It can be pretty hard to figure out how to hold a ping pong paddle, right? I faced this problem too. So, I decided to do some research and find out the correct way to hold a ping pong paddle. I am going to share what I learned in this article.

In a ping pong game, there is a table separating in two halves by a net at the middle. A lightweight ping pong ball and paddles are used to play this fancy game. A person can succeed by practicing as we all know practice makes a man perfect. But the key lies in holding the ping pong racket or paddle in the right way.

There are several techniques to hold a ping pong paddle.

Today we will discuss them in detail. So anyone who cherishes to learn playing table tennis or somebody who wants to improve their playing skill must adhere to this article.

Now if you consider yourself already a prodigy then well I am glad that you are also reading this. The people who know more or less about the techniques of holding the paddle may find some of the contents of this article fundamental.

But I cannot help it because I am writing this for all the people, people from the beginners to the mid-level pros.

All I can ensure you that it will not be any waste of your valuable time. At the end of this article, you will find your knowledge enriched with the techniques of holding a ping pong paddle correctly.

So, let’s get started!

Why Is It Important to Hold The Ping Pong Paddle Correctly?

To play ping pong like a pro, you cannot avoid the necessity of holding the paddle right. The player’s success relies on the smoothness of his usage of the paddle. The more comfortable you are with your paddle, the more possibility that you will play this game better!

How to Hold a Ping Pong Paddle with Grips?

Usually, there are two types of techniques to hold the ping pong paddle:

  • Shake-hand grip in table tennis
  • Pen-hold grip in table tennis

Each type of grip has its’ own pros and cons. One has to learn the grips and then find the most suitable one for his. Then he needs to practice to be comfortable with that grip style. Here we will discuss the grips in detail.

1. Shakehand Grip in Table Tennis 

Shakehand Grip

As the name suggests, it is almost like shaking hands with the paddle. You have to hold the handle with the help of your palm. Then you have to place the index finger across the bottom of the paddle on one side.

On the other side, you have to put your thumb down to the bottom. The index finger and the thumb have to be parallel to each other on the two sides of the paddle.

Now you may have a question to your mind why do I have to put my index finger and thumb parallel to each other? Why can’t I just hold the handle and play?

Well, there are two reasons why you should use your index finger and thumb in that way.

  • First, when you put the index finger on the bottom of the paddle, you earn a better control over the paddle head.
  • Second, the index finger at the bottom of the paddle can give your mind the idea of the angle on which you are holding the racket. This is very important for great shots as you have less chance to miss the ball as you are well aware of the angle of your paddle.


The advantages of shake-hand grips are:

  • One can play strong and powerful shots with a shake-hand grip.
  • One can use both sides of the paddle head equally in the forehand and backhand side.
  • One can hold any type of bats who are used to with shake-hand grip.


The disadvantages of shake-hand grips are

  • One can miss a shot while changing between forehand and backhand. So s/he must be careful while changing between.

Shake-hand grips can be very useful to play ping pong if one properly learns it. Most of the famous tennis players and most Asian tennis players used this shake-hand technique to play ping pong.

2. Penhold Grip in Table TennisPenhold Grip

As the name suggests, this grip is almost like holding a pen. The index and the thumb hold the paddle and the rest of the fingers remain curved at the back of the paddle. There are several variations of pen-hold grip.

  • Traditional Chinese grip in table tennis
  • Backhand Chinese grip in table tennis
  • Japanese/Korean grip in table tennis

All the variations are slightly different from one another. The basic difference lies in the position of the index and the thumb. The positions of the rest of the fingers remain almost the same. Here we will discuss the variations in brief.

Traditional Chinese grip

It is just like the basic pen-hold grip. The position of the index finger is somewhere as it is overlapping the thumb of your hand. While the other fingers of your hands are versatile. They can keep changing or can remain curved. This technique is very similar to the shake hand technique. The bat starts at the height of the table and ends at the height of the head. For more spin, one can start a little lower than the table height.


The advantages of traditional Chinese pen-hold grip are:

  • You can have more movement of the wrist.
  • So generally one can generate possibly more spin.
  • The main problem of the shake-hand grip which was losing a shot during crossover point that is eliminated.


The disadvantages of traditional Chinese pen-hold grip are:

  • It is inconvenient to use the backhand grip.

However, this problem can be eliminated by using proper reverse or backhand grip.

Reverse/Backhand Chinese Grip

One must hold the bat right. The bat has to be faced fully to the ball. If you want to avoid errors and make the ball go straight topspin, you must hold the bat right. The face of the bat will hit the ball directly. The angle of the paddle remains almost the same. One starts lower the table height and the paddle ends above the head height. However, this grip is quite new and used by players who play on attack.


The advantages of Reverse/Backhand Chinese pen-hold grip are:

  • The problem of the traditional Chinese grip is eliminated.
  • One can have powerful strong shots.
  • Short balls can be easily handled as there is ease is wrist movement.


The disadvantages of Reverse/Backhand pen-hold grip are:

  • The same problem of crossover point arises as a shake hand grip.
  • The reverse hand is not convenient when it comes to topspin ball.
  • There is a lack of sidespin in this type of gr

Japanese/Korean grip

The positions of the index finger and thumb are almost as same as the traditional Chinese pen-hold grip. The change in the positions of the rest of the fingers. In this Japanese/Korean grip, the rest of the fingers expand straight rather than being curved.

In this grip, the same side of the paddle is used back and forth. The player uses the bat wide and quite flat from the body. The shots can be played with more power because of the positions of the rest of the fingers at the back of the paddle. In this grip, the forehand side of the paddle is used.


The advantages of the Japanese/Korean grip are:

  • As this grip deals with the forehand side of the bat, this grip is very convenient for forehand strokes.
  • This type of grip allows good spin generation because of the ease of the wrist.


The disadvantages of Japanese/Korean grip are:

  • The movement of the paddle head becomes a little inconvenient because of the expanded fingers at the back of the paddle.
  • Adjustment of the angles is difficult.
  • It is inconvenient to play backhand with this grip. So players are to play more forehand with such grip.

However, when a player masters on this grip, he can avoid the difficulties and enjoy the advantages.


There is another technique “pushing” in which the angle of gripping is almost as same as the shake-hand grip. The player pushes the ball between forehand and backhand.

In this technique, the person moves his foot back and forth. Movement of the foot makes him ready for the upcoming long ball.


Now we know quite a lot about the techniques of how to hold a ping pong paddle. We should practice the grips again and again. Only then we will be able to determine the suitable grip for ourselves.

But we should be aware of other factors such as long ball, short ball, topspin, etc.

By considering all these factors we have to choose the right grip. There can be a combination of grips that can also be used during playing.

Now I hope we know better than before about how to hold a ping pong paddle and it will help us make better shots in the future.