  • More power is added to the forehand strokes, as the fingers impart more strength and stability
  • Increased power helps the player to stand further from the Ping Pong table

 Disadvantages 

  • It reduces blade movement that can also result in difficulty in returning the ball.
  • It requires patience and perseverance to master the grip completely. 

Reverse Backhand Penhold: 

The Reverse Backhand Penhold grip is comparatively tougher than the other ones. Mastering it has been attained perfectly by Wang Hao, whose games can give you a clear indight of how this grip is put into action. 

Here, the Chinese Penhold grip is used, but instead of the front paddle surface, wherein the thumb and index finger are made to rest, the back paddle surface is used. 

 Advantages 

  • Helps strengthening the backhand 
  • Enables faster arm movements 

 Disadvantages 

  • As the Paddle is gripped low and close to the table, the chances of getting the ball across the net becomes tough.  
  • Very difficult to master

Apart from these very in-fashion grips, there are two more grips that are unusual and that rarely made it to the international scenes by virtue of their unproven effectiveness in matches.

Did You Know? 

Ping Pong has been considered better than chess for the brain activity that goes into playing and winning the game. 

So, it’s a calorie burner as well as a brain enhancer!

The V-Grip: 

Here the Ping Pong blade is held between the 

index finger and the middle finger, forming a V-shape.

A V-grip can be formed curling the two fingers down through the blade. The thumb is then placed anywhere it seems comfortable for the player.

 Advantages 

  • More leverage, extended reach and more power and spin
  • It also allows wide-angled shots.

 Disadvantages 

  • Very less scope of training
  • The grip remains in its experimental stage.

The Seemiller Grip:

Made popular by Dan Seemiller, this technique is a variant of the Shakehand grip.

The tip of the forefinger of the playing hand is placed close to the edge, or somewhere around the edge. The index finger and thumb are held on either side at the angle of a 90-degree turn. 

 Advantages 

  • Free wrist movement 
  • No crossover point

 Disadvantages 

  • Hamper in backhand side wrist movements
  • Limiting of heavy topspin and powerful returns.

Conclusion:

As for a beginner, one should try n start with a Deep Shakehand (because of its versatility) after mastering which, they can then move into trying other grips. 

Ping Pong is among the most celebrated racket sports and requires constant and consistent training. Every single successful stroke is backed by years and years of practice into every little technique it comes with. Even though every player has his own style of gripping the Paddle, one cannot be called a professional until he/she is aware and trained with the grips discussed above. The grip can neither be very tight or very loose; only a perfect hold can lead to a perfect shot.

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