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How To Hold a Table Tennis Bat | PingSkills

August 13, 2019

Hi, I am Alois Rosario from PingSkills.
Today we are going to talk about the grip. There are two main ways
of holding the table tennis bat:… The first one is the shakehand grip. As the name suggests, it is like
you are shaking hands with the bat. So there is the bat,
and you are shaking hands with it. You have your pointer finger
across the bottom… of one side of the racket,… and you have your thumb across
the bottom of the other side. A lot of people ask: “Why can you not
just hold it like you do a tennis racket?” The main thing is, that the pointer finger
up on the racket there… gives you much better control
over the racket head. The second thing is, that it
also helps you to know… what angle your racket is at. If your racket turns in your
hand a little bit,… you have got a good idea of where
that is with your pointer finger there. If you do not have your pointer finger there,
your racket can turn in your hand,… and it is much harder for you to tell
what angle the racket is on. So make sure that you have your pointer finger
across the bottom of the bat. The other important thing with the shakehand grip
is to make sure that you do not… strangle the bat. If you have got your bat
too tight in your hand,… firstly you are going to lose feeling
in your wrist… and also it is much harder to
generate spin. Have you bat really loosely in your hand. As a test, you should be able to just
take the bat out of your hand… as easily as that. The second common way of holding
the table tennis bat, is the penhold grip:… With the penhold grip, you have your
handle facing upwards… and you encircle your thumb and
pointer finger around the handle. Like you would holding a pen. On the back of your bat, you can have
your fingers in two different ways. Either curled up like that,… or you can have them flat across the bat. That is just a preference. If your fingers are curled up, your
wrist can be used a little bit more easily. If you have got your fingers
spread across the back,… then you get a little bit better
control over the racket head. Just experiment for yourself. See which one
feels more comfortable for you. Why would you choose either the
shakehand or the penhold grip? There is a couple of advantages and
disadvantages of each. Firstly, with the shakehand grip:… The advantage is that you can use
both sides equally as well. With the forehand and the backhand. The disadvantage is that you create a
crossover point where you are changing between… the forehand side of your racket
and the backhand side of your racket. So, you need to weigh those two things up. With the penhold grip the advantage is,
that you can use your wrist a lot more. Because you are using your wrist
in that range, as opposed to the shakehand grip… where you are using it in that range. So, you are using your wrist much
more easily with the penhold grip. The other advantage of the penhold grip
is that you do not have that… crossover point because you are
using the same side of your racket… to start off with, on both sides with
the backhand and the forehand. So you do not have the crossover
that you had with the shakehand grip. The real disadvantage of the penhold grip though
is the backhand side:… It is much harder to hit or attack the ball
with the backhand side. Now the backhand is starting to be used… as a reverse penhold backhand, which… is much more effective but it
is still quite a difficult stroke… with the penhold grip. So, now that you have seen
these two grips,… you decide which grip is best for you. You might want to experiment with both,
the shakehand and the penhold grip. Play with them both. See which suits you. See which feels more comfortable for you. That is the main criteria.


  • Reply Jerry Lester May 1, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    I know an odd guy who holds the paddle by the edges of the paddle, that is does not use the handle.  Is that legal. Problem is, he beats me.

  • Reply Philip Ton May 19, 2015 at 3:55 am


    I have just started playing table tennis and heard that it was bad for the racket to touch the rubber (diminishes the material causing less spin). Is this true? when holding the racket isn't that touching the rubber?

  • Reply Justin Hancock May 20, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Is it weird that I play table tennis with a double-handed backhand? I feel that I get a lot more control and I am able to generate more spin. (p.s. I am a tennis player)

  • Reply Gaurab Paudel May 21, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Well, this tutorial really helped correct my grip anomalies. Now, I make less errors while serving and returning.

  • Reply info0 Gaming July 10, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Hi PingSkills. I was playing table tennis regularly when I was in elementary school all the way to high school. Even played in competitions for our age. Sadly, had to abandon my passion for work, but now returning to TT (age 32, but feel like 18 lol). 

    Unfortunately, all of my bats are out (aka RIP), therefore looking for something new. Preferably custom made. Any recommendations?

