January 31, 2011

Grip Experimentation

I spent much of my playing time this weekend experimenting with my grip. The problem I run into is that my forehand loop is at its best when I use a forehand grip, i.e. rotate the top of the racket a little bit left. This messes up my backhand. My backhand is at its best when I either use a slight backhand grip and put my thumb more on the racket (better for blocking and punching), or grip it mostly by the handle (allowing more power). But what helps the backhand hurts the forehand.

Over the years I've generally favored a slight forehand grip, but gripping it more by the handle to help the backhand. But when I play someone who loops a lot, forcing me to block more, I sometimes use a slight backhand grip, which doesn't affect my forehand blocking or smashing, but does hamper the forehand loop.

For beginners, it's almost always best to start out with a neutral grip, with the thinnest part of the wrist lined up with the racket. This greatly helps the development of the strokes. Using a forehand or backhand grip can really mess up the strokes if used too early, before the strokes are mostly ingrained. However, at the more advanced level, a lot of players adjust their grip to enhance their shots.

How about you?

USA Table Tennis Plans

For years, USATT has had online links to their "plans," except the plans were all circa early 2000s. They were like a huge banner that said "USATT is way, Way, WAY out of date." Now they've finally put up new ones, linked here, as well as some reports. Include are the following:


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I have always adjusted my grip depending on the stroke I was going to hit. I have always liked the slight backhand grip (since it is what I learned on) and that is predominantly what I use until I need to loop with the forehand. I don't know if altering your grip is a good idea at the higher levels, but so far I have had no problems with "getting caught in the wrong grip".

In reply to by PipProdigy

Hi PipProdigy, I do the same thing sometimes. If I start with a slight backhand grip, and the ball goes to the forehand, I'll sometimes switch to a forehand grip. However, I've never been able to switch back, and so the rest of the rally I'm stuck in the forehand grip. As I noted above, I can still play an effective backhand with a forehand grip by gripping the blade mostly by the handle. However, it's awkward and inconsistent to start the rally hitting backhand with a backhand grip, and then switch and try to hit them in the same rally with a slight forehand grip, even if I grip mostly by the handle. So I mostly go with the slight forehand grip and grip the handle mostly for the backhand.

Tonight at the club I actually found a nice balance, and was looping and hitting effectively from both wings. The backhand smash was particularly good tonight, which it hasn't been in a while.

In reply to by Larry Hodges

I play with a combo bat with LPs on the bh. Because I twiddle frequently I tend to hold pretty far down on the handle though still with a neutral grip. So are you saying that I could play more of a forehand grip and still be effective chop blocking with the pips on the bh? Is that because the grip allows more freedom in the wrist? I'll have to try that!

In reply to by Willis

Hi Willis,

Experiment and see what works. But if you are just dead-blocking on the backhand, and not punch-blocking, then you might be able to use a forehand grip and still block on the backhand without losing any control.

In reply to by Willis

I use LP on the backhand and inverted on the forehand. I can say that for me, I cannot perform the wide range of LP techniques if I do not use a backhand grip. It is the main reason that I change grips for every shot. Now please correct me if I'm wrong, but Richard McAfee looks like he uses a forehand grip. He also has some really incredible LP techniques, so maybe you could look at his playstyle to give you an idea.

I have the exact same as the first post.  A strong table tennis paddle fh grip my fh is great bh grip my bh is great.  that is fine in drills but in reality close to the table high speed rally it is great 50% of the time.  I'm trying to relearn a 5050 grip now except for when I am sure where its going.