Illustrated guide on how to hold(grip) a ping pong paddle

Paddle grip is the most important element in your game. It can be tricky to find a grip that suits you, but once you do, it will make all the difference between winning and losing.

Before we know how to hold a ping pong paddle it’s important to be familiar with the parts of a paddle. The grip is one side piece of the paddle that fits in your palm. Then there are the pips, which are found on either end of the grip and sometimes extend out past it.

The bat is then made up of two sides, each with a rubber side and smooth side. Many grips are designed to be used on either the smooth or rubber side of the paddle.

This article will talk about different paddle holding methods, how to hold a ping pong paddle, and many more.

How to hold ping pong paddles in general?

The basic technique of holding a racket is to hold it between your thumb and forefinger, with the middle finger, ring finger, and little finger attached to the grip. For three fingers, do not stick them too firmly together. The usual way of holding a racket is to sandwich it between your thumb and forefinger.

Kinds of holds(grips)

  • Standard grip
  • Forehand grip
  • Back hand grip
  • Japanese style pen grip(common name: Japanese pen)
  • Chinese penhold grip (common name: middle pen)
  • Shakehand grip

How to hold ping pong paddles?

Standard grip

How to hold ping pong paddle

The standard grip is sometimes called “neutral grip” or “balance grip”.

It is a way to hold it so that the middle of the gap between your thumb and forefinger and the side of the racket is exactly aligned. It is said that players hold it like holding a kitchen knife.

The standard grip is often used by beginners to intermediate users. When you start playing table tennis, you can learn the standard grip first.

Since you can strike the forehand and backhand in a balanced manner, beginners who are uncertain about their playing style will be taught to hold with the standard grip first.

However, the standard grip is now popular among professional ping pong players.


The advantage is that you can strike the forehand and backhand in a well-balanced manner as described above. Both can be hit comfortably.


The disadvantage is that there no special move or shot can be played to shake your opponent with this grip.

Forehand grip

From the standard grip, tilt the racket slightly to the left to use the forehand grip.

A forehand grip is a type of grip where you hold the racquet handle with your palm facing downwards. You need to use the middle three fingers on your racquet hand to form a “V” shape.

This V will act as your new index finger. The thumb should be placed over the top of the grip of the racquet which allows you to have more control.

The two most common forehand grips are semi-western which is when your palm faces sideways towards the ground and western in which your palm faces more downwards.


  • It is easy to hold the grip with force, and it is easy to exert the power of the forehand
  • Since the surface of the racket opens, it is easier to aim at the backside
  • Since the hitting point becomes faster, it is easy to hit
  • Playing drive is easy with the forehand
  • It is a way to hold it for those who want to attack hard with a forehand.


  • It is difficult to hit the backhand (hard hitting / driving)

The biggest disadvantage of the forehand grip is that the backhand is hard to hit as the wrist is easily fixed.

Backhand grip

The backhand grips the racket by tilting it from the standard grip to the right.

The backhand grip is the opposite of the forehand grip. You hold it with your fingers on the top of the paddle. One of the benefits of this grip is that you can pick up more spin on your shots. To hold a backhand grip, firstly hold the paddle as you normally would for a forehand, then switch your grip to the top of the handle.


  • Since the wrist can be used softly, it is easy to hit the backhand
  • Easy to exert the power of the whole backhand
  • It is easy to block the middle ball with the back
  • Easy to do a curve drive with forehand


  • There are few restrictions on forehand technique
  • It is difficult to aim straight

What is a pen holder grip in table tennis?

What is a Japanese penhold grip?

It is often used by asian players from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, etc. Although it is declining in the popularity of shakehands, it is also a persistently popular racket due to its unique shot feeling and momentum.

From the surface

Support the racket by sandwiching it between your foreground thumb and back middle finger. In addition to that, place your index finger on the cork extension, and grasp it.

The point is to leave a little space at the base of the index finger. It is standard to put the first joint on the racket for the thumb.

However, depending on the opponent or game, you may hold your thumb deeply or slightly. The strength of hitting the ball and speed of switching fore-back vary depending on how to grip.