  • Reply GamingStarz July 18, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Hi Alois,
    I was wondering which handle shape i should get. & I am not also sure what they look like. Could you please explain to me what a concave & anatomic handle shape looks like?

  • Reply Shander Craye Xi August 21, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    Hello pingskills
    I feel comfortable serving with PH grip and immediately switching back to SH for further play… Is that legal?

  • Reply Hasan Tariq August 28, 2015 at 4:10 am

    SH is the better grip imo … yea the PH has its advantages but your backhand is more useful than people think and when that's being hindered by the PH grip it isn't good.

  • Reply Andy Zhou September 20, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Hi PingSkills. I'm trying to enter a table tennis varsity team and in order to get in I am going to compete against other players to get a spot in the team. I have a passion for table tennis but I'm not that good at the game . I am using the penhold grip with long pimples and I play offense. Should I use a different rubber since the long pimples are mostly for control? Thanks!

  • Reply FedorMachida Last September 22, 2015 at 2:34 am

    any top players use the shake hands grip? I doubt it. Everyone I know uses the penhold grip. I still use the shake hands grip, but I am thinking about switching over o the penhold. The only dilemma is should I curl my fingers or spread them out on the backhand side. I think the penhold backhand sucks, but I guess I just have to get used to it.

  • Reply Dionisius Dani October 10, 2015 at 2:28 am

    Hi Alois, i am used to hold the bat handshake style, but not with the finger pointing across the bottom. i've been like that for some years. now that i try to use the pointing finger across, it's like i am holding a more lightweight bat, and i can't really control the ball like the style i used to. how should i proceed? Thanks.

  • Reply Javed Butt October 14, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    hello sir
    you sujest me for better bat i am playing from 20 years.

  • Reply SKhuder November 30, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Pinhold isn't good on smash ball right?
    if it is good please tell me how to smash, I am good but lose I always have the chance to smash and I miss it and lose a point. RIP

  • Reply Umer Farooq January 17, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    I use my thumb instead of finger behind the racket to hold? can i do this??

  • Reply Xexyk January 29, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Hello, i need help. Well, the thing is that , when i play forehand and then switch to backhand my grip just changes little bit. I mean angle of my grip just changes and it is kinda hard to always change it in fast game. So what should i do, or some tipes what did you do if you had the same problem like me. Thanks and sorry for my english, not sure if i wrote it correctly.

  • Reply Aninda Abhijit February 17, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    i like your table tennis videos a lot. thx for the help

  • Reply vj February 18, 2016 at 11:45 am

    Can someone please suggest me a good pre-assembled racket with very good spin and very good control under 50$, am struggling to find one, please provide your views on Stag Ninja Fire and Stag Tec Ninja, thanks in advance …

  • Reply B225 B78d February 20, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Thanks pingskills bro!! u helped me a alot, but which way of holding the bat is the best???? i use the pen hold grab style bt i found that while hitting shots the ball goes in the net.. so which would be the best

  • Reply Muhammad Subhan March 4, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    which grip is better? i can play with both grip but i want to set one grip and keep play with that. please advise

  • Reply MophisGames March 30, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    for spin is better red or black side?

  • Reply Jorge Montesino April 3, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    I use two fingers (middle and index) is this wrong?

  • Reply MophisGames April 15, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    what is better for topspins?

  • Reply eev s April 21, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    hello pingskills!

    i hold my bat in a very untypical way. i have a backhandgrip and when im playing forehand topspin i turn my bat down. i want to create some sidespin with this technique. the problem is, that i often must loose the bat because my wrist often cant make this untypical movement. when i try to hit the ball in the side of my body it goes better but i often hit the edge of my racket. do you have tips to improve my topspin and grip?

    thank you

    PS: best tabletennischannel on youtube 🙂

  • Reply Ultrashnotebel April 27, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Lol. When I was younger I used to hold my bat in the right way. Then I went to a course, and told me to not put my index across de bat. So I followed the advice and adapted my game. I thought I was starting to become quite good, so I went to the exact same place 3 years later for another course, and what do they tell me? You have to put your index across the bat.

