Ping pong hammer grip

Ask the coachCategory: Strokes & techniquePing pong hammer grip
Rick asked 3 weeks ago

I used to play tennis in the past. So, when I started playing table tennis, I continued using the hammer grip that you typically use in tennis. Do you think that there is a significant disadvantage of using the hammer grip as opposed to the shakehand grip you usually use in table tennis ? Thanks.

1 Answers
Tom Lodziak Staff answered 3 weeks ago

The biggest draw-back of a hammer grip is that handle tends to move too much in the palm. This effects the bat angle and can make shots inconsistent. Table tennis is a game of spin, so we need quite precise bat angles to play our shots. Having a conventional shake-hands grip (or penhold grip) makes it much easier to control the bat angle, as our fingers are touching the rubber.
To prevent the handle from moving in the palm, a player with a hammer grip will tend to grip the handle quite tightly. This creates other issues. Too much of a tight grip creates tension and makes it harder to generate spin and switch between strokes. Ideally, we need a loose grip to play in a relaxed and fluid way. 
Having said all of this, I have seen players use all kinds of weird and wonderful grips, and have found a way of using them successfully. So whilst I would always recommend using a shake-hands or penhold grip, if you want to use a different grip, and can still play your shots consistently, then go for it!