How to Hold a Ping Pong Paddle Chinese Style

How to Hold a Ping Pong Paddle Chinese Style

Hi readers! So, before reaching the focal point of today, let me take you back in time. Since I was a kid, I had always been very sporty. Be it running, skipping, or jumping, I was the fastest. I would always play cricket and football and basketball in high school.

While I would not say I was the best of all three of them, I would just prefer saying that I was not the worst at either of the three sports. Up till college, I would just play for fun. But my passion for sports developed when I found out about table tennis, during one of our yearly held tournaments.

Our college used to invite other colleges as well for a massively held table tennis tournament. I thought of giving it a try, and although I was a beginner hence did not make it in the official team, but my interest in table tennis developed. It was like I had finally found a direction I want to go in, for my talents. I started off as someone who didn’t know much about the techniques. I absolutely had no idea how to hold a paddle even. Read here about Best Ping Pong Paddle Reviews.

That is when my coach, came for my rescue and changed my life completely. He made me try various grips, and finally, we reached a conclusion that the traditional Chinese penhold grip was perfectly suited for my play. We started to perfect my skills afterward. Since that year, I and table tennis have been inseparable. I have participated in and won various competitions, and that is why I am writing this article. I want to give back what I owe to the world around me.

Read here about: Which Side of the Ping Pong Paddle to Use

Today, I will explain all about the wonderful traditional Chinese penhold grip for tennis players. Over the years, this paddle holding style has been my savior, and I want to explain every single detail about it. Just keep reading!

The Traditional Chinese Penhold Grip;

For the warm-up, let us first find out what exactly is the Chinese pen hold grip below.

What is it?

Some of you might be totally unaware of this style. Well, It is already pretty evident from the name ‘penhold’ grip, that this paddle holding style resembles a lot of holding of a pen while writing. Just like you hold a pen or a pencil while drawing, sketching, or writing, you hold the ping pong paddle in such a way that the thumb and the index finger are on one side of the racket, holding on to the racket handle.

While the other three fingers curl at the other side of the racket, around the back of the racket. While this is the exact depiction of a Chinese grip for your ping pong paddle, one must also know that a lot of players can make minute changes in the way they place their fingers on either side.

There might be quite a few different versions, varying from one person to the next, but the above-mentioned description overall is considered to be the Chinese pen hold.

Different ways in which you can ensure an accurate Chinese Penhold grip;

While there might be only one definition of a Chinese grip, there might be certain minor variations that help you achieve a better pen hold grip, while also boosting up your performance as a player.

  • You can hold the paddle in such a way that the thumb lies near-parallel with the blade. The index finger can simultaneously curve the racket.
  • You can try to ensure varying gaps between both the fingers; the index one, and the thumb.
  • You can further try to ensure an overlapping situation between the index finger and the thumb. The former finger would overlap the latter.
  • The other remaining fingers can maintain a contact with the blade. This might be good with adding additional comfort.
  • You can experiment quite a bit with the other fingers, placed at the back of the blade. You can place them anywhere, in any position that suits your game strategies in the best way!

These are some of the strategies that might come in handy while trying to perfect your game and performance with a Chinese pen hold grip. The whole idea of this grip, in fact, to ensure greater stability and comfort by using the racket with enhanced efficiency.

Important note: While this is an established playing strategy and style of most Asian players, one must also know that everyone has their own best-suited grip. It is not absolutely necessary that this grip style works out for the best. You can experiment with other styles of holding a ping-pong paddle as well.

What are the pros of a Traditional Chinese Penhold Grip?

While this style is best suited for players who prefer staying close to the table, there are many benefits or advantages that a player is facilitated with if he chooses this style as his grip. Some of those advantages are listed below;

  • This style of grip enables greater flexibility criteria for your wrist. When your wrist becomes more flexible, you will become unstoppable with your strokes, while also do extremely well in your serves.
  • Your free movement is enhanced and you are able to have improved amount of important motions during the game.
  • You forehand strokes are improved and enhanced performance rate.
  • Because your wrist is free for both backhand and freehand strokes, you are able to push and block more accurately and efficiently.
  • Your spin rate increases in the game.
  • You are able to master the crossover point in a way that leaves everyone speechless. This will be possible because a penhold grip allows you to decide which side of the bat you want to use for your strokes and serves.

What are the cons of a Traditional Chinese Penhold Grip?

While there are not too many weaknesses, but still some setbacks are there. These setbacks are mentioned as follows;

  • The main and the only weakness of this type of grip is that it is difficult to play with on a regular basis. You have to keep twisting and turning your arm in unnatural and difficult poses, which will not only get you tired and decrease your stamina, but it also has quite a few chances of getting you hurt.
  • Because this grip is designed for people aiming at forehand strokes, this might be slightly lacking when it comes to efficient backhand strokes. You also have to master your footwork if you choose a Chinese pen hold style of grip, because a forehand demands solid footwork, along with a good stamina.

These were some of the pros and cons of this style of grip. One thing that should be keeping in mind is that if this style of grip is suited for you, or matches with your strategy, body-type etc you can become unstoppable and unbeatable with this Chinese pen hold grip. It will enable you to reach milestones that you might have already set for yourself as a tennis player. All you need to figure out is whether this style is the one for you. And if it turns out to be your thing, then just master it!

Here is a list of the top table tennis player who used a Chinese pen hold grip in their game; 

  • XuXinwho stays unrivaled in his footwork
  • Ma Lin, a former Olympic champion.
  • RyuSeungmin, also an Olympic Hero.

Penhold style was a popular choice for many tennis players in the past, and even now it is being practiced and executed by many!


While some think that pen hold grip is a dying art, we believe that it can be a guardian angel for you in your game once you master it. The traditional Chinese pen hold grip offers one to become completely unrelenting and amazing at their game. While other styles of grip have a major setback of not excelling at the crossover point, a pen hold strike makes sure that is one of its greatest strengths, to master a crossover stroke. Your wrist is set free to do wonders in this specific sport.

The players who prefer to play near the table will have no better choice than this pen hold grip Chinese style. The forehand strokes are extremely important to a game of table tennis, as we all know. These strokes are not only improved but are also perfect with this style of grip. While one must train himself or herself well with this grip, he or she also will know what a wonderful style this is to enhance your performance in a game.

The greatest benefit of a traditional Chinese pen hold style will be that you get an increased support at the handle part of the racket/paddle. This comforts you while playing, adding extra strength to your strokes and serves. You can also experiment with your fingers at the back handle of the paddle, and find out what position of these fingers suits you best. This gives you a lot of choices for making modifications in order to acquire your own personal ease.


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