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PostPosted: 14 Sep 2018, 08:48 
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I searched for a topic like this on the site, but didn't see anything like it so I thought I'd ask. What do you consider when you chose between a penhold and shakehand grip? I myself tried both - both are comfortable but was urged to just 'stick with Shakehand because that's what a majority of people use'. But then again, I've seen the argument made for more variety between players. For myself, I feel like I still get the basic strokes better with a penhold than on a shakehand, even though both are comfortable (this is the only advice I've received on the matter). Maybe penhold will be better for me. I don't feel comfortable answering that yet.

My question is for those of us like me. When you take to both styles decently well, what do you use as the deciding factor to determine one's hold?

Furthermore, at the start of the school year (in a week or so) I will have a bunch of novices join my club. Invariably there will be some people who would be better with a penhold - I don't want to tell them to use shakehand if I can avoid it. Is there any exercise or tried-and-true method that any of you use?

Thanks!


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PostPosted: 15 Sep 2018, 20:03 
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Considering stroke mechanics:
With penhold, the wrist up-down movement and forearm twist work together for adding spin to your stroke. Wrist sideways movement is the most important for controlling stroke direction.

With shakehand, it is the other way around. Forearm twist and wrist up/down are used mostly towards direction, and wrist sideways for the "whiplash" spin boost.

The wrist moves at a greater angle up/down than it does sideways. Also, the forearm can twist at about 180°.
With handshake grip this gives you headroom to angle your shots, which can be used to put pressure on your opponent, or to get the ball back on the table even when you are out of position.
With penhold it gives you a larger "window" with high racket speed, and the max speed potential is also higher. This makes it easier to apply high spin consistently.

The smaller angle for sideways wrist movement makes it harder to apply maximum spin with handshake grip (you need to release the wrist whiplash at exactly the right moment).
For penhold, it gives you less angling ability. This means that it is more important to be in position for your stroke. (Mobility, footwork.)

So, penholders with reduced mobility (e.g. significantly overweight like myself) will easily get in trouble at the table. Also, the penhold grip puts higher strain on the wrist, which may be an issue for the youngest players (up to about 8 years old, I guess) and for people with wrist problems (I have seen this with arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome). Other than that, I see no reasons to advise players to change from their preferred grip.


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PostPosted: 26 Sep 2018, 13:29 
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There was a time (around here, anyways) when penhold was the default playing style, especially for students and other young people taking up the game. Penhold bats were easily available - everything from those ultra cheap Chinese bookstore specials with topsheets that would come off in a week to Butterfly Biriba bats (with Wakaba rubber) to "pro" equipment (most of these were actually Japanese-style bats, even the cheap ones). Shakehands was around, just not as popular. This kinda began to change sometime in the late 1980s. These days, NO new players begin playing penhold, at least not that I've seen. You go to any club, all the kids are playing shakehands (while a lot of the 40-50 year olds play penhold.. :lol: ). There's got to be a reason for this - in the 1960s and 1970s Japanese and Chinese penhold players were dominant. These days, there is all of one penhold player in the top ten.

The way I see it, penhold has advantages and disadvantages over shakehands. At this point in time, at pretty much all levels of play, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages, which is why most people play shakehands. What are these advantages and disadvantages? At the lower levels, it's easier to do deceptive serves with a penhold bat (there are all sorts of slight twisting movements that can be done with penhold that are relatively more difficult with shakehands). The ability to fool the other person with these serves decreases as the level of play goes up. The other advantage of the penhold grip is the middle - there is a smooth transition from the forehand to the backhand, especially when it comes to blocking. The main disadvantage is the cramped backhand - it takes some contortionism to get that closed back angle on the backhand, and it's got limited reach, so penhold players tend to stand far to the backhand side to compensate. To get around this they developed the Reverse Backhand (this requires a second sheet of rubber on the bat, which increases the weight). But this is a special-purpose tool - usually used for backhand loops. You still need (and it needs to be taught) the traditional backhand for pushing and blocking. (You'll notice all those 50 and 60 year olds at the club using the traditional penhold backhand only.. some will actually use the back side of the blade - often devoid of rubber, which was legal when they learned to play - as a confusing change-up rather than for looping).

What does this mean? If the student has already been playing penhold and isn't having major problems on the backhand, then maybe they can continue playing penhold. However, if the player is learning ab-initio, never having picked up a bat before, I'd suggest just going with shakehands in all cases. Makes instruction easier in general.

Iskandar


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PostPosted: 26 Sep 2018, 19:27 
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If you're not already passionate about either one, then the determining factor is: Availability of good coaches for that grip. I believe you can learn a lot online, but it doesn't compare to having a good coach.

Penhold has some disadvantages, so unless you can learn to utilise some of its advantages, you will be making things harder for yourself, by playing essentially a shakehand game with a penhold grip. You need to fill in the blanks yourself if your coach isn't experienced with penhold.


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PostPosted: 27 Sep 2018, 02:19 
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One thing that needs to be taught for playing penhold - which, indeed, I was unaware of until I came across a video recently - is the changes in grip. This really does need to be taught, a LOT of people (basement player level) who play penhold don't know this and have awful strokes as a result. Moving the thumb up the handle for the backhand is just one example.

Iskandar


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PostPosted: 27 Sep 2018, 04:42 
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Which is more fun or feels more natural is probably the best reason to choose. Both have pros and cons. It's very similar to deciding to use a pips-out rubber. The vast majority of players now are double inverted, but if you have more fun playing pips, who cares? Seems like the same logic applies to penhold. None of us are going to the Olympics either way.


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