Should I use the Shakehand or Penhold Grip

Table Tennis Discussion

Last updated 4 years ago

Vaibhav Kishore

Vaibhav Kishore Asked 4 years ago

I initially played with the shake hand grip and then switched to the pen hold grip. I stopped playing table tennis for a few years then. My interest aroused again and for a few months I have been playing the sport, using the shake hand grip and I have learnt some good shots and serves by the same grip. But, I think using the pen hold grip again I will be able to play better. What should I do?


Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb Answered 4 years ago

Hi Vaibhav,

It really depends on your goals. If you want to keep improving then I'd recommend picking one grip and sticking with that for a few years! I know this sounds like I'm sitting on the fence but you can be successful with either grip. Hopefully you have a gut feel for which you prefer, and if that is the case then stick with it.

On the positives for the shakehand grip is the fact that there are more tutorials online for this grip but I don't think that outweighs any preference you have.

Good luck! Let me know what you decide.

And if anyone else has had some experience switching grips or has some suggestions for Vaibhav then please leave a comment.


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Thoughts on this question

Tommy Edwards

Tommy Edwards Posted 4 years ago

It also depends on your playstyle as well.

Generally, due to the wrist flexibility penhold grip has the advantage playing close to the table, and since the fingers are supporting the back of the bat, drive and smash are more powerful. However, the disadvantage is playing far from the table, since holding so close to the hitting area of the bat, it is not as easy to reach the ball from a far distance, especially on the backhand side.

Shakehand grip can completely cover the disadvantage of the penhold grip and can swing their backhand far from the table a lot easier.

So, if you think you have a flexible wrist and like playing close to the table, go for penhold grip.
If you like looping or defend far from the table, go for Shakehand grip.

Don't give me wrong, there're a lot of strong penholders play far from the table, and strong shakehanders play close to the table.
Penhold grip just EASIER to perform the techniques when close to the table; Shakerhand grip just EASIER to perform the technique far from the table.
It is totally possible to cover all the grip disadvantages by training. But most important is which grip do you feel more comfortable to use.

Furthermore about pendhold grip:
If you are not playing in Asia, you can earn some easy points due to their lack of experience and tactics, because a lot of players do not get used to playing against penholder. But like Jeff said, there would also be lack of tutorial about penhold techniques which makes you more difficult to master this grip. So it's like a double edge blade. 

Also, don't listen to those who say penhold has a weak backhand. Penhold backhand is not weak, it's just harder to perform, even without Reverse Penhold Backhand. If you can train up the backhand drive and smash with the front side (not RPB), it can be a deadly weapon, since the fingers supporting the back of the bat. The best example is Yoshida Kaii.


Benzene Chiral

Benzene Chiral Posted 4 years ago

I agree with Tommy as to the backhand, it's harder to perform and sometimes require you to bend your hand very unnaturally. I used both before, and from experience, if you, in any way, show that your backhand is weak, as it is widely believed for penhold, your opponent will attack your backhand side very often.

Owing to this, you are highly recommended to have a strong, or at least decent backhand. You can use your forehand on your backhand side of your table, but your opponent will attack your forehand side, then here, you need good footwork to make up for this.

Penhold, if you are playing with your fingers straight and spread out on the back, it may be quite painful? If you find it unbearable then don't use it(?)

Lastly, tutorials... To me, forehand side is rather similar to shakehand? Pingskills do have the tutorial for penhold techniques. Reverse penhold Backhand... Watch Wang Hao. On a side note, if you want someone unorthodox, watch Xu Xin.



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