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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

Friday, July 1, 2016 - 12:43
July 1, 2016

Last Blog until Tuesday, July 12
I'm actually going out of town for a month, July 3 – Aug 3. I don't plan to blog during most of this time – even I need vacations! – but I do plan to blog from July 11 to July 22, during the USATT Super Camp. Here's my upcoming schedule:

  • July 3-9: USA Nationals in Las Vegas;
  • July 10-22: coaching at the  USATT Supercamp at the Lily Yip TTC in New Jersey;
  • July 22-30: at the TNEO Science Fiction Writing Workshop in Manchester, NH;
  • July 31-Aug. 3: coaching at the Junior Olympics in Houston.

I won't actually be gone continuously for a month. I'm flying to Las Vegas on Sunday, returning the following Sunday morning (on a Saturday night red-eye flight, landing 7AM at BWI Airport), then I quickly finalize packing, and drive to New Jersey for the Supercamp. Then I drive from there to New Hampshire for the writing workshop. Then I drive all the way back to Maryland on June 30, and fly out to Houston on July 31, flying back late on Aug. 3. (Or perhaps staying the night, and returning Aug. 4.)

Preparing for the Nationals and...

Thursday, June 30, 2016 - 11:10
June 30, 2016

Training with the Piech's!
Yesterday I had a session with Jason & Alex Piech, the two I blogged about yesterday, along with the video of their going to Las Vegas. We decided to break the session into three parts, 1/3 with Alex, 1/3 with Jason, and 1/3 on doubles. The two have been playing about eight months, coached by Russ Hamilton in Arkansas. (The camp is 10AM-1PM, 3-6PM, so we did the sesson from 1-2PM.) 

First up was lefty Alex, who turns 7 in August, nicknamed "Storm." He has pretty good technique, but can be a bit wild with his shots as his contact can vary a lot. When he loops, sometimes he spins it, sometimes he hits it a bit too flat. We focused on consistency, where he had to make the first two shots every time. First we did it with him looping to my backhand. (We had a running gag where I kept insisting I never missed, with a ready excuse when I in fact did miss. He had his mom video some of the session just to prove to me that I did, in fact, sometimes miss. I don't, of course.) We then did a drill where he served backspin, I pushed to his...

Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - 11:55
June 29, 2016

Jason & Alex Piech: 2016 USA National Championships Promo
Here's the video (33 sec)! Alex and Jason Piech are at our MDTTC last week and this week (I'm one of the coaches), and tomorrow I have a private session with each of them, including some doubles work. This weekend they, along with half our club, will fly to the Nationals in Las Vegas for the USA Nationals. Among numerous other events, the two are playing Under 2700 Junior Doubles together – and Alex is a lefty, with Jason a righty, which is an advantage in doubles – so watch out Vegas!

These two were also the stars of a previous video I linked to here and featured by USATT in April, Kansas City Club Can't Handle Me (3:52). I actually didn't realize until yesterday that they were the two from that video!

You'll note in the new video that Jason (the older one at 9, who has a striking resemblance to former child star...

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - 12:13
June 28, 2016

How to Boost Your Table Tennis Rubber
Here's the article from Expert Table Tennis. This is one was a tough decision on whether to post, so I've decided to let readers to decide on their own on this one. The reality is that boosting is "illegal." However, it's also one of the most unfair rules as it's essentially undetectable, with the result that those who are willing to "cheat" have an advantage over those who will not. At this point, boosting is almost a protest against such an unfair rule – but only if others chime in publicly.

I blogged about this on Aug. 18, 2015 and a few other times. I proposed the Racket Testing Rule to address the issue, but (predictably) it was ignored as the officials in our sport continue to ignore the two big elephants in the room that lead to rampant cheating in our sport – boosting and...

Monday, June 27, 2016 - 12:35
June 27, 2016

Tip of the Week
Inside-Out Forehand Floppy Wrist Flip.

Maryland State Championships
I ran them this past weekend, Sat & Sun. Here are the results. It was two very long days – I arrived at MDTTC each day at 7:45AM, and didn't get out until nearly 9PM both days. Lots of prize money and trophies were given out, there were many rating points exchanged, and many balls were broken. I was up half the night finishing the paperwork on the tournament, writing the press release, and other timely items – such as this blog. (I plan to do another version as a USATT news item.) The bad news: I didn't get to bed until after 4:15AM, and I have to coach at the MDTTC camp this morning…

Here is a version of the press release I sent out, adjusted for the table tennis audience. (In the version sent to local media, I put in everyone's home city, left out ratings, used more general terms, etc.)


Friday, June 24, 2016 - 13:03
June 24, 2016

History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 18 – DONE!!! (and Cleaning Up Eyebrows???)
Our My long national nightmare is over. For the past two years weeks, as readers of this blog know, I've been working with USATT Historian Tim Boggan on this volume, and it's done, complete, out the door! Soon it'll join the other 17 volumes at the History of U.S. Table Tennis page, now that it's finished.