A deep grip makes it easier to hit the forehand, and a shallow grip makes it easier to hit the backhand.

Look a the grip from the back


  • The power of the fore is high
  • Feels light


  • Back is difficult
  • Difficult to switch between fore and back

What is a Chinese pen holder?

Taken from Wikimedia

The Chinese-style pen holder features a shape like a short grip handle of the shake hand. Many of the blades have almost the same shape and thickness as the Shakehand.

There are users in many countries of this hold, including China.

How to hold the surface

Basically, it is the same as the Japanese pen holder. Hold the racket with your thumb on the front and the middle finger on the back.

Support your index finger with a force that does not interfere with your forefinger, but with a grip.

How to hold the back side

The way to hold the backside is almost the same as the Japanese-style pen holder. Align your fingers and gently bend and hold. As with the Japanese style, the point is to bend your fingers lightly.

In the case of a Chinese pen holder that also uses the backhand, the ball might hit the finger when the finger is extended.

Read what happens if the ball hits the finger in ping pong?


  • Smooth switching between fore and back
  • Easy to do backhand


  • The power is lower than that of the Japanese pen
  • Need to use rackets with thin blades
  • Slow speed

What is a shakehand

A shakehand grip is when your hand is stationary on the top side of the stem. The player holds the paddle with their stationary hand and moves their other hand in a shake style to hit the ball.

How to hold the surface

Hold the grip with three fingers, the middle finger, ring finger, and little finger. These three fingers should be slightly inclined concerning the handle. The point is not to squeeze strongly, but to relax and hold your fingers.

Hold your thumb lightly. Grip the racket between the thumb on the front and the index finger on the back, but it is OK to put it on the thumb without putting force.

How to hold the back side

Place your index finger on the back so that it rests on the edge of the racket. The strength of shake hands is basically backhand.

The recommended way is to hold it with your thumb lying down like the image.


  • Fast switching between fore and back
  • Various backhand technique can be used
  • Good at rallying
  • Used in the mainstream of modern table tennis


  • Weak to the ball in the middle
  • Need to change when serving
  • Since the rubber is attached to both sides, the total weight tends to be heavy.

What is a deep Shakehand?

Deep Shakehand grip refers to the way the player grips his or her ping pong paddle and reaches across and down. The player has a tight grip on the handle and stands with their arm stretched out in front of them. The hand is held high on the handle and placed close to the end of the paddle. The other side’s palm faces upward while holding one half of the shot-spinny paddle. This grip is great for looping shots, blocking shots, and attacking from behind the table.

How to hold a ping pong paddle when serving?

how to serve in table tennis

The above image is how to hold the racket when serving. Hold the racket with your thumb and forefinger and do not hold the grip. Fold the middle finger, ring finger, and little finger like a fist.

Alternatively, you can put only the middle finger on the grip or the middle and ring fingers.

By holding this way, the spin of the services made by the Shakehand is overwhelmingly strengthened.

What is V grip?

V grip is simple to learn and easy to control. When a player holds the paddle blade between his/her index and middle finger and makes it look like a V shape is called a V-grip.

The index and thumb almost make an O sign. The rest of the fingers hold the handle.

Is Penhold better than Shakehand?

People believe that shakehand is better than penhold. However, there is no such thing as a superior grip. The only real difference between the two is that shakehand makes it easier for players to generate power and spin while penhold makes it easier to impart long, looping strokes to the ball.

What is the best grip in table tennis?

The best grip in table tennis is Shakehand grip also known as western or two-handed. This one is recommended for beginners especially.

What is the proper way to hold a ping pong paddle?

The grip is determined by your playing style and comfort preference. But the rule of thumb is to hold the handle with one hand near the top and the other closer to the butt cap. The grip of the racquet should be loose enough to allow you to make a hand change if necessary, while still maintaining control over the paddle.


If you’re struggling with how to hold a ping pong paddle, your grip may be part of the problem. A Shakehand grip is one of the most popular grips because it feels natural and can easily adjust to different sizes.

After gaining experience, I think it’s a good idea to explore other ways of holding a ping pong paddle on your own when your playing style and your favorite serve are solidified.

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