Penhold vs Shakehand Grip- Table Tennis Grip Guide Detail

When you think of table tennis rackets, there are many kinds of models that are designed for various playing styles, brands as well as features and looks. You will find it interested that there are various ways of holding the racket as well.

In this article, we will introduce you to the two most frequently used grips, they are the penhold grip and the shakehand. I’ll explain the differences, their advantages, and drawbacks, as well as how to grip the racket following two ways.

Firstly, what is an important distinction between shakehand grip and penhold grips?

Shakehands are more popular than penhold due to the fact that it is simpler to master. It is possible to generate more power when you play with an incline grip, whereas the grip of a penhold has more wrist movement which makes it much easier to move closer to the table and create spin. It’s much more convenient to switch from penhold to shakehand rather than vice versa.

Each grip definitely has its advantages and disadvantages. Personally, I prefer the shakehand grips because that’s the way I started playing Ping Pong, and I don’t find any reason to switch so far.

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So, let’s look into the distinctions between penhold and shakehand grips!

Shakehand Grip – Penhold Grip – What is diffirent

In the image above you can see how the grasps work. The shakehand grip looks as if I’m trying to shake hands with somebody, while the penhold grip appears like I’m holding a pen. These are the source of their names.

Below, you will find an example table that lets you look at the shakehand and penhold grips and their characteristics to determine the differences when playing table tennis.

If you’re not sure about this, here’s the amazing list of every word listed below:

Feature Shakehand Grip Penhold Grip
Spin generation Good (8) Great (9)
Power of the backhand Good (8) Poor (6)
Flexibility in the backhand Great (9) Poor (6)
Forehand power Great (9) Good (9)
Serve efficiency Good (8) Excellent (10)
Forehand flexibility Good (8) Excellent (10)

Explain the score

  • Excellent ( 10 points)
  • Great ( 9 points)
  • Good ( 8 points)
  • Fair ( 7 points)
  • Poor ( 6 points)

As you will see, shakehand is more balanced and efficient in everything, while penhold is excelent in a lot of areas but equally bad in other areas which makes it riskier if the shakehand player is able to make use of its weak points. But, if an experienced penhold player has the right skills and can make use of its advantages they can be quite effective.

In order to give you the most accurate knowledge of both grips, we’ll take a look at each grip in turn and review their pros and cons.

Shakehand grip

How To Hold A Ping Pong Paddle

Shakehand grips are easier to master and teach, and more well-known worldwide, particularly within the United States and Europe. When you hold it this way, the racket is facing upwards, and it appears like you’re about shake hands while holding the handle.

The advantage of shaking hands is that it’s more adaptable in all aspects such as flexibility, strokes and even flexibility. When you hold the racket using an ergonomic grip, you will be able to produce a significant amount of power both on the forehand and backhand sides unlike the penhold grip, which lacks the force and the maneuverability of the backhand.

The main concern of the shakehand grip is at the crossover point.

That is when you switch between your forehand or backhand. The shakehand grip has a “point of indecision” when players identify whether they should use forehand or backhand which can take more time during a match. However, it can be improved by practice.

I didn’t have a penhold holder to play with, however, they do have handles that are shorter as compared to the shakehand racket that astonishes new players. This is due to the fact that their grip, hold as well as wrist movement are superior with a smaller handle.

Penhold grip

Hand positiong of the middle, ring, and little fingers in the japanese Penhold Style

Penhold grips are more difficult to master since it is a learning curve that’s more steep and takes more time to get proficient. Additionally, the drawbacks of the grip can be quite daunting initially. In general, grips with pens are not as popular worldwide however it’s significantly more popular in Asia. The name “penhold grip” is derived because of the way it appears to hold as it is akin to holding a pen.

Spin, wrist movement, and forehand strength are all great advantages of using a penhold grip. Furthermore, serving is better as it is uncertain where a player with the grip of a pen holds will strike, while it is much easier to strike shakehand players. However, the downside to this is that penhold grips are weak on the backhand angle, and if you’re looking to master it, it will take greater time, effort and dedication than shaking hands.

In the case of penhold rackets, they come with shorter handles and typically larger blades that are in line with the method. It was quite a surprise that there were rackets that have the look of penholds when I was a novice and came across that for the first time.

All in all, I prefer shakehand grip since it’s more flexible and does not fall on important aspects; although they don’t offer anything that is particularly beneficial, overall, the playability is superior I believe.

In contrast to shakehand grip, penhold gips don’t have the “point of indecision” because you can let the wrist move more freely.

Should you choose to use a grip with a pen please ensure you are playing with it, because it is possible to break something.

How Do You ShakeHand Grip?

