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Welcome to TableTennisCoaching.com, your Worldwide Center for Table Tennis Coaching!

 Photo by Donna Sakai

This is an evolving website and Table Tennis Community. Your suggestions are welcome.

Want a daily injection of Table Tennis? Come read the Larry Hodges Blog! (Entries go up by noon, Mon-Fri; see link on left.) Feel free to comment!

Want to talk Table Tennis? Come join us on the forum. While the focus here is on coaching, the forum is open to any table tennis talk.

Want to Learn? Read the Tip of the Week, study videos, read articles, or find just about any other table tennis coaching site from the menu links. If you know of one, please let us know so we can add it.

Want to Learn more directly? There are two options. See the Video Coaching link for info on having your game analyzed via video. See the Clinics link for info on arranging a clinic in your area, or finding ones that are already scheduled.

If you have any questions, feel free to email, post a note on the forum, or comment on my blog entries.

-Larry Hodges, Director, TableTennisCoaching.com

Member, USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame & USATT Certified National Coach
Professional Coach at the Maryland Table Tennis Center

Recent TableTennisCoaching.com blog posts

Thursday, September 22, 2016 - 14:32
September 22, 2016

No Blog on Friday
See “Non-Table Tennis” item at end on the Baltimore Book Festival.

New ITTF Coaching Rule
On Wednesday I blogged about this, and about the USATT Board – which I’m on – will vote on this issue this Saturday morning. If you have any comments or thoughts on this, this is your last chance – I DON’T want to hear from you after the fact if you haven’t commented before. There’s a discussion at Mytabletennis.net which I’m following and participating in, so you can post there, and I’ll see it. (Alas, I will hear from people after the fact because not everyone keeps track of the major happenings in our sport until they are directly affected, and they show up at a tournament and play a match against some kid whose coach is coaching every point.)

Here are my blogs on...




Wednesday, September 21, 2016 - 14:09
September 21, 2016

New ITTF Coaching Rule and Board Discussion on Saturday
This Saturday at 9:30AM the USATT Board will have a teleconference on whether to adopt the new ITTF Coaching Rule that allows coaching between points. I think it’s a horrible rule, and yet we’d be handicapping ourselves if we don’t adopt it, so it’s not an easy decision, and I’m still undecided – though I’m leaning slightly toward adopting it, with a note in the minutes that we should take this up again at the December Board meeting so we can evaluate it. This is your chance to chime in.

Here’s what Samson Dubina wrote me about it:

It is a terrible rule and should never have been passed by ITTF.  However, as you mentioned in the blog, we need to follow the ruling if we want to have any chance to have success at the international level.  USATT really needs to have a conference call about this asap.  Myself, as well as the other US Coaches, need to be developing a system of communication with our players and have a few months to adjust and perfect the system.

Here’s my letter...




Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - 07:42
September 20, 2016

Tip of the Week
Five Serves That EVERYONE Should Master.

Protect Future of Table Tennis in USA
Most of you probably received the mass emails sent out last week from “Protect Future of Table Tennis in USA” about the U.S. team selections, especially in the Mini-cadet teams (12 and under). The letter is from Rajul Sheth from the ICC Table Tennis Center (where he's done some great work), who I consider a friend, and hopefully that won’t change after this. He makes some good points, though there are some inaccurate or misleading items I could nitpick about, and there is more to the issue than what is covered in the letter.

However, there was one serious problem that really angered me, and it had nothing to do with the actual issue involved. I emailed him complaining about his naming these four 10-12 year-old kids publicly in this way (rather than referring to them by rating and as “Player A,” “Player B,” etc.). These kids did nothing wrong,...




Monday, September 19, 2016 - 12:36
September 19, 2016

I’m pretty tired right now, and I need a vacation. Plus I’ve got a todo list that goes from here to Beijing – even now Ma Long and Ding Ning are examining the lower parts of it and cowering in fear. (I think the item “Make America so great at table tennis the Chinese quit and take up shuffleboard” is the part that scared them.) Plus today is Adam West’s 88th birthday – the original Batman from the 1960s TV show and mayor of Quahog in Family guy – a national holiday if there ever was one. So no blog today – back tomorrow. 




Friday, September 16, 2016 - 14:09
September 16, 2016

All About Table Tennis Books
As readers here know, Dan Seemiller’s autobiography came out this past week, Revelations of a Table Tennis Champion. It’s what all the “cool” kids table tennis players will be talking about at the club now, so go get your copy now. Don’t make us send you to the nerdy kids table. (See how that works for both schools and table tennis clubs?) Here is the text from the back cover:

Dedication, Determination, Heartbreak, and Achievement

If you are in the Olympic sport of table tennis, then you know Danny Seemiller, USA’s greatest modern champion. In “Revelations of a Table Tennis Champion,” the five-time U.S. Men’s Singles Champion takes you through his 50 years in the sport, from the early days of training, the breakthroughs, the agonizing defeats and the great triumphs. You...




Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 14:05
September 15, 2016

Years of Training Have Destroyed My Reactions
Okay, this may seem misleading. During my development years I did the usual intensive drills that conditioned me to react properly to nearly any given shot. Let me emphasize one word here: nearly. Now opponents may play at speeds that I might not be able to react to, or catch me off guard with placement and spin, but even there I’d usually react properly, just not always quickly enough or with just the right racket angle.

Some of my students have picked up on a certain flaw here, which I think affects me more than most. When someone throws something at me that I’m not used to, all that conditioning falls apart. It means I basically have two choices – I can go for a “regular” shot, and likely miss, or I can change to a safe shot, usually just fishing or weakly blocking it back.

For example, one of my students (a righty) has been developing this inside-out backhand loop that goes down the line, breaking away from a righty opponent. Now against a regular down-the-line shot, whether it’s a block or a loop, I’d react almost instantly with either a...




Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - 14:09
September 14, 2016

Dan Seemiller’s Book and A Tale of Two Quotes
So . . . have you bought “Revelations of a Table Tennis Champion” yet? Why not? This is the story of our greatest modern champion. Warning – some people won’t like some of the things he says. But I’m more interested in what we can learn from the book.

Here’s an interesting quote from page 129 of the book, where Dan says, “I normally don’t get nervous, I’m too busy thinking about strategy instead of the score.” This is one of those things I’ve harped about here and in my books, that if you think about tactics between points, you won’t be thinking about winning or losing, the score, what’ll happen if you lose, etc., and so won’t get nervous (or as nervous). It’s one of those basic things that sometimes takes years to learn, and many never learn it. Contrast that with an actual exchange that took place during my coaching last night:

Me: “Since you can do this shot in practice, what...




Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - 14:01
September 13, 2016

Revelations of a Table Tennis Champion by Dan Seemiller
It’s out! Revelations of a Table Tennis Champion is the autobiography of five-time U.S. Men’s Singles Champion Dan Seemiller (who along the way also won Men’s Doubles 12 times, Mixed Doubles seven times, and was the U.S. Men’s Coach at the Worlds and Olympics for many years). The book is 218 pages with 96 pictures. I did the editing, photo work, and page layouts. Dan turned out to be an excellent proof reader, finding many typos that I missed. Maybe it’s that perfectionism that made him such a strong player?

At the very end of the book is a “Who is Dan Seemiller?” section which I wrote. Here it is – and after reading this, go out and buy yourself a copy! (Right now there’s only a print version. Later this week I’ll put together an ebook version.)

I first met Dan Seemiller at one of his Pittsburgh...




Monday, September 12, 2016 - 14:08
September 12, 2016

Tip of the Week
The More Two Players Drill Together the Better They Drill Together.

Tactical Coaching Can Be a Wonderful – or Terrible – Thing
This past Saturday I ran the Butterfly MDTTC September Open. I’ll have a write-up and photos ready hopefully tomorrow, but here are the complete results. It was an exhausting weekend. On Saturday I was at the club at 7:45AM, and didn’t leave until about 9PM, over 13 hours later. I did manage to compile all the results and send to USATT that night, so they will likely be processed in the next couple of days.

During a short lull I watched a match between an experienced player who earlier this year had switched from a mostly looping game (with inverted on both sides) to chopper/looper (with long pips on the backhand). I watch him play against a young junior player, and the chopper won the first, 11-9, and so things looked good for the chopper. But between games the junior received some very good coaching. I...




Friday, September 9, 2016 - 13:59
September 9, 2016

As You Think, So Shall You Become - Revisited
Yesterday I posted this Bruce Lee Table Tennis graphic – and the Bruce Lee quote in the heading, “So you think, so shall you become,” very much applies to table tennis. Most players have self-images of their game, which puts them in a comfort zone. And nearly everything they do re-enforces this, and so they stay in this comfort zone, rarely developing anything new. Sure, they play around with other shots, and practice them, but not in a long-term, serious way. I’ve seen loopers who can’t block react by spending even more time working on their loop rather than mastering the block. I’ve seen players who are great blockers but constantly lament their lack of attacking skills – and spend decades playing as a blocker rather than taking a few months of that time where they develop and incorporate attacking skills. These players are unable to think of themselves as something better, and so are unable to become better. And that’s what Bruce Lee was referring to.

In fact, for players...