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
How to Push Extremely Heavy.

Weekend Coaching
In both the Thursday and Sunday Beginning Classes the focus was on footwork - forehand-forehand backhand-backhand, and forehand-backhand side-to-side. We also had a forehand-to-forehand competition - the Sunday winner got 153 in a row.

In the Saturday Junior League (which is half coaching, half matches), we did a lot of doubles practice, and then singles. One of our players spent much of the night working on attacking the opponents' middle, and had great success with it. On Sunday we had a camp tournament. I ran group three, with eight players - and the kids learned the importance of every game and match! There was a three-way tie for first, all 6-1, so it went to games, and each position was then decided by one game. There were also ties for 5-6 and 7-8, broken up by head-to-head.

After several were frustrated with their early matches, I told them the story of Tong Tong Gong. At age 11 or so, he was one of the youngest to make the Final 12 for the National Mini-Cadet Team Trials about ten years ago. (I was coaching his matches.) He was in a group of six, with the top two making the National Team. He was seeded last in the group and played the top seed in the first match. He led 10-8 all three games - and lost all three in deuce! He was inconsolable afterwards, and I pretty much thought it was over - not because of the loss, but because he seemed mentally gone. But then he listened to some music, calmed down - and went out and pulled off four upsets in a row to make the National Team!!!

Tip of the Week
A Lightbulb in Your Head: Mindless Swinging or Tactical Shot-making?

Weekend Coaching - Doubles and Footwork and Halloween Hitches, Oh My!
In the Saturday Junior League (which is really half league, half training/coaching), I worked with some of our top kids on their doubles. Some of them are getting very good now at positioning themselves. In singles, when a player is caught out of position, he usually thinks to himself, "I got out of position." In doubles, when a player is caught out of position, he usually thinks to himself, "They got me out of position." WRONG! (Well, usually.) Just as in singles, when you get caught out of position in doubles, it's usually because you went out of position after your previous shot. But unlike singles, where you get immediate "punishment," in doubles many players don't connect their own poor positioning with getting caught out of position, and so don't fix the problem. I worked with several of our kids who, to get out of their partner's way, either went off to the side too much or too far back, and others who waited too long to return to the table after their partner made their shot. Some of the more advanced kids are now working on circling footwork, where two righties (or two lefties) try to circle around so each can approach the table in their regular ready stance.

In the Sunday "Talent" Program (advanced kids, over 30 of them), I ran the drills for six players on three tables - lots of footwork at the start, then lots of serve and receive practice. Two of them still don't rotate much on many forehands and so get caught on that side, and are often caught on that side. I did a lot of emphasis on attacking any deep ball, especially serves that went long, as well as attacking the middle.

Tip of the Week
How to Stop the Short Receive.

Weekend Coaching and Attacking the Middle
While I was away Friday and Saturday (see Capclave SF Convention at end of blog), I had three group sessions.

We had the third meeting of the Thursday Beginning Class, where the focus was serving and review of forehand and backhand. At the end, as happens in about half our beginning classes, they stacked cups into pyramids and walls (or as I called them, the Pretty Good Wall of Maryland), and then, as I fed multiball, took turns destroying the fruits of their work.

We also had the second meeting of the Sunday Beginning Class, where the focus was on the backhand and forehand review. As with the Thursday class, we finished with cup-killing. (Kids just love smacking cups - and while they do this, they are developing their strokes and accuracy!)

In the more advanced Talent Development Program, I ran the drills for six players on three tables. It was sort of divided into two parts. The first part was lots of footwork drills. The second part was serve and receive drills, where we had the players play out the points. If the server won two points in a row, he became the receiver. Every three minutes the players moved up or down the tables, with the receivers moving up, serves down.

Tip of the Week
React to Opponent's Forward Swing.

Forehand Smashing Seminar
I will be running a Forehand Smashing Seminar at the Maryland Table Tennis Center, on Wednesday, Oct. 16 (tomorrow!), 7:30-9:00 PM. 100% of fees goes to the HW Global Junior Program at MDTTC. (I'm not taking any payment for this.) If interested, email me to reserve your spot! Seminar will alternate between lecture/demos and table practice. Topics covered will include:

  • Should You Smash or Loop?
  • Technique
  • Balance and Recovery
  • Muscle Memory and the Subconscious
  • Drills to Develop a Great Smash
  • Smashing Backspin
  • Smashing Loops
  • Smashing Lobs
  • BONUS - at 9PM we'll have a smashing competition!

USATT Teleconference on Rajul Sheth
This morning (Tues, Oct. 15), USATT had a teleconference at 11AM for about one hour, with only one item on the agenda - whether to remove Rajul Seth from the USATT Board of Directors. Here's the USATT notice. I listened in on the teleconference, as it was an open meeting. Rajul is not only a member of the USATT board of directors, but he's the founder and director of the highly successfull ICC Table Tennis program in the Bay area. 

Tip of the Week
Top Ten Reasons You Might Not Be as Good at Table Tennis as You Could Be.

Europe and Egypt Tour
I'm back!!! From Aug. 12 to Sept. 28 I did a once-in-a-lifetime tour. I wrote about it extensively on Facebook, and now plan to put it all together in a book, which (hopefully) will be out this fall. I visited Portugal, