Ping Pong, also known as Table Tennis in many parts of the world, is a swift and unpredictable sport. To be a successful ping pong player, you must have an intricate set of skills and good technique.
Mastering the most essential skills of the game: how to serve and hold a Ping Pong Paddle can help enhance your competitiveness.
By the end of this article, you will be well informed over the ways of strengthening your Ping Pong playing prowess.
- 1 Why Holding the Paddle Properly is Important
- 2 The Appearance of a Paddle
- 3 Different Types of Grips
- 4 Shakehand Grip vs. Penhold Grip
- 5 Which Grip Should You Choose?
- 6 Final Verdict
- 7 Also know about: What Is the Difference Between Ping Pong and Table Tennis?
Why Holding the Paddle Properly is Important
The technique of holding a paddle is the foundation of any ping pong player’s ability. It is the base for you to increase your prowess in the sport.
The faster you can adapt to this technique, the sooner you will see improvements in your game.
Holding your ping pong paddle without proper technique can significantly reduce your control of the game. In addition, the power of your stroke won’t be optimum. Therefore, you’ve got to learn to grip first thing before any else.
Well, you won’t become unbeatable in ping pong overnight after learning the techniques of holding the paddle. Still, it will surely make you a much better player.
Build your basics from the start. Otherwise, you will end up with rather bad techniques, which will be challenging to forsake later.
Hence, we’re going to start from the appearance of a ping pong paddle.
The Appearance of a Paddle
The most commonly used Ping Pong Paddle dimensions are 25cm in length, 15cm across, and approximately 10 cm around the handling area.
The surface of a paddle has two different colors on each side: red and black. This rule of having different colors have been added as the game has evolved.
The rule was added to the game after the finding that the paddle’s appearance could influence the ball’s movement. It would therefore control the overall game.
Once upon a time, the attack part of the game was much more robust than now. That means anyone who served would almost surely win the game. But, gradually, with the evolution of materials and techniques, defending became a more potent tactic.
Initially, with both sides having the same color, players could easily deceive their opponents as they could turn their rackets unnoticed. This led to the offense of overpowering the attack. To create a balance between the attack and defense, the rule of having two colors was introduced in the game.
Basic Instructions on How to Hold the Paddle
As mentioned before, a ping pong player must know the paddle holding techniques. If you are a ping pong enthusiast, learning them is imperative for you.
Here are a few instructions on how to hold a ping pong paddle:
- Choose a paddle that fits well into your grasp. If the paddle does not fit, playing effective shots will become a challenge.
- Hold the paddle in your dominant hand. This is because your dominant hand can generate higher power and accuracy than your other hand.
- Make sure to double-check your reach. Your grip should enable you to create a balance. Firm enough to efficiently control the paddle, but not so tight that it makes holding the paddle uncomfortable.
- When the ball comes to your forehand side, remember to strike the ball with the front side of the paddle.
- When the ball comes to your backhand side, strike the ball with the rear end of your paddle. The rear side is where your index finger is placed when the ball comes your way.
Now, we will discuss the different types of grips for this game.
Different Types of Grips
There are two main types of grips in the game of Ping Pong. These two are:
· Shakehand Grip
The Shakehand Grip is considered the most traditional and oldest style of holding ping pong paddles. The grip is named so because it appears as if the player is shaking someone’s hand. This technique is more appropriate for paddles with longer handles.
This grip has made it through years of adaptation and restyling. It allows the player to have reasonable control over the ball.
You will find the use of this grip pervasive among Asian athletes.
Players who use this technique of paddle holding get an edge over their opponents on speed, accuracy, and control.
Technique for Shakehand Grip
- Firstly, hold the handle of the paddle as if you were holding shaking hands with someone. Next, make sure your grip is balanced: you have both control and comfort when using the paddle.
- Extend the index finger across the body of the bat. It should mimic a gun made using your fingers.
- The placement of the thumb determines what type of shake hand grip it is. More on that is explained below.
