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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

Monday, August 31, 2015 - 13:38
August 31, 2015

Tip of the Week

How to Serve to the Backhand Attacking Receiver.

School is Back

And with that, the eleven weeks of summer training camps at MDTTC are over. It means that, once I catch up the zillion items on my short-term todo list, I'll have more time during the day to do all the USATT stuff I promised to do when I ran for the Board of Directors, as well as recent appointments as chair of the USATT League Committee and as Regional Associations Coordinator. (These are all unpaid, volunteer positions. What is wrong with me???) I'll be blogging about those activities now and then. Since I generally finish the blog Mon-Fri around 9:30 or 10AM, that means I have to do most of that work either between that time and 2:30PM, or at night after coaching. (I sometimes have free mornings on weekends, but not always.)

But it also means we start up our Afterschool Program again, and begin coaching kids after school, both as part of that program and in...

Friday, August 28, 2015 - 13:47
August 28, 2015

MDTTC Camps – Eleven Weeks Comes to an End Today

Today our eleven weeks of camps come to an end. We're finishing with a good-sized group, with about 40 players in all. Here's a camp photo from the Wednesday morning session, which is missing a few players who join us in the afternoon.

40+ Butterflies and JOOLAs and Nittakus and Double Fish and Xu Shaofao, Oh My!!!

We're still in the ongoing "Silly Season" (going on 1.5 years now), where training centers and clubs have deal with players training with multiple of the new plastic 40+ balls, which all play differently, and keep them all separate. Last night at MDTTC was illustrative. 

We're sponsored by Butterfly, and we're supposed to get plastic training balls in a month or so. Until then, we're still stuck using celluloid balls for much of our training. But as tournaments come up, things get complicated. We use Butterfly 40+ balls for our local tournaments, and since we had a tournament last weekend, guess what participants were training...

Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 12:04
August 27, 2015

Day Off to Work

Alas, I need a day off to catch up on the 314,159 things on my todo list – I'll have pi all over my face if I don't get them done soon. So no blog today – I'll be back tomorrow. Meanwhile, here are a few items! 

2015 USATT Hall of Fame Inductees and Lifetime Achievement Award

Here they are – and they include Coach Jack Huang from my club! (I may write more about this later. It's a big group this year – usually only 2-3 are inducted.)

Insane Rally

Here's the video (29 sec).

I Have No Idea What This Is

But here's the table tennis cartoon! Any suggestions for a caption?


Wednesday, August 26, 2015 - 13:03
August 26, 2015

Samson Dubina on Boosting in Table Tennis

Here's the podcast (6 min), from Ben Larcombe at Expert Table Tennis. Here's my blog on boosting and my blog on hidden serves (one of many). Both contain my recommended solutions.

Here's a good analogy about what's happening in our sport. Suppose you trained for many years for the Olympic 100 meter dash. Then, in the final, as you took the starting blocks for the big race, the race official walks over and says, "Anyone who wants a two-meter head start, feel free to take it – it's against the rules, but we'll allow it." Now imagine nearly all the others moved two meters ahead, and you knew you had little chance of winning unless you joined them. But if you didn't, all those years of training and all your dreams are dashed because an official is allowing others to cheat. Guess what? That's exactly what's happening in our sport, both because of...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 12:56
August 25, 2015

Tip of the Week

Vary Your Receive - Exhibit A: Receiving a Short Backspin Serve to the Forehand.

USATT Board Meeting in Chicago

On Friday morning I flew to Chicago for the USATT Board meeting, which took place Friday night and all day Saturday at the O'Hare Airport Hilton. I literally flew to the airport, walked across the street to the hotel, and the following day, immediately after the meeting ended, ran (because I was late for my flight, which I barely made) back across the street and flew home. Most of what I saw of Chicago was from the hotel window. 

Six of the nine USATT board members were present, including Carolyne Savini at her first meeting (replacing Jim Kahler), as well as myself, Peter Scudner, Mike Babuin, Kagin Lee,...

Thursday, August 20, 2015 - 13:20
August 20, 2015

No Blog on Friday or Monday

I'm off on Friday morning to the USATT board meeting in Chicago. (See segment below.) I'll likely blog about it next week. I've also got a busy Sunday and have to coach Monday morning, so no blog Monday morning. See you on Tuesday!

