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Where should THUMB be during shakehand grip?

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    Posted: 01/01/2020 at 7:40am
Originally posted by FinalFight FinalFight wrote:

Perhaps the best grip is the one you can always use consistenly and hopefully with good results. It's one of those things that always seems to change with my game and I can never remember the 'default' way I usually hold the paddle. Sometimes I'll move fingers around if a shot isn't working  or playing against a particular style and then the entire foundation collapses. 


Just have a loose relaxed halfway grip and forget about it.
the very idea that fingers must be n a particular position is what is spoiling your technique
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/01/2020 at 7:11am
I say this a lot, but messing with your grip is the ninth circle of table tennis hell*.


*  Which according to Dante is the greatest torture of all.  If there is someone you really hate, convince them they need to change their grip.  Thumb, forefinger, whatever.


Edited by Baal - 01/01/2020 at 7:12am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pingpongpaddy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/01/2020 at 7:00am
I worry that when people talk of neutral grip its not always clear what is meant. Some mention "fh with neutral grip" or "bh with neutral grip".
Really the original idea was to be neutral and relaxed at readiness or between shots. Then for each individual shot adapt or not for comfort, efficiency and creativity.
This flexible approach fits well the fact that our future stars begin when their hand size is dramatically smaller than it will be when they become senior players

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FinalFight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/19/2019 at 11:03am
Perhaps the best grip is the one you can always use consistenly and hopefully with good results. It's one of those things that always seems to change with my game and I can never remember the 'default' way I usually hold the paddle. Sometimes I'll move fingers around if a shot isn't working  or playing against a particular style and then the entire foundation collapses. 

Edited by FinalFight - 11/19/2019 at 11:04am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stiltt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/17/2019 at 6:20pm

that's LYJ from that video. it is consistent. notice the thumb on the fh rubber during the bh.


Also it is interesting to notice that in bh to bh recovery, the thumb goes back to normal and comes back to the rubber if another bh is coming.

at 5m27 sec we see a few bh in a row and a clear view of the thumb going back and forth on the fh rubber:





Same for Lin Gaoyuan:




Same for Ma Long:




Edited by stiltt - 11/17/2019 at 6:39pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stiltt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/17/2019 at 4:11pm
In the bh, I see more high level players putting their thumb in the middle of the base of the fh rubber to exaggerate a bh grip, it helps tangentially grabbing the ball over the table for example but also on all bh strokes because it enhances the feel and stability by a lot, it supports the stroke in the same direction of the paddle and will participate a lot more in the system that welcomes the ball and sends it back. 
The thumb in the fh is not that important, it would push against the direction of the paddle so better leave it neutral at a place it does not do anything, gently resting on top of the handle sounds right to me on the fh.
This discussion was moot years ago when it was a very good idea to have a neutral grip to not mess with our game. Today, the almighty chiquita is too good a weapon to ignore and with its advent, a change of grip between fh and bh has become the norm. That change is possible only if the stroke decision is made very early; and with  a lot of practice of course.
Timo has changed his grip between his fh and bh since the 1st years when it was rare; now it would seem not doing it is a handicap.



Edited by stiltt - 11/17/2019 at 4:12pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Simas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/17/2019 at 3:10pm
Originally posted by kindof99 kindof99 wrote:

Forgive me if you find out that this post is about 7 years old.

When you do forehand loop, you are supposed to press the index finger on the rubber, how about the thumb? If you let the thumb relax, the paddle face is going to to somehow as the thumb is not there to stop the paddle from moving.

A lot of people talk about holding the paddle like pinching it.  Does it mean that your thumb and index fingers should apply some pressure on the paddle all the time?
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Not sure how hard of pressing you have in mind when you say pinching but yes, there should be some grip from thumb too. Most of the holding should be done by thumb and index finger, not from the rest of the palm.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kindof99 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/15/2019 at 5:21pm
Forgive me if you find out that this post is about 7 years old.