Well, almost.

We got through all of Tim's edits yesterday, and finished at 444 pages and 1548 graphics. Then, last night, I spent an hour getting it ready for printing via Createpace.com, a subsidiary of Amazon.com. (This is how I now publish my table tennis books.) But Tim is doing a final proofing, and promises to get back to me with any final edits by Monday. Then I input those, and upload the files to Createspace.com. Within two days it'll get approved for print, and then I order a proof copy sent to Tim. He gives it a final lookover, and then...

Thursday, June 23, 2016 - 10:27
June 23, 2016

It's Fun Hitting with the (Future) Stars!
Yesterday in our MDTTC camp I got to work with someone who I'm guessing you'll be hearing about in a few years – but for now, I'll just call him "Smash," since that's what he likes to do, and I started calling him that during the session. As he will carefully explain, he's not five years old, he's five and a half. He was in my multiball group for three hours, so I worked with him a lot. (I'd worked with him a few times before.) He's got nice strokes, can do footwork drills at a pretty fast pace without missing much, and is already starting to loop. How did he learn all this so young? Well, it helps living near a club like MDTTC. It also helps that his older brother is another fast up-and-coming junior (who you'll be hearing about even sooner), who, as Smash explained, has been teaching him to smash. He has good form, great focus, is very physical, and with an older brother to practice with, the sky's the ceiling.

Or perhaps I've just been hit in the head with a ping-pong ball one too many times. Or perhaps to me it's happened to two too (...

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 13:05
June 22, 2016

The Ping-Pong Apartments
Below is an essay I wrote in USATT Magazine in 1991. (It was then called Table Tennis Today.) Tim is including it in his latest history volume (see segment below). The state of our sport has dramatically improved since then – we have a much better product to sell. We've gone from 100 USATT certified coaches to 692; six full-time coaches to several hundred; one or two full-time clubs to almost 90; and from nearly all clubs using the "winner-stay-on" format to many or most clubs now offering regular leagues. (Note that the "Ec" in "Mr. Ec" referred to the USATT Executive Committee, which is now called the Board of Directors.)

The Ping-Pong Apartments
By Larry Hodges
(First published in USATT Magazine in 1991)

Mr. Ec bought the Ping Pong apartments in 1933.

The first thing he did was to take a tour of the facilities. He found the rooms were unheated, the plumbing broken, and there was no air conditioning. The building was drab and unkept, and rats and cockroaches infested the building. Paint was chipping.

Mr. Ec did not have...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - 11:17
June 21, 2016

USATT Board Meeting
The last few days have been a whir of activity. The main event, however, was the USATT board meeting in New Jersey on Saturday. Alas (or fortunately?), there were no fireworks, no one jumped on the table screaming political slogans, and against all expectations, we didn't vote to build a wall to keep out Chinese table tennis players, and make China pay for it.

I drove up (222 miles) with USATT lawyer Dennis Taylor on Friday afternoon. That night we had dinner with the board and all six USA Table Tennis Olympians – Timothy Wang, Yijun "Tom" Feng, Kanak Jha, Jiaqi Zheng, Lily Zhang, and Yue Wu. I had a long discussion with Cory Eider and Kagin Lee regarding what players should do about hidden serves.

Much of the board meeting the following day was reports followed by discussion. We had a roughly 40-minute discussion with new High Performance Director Cory Eider, where we had updates on the Olympics, National Team, funding, and (most important to me at the moment), the upcoming USATT Supercamp, July 10-24 at the Lily Yip TTC in New Jersey.

Regarding the USATT Supercamp, 22 of the best junior...

Monday, June 20, 2016 - 11:18
June 20, 2016

No Regular Blog Today…
Alas, just like last Monday, I just ran out of time. I drove up to the USATT board meeting in New Jersey on Friday at noon, and returned late Saturday night. After taking care of a pile of work, I went to bed at 2:30AM – and was up at 6:30AM so I could continue work with Tim Boggan on his History of U.S. Table Tennis by 7AM, as I'd promised him. We worked until 3PM, then I was off to the club to coach, returning at 9PM, just in time for Game of Thrones – which it's my Constitutional right to watch. (Fine, I admit it, I also watched Silicon Valley and Veep. Sunday 9-11PM is my weekly TV night.) At that point I was just too tired to do anything else, so I went to bed – and as promised, I'm back at my desk with Tim at 7AM, writing this as he taps his foot with folded arms and an icy stare that screams, "Will you gosh darn hurry up?" (But with slightly more colorful language.) The good news – while I'll be working all day and afternoons this week, I'll be free nights to do the blog, so no more missed blogs after today. (At least until I leave for the USA Nationals in July.)...