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Basic Grips Of Table Tennis: How To Hold Your Paddle

Jan 25, 2008
The sport of table tennis or ping pong, is a fun indoor sport for 2 or 4 people. On a casual level, families might have a ping pong table in their family rec room or basement, much like a pool or foosball table; but few know how to play table tennis or ping pong to achieve the best results. Below, we've outlined the basic grips (ways to hold the table tennis paddle) of table tennis, to help you maximize your performance, both recreationally and professionally.

The way that you hold your tennis table paddle can dramatically alter your performance based on what type of game you are seeking to play (whether professional or recreational), what strokes you will be predominantly using, and the like. There are three basic ways to hold or grip your table tennis or ping pong paddle: the shakehands, penhold, and seemiller grips. The shakehands grip is the most commonly used, both in family rec rooms and professional matches, as it allows for strong mobility in both forehand and backhand strokes. The penhold grip is a more antiquated grip for table tennis players, used more often by professional players seeking to surprise their opponent with a different grip. This grip affords the table tennis player a much stronger forehand predominant stroke, and disables the ease of a backhand because of grip position. Lastly, the seemiller grip was developed by 5 time US Table Tennis champion, Dan Seemiller. This grip is hardly ever used as it is considered disruptive to form, as it employs only one side of the paddle for both forehand and backhand strokes. It is a slight variation from the shakehands grip, allowing for strong control of both forehand and backhand strokes.

How to use the Shakehands Grip:

· Grip the paddle's handle with all fingers, palm facing you.

· Extend index finger straight out along the base of the rubber part of the paddle (the actual paddle part) on one side of the paddle.

· Close thumb around the other side of the paddle (from your index finger), also along the base. Your thumb should meet the three remaining fingers wrapped around the handle of the paddle.

· Make sure your extended arm and paddle edge form a straight line. It should look like you are shaking hands at a 45 degree angle.

How to use the Penhold Grip:

· Wrap your thumb and index finger around the base of the rubber paddle (where the handle meets the paddle part).
· Your middle, ring, and pinky fingers should be folded behind the paddle and out of the way.
· The tips of your index finger and thumb should be touching.
· The grip should look as if you were holding a pen.

How to use the Seemiller Grip:

· Grip the paddle's handle with all fingers, palm facing you.

· Extend index finger straight out along the base of the rubber part of the paddle (the actual paddle part) on one side of the paddle.

· Slightly wrap or hook your index finger around the edge of the paddle.

· Close thumb around the other side of the paddle (from your index finger), also along the base. Your thumb should meet the three remaining fingers wrapped around the handle of the paddle.

· Make sure thumb points forward towards the game.

· Make sure your extended arm and paddle edge form a straight line. It should look like you are shaking hands at a 45 degree angle.

Things to keep in mind:

· Keep your grip loose.

· Each grip preference requires a different type of paddle. Play around with the different grips and see what feels most comfortable for you, before you opt for a particular paddle.

· Choose to play a game or opponent that matches the type of grip and stroke that you are best at. For example: use a shakehands grip for a general game that will require forehand and backhand. Use a Seemiller grip for a professional game that requires a lot of blocking.

· If your grip feels uncomfortable, make sure your form is correct.

· Best thing to do if you have any questions or problems, is to ask a certified table tennis coach or locate a supplier.
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