When you do forehand loop, you are supposed to press the index finger on the rubber, how about the thumb? If you let the thumb relax, the paddle face is going to to somehow as the thumb is not there to stop the paddle from moving.

A lot of people talk about holding the paddle like pinching it.  Does it mean that your thumb and index fingers should apply some pressure on the paddle all the time?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FireHorse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/17/2012 at 1:10pm
Originally posted by Baal Baal wrote:

VGripper proposes that "thumb position correlates with paddle rotation in the grip. i.e FH, BH, or neutral biased grip."

I think this is sometimes true when you look at top players, but watching some videos closely, I think there are exceptions.  A good example of what he talking about is Kong Linghui, whose basic grip tends towards the BH side; his thumb rides up a bit, same with Zhang Jike, even when they hit forehands.  Actually, I think most people who play like that tend to have thumb higher. But there are guys who use a more forehand oriented grip on FH and they usually change their grip a lot when they hit backhands (e.g. pretty much every top German player, especially Boll) and the thumb position isn't always the same with this group.  For example, Timo Boll' thumb definitely does not ride up so far, but Kreanga is a really opposite extreme when he hits BH. 

Another thing is how far up or down the handle people generally grip, which can also vary a lot among really good players.  Some guys really tend to grip pretty far down the handle (Wang Liqin, Timo Boll, Cheng Yinghua), and some guys grip somewhat higher (Kreanga, ZJK).  If you grip low, your thumb will stay low.   

It's best not to think about grip too much when you are playing, it's got to be comfortable but automatic.     
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/17/2012 at 1:08pm
VGripper proposes that "thumb position correlates with paddle rotation in the grip. i.e FH, BH, or neutral biased grip."

I think this is sometimes true when you look at top players, but watching some videos closely, I think there are exceptions.  A good example of what he talking about is Kong Linghui, whose basic grip tends towards the BH side; his thumb rides up a bit, same with Zhang Jike, even when they hit forehands.  Actually, I think most people who play like that tend to have thumb higher. But there are guys who use a more forehand oriented grip on FH and they usually change their grip a lot when they hit backhands (e.g. pretty much every top German player, especially Boll) and the thumb position isn't always the same with this group.  For example, Timo Boll' thumb definitely does not ride up so far, but Kreanga is a really opposite extreme when he hits BH. 

Another thing is how far up or down the handle people generally grip, which can also vary a lot among really good players.  Some guys really tend to grip pretty far down the handle (Wang Liqin, Timo Boll, Cheng Yinghua), and some guys grip somewhat higher (Kreanga, ZJK).  If you grip low, your thumb will stay low.   

It's best not to think about grip too much when you are playing, it's got to be comfortable but automatic.     
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FireHorse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/17/2012 at 12:54pm
Originally posted by Baal Baal wrote:

Actually, consciously messing around with your grip is the ninth circle of table tennis hell.  There lies madness.  Usually more problems come from feet and body than from hands or arm.  
I think for us all who are into table tennis will at some point think about the grip and find out that our grip is not optimal.  I used to grip my paddle in a forehand grip and had hard time blocking or counter driving in the backhand, so I watched several clips to find out how pros hold their paddle and noticed that Timo Boll switch his grip in rallies, Kreanga uses backhand grip and most of the Chinese players hold the paddle in neutral grip and then seeing Ma Long, Wang Liqin with the thumb presses on the rubber.  After that, I decided that I cannot change my grip as fast as Timo Boll, I'm not going to be a backhand dominant player like Kreanga so I decide to change my grip to be neutral with the thumb presses on the rubber all the time.
 
Not sure if that helps me but it took me a while to get used to this grip and I do have decent forehand and backhand but I do realize that even with that neutral grip, since I'm more of a forehand player, I do slip into forehand grip more than neutral in some fast rallies.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote V-Griper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/17/2012 at 12:42pm
My hypothesis is that thumb position correlates with paddle rotation in the grip. i.e FH, BH, or neutral biased grip. 

