How to Hold a Ping Pong Paddle Correctly Step By Step

If you are a beginner ping pong player, mostly likely you want to get better at it. And one of the best ways to do that is to practice how to hold a ping pong paddle accurately. You can hold the paddle in many different ways while playing. But in the high-level of table tennis, there are two main grips commonly used. The shakehands grip and the penhold grip. In this article, I’m going to walk you through how these two types of table tennis grips look like. So, you will be able to develop new techniques and improve your ping pong style.

The shakehands grip

The shakehands grip is the most common and popular table tennis grip. It is like you are going to shake hands with the racket. The most of the top table tennis players hold their paddle in this way now. It gives you better control. And you can easily spin the ball with both of your forehand and backhand.

Here is how you can hold a ping pong paddle with the shakehands grip step by step:

  1. Hold out your hand as you are going to shake someone else’s hand.
  2. Slide the paddle between your thumb and your index finger.
  3. Make sure your thumb is touching the rubber on the front side.
  4. And your index finger is touching the rubber on the back side.
  5. Wrap your three remaining fingers all around the handle.

shakehands grip

The penhold grip

The second most common table tennis grip is the penhold grip. It is like you are holding the handle as you are holding a pen. With this grip, you can use your wrist a lot more.  As you are using the same side of the bat in penhold grip. So, you don’t have a crossover point.

Also here is how you can hold the paddle with the penhold grip step by step:

  1. Hold the ping pong paddle with the handle facing upwards.
  2. Encircle your thumb and your pointer finger around the handle.
  3. Curl up your three remaining fingers on the back side of the paddle.
  4. Or have your three remaining fingers flat across the back of the ping pong paddle.

penhold grip

It is your choice. You can have your remaining fingers in two different ways. Either curled up or flat across the back of the ping pong paddle.  If you have your fingers curled up, then you can move your wrist a bit more easily. Besides if you have them spread across the back, you can get a bit better control over the racket head. So, I suggest you experiment yourself and see which one seems comfortable for you.

Loose or tight grip?

For a perfect grip, you need to make sure that you hold the ping pong racket loosely. This will let you use your wrist more and generate more spin which is the crucial part of the most table tennis stroke. And if you hold it too tightly, it will be harder for you to move your wrist. It is going to stiffen up and you will get less control over your wrist. So, hold your bat as loose as you can pull the bat out of your hand smoothly.

High grip vs Low grip

How much high or low of the handle should your hand be? There are a couple of options for you. If you have your hand a little higher up the handle, you may not be able to generate spin quite so much. But you will get more control. Besides if you have your hand a little bit lower, you will be able to spin the ball more. But you may find that you are losing a bit of control over the paddle. So, I suggest you try both high grip and low grip. And figure out what you find comfortable playing with.

Common mistakes   

A few common mistakes to look out with the table tennis grip:

1. Holding the paddle like a tennis racket.

This is one of the most common mistakes that we make while holding a ping pong paddle. We hold it like a tennis racket. All the fingers and thumb are touching the handle but nothing is touching the rubber. Problem with this grip is that you will probably lose a lot of control. If your fingers aren’t touching the rubber. The paddle can rotate in your hand easily. Even if it rotates a bit in your hand, you will start losing control of the bat angle. And this is how you will start to make unforced errors.

2. Holding the paddle with the wrist facing upwards.

Playing spin shots, this will put your wrist in an awkward position. So, you must have a straight line going from your wrist to your elbow. This puts your wrist a very good comfortable position. Now, you can easily move your wrist downwards and then snap back upwards to generate spin.

3. Playing with the index finger in a straight line on the backhand side.

One final mistake to look out for is to play with your index finger in the straight line on the backhand side. With this grip, your forehand shots will be okay. But your index finger is going to be in the middle of the backhand side. So, the ball may hit your index finger more often.


Learning to use the correct table tennis grip is a crucial part of all the basic table tennis skills. If you really want to become a good player, you must have to adopt the correct grip first. So, master the basic skills of holding the ping pong paddle and take your game to the next level.

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