Types of Shakehand Grip
There are two types of Shakehand Grips. They are:
- Deep Shakehand
- Shallow Shakehand
As mentioned before, the placement of the thumb determines what type of shakehand grip it is:
If the position of the thumb is in a relatively relaxed position, it is the deep shakehand position. The thumb is relaxed against the rubber of the paddle. It usually points in an upward direction.
With this grip, you will have enhanced power but lesser accuracy. The deep shakehand grip lets you generate more power and spin into your returns. This grip favors strong backhand strikes.
The Shallow Shakehand Grip, on the other hand, is a much more basic technique for players. The thumb is placed underneath the rubber of the bat, in a position opposite to the index finger.
This technique provides greater balance. You can effectively play both forehand and backhand strokes.
· Penhold Grip
The second most popular technique of holding the paddle is known as the Penhold Grip. It is named such because it looks like the player is holding the paddle in the same way he holds a pen.
This style has many variances as it is dependent more on the player.
Players using the penhold grip are able to add more spin to their strikes. The grip is more appropriate for short handles.
Technique for Penhold Grip
Place your index finger and thumb at the front end of the bat while placing the other three fingers behind the surface of the paddle.
The handle of the paddle should be between your thumb and index finger. It is important to note that the paddle should be facing downwards when using this technique.
Rest your thumb lightly on the rubber while the index finger rests on the edge of the rubber. The two fingers must not touch each other.
Types of Penhold Grips
- Chinese Grip: The Chinese penhold grip allows you to hit the ball with more energy, but consequently, the accuracy of your shots will wane a bit.
In this grip, you place your three fingers far apart from one another at the back of the paddle. This will give you a wider area of support, which allows you to generate more power.
- Japanese Grip: Although the Japanese Grip is relatively similar to the Chinese grip, it adds higher precision and control.
In this technique, the three fingers at the back of the paddle are kept very close to one another, sometimes even placed on top of one another.
The close placement of fingers allows you to generate more power but hinders your movement. Also, it sometimes weakens your reflexes.
Shakehand Grip vs. Penhold Grip
The shakehand and penhold grips are the most commonly used techniques by ping pong players worldwide. So let us judge these two styles against one another and see their strengths and weaknesses:
- The Shakehand Grip is much easier to learn and master than the Penhold Grip. This easy learning process makes the shakehand grip preferable to beginners.
- The Shakehand Grip is very rudimentary and has minimal variation. The Penhold Grip, on the other hand, has more variations and is thus more stylish and flashier.
- There is equal distribution of power in both the backhand and forehand when it comes to the shakehand grip. But this distribution of power is not present in the penhold grip.
- The Penhold Grip is more efficient in defending against attacks than the Shakehand Grip.
- Both the grips are very flexible. But if pitted against one another, the Penhold Grip has higher flexibility.
- When it comes to the penhold grip, it gives players more control over the spin of the ball and also allows the player to dictate the defense.
- Due to the rather conventional and popular identity of the shakehand grip, it is somewhat predictable. As most people around the world use this technique, it becomes easy for an opponent to predict your shots.
On the contrary, the variances in the penhold grip are extensive. As a result, this technique is much more difficult to predict.
- The penhold grip is tougher to master and more strenuous to play with. It is challenging to maintain consistency in the quality of the shots using this technique. This is due to the variances that exist in the play.
In the shakehand grip, it is easier to learn. But it is also very time-consuming as it takes the player some time to choose what shot they want to play. This is known as a crossover point. And it primarily happens while choosing between backhand or forehand.
Which Grip Should You Choose?
This is a very arbitrary decision to make. What grip you should choose solely depends on your comfort zone and playing style. If you are just starting out, it is better to learn the shakehand grip as it is easier.
But if you are looking to make a name for yourself, the penhold grip is a more competitive technique. Though it is difficult to learn compared to the shakehand grip, this technique offers more variances and unpredictability when playing.
Ping Pong is a game that, on the surface, tends to deceive people. It looks like a relatively simple duel between two players, but it is a sport of incredible intricacies in truth.
Will you be successful as a Ping Pong player? The answer depends a lot on how well you have mastered the techniques of the game, particularly your knowledge of how to hold the ping pong paddle.
Now it’s your time to get started on the practice. Let’s go!