Different Types of Ping Pong Grips in 2021: Pros and Cons [Infographic]

Learning how to hold a ping pong paddle is crucial. If you are serious about this sport, then you should at least master the proper ways of table tennis grips.

One should know that there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to this matter. There are numerous ways you can execute this.

For instance, one of the best ping pong grips for beginners is the shakehand hold. For advanced classes, the penhold proves to be trickiest.

But then again, practicing constantly can change your game. The more you hone your skills, the

Let’s start and explore all of these grips in the following infographic!

Here’s my take on the ping pong grips insights from the infographic:

The Shakehand Grip

As I said, the shakehand grip is the easiest grip that anyone can learn. It is fundamentally simple and doesn’t require an extensive learning curve.

The “shakehand” paddle grip is the typical European style of holding a ping pong paddle. Under this hold, the head of the paddle points upward, and the appearance of your hand is similar to shaking someone’s hand.

A person who is holding the shakehand grip is holding the blade of the paddle with the use of his/ her thumb and index finger. Meanwhile, the rest of the fingers are wrapped on the handle.

Technically speaking, the shakehand grip is meant for versatility. It can give you optimal control over the ball so that you can either spin it fast or have it for defending strong attacks.

There are two different shakehand grips: shallow and deep. Later, we are going to discuss more of them.

It would be best if you can get the best paddles for beginners as they are designed to do the shakehand grip.

Various renowned players used the shakehand grip. Here are some of them:

Shallow Shakehand Table Tennis Grip

The shallow shakehand is typical for Western players, but it is also being used in European and Asian countries.

This particular grip optimizes the flexibility of the wrist while you are holding a table tennis paddle. As a result, it enables you to improve your ability to spin the bool while making loops or serve.

Ideally, the shakehand grip is a style for all-rounders. You can use it for attacking and defending, as it provides a natural grip to your hands.

Beginners will be able to enjoy this particular grip. It can ensure that they can have a balanced playing style without sacrificing their performance.

Deep Shakehand Grip

For this particular shakehand grip, the thumb of your hands is placed at the rubber of the racket. In this position, the flexibility of your wrist decreases but guarantees that you can hold the paddle firmer.

This particular grip is meant for the aggressive and offensive type of playing style. It can provide precision and power at the same time.

Moreover, this grip is suitable for players that can make forehand and backhand attacks. Therefore, it is best for those who have learned the basics of ping pong and have developed their playing style already.

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Ping Pong Paddle Use For Shakehand Grip

When doing a shakehand grip, it is recommended that you use a paddle with either flared (concave), straight, or anatomic handles. A straight handle allows the player to change his / her grip whenever necessary.

The flared handle, on the other, drags the center of gravity closer to the grip, which, in turn, improves your control over the paddle. Meanwhile, anatomic handles are great for conforming to the shape of your palm for better stability. 

Some popular ping pong rackets are used for this grip:


Handle Type

Concave Pro


Concave Italian Composite

Concave Pro

STIGA Supreme

Anatomic Italian Composite

Ergonomic Flared

Ergonomic Flared

Killerspin Jet 200



Penhold Table Tennis Grip

Another popular type of ping pong paddle grip is the penhold. Right now, it is acknowledged that there are three versions of this grip: Japanese, the traditional Chinese grip, and the reverse backhand.

When doing a penhold grip, a player has to hold the handle of the paddle as if he/ she is holding a pencil or a pen when writing. The index and thumb fingers should rest in front of the handle.

Meanwhile, the remaining fingers have a minimal curl around the back of the paddle. Doing this placement ensures that your hands sufficiently support the paddle.

Of course, there are other variations for the penhold. Your thumb can be almost parallel to the paddle’s blade while your index finger remains curved.

At this point, the remaining fingers are allowed to touch the blade; it just depends on you. You can also vary their position–from the base or the middle of the blade.

Being able to master the penhold grip ensures that you can do proficient attacking and defending. It can enhance the speed of the ball and ensure precision on its trajectory, even if it is spinning.

A racket for intermediate players can aid you in doing a penhold grip properly.

Various famous players use the Penhold grip. Here are some of them:

Chinese Penhold Grip

The Chinese penhold grip can be touted as the original penhold grip. This one enables the freedom of the wrist, which is far better than what shakehand grips can do.

This particular grip is meant for attacking, as it can provide exemplary power to your shots. But at the same time, a penhold doesn’t suck when it comes to blocking, especially if you are already well-versed on this grip.

A player who is using this grip can choose to block the ball with his/ her backhand. At the same time, the player can also opt to bend the wrist of the hand and block the incoming ball with the forehand of the blade.

Japanese Grip

Same as the Chinese penhold grip, the thumb and index fingers are holding the front portion of the blade handle as if you are holding a pen.

The difference here is that the remaining fingers do not curl. Instead, they are extending straight from the blade.

The particular advantage of this grip is clearly seen when you are attacking. For some professionals, the attacking power of a Japanese grip is exemplary; after all, the extending fingers provide optimal support to power-up your strokes.

It is also great for providing speed and power in the spin of your ball. Your wrist can move from left to right and vice-versa, which enables high-quality spins.

At this point, it is essential if you have the best rackets for spin.

Here are some tips on how you can improve the spin of your ball.

Ping Pong Paddle Use For Penhold Grip

If you want to learn how to practice the penhold grip, I do suggest that you use a Chinese Style (Cpen) or Japanese Style (Jpen).

It is easier to execute a penhold grip using these paddles. They are naturally straight, which enables you to do the appropriate grip and finger placement to the paddle handle and blade. 

Other Noteworthy Ping Pong Grips

Aside from the shakehand and penhold grips, there are still some other ways you can hold your ping pong paddle. Here are some of them:


In this particular technique, you need to hold the blade of the paddle between your index finger and middle finger, which, in turn, forms of the V-shape. Meanwhile, two fingers curl to the blade, and the thumb will be placed wherever you feel relaxed.

This particular grip excels in proving spin and power. It is suitable for wide-angle strokes that require excessive control.

Reverse Backhand Penhold Grip

In this grip, the back of the racket is being used to hit the backhand. Usually, this grip has uncanny similarities to the traditional Chinese penhold.

The reverse backhand eliminates the weakness of the Chinese penhold on the backhand side. After all, it can generate a strong topspin that has optimal power and reach.

Pistol Grip

This grip requires a specialized paddle that enables you to handle it like a gun. Basically, the handle is attached to the blade itself, which causes an exposed wooden part.

There are holes in a pistol paddle where you can place your fingers. However, keep in mind that this paddle is not ITTF-approved.

Seemiller Grip

The Seemiller Grip is named after Danny Seemiller, a popular American ping pong coach. This particular grip is almost similar to the shakehand grip and only differs on the placement of the index finger and thumb.

Specifically, the thumb and index can be placed on either side of the blade. Meanwhile, the rest of the fingers have to sit on the bottom.

This grip is practically useful for making powerful tophand spin. It is also a grip that you utilize both sides of the paddle in blocking.

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As you can see, there are a lot of ways on how to hold a ping pong paddle. However, I do recommend that you master one or two of them as it is quite difficult to familiarize all the gripping techniques that I showed here.

When you can fully embody a particular grip style, your performance will undoubtedly improve. You can outplay your opponents through this factor alone!

That’s it for now. If you have questions, feel free to drop them in the comment section below.

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