FH biased- it's actually kind of difficult to put your thumb on the rubber the more FH biased your grip is. Try it. Hence you will see that most players with a FH biased grip don't have their thumb on the rubber.

Neutral grip- Obviously can go either way.

BH biased- Thumb is almost always on the rubber i.e. pressing the back of the blade. 

Some players switch- Timo(wonder if he puts his thumb up on his BH)
Most don't-ZJK

Imo what your really asking is what kind of general bias on your grip works best for you. Obviously the bias on the grip comes with a set advantages and disadvantages. 
For example ZJK has a heavy BH biased grip and he does not, afaik, switch on his fh and it shows. It is not quit as good as ML's, who has a neutral or very slight BH bias. That's not to say he does not have an effective FH just that he optimized his game around his BH. On the other hand ML's BH flip and punch block aren't quit up to where ZJK's is. In the end they're somewhat evenly matched. 

Note: Imo ZJK's flip is strongly correlated to the degree of BH bias in his grip. Those looking to emulate it will have to give that some consideration as it will have a significant effect on the FH.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/17/2012 at 11:43am

Yep.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BMonkey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/17/2012 at 11:04am
Originally posted by Baal Baal wrote:

Actually, consciously messing around with your grip is the ninth circle of table tennis hell.  There lies madness.  Usually more problems come from feet and body than from hands or arm.  
Sounds like this is spoken from personal experience LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/17/2012 at 10:42am
Actually, consciously messing around with your grip is the ninth circle of table tennis hell.  There lies madness.  Usually more problems come from feet and body than from hands or arm.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/17/2012 at 10:40am
Originally posted by pingpongpaddy pingpongpaddy wrote:

imo

Any thinking that requires fingers and thumb to be in precise positions is wrongheaded and will lead to tension.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pingpongpaddy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/17/2012 at 6:34am
imo
its best to think of the grip as a 'ready position' from which you want your fhs & bhs to flow. For complete control of the ball it seems obvious that it should be easy to open and close the racket angle for different shots, so it seems sensible that this 'ready position' should be halfway or neutral. Its generally accepted too that the arm and grip should be relaxed as much as possible, so its good to ensure that forefinger and thumb do not press at the same time.
Its also good if the fingers round the handle are NOT wrapped tightly
Any thinking that requires fingers and thumb to be in precise positions is wrongheaded and will lead to tension.
When holding your racket at ready, your partner should be able to pull your racket out of your hand easily or it is too tight!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote power7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/17/2012 at 1:14am
You have to change your grip going from FH to BH for hitting hard.  If you're not pressing on the rubber from the other side, you must have wrist of steel to keep the ball under control.  It's one of the only tactile ways of knowing your paddle angle more precisely.

Edited by power7 - 10/17/2012 at 1:15am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/16/2012 at 4:53pm
If you watch this clip you can see that whenever TB transitions from FH to BH there he makes a big grip change, bigger than most top players.  You can really see it at around 2:12 on this video (where he transitions to a FH after hitting a bunch of BHs), as well as in other places (real obvious at  around 12:00-14:-30).  The transition is still smooth.  His FH grip is a bit unusual.




Edited by Baal - 10/16/2012 at 5:00pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cls2222 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/16/2012 at 4:22pm
Originally posted by JimT JimT wrote:

It could be just me but I move a bit both my thumb and my index finger depending on the stroke.

1) serve - both are holding the racket a bit lower (off the face) than usual so I could do a faster swing/snap motion

2) opening FH loop close to body - both fingers are on the face, deeper into the racket so I basically perform the loop as if the racket were my palm

3) counter-loop or kill-loop - index finger a bit lower but still on the face, thumb slides down to the top of the handle, so the arc of the swing is a tad longer

4) FH block (simple and fast) - index finger moves up the face becoming less horizontal, thumb stays in place

5) FH block (slowing the ball) - thumb goes lower, index finger presses on the face forcing the ball down a bit more

Etc.