  • Reply Enes Pasha May 12, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    hey coach i have a question i think that my holding the bat is wrong because my forehand loop and backhand loop ia going wrong to the opponent and when i hold the bat hardly my hand is not confortable and going back to the same spot again if you will make 1 more video for not the chinese holding bat europians holding bat but with all of its importance will be awaesome and with our wrong holding bats.

  • Reply Enes Pasha May 17, 2016 at 11:00 am

    hey coach after i saw your website many of my questions are answered unless two questions

    1. if you saw ma longs gameplay when he takes the ball he touches the ball to his short cleaning it what is the advantage of that

    2.when the player serving he takes his foot higher and fastly attractes to the ground what is the advantage of that

  • Reply MophisGames June 3, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Chinese penhold or Japanese penhold? What is advantages and disadvantages?

  • Reply Mike B June 8, 2016 at 7:00 am

    For some reason I have a habit of pointing my index finger up the handle in the center of the rubber instead of the side of the rubber.

  • Reply JoeB0t June 22, 2016 at 5:49 am

    Any chance you will give a video for atypical grips and bats? I have been wanting to have some fun with some experimental ways to play ping pong, so I bought a pistol grip bat.

  • Reply Ayush Diwan July 6, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    how do you serve then?
    spin is almost impossible

  • Reply ginni k July 30, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Worst ot was bouncer

  • Reply ganesh somayaji August 13, 2016 at 2:02 am

    Can we hold the bat in two fingers?

  • Reply ganesh somayaji August 16, 2016 at 1:53 am


  • Reply Mitch Curtis August 18, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Which grip do you use, Alois?

  • Reply Rowzesh Maharjan August 25, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    i want to learn the different varieties of serve

  • Reply Kristoffer Flaglien August 31, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Are you from Boston?

  • Reply Black Eagle September 9, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Hi! May you tell me what is the best table tennis racket, I am going to buy but I just don't know what may be the best brand. Thank you!

  • Reply شوق اللقاء September 18, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    رائع ولكن نريد ترجمة الى العربية رجاءاً
    wonderful,, but we need to translate for arabic to understand well

  • Reply john kenneth absalon September 23, 2016 at 3:00 am

    Did you use pinhold grip on the game?

  • Reply Yoga Fire October 10, 2016 at 10:52 am

    is it okay to use more than one finger on the backhand during the shakehand? I feel it gives me more control but does it have any major diasadvantage that I don't know of?

  • Reply White Fang October 12, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Hi, I switched to a new, more powerful racket recently and have been having trouble adjusting my forehand shots to it // was feeling uncomfortable with the grip, on comparing the two I have discovered that my new racket has a smaller handle which I am pretty sure is a large part of the problem. Have you any advice for adjusting? Any tension in the grip will instantly ruin my game as I have problems with that. :/

  • Reply magesticmaniacc October 13, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    I am confused between Palio Expert 2 or Dunlop 7000 Revolution. Any suggestions.

  • Reply Umer ahsan October 19, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Which one grip u use

  • Reply John Clark November 18, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Great video, I'm still learning with the penhold after taking the game up again a few months back – spin is new to me and I need to get that wrist pivot. I can spin it both ways but at the moment I find myself drawing the bat across the ball to achieve it rather than using the wrist to maximise the amount of spin. One thing I always found with penhold is that I can get tremendously powerful and low forehand smashes – that is one of the reasons I always played penhold as opposed to shakehand. Penhold is great for an offensive game against our 'friendly' club players who find it difficult to deal with.

  • Reply Smileyfaceanimations January 4, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    My grip is a lot like shake hand grip except, I leave my index finger vertically up the bat, is that bad

  • Reply Zoltán Kasza January 7, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    If your pointer finger goes over the rarcquet that much how do you hit a proper backhand? Shouldnt almost the whole finger rest on the racquet?

  • Reply Sudhanva Samaga January 15, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Is it legal if we hold the bat with two fingers

  • Reply Shubhangi Jagdev January 27, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Hello, I'm a beginner in table tennis and I think this video has really taught me ways to hold a bat which is quite good.

