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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
Accelerate Through the Ball for Power.

Comeback “Ghost” Serves and a Serving Rule Proposal
Comeback or ghost serves are serves that have so much backspin that, given the chance, they bounce backwards toward the net. I demonstrate this type of serve all the time – it’s just a matter of hitting the ball with high racket acceleration while grazing the ball finely with backspin. Normally, the main feature of such a serve is the heavy backspin, which opponents often put in the net.

At their most extreme, they land short and bounce directly back into or over the net, so shorter players (and often taller ones) cannot reach them – which I always consider extremely unfair. I do this serve all the time in practice, for fun – I used to practice it as an exhibition trick and once did 14 serves in a row that bounced directly back over the net. Younger kids love trying to return them for fun – they have to run to the side of the table to do so. In tournaments, I’ve done it three times, but only in lopsided matches for fun.

Tips of the Week
In case you missed it since I had no blog last week, I’m including last week’s Tip of the Week as well as this week’s.

So Much Going On!
See below for segments on three major Hardbat/Classic table tennis tournaments (including a Nationals, an Open, and a Worlds); the Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and Ceremony during the Nationals in July; George Brathwaite League; and my 20th book, Yet Still More Table Tennis Tips!

UPDATE - I'm still sick in bed and feeling like someone dropped a ping-pong table on my head, and I've decided I'm skipping this week's blog. (Don't worry, I tested for Covid, negative.) I'm going through Kleenex like multiball and coughing up stuff every few minutes. I don't think I've had a cold or flu like this in several years. I think I caught whatever I have last Wednesday, when I spent the day in DC touring Ford's Theater, and then a tour of all the major monuments - Washington (took the elevator to the top), Lincoln, Jefferson, MLK, FDR, WW1, WW2, Korean, Vietnam, and even the Einstein Memorial a few blocks away from the National Mall. I also walked around the White House and visited Lafayette Square, and then visited Spin DC Table Tennis, which was also just a few blocks away. So I was around crowds all day, and also on the jammed subway back and forth. I was supposed to spend Fri & Sat as a panelist at the Baltimore Science Fiction Convention, but had to drop out. I was feeling better Saturday night, and so coached two group sessions on Sunday - but near the end of the first one, I got weak and dizzy and had to stop about 15 minutes before the end of the session. (But I still came back for the second one.) Afterwards, whatever I have got worse. But I think it's just a bad cold, though I have some suspicions I might have had mild flu at the same time - had some stomach problems. 

Tip of the Week
Table Tennis Gems.

Weekend Coaching
I coached five group sessions this weekend. I only had one on Saturday, with the other four on Sunday – including three in a row without a break, totaling five hours. I used to coach five hours straight somewhat regularly, but not anymore – and these days, it’s pretty tiring! And yet, the reality is I wasn’t that tired during the sessions where I was focused, mostly afterwards, when I felt like a ping-pong ball that had been used in a smashing drill and then stomped on by an army of over-excited kids.

As usual, I’m constantly harping on “active feet.” As an amusing side, it means I know everyone’s shoes, and even asked a few of them why they chose those particular shoes. In the higher groups, one wore volleyball shoes, which work can for table tennis, but the rest had various TT shoes. I also stressed always doing something with each shot, don’t just blindly do them. Choose and place each shot for a reason – the more you do that, the more reflexive it becomes. For example, don’t just push the ball back – do it quick and fast, or super heavy, or short, or aim one way and go another, or use an extreme angle, or something.

Tip of the Week
Are You Trying Too Hard?

US Table Tennis Hall of Fame
All mention and links to the US Table Tennis Hall of Fame are gone from the USATT web pages. If you want to visit it, you have to know to go to their new website since it no longer exists, as far as USATT is concerned. It’s just indescribable how the current USATT does these silly things that hurt our sport. I could do a VERY long blog on how many table tennis groups the current USATT has gone to war with, all to the detriment of the sport. 

Tip of the Week
Five Tips to Increase Forehand Looping Power.

Weekend Coaching
Five group sessions, two private sessions, nine hours total, and yes, I’m exhausted, as I always am on Mondays after coaching on the weekend. (Yet, the other coaches at MDTTC do far more hours, as I did when I was younger before I semi-retired.) I spent much of the sessions either feeding multiball or (in two sessions) as a practice partner with rotating players. There was a lot of work looping backspin and in general on consistency. We did a lot of box-bashing, where I put on the table one of the plastic boxes or bowls we use for serving practice, perhaps a foot from the end-line, and the player has to knock it off as I feed multiball – it takes a bunch of hits to do so. Often I do this two at a time, with each player typically doing three shots – perhaps a forehand from the backhand corner, middle, and forehand corner, then rotating around while partner does three. Or they do the backhand-forehand-forehand drill – backhand from backhand side, forehand from backhand side, forehand from forehand side, then rotate around. I time it each time to see how long it takes them to knock it off, so they compete on this – and so they have fun while developing their footwork, strokes, consistency, power, and accuracy.

Tip of the Week
Tactics at the End of a Close Game.

Weekend Coaching
Note to self: Never let kids you are practicing with know that you are recovering from a shoulder injury and can’t extend your arm to cover the wide forehand. If you do, guess where they’ll put every ball while gleefully laughing?

I coached in four group junior sessions over the weekend. Here are some of the things that came up.

Tip of the Week
Dumb Ways to Lose.

Weekend Coaching
It was a servey weekend with lots of serve practice. In group sessions, I worked one-on-one with a number of players on their serves – how to generate more spin, serve lower, control the depth, create deception, and so on. Since serving (along with receive and tactics) are my favorite topics, it was a lot of fun. Also did a lot of random ball drills, often with multiball. For these, I emphasize three things: 1) good ready position; 2) react, don’t guess; and 3) move to the ball. I did five group sessions, including one where we had an odd number of players, so I acted as a practice partner. Not easy as my shoulder and neck are still hurting!

Tip of the Week
Top Ten Things For the Day Before the Tournament.

Weekend Coaching and MDTTC Open
Here are the results of the MDTTC Open held this past weekend at my club. Big breakthroughs by Feng Xue and Daniel Anteneh! Jeez, some players just don’t respect ratings and go out there and win against players who are mathematically better.

There was still one group coaching session. Some topics that came up: