The Table Tennis Grip

A good table tennis grip is essential.
But why is it so important and what do you need to know? Find out here...

Table tennis grip - Jan Ove Waldner by courtesy of the ITTF

If you want to improve at any sport you play, it's important that you master the basic skills.

And table tennis is no different.

So let's take a look at probably the most important of all the basics skills in table tennis ... the table tennis grip.

Learning to use the correct grip is vital if you want to improve your game.

Study any of the best players in the world and you'll see that they've all been taught how to grip the racket correctly.

So if you aspire to be a good player, it's important that you adopt the correct grip at the start, as any bad habits will become very difficult to correct later on.

So, whatever your current level of playing ability, I hope you'll find these table tennis tips and techniques useful.

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Which table tennis grip should I use?

The grip favoured by most players in the western world is known as the "shake-hands" or "western" grip.

Although there are other grips - notably the "penhold" grip used predominantly by the Chinese, Japanese and the Koreans - I'll be concentrating on the western grip that I use.

The western grip is easier to learn and does not have some of the drawbacks that the penhold grip has.


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Why is the table tennis grip so important?

The table tennis grip is important because it controls the angle of the racket (paddle / bat) ... And the angle of the racket controls the height of the ball, the depth of the ball, the speed of the ball, the direction of the ball, the type of spin and the amount of spin.


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How should I hold the racket?

backhand table tennis gripBackhand side

With the shake-hands grip, the racket handle is held in the palm of your hand so that the start of the racket head fits snugly into the "V" shape formed by your thumb and first finger.

Your first finger should lie roughly parallel with the straight edge of the rubber at the base of the racket head. This enables you to have good control over the racket angle.

forehand table tennis gripForehand side

Your thumb should also lie roughly parallel with the straight edge of the rubber on the other side of the racket, whilst the remaining three fingers are wrapped around the handle to provide stability.

The grip should be firm but not tight and the racket should form an extension of your hand and forearm.

This grip should remain constant during play.

My top table tennis tips:

Don't move your thumb and/or first finger towards the centre of the racket because you'll lose control of the racket and increase the chance of hitting the ball with your fingers.

So, as I said earlier, the table tennis grip is important because it controls the angle of the racket, which in turn controls the height of the ball, the depth of the ball, the speed of the ball, the direction of the ball, the type of spin and the amount of spin.

 

Here's a video demonstration of the shake-hands table tennis grip.

(If you have problems with the sound, there are captions/subtitles that you can turn on. Just click on the captions/subtitles button)

 

Here's a video demonstration of the shake-hands table tennis grip.

(If you have problems with the sound, there are captions/subtitles that you can turn on. Just click on the captions/subtitles button)


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Racket angles

forehand table tennis gripNeutral racket angle

With the racket held in a vertical position, the racket angle is described as neutral.

This is the "ready" position and is used when you're waiting for your opponent to serve.

From this position, you can easily move to play a backhand or forehand stroke.

 

forehand table tennis gripClosed racket angle

When the striking surface is angled downwards, the racket angle is described as closed.

This is the racket angle used to play a topspin or block stroke.

 

forehand table tennis gripOpen racket angle

When the striking surface is angled upwards, the racket angle is described as open.

This is the racket angle used to play a backspin or push stroke.

 

The angle of the racket is varied by rotating the hand and forearm.

Although there are other factors, a closed racket angle will generally produce topspin (rotation of the ball away from the player) whilst an open racket angle will generally produce backspin (rotation of the ball towards the player).

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MORE PAGES ABOUT
HOW TO PLAY TABLE TENNIS
For more information on how to play table tennis and improve your game, take a look at my other tips and techniques articles...

Basic Skills

And watch these video demonstrations...

 

Advanced Skills

 

Strategies and Tactics

 

Tips

 

Skill Tests

 

Exercises

 

E-Books

 

Personal Coaching

 


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