The most effective method to get shakehand grips is to hold the handle of your racket as if you would shake hands. Make sure to place the fingers on the rubber prior to the handle, placing the index finger to the opposite part of the racket and the other three fingers tightly onto the handle.

In reality, there are two methods to achieve shakehand grips: shallow shakehandand deep shakehand.

In short, when you take the shake with a firm grip, your thumb is likely to relax on the rubber. However, with a more shallow shakehand grip the thumb is likely to rest more towards the handle. The strength of your grip determines the accuracy and speed at which you are able to return the ball. This will vary for each person.

Do You Penhold Grip? Do You Penhold Grip?

The most effective way to create the pen grip is by turning your racket in a way that the handle is facing upwards and holding it in the same way as a pen. You can do this by placing your index and thumb on the fronthand and the remaining three fingers on your backhand and grip the handle in the same way you would hold the pen.

There are two types of penhold rackets that you can make use of Chinese penhold and Japanese penhold.

Chinese penhold rackets are much more frequent in comparison to Japanese penhold rackets. They tend to be heavier and feature rubber on both sides of the racket in contrast to Japanese penhold rackets. Naturally, this means that Japanese penhold rackets primarily concentrated on the forehand, which makes them superior to Chinese penhold rackets, when it comes to the forehand.

The Shakehand and the Penhold Paddles

There are many differences between a penhold racket and a shakehand. Penhold racket, as well.

Shakehand rackets come with a longer handle and a smaller blade due to the way in which it is held requires a larger grip as well as an elongated blade. Penhold rackets have an easier grip and a bigger blade, as it allows wrists to move freely. Additionally, the egg-shaped shape makes it ideal for those who use penholds.

Find some examples of both rackets:

  • For Shakehand racket style grip, you can refer to the following product: Killerspin Jet800
  • For Penhold racket style grip, you can refer to the following product: Butterfly Nakama

Do You Need to Make use of a Shakehand and Penhold Grips?

What if you’re just starting? It may be difficult to pick which grip you can use if you’ve not previously played any table tennis. Do you want to use penhold or shakehand grip?

In essence, you must play with both grips and decide on the one that feels most comfortable, and then choose that. But, the majority of players use the shakehand grip due to the fact that it is simpler to master and teach. Additionally, the majority of professional athletes use the shakehand grip which is a sign that it is more effective.

But, ultimately, if prefer the pen grip and use it more effectively. It is a must to choose this one!

Which grip does Ma Long use?

Ma Long is a right-handed shakehand player and is considered to be the best table tennis player ever. Ma Long is known to prefer his DHS Hurricane 3-National rubber and an orienting of the wrist that enhances the game and led him to the status of being the best player of table tennis.

Here’s my top table tennis equipment.

Thank you for following this article. I hope it gave you some great information that you can incorporate into your life! Below are some of my best recommendations for table tennis equipment I believe you should look over. Find my top racket, ping pong balls, and racket case along with table tennis shoes.


The racket I like the most is the Killerspin Jet800 because it is a perfect match for my fast-paced and aggressive playing style. Two layers of carbon, a 2.1mm sponge, and the weight of 190g make the racket incredibly powerful. The spin is fantastic too, but for those who are complete novices, you may prefer the more control-oriented racket. But, I really love this racket just like I love all of Killerspin’s rackets, and the style is superb too!

Read more: Killerspin Jet 800 Vs STIGA Pro Carbon Vs Palio Legend 2 Comparison

Ping Pong Balls

New technology and design have made these JOOLA Flash Seamless 3-Star Balls distinct from other balls. They have a seamless surface, meaning they are ten times stronger than any other ball with seams! Even if these balls are sold at a higher cost they’ll be able to pay promptly. In addition, this design is what makes me extremely thrilled!

Read more: How to choose Ping Pong balls for player

Racket Case

It is the Andro Mundro racket case is one of my favorites because it holds two rackets very well It is well cushioned and the best thing is that it has an open pocket in the front, which can be used to store your membership card keys, cash, keys as well as other items!

Read more: How To Choose The Best Ping Pong Paddle Holder

Shoes for Table Tennis

Famous Butterfly Lezoline Rifones are my preference like many other players because they were designed especially for use with table tennis. What I love about them is the perfect cushioning, the comfortable support, and a light sole with good traction, which allows you to go speeding up in whatever direction you’re required to.

Read more: How to Choose Table Tennis Shoes?

Further Reading:


Till now, I think you may be familiar with shakehand and penhold grips, and still wonder if the one you’re using currently is the best suit, or you may be a complete newbie who uses a paddle for the first time. Please consider the differences and the pros and cons of each to decide. Thanks for your time in reading, and will come back with more interesting information related to table tennis.