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 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
The Most Important Technique in Table Tennis.

Coaching at the MDTTC Open and Weekend Coaching
I spent Saturday coaching players from our junior program at the MDTTC Open. It wasn't easy - I had a secret I kept from everyone. I woke up with an intense headache, probably from reading late the night before. It never went away - I spent the whole day with a jackhammer in my head. But I didn't tell anyone, and hopefully none of the kids I coached noticed anything different. I still had the headache this morning, and almost postponed the blog, but it's a bit better now. Yeah, that late-night reading habit can be a headache!!! (I might need new reading glasses - I have an eye appointment Feb. 24.) 

Tip of the Week
Go After Your Opponent's Weaknesses - But Not Too Much!

Weekend Coaching, Push Depth, and Improvised Games
I had another busy weekend, coaching in five junior group sessions. As usual, the focus for beginning to intermediate players was fundamentals, so lots of standard stroking and footwork drills. We still keep it fun - I ended two sessions with impromptu "Simon Says" competitions for the whole group.

Tip of the Week
Use Top Players as Models For Your Technique.

Weekend Coaching, Placement, and Receiving a Short Serve
I coached in four group sessions this weekend. I focused a lot on placement. I remember something Ricky Seemiller (eight-time US Men's Doubles Champion with brother Danny and a long-time US team member) once told me at one of my first training camps: "Amateurs practice to the middle forehand and middle backhand. Professionals practice to the wide angles." What does that mean? Many players get in the habit of practicing their shots to exactly what Ricky said - the middle of their partner's forehand or backhand sides, typically 6-12 inches inside the corner. Top players don't generally practice or play to this area - why would they make things easy for their opponents? Instead, keep the ball to the wide corners in drills, with just as many balls landing outside the corner as inside. If you do it in practice, you'll do it in matches. (A version of this will likely become a weekly Tip.)

Tip of the Week
Focus on the Next Point.

Weekend Coaching
Had a pretty busy weekend coaching group sessions with my fellow coaches, Wang Qingliang and Lidney Castro. (Cheng Yinghua and Jack Huang were also there, but doing private coaching.) I had an interesting experience on Sunday. I was only scheduled to coaching one session that day, 12:00-1:30 PM. Afterwards, I went to Panera's to do some writing. I left my playing bag in the trunk of my car. It was cold out, below freezing. At 3:40PM I got a text from Wang, asking if I could come in at 4PM. The problem was that my racket was now ice cold! What did I do? I cranked the heat on full blast while driving back to the club, and held my racket in front of it most of the way! I roasted both sides, and the racket was nice and toasty by the time I got to the club. (A cold racket plays dead.)

Tip of the Week
The Most Important Reason for a Match Coach.

Junior Ratings and Rankings
One of my pet peeves is when the junior rankings include non-juniors because of database mistakes. I don't blame USATT or others for this, but I do like to see them fixed up. When I find them, I periodically email USATT to let them know, and they always fix them up. I emailed about a number of new ones on Dec. 27, and I'm sure they'll fix them up soon. But until then, here's what you find if you do an age search - and what sponsors see when considering sponsoring a junior player. (These mistakes often happen when players or tournament directors mistakenly put in the current date for DOB.) 

Tip of the Week
Take the Weird Styles Pledge.

Serving Tactics
One of the things you learn as you play more - assuming you are a student of the game - is to get a feel for what serves work at what times. Someone asked me about this, and I used as an example two serves at a key moment in an international match I recently coached at the America's Hopes in Cuenca, Ecuador. I was coaching Ryan Lin, who was the top-rated 11-year-old in the country at the time. (He's 2176 and recently turned 12.) I will call the other player "Doe." Doe was also the best of his age from his country and was rated/seeded higher. At 8-8 in the fifth, with Ryan serving, I called a timeout, both so Ryan could relax and clear his mind, and to discuss what two serves to use. (I initially wrote this calling Ryan as "John," but he and his father said I could go ahead and use his name.) 

Tip of the Week
Outcome Versus Process.

The Usual USATT Rundown
Sometimes, when I think about USA Table Tennis, I just want to cry out, "USATT, USATT, USATT!" :) Here's a quick rundown, hopefully the last one for a while, other than general news. But we'll start with the positive. (Skip ahead if not interested in USATT issues.)

=>USATT 2021 Year in Review. Here's the video (17 min).

=>USATT Athlete Elections. USATT First and Second Elite Athlete Elections Certified – Nomination Period for Third and Fourth Athlete Positions Opens.

Next Blog on Monday, Dec. 27 29
There will be a Tip of the Week every Monday, but my next blog will be on Dec. 27 29. I'm going out of town for three weeks - coaching the ITTF Hopes Camp and Tournament in Amman, Jordan, Dec. 6-15; the US Open in Las Vegas, Dec. 16-22 (where I have to adjust in one day to the ten-hour time difference between Jordan and LV!), and a family gathering in San Francisco, Dec. 22-26.

Tip of the Week
How to Get Lucky.

Christmas Table Tennis Book Shopping
Don't forget to do your Christmas table tennis book shopping!!! Below are my seven books on table tennis that are in print. You wouldn't want me to go broke and have to live and play ping-pong on the streets? (And note that "And Still More Table Tennis Tips," fourth in the series, will come out early in 2021.) Or, if you are a non-reader, skip this and move on to the sections on the Teams, the Worlds, and so on!

Tip of the Week
How to Fix a Weakness in Your Game.

Classic Hardbat World Championships
I had an adventurous weekend in Sugar Land, TX, just outside Houston, where I played in the first Classic Hardbat World Championships. It was held on Sunday, Nov. 21, just two days before the start of the "Sponge" World Championships in Houston. (Results are not yet online - they may go up later on Omnipong or Facebook.) Thirty-seven players competed, including nine over 2400. (Draw included Mario Genovese, who flew in from Malta, plus a number of players from other countries who now live in the US.) Prize money was 1st $2000, 2nd $1250, 3rd $750, 4th $500, 5-8 $150. (Here's the single elimination stage; RR group results should go up later.)