  • Reply Mr.Moody January 31, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    are those the only two LEGAL ways? I know people who hold the bat with with their fingers around the bat itself

  • Reply EL MEHDI OMARI February 20, 2017 at 12:46 am

    Hi there Alois, thanks for the awesome videos, I was just wondering should the red face of the bat be on my forhand or my backhand? thanks for answering

  • Reply Saurabh chaudhary February 21, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Can I hold it with two pointed finger across the other side in shake hand grip

  • Reply Life is Musicz February 21, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Can I change the grip between a RALLY

  • Reply shailesh pal March 27, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    Hi there, thnx for all videos……..Well, I use SH grip and am a forehand power player so I find hard on my backhand but as my opponents came to know my backhand weakness I started doing jobs on my backhand as well and I am very good at BH drives in my training sessions but I feel as if Iam loosing my FH shots as I am working with a tiny change in my grip during games i.e. I use my thumb over the rubber for BH shots and as it comes to rally for FH shots I am already used to hit it removing that thumb from rubber keeping of the top of the handle……using thumb in such manner for BH shots prevent my bat to move, and keeps bat stable during BH shots and its wondreful feeling while hitting and type of BH shots pressing that THUMB……….pls help should I still give myself bit more time to be autopilot using tiny change ……….

  • Reply syikin rashid March 28, 2017 at 11:02 am

    thank you pingskills for making an excellent video

  • Reply jamie paschkow March 29, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    is there a rule that says a player can only use one bat

  • Reply muhammad ikmal May 9, 2017 at 4:04 am

    i have hold my racket very tightly for long i decided to change it by loosing my wrist, my topspin against block are getting better, but now i have problem to loop backspin ball. should i change back my old style or keep practicing with this new style?

  • Reply filthy frick May 16, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    I have been holding like the SH grip but with my thumb on the side of the racket and my finger kinda curled up across the bottom. This makes my backhand pretty useless as the ball often hits my finger. I have not tried using the original SH grip because I feel like I lose quite a bit of control. Should I try adapting to the normal SH anyway?

  • Reply Level 24 May 29, 2017 at 7:20 am

    awesome grip pingskills keep it up plz.. pray for me to be a professional table tennis player like you

  • Reply Aroop Rath June 3, 2017 at 2:52 am

    Can I keep my index and thumb finger on one side of the bat and play with the other side the whole time??? Actually it is comfortable for me as compared for the shakehand grip. Please respond to it

  • Reply Sandeep Ram June 8, 2017 at 11:38 am

    hi, can i switch the grip from hand shake to pen hold grip during the match. is that mandatory to stick to one grip during the match?

  • Reply karmel barghouthi June 22, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I watched alot of your great tips, and you motivated me to start training fresh age players. but i want to ask you about the recommended age for them to start. And should i start with regular rackets or spin and speed rackets. they will be new to the game.

  • Reply david15213 July 14, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    what about having your thumb on one side? ive been using it since i started playing table tennis. should i switch to one of the ones in this video?

  • Reply Soham Mulgaonkar July 19, 2017 at 7:26 am

    hi Alois I just joined and I have a question.
    I feel more comfortable holding pen hold style but I play better with the shakehand grip. What should I do

  • Reply flashmpm August 3, 2017 at 2:34 am

    I hold it like the shake hand grip but my thumb and pointer finger are both on the side of the bat that is facing towards me and both my fingers are pointing up at an angle, idk what it does but i have a better backhand than forehand, I'm also left handed and I'm not sure if that changes anything either

  • Reply Cheilith August 6, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    For the Shakehand grip can I put the top of my thumb on the back of the racket?

  • Reply Cheilith August 6, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    For the Shakehand grip can I put the top of my thumb on the back of the racket?

  • Reply Mayank Singh October 12, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Is it necessary to put only one finger on the backside of a table tennis racket in a shake hand grip? I am used to putting my index and middle finger both on the back so will it cause problems in technique or according to the rules of table tennis?