Some players say that they never change the grip or finger position but I really really doubt that - that's what they were taught but literally nobody can do that. Some elite players also say that they change fingers' position for a smash or a BH loop... but generally they do indeed prefer not to change it much because it creates problems with transition from one shot to the next one.


You forgot to add "put your left toe over your right toe" jk :) It all varies stylistically from player to player. TB plays with that weird grip so that he doesn't have to transition between BH and FH (at least that's what I see from watching him play, very smooth BH-FH transition, just like ZJK).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/16/2012 at 12:46pm
Here is Persson.  Thumb still a bit high but not as extreme as Kreanga on backhand.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/16/2012 at 12:36pm
The ultimate example of a thumb pressing the blade on a backhand is Kreanga.  You can also see this with Persson, but not quite to the same extent.  Also, Kong Linghui a little.  There is no doubt that this can stabilize your backhand, unless you move it out of the way, it can hurt your forehand a bit.  It's a tradeoff.  Kreanga has a big grip change between forehand and backhand because of that.

 

Edited by Baal - 10/16/2012 at 12:37pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FireHorse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/16/2012 at 12:21pm
I think it depends on your habit.  But I see that most of the shakehand Chinese players now having their thumbs presses on the rubber during backhand strokes.  I watch an instruction video where Ma Long shows the thumb presses on the rubber when he talks about backhand stroke and even though I don't understand Chinese, I think he might say that having the thumb on the rubber during backhand strokes help stabilize the blade to make the stroke more accurate or something like that.  I think someone who watches that video and understand Chinese could verify that for me.  And I'm sorry that I do not have the link for that but I think anyone can find it on youtube.
 
I changed my grip to always have the thumb presses on the rubber no matter if it's forehand or backhand strokes.
 
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Edited by FireHorse - 10/16/2012 at 2:39pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Imago Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/16/2012 at 2:03am
Not if you loose your ring and little finger when whip hitting from BH.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/16/2012 at 12:53am
FH is easier with the thumb hooked on the handle "ramp" like ZJK. However, BH is easier with the thumb on the rubber. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SeeReed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/15/2012 at 7:15pm
My coach suggest change grip during play to maximize each shot only if you are able do it with good results otherwise stay with one grip most of time. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote koshkin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/15/2012 at 6:42pm
Everyone's grip is a little different.  I have a pretty high grip, so my thumb is usually on the rubber.  My grip is similar to Kong's in the picture above.  Some people have a low grip and their thumbs are on the grip.  I do not think there is a right or wrong way of doing it.  Same for grip changing between strokes.  I do not consciously change my grip (other than for serving), but I am sure it changes a little bit between FH and BH.  I do, however, know people who consciously change their grip for different shots.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Benigma Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/15/2012 at 12:39am
Placing the thumb on the rubber was something that I used to do, and I found that it made my backhand loop a lot easier to execute because my wrist was significantly more flexible. However my forehand was at a disadvantage because  I couldn't get the right angle on my forehand loops. Some players do alternate between grips when they play different strokes and thats fine.

But I have forced myself grip the handle the original way, where the thumb only touches the topmost part of the handle, and does not touch the rubber. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/15/2012 at 12:10am
Cho88,

Definitely not necessary.  Any grip that makes you play better is the grip you should use.  The biggest technical limitation of a novel grip is that since your teacher doesn't use it, your teacher may not understand its subtleties.  That is largely why the popular grips dominate - starting from scratch to work on a grip is harder than learning the grip from someone else.  IF you want to change your grip, do so for a while and see what happens.  I have changed mine for a few days now and I like the short term results enough to stick with it.
I like putting heavy topspin on the ball...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nagatito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/14/2012 at 11:46pm
I was training yesterday and I have a really inconsistent BH, I ussualy use my thumb on the blade, so I dont know why I used it on the rubber and I could control much more, for me its easier to make my BH topspins and is harder for the other player to get them.
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