Wednesday Coaching

Yesterday we did a lot of footwork drills, put-away drills, and serve practice. The new players are advancing rapidly, the intermediate players are becoming advanced, and the advanced players are trying to scare the Chinese out of their ping-pong socks.

Highlight of the day was easily the start of what was supposed to be lunch break at 1PM. But a strange thing happened - as I was picking up the last few balls and greatly looking forward to my Chicken Lo Mein, one of the kids asked if I would help him with his reverse pendulum serve. We worked on it for a few minutes, and then another joined us, and then another, and by 1:10 I was working with six kids on their serves during their break. (Average age was about nine.) We practiced serves as a group for until 1:45PM, and then we all finally went to lunch. (As well as a 7-11...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - 13:05
August 19, 2015

Boosting, Part 2

Yesterday I posted about the problems with boosting. Here's a simple solution to the problem for USATT. (I've also added this as an addendum in yesterday's blog.) All we have to do is change the USATT Tournament Guide. Under Referee Responsibilities, it says:

5.h. Determines the legality of clothing and equipment. The USATT Dress Code and the red/black racket rule must be consistently enforced at all tournaments

If this were changed to the following, I think it would solve the problem. I’ve only added the last sentence, which I've bolded.

5.h. Determines the legality of clothing and equipment. The USATT Dress Code and the red/black racket rule must be consistently enforced at all tournaments. Any racket that passes the racket testing procedure would be considered legal for that tournament.

Tuesday's Coaching

We spent a...

Tuesday, August 18, 2015 - 12:48
August 18, 2015

Table Tennis Boosting and Why Cheating is Rampant in Our Sport

Here's an article by Coach Jon Gustavason about the problems with boosting (and perhaps speed gluing) in table tennis. He wrote, "It also appeared that at least some of the players were using boosters or speed glue on their rackets. There is absolutely no way of knowing how much was taking place, since there was no attempt to test rackets and — even if there had been — current testing methods can’t detect every possible way that table tennis rubbers can be altered."

Next to the problems with hidden serves, this is the most abused rule in table tennis at the higher levels. The rules state, "The racket covering shall be used without any physical, chemical or other treatment." This makes both speed glue and boosting illegal. 

Boosting is the problem, not speed gluing. Boosting on a tensor sponge gives nearly the same effect but is...

Monday, August 17, 2015 - 13:03
August 17, 2015

Tip of the Week

Controlling a Match.

Weekend Coaching

Friday was the final day of last week's camp. We did a lot of basics work as well as introducing some new ones. I introduced forehand and backhand looping to two seven-year-olds. An eight-year-old had a major breakthrough. He can both loop and hit, but usually after looping a backspin he'd swat the next ball off the end. We've been playing a game where I feed multiball, alternating backspin and topspin to his forehand, and he has to loop the first, smash the second. If he makes both, he scores; if he misses either, I score. I'm guessing I was 30-0 against in this came, but on Friday he finally pulled it out, "beating" me 11-7. 

We finished the camp with the "candy game." I put stacks of candy on the table near the end-line, and fed multiball. The kids lined up, and anything they hit off the table, they got to keep. (For the younger beginners, if they hit the candy but didn't knock it off the table, they still got a piece. More advanced players who...

Friday, August 14, 2015 - 13:10
August 14, 2015

Thursday Camp

Yesterday was Day Four of Week Nine of MDTTC's Eleven Weeks of Summer Camps. I've now coached over 200 of these five-day camps, or over 1000 days - nearly three years. That's 6000 hours of camp. (Here's a group picture from yesterday morning. It's missing some of our locals who sometimes come in just for the afternoon session.)

For once I didn't have any additional private coaching or classes, so it was "only" six hours of coaching. At this point the beginning players I'm working with have at least decent strokes and timing, and so can hit backhands and forehands, and can serve. I only wish we had videos of their play on Monday to compare with now!

On Monday, the youngest player in the camp had about a dozen turns at multiball, about 4-5 minutes each time, all forehand work - and throughout it all, she only hit two balls on the table. On Thursday, she hit five in a row. The crowning achievement? She smacked the Gatorade bottle with "worm juice," and so I had to drink it, to her great glee....