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The V grip Matures: A 24-month Status Report

By Tom Veatch
November 24, 2002



I've accumulated a second year of progress on the V grip to report.

In summary, I still think I'm right, that it's a better way to play. Few seem to believe me; my personal ego is a non-zero influence; and my skill level is hardly Olympic. So you should evaluate the claims yourself on their own terms. But the argument seems valid to me, so I have to be honest to my experience and say what I think.

There are important and valid caveats: The V grip is probably not better for a defensive player, for a blocker, or for a player without footwork (I'm not sure it'll be very good for older players), or for the classical Chinese style of "fast attack", close-to-table, pips-out play.

But for the modern offensive spin game the V grip should be a winner, in my opinion.

This year was mostly a long plateau before I discovered a few key changes that have improved and stabilized things dramatically. I have used this grip continuously for training and competition, seeking out improvements in technique and equipment, playing 3 to 6 times a week since early November, 2000, including a weekly hour of coaching. Even with coaching, I'm still basically doing it alone and there have been significant and persistent sources of instability that have taken a long time to understand and solve. (That explains my USATT rating, which has drifted downward during the plateau. Just wait!) But now I think I have solved or minimized the fundamental problems, attaining a much higher level of stability. I hope I have understood and mastered the basic techniques; that my stroke mechanics are now basically within a range of what will ultimately turn out to be standard and correct form for this style. In short my coach says he likes my strokes now, and improvement is now a matter of refinement rather than radical exploration.

On this basis I still believe, and here reiterate, my original claim: the V grip is mechanically superior to penhold and shakehand grips for an offensive spin game (the dominant style of our time).

If you are thinking of trying the V grip, reading this will save you a lot of time. The V grip is a brittle style, meaning that what may seem to be small, non-obvious, perhaps non-essential differences in stance or paddle handle shape can make big differences in outcomes; these are keys which have to be gotten right to play effectively and consistently. These are not weaknesses if you have the right approach, but without the keys, you won't get into the castle, and you might fall into the moat. But once you're in the castle, it's a commanding position. Here I'll tell you all about it.

Bent Paddle Handle

Forehand Stance is Neutral

No More Twiddling or Pips-out Rubber

Equipment Selection

Stroke technique

How to Learn the V grip

On the Human Side

I will continue to write more as I feel inspired (and I get inspired by email from people like you), so check this space once in a while.


Copyright © 2002 Thomas C. Veatch.