  • Reply Shelter October 18, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Hi PingSkills. Is it normal to slightly shift your grip when switching from forehand to backhand or vice versa? I'm currently using SH

  • Reply islam son October 18, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    i want u help me get the beast rubber u can choose for me one rubber
    Stiga Pro Carbon Table Tennis Paddle 1 Racket
    Killerspin JET600 Table Tennis Paddle
    Excell 3000 carbon
    Donic Bluestorm Z3
    Donic Bluestorm Z2

  • Reply Daniel Yoon October 30, 2017 at 6:10 am

    the pen hold grip came naturally to me before i even saw this video

  • Reply Athena He November 8, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    I hold pens differently so my penhold grip is a bit different. My middle finger doesn't go behind the paddle; instead it sort of rests above it (on my last joint). I recently found out that I was holding the paddle wrong and tried to adapt, but whenever I play for an extended period of time, my PH goes back to the way I normally do it. Also, whenever I attempt the correct PH method, the middle joint of my middle finger rubs a lot against the back of the paddle and gets hurt. Will my old PH grip cause problems with the rules?

  • Reply Ivan Dubravica December 3, 2017 at 9:15 am

    I hold shakehand but I put two fingers on racket.Is that right?

  • Reply Senan M December 29, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Is it legal to use other grips, and can you make up your own?

  • Reply Gaming and tech April 5, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Penhold is best

  • Reply NadavG May 5, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    Should you chamge the angle of the SH grip when changing from forehand to backhand like you would in tennis?

  • Reply Neat -Rocket league May 7, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    I think I’m holding the pen hold grip wrong it keeps hurting my pointing finger

  • Reply Abrar Ahmed June 28, 2018 at 6:23 am

    How to spin the ball on table

  • Reply Benedek Valent July 6, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    Hi! I have few question, but first sorry my bad english im 13 years old and im from hungary. So the first: I want changing shakehand to penhold. And i want use the flat technic… So i need the backhand this technic? Or i use the classic forehand defend… I only play a few minutes with the flat, but i think i can play with that. So what you can say?

  • Reply Subathra Devi July 25, 2018 at 2:41 pm


  • Reply Ella Bernadeth Canja August 7, 2018 at 1:33 pm


  • Reply duhh im ugly September 3, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Thank god i found this!! Thank you so much!!♡ i think i'm muc h more confident now.. now that i've watched your videos. 🙂

  • Reply Mordred Pendragon September 27, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    Can you make video how reverse penhold backhand?

  • Reply qmanzo October 3, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    I will start with shakehand grip.i love using my forehand.

  • Reply iPepy November 1, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    I have a much better serve with the PH but everything else is better with the SH

  • Reply Marquez Robinson November 3, 2018 at 5:49 am

    I tend to push my my thumb and pointer and middle finger together more control. The downside is that you sometimes have the ball hit your hand which sucks.

  • Reply Keunx November 3, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    Is any hold Legal because I grew up holding the bat my way. If I will be trying to change it, it will be really hard because I started with that hold.

  • Reply osman goraya November 23, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Shake hand grip is the best one and is suitable to majority of players

  • Reply PotatoGurlSasha November 30, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    I was 11 playing it with Pen hold, but my classmates kept saying I was holding it wrong.

  • Reply Pirate Gamer December 28, 2018 at 1:26 pm


  • Reply कविता वाचन Kavita Vachan January 26, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    shake hand grip is the best

  • Reply KMK MKM March 21, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    I play shakehand and penhold too.

  • Reply wuichovengeance mtz April 16, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    i started with the shakehand grip, but i find the penhold grip a lot more interesting so i decided to switch grip

  • Reply Ben.R Parker man April 18, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Tnx helped a lot

  • Reply Bartek TM May 7, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    Great video. You help me a lot.

  • Reply STRATMAN firdaus May 18, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    I switch between both grips while playing table tennis.

  • Reply sandy moonstone June 4, 2019 at 2:37 am

    🍎 I tape the bat to my hand

  • Reply akram sandy June 10, 2019 at 11:24 am

    Thank you soo much sir. Very useful and i am doing my best from this video. ❤❤

  • Reply adhya gupta July 18, 2019 at 10:47 am

    Can you change your language in hindi

  • Reply senhorbaker July 26, 2019 at 3:22 am

    What does he know? He's calling the paddle a "bat"

  • Reply Nathenael Gemechu August 7, 2019 at 5:22 am

    I grip the ball on the edge of the circle

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