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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 1PM, 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

Tip of the Week
Coaching Between Games for the Non-Coach.

2023 USA Table Tennis Election and USATT Problems
=>(Skip ahead if you have no interest in the morbid world of USATT politics.)
I blogged about the election last week. If you are a USATT member 18 and over, you should have received an email about the election at 11AM Eastern Time last Monday, Nov. 6. (I think you had to be a member for at least two months before that date.) Once again I am urging you to vote for Dennis Taylor. I know or know about the other four candidates, and I think most would be good officers, but Dennis is more proven.

Tip of the Week
Three Keys to Fast Reacting.

2023 USA Table Tennis Election
It’s time for another USATT election! This is a “special” one, to take up a spot on the board that was recently vacated. There are five candidates running for one position. Balloting starts today (Monday) at 11AM Eastern Time. Here is the election info page.

I strongly urge you to vote for Dennis Taylor. Here is his Campaign Flyer, which gives you his background and why he’s running. I’ve known and worked with him for 25 years. He’s a former board member, chaired the High Performance Committee, was on or advisor to eleven committees, was USATT secretary and took minutes for over one hundred USATT board meetings, and was the pro bono USATT lawyer for 18 years. He helped me run the Eastern Open one year and was a student in my adult training sessions for years at MDTTC. He is a rock of integrity and will bring that, experience, and vision to our sport.

Tip of the Week
Quicker Drives with the Forehand-Backhand Drill.

Weekend Coaching, a White House Halloween, and Humongous Technical Issues
I coached in five group junior training sessions over the weekend. I was scheduled for four, but when my appointment with a computer guru at the Geek Squad on Sunday was postponed (more on that below), and they needed me for a session at that time, I stepped in, mostly feeding multiball for 90 minutes with players in the session rotating in and out.

Tip of the Week
POP Opponents with the Power Of Placement.

Weekend Coaching, Smashing, and Serve Practice Tips
Only had one group session this weekend. On Saturday we had the annual “Coconut Cup” team tournament, a non-sanctioned event that packed the club with lots of new players, including several teams from the Chinese Embassy – they were pretty good, with the best one around 2100 level. I went in and watched some of it. On Sunday I coached in the Novice Group, where the focus was (surprise!) fundamentals. Lots and lots of stroking and footwork drills, and serving practice. Kids usually pick up good technique pretty well if they are taught properly. One of the kids had picked up this bad habit of not turning his shoulders on forehands, just swinging across his body mostly from the shoulder, so I spent some time working with him on that. Not only is this awkward, it can lead to serious shoulder problems!

Tips of the Week (two since I was away last week)

Huntsman World Senior Games and Sightseeing in Utah and Las Vegas
I had a great time at the Huntsman World Senior Games last week in St. George, Utah, Oct. 9-12, Mon-Thur. This was my first time there. The Games include 44 sports, with 11,000 athletes from 88 countries, and 3,000 volunteers. I was there just for table tennis, of course. There were 235 table tennis players, all age 50 or over. Here are complete results, care of Omnipong.

Next Blog October 16
I’ll be out of town next week at the Huntsman World Senior Games (see segment below), so no blog next week. However, the Tip of the Week will go up on Monday, Oct. 9, as always.

Tip of the Week
Four Short Serve Scenarios.

MDTTC Open and Weekend Coaching
Here are the results of the MDTTC Open this past weekend. Because of the tournament, we only had one junior group session, the novice group. You probably know what the focus was – FUNDAMENTALS! But we also had fun toward the end, where I put targets on the table and had them do various footwork drills while aiming for the targets.

Tip of the Week
To Hit or to Loop?

Weekend Coaching
This was one of those times where I wished we had a video camera running! I’d recently worked with some of the kids in the Intermediate group on backspin serves. I’d given them a challenge – serve so that the ball came back into the net, the infamous “ghost serve.” It’s a great serving exercise, as it teaches them to finely graze the ball, create great backspin, and control it so that they can do a legal serve. It also perks their interest, one of the most important things when working with younger kids. A key aspect is that they don’t need to serve the ball too low at first – they can learn to do that later. So, what happened?

Tip of the Week
Top Ten Table Tennis Tournament Travel Tips.

Weekend Coaching, US Open, and Travel, Oh My!
One of the things I always stress in group training is to mix things up, both to create match-like training, and to challenge the players – which both helps them improve and keeps their interest up. In the Intermediate Group on Saturday I had four players in my group for 90 minutes, and that’s what we did. I had them rotate, so I’d feed multiball to one (sometimes live play); one would do ball pickup; and the other two would play improvised practice games on the other table. By “improvised,” I mean I made up simple rules so they’d practice specific types of rallies. For example, they may play a game where the server has to serve fast and deep every time, or perhaps serve short every time and follow with an attack if the opponent pushes. And so on. It not only keeps things interesting, but the players suddenly are very interested in practicing the shots they do in these game situations, and so when they rotate to me, they sometimes ask to work on those shots. (Sometimes I’ll ask them what they think they need to work on, based on the games they just played.)

Tip of the Week
The "No Net" Rule Against Heavy Backspin.

Weekend Coaching
For the lower junior groups, the multiball focus was on preparing them for practicing with each other. Right now, for example, if they try hitting forehand to forehand, within a shot or two one will mishit slightly, the other will move, lunge, or reach for the ball, and mishit even more, and the rally ends quickly. So they need to learn two things: 1) React and move to the ball properly, and 2) Control the return after moving. To do this, I put Froggy on the table where they should hit the ball, and then fed them random balls to the forehand side. Their goal was to move to each ball and then hit Froggy, though all that really mattered was that it be close. Then we did the same thing on the backhand side. (I wrote about this last week as well, but it’s an important transitional drill.)

Tip of the Week
Tactical Confidence.

Weekend Coaching
A lot of the focus in the lower groups is teaching them to practice together. At lower level, kids don’t have the ball control to really do sustained rallies, and so don’t get much systematic practice unless they hit with a coach or do multiball. When they hit together, their shots often don’t go where they are supposed to, and their practice partner – also novice or just above – can’t adjust to it like a coach would, and so the rally quickly ends without any serious systematic practice.