When setting out to perfect your table tennis game, the first tactical element a new player must master is their grip. All else follows from the grip; strokes, ball control, and serving are impossible to develop without a trained grip and the more strategic elements of the game will remain out of reach.
The two predominant grips in modern table tennis are theshakehand and the penhold. Often characterized as “Western” and “Eastern” grips, respectively, each has their own tactical strengths and weaknesses. There is no “best” grip in table tennis, only the grip best suited to your own strengths, weaknesses, and style of play.
We did mention the seemiller grip, as well, which has seen very little use in recent decades. Developed and popularized by table tennis champion Dan Seemiller, the seemiller grip is very well-suited to close-in block play and smashing forehand attacks, but it is weak in wide play and recovering from its powerful attacks. As the game evolved, it lost out to more flexible and responsive styles.
To close the week, we shared video from a 2011 charity tournament which featured opposing teams of shakehand and penhold players. Watching this game, and others in the series, will provide insight into the relative strengths and weaknesses of the two grips.
We hope our week of grip study helps you select the grip best suited to your strengths and style. We’ll see you next week, when we’ll take a look at some of the greatest players in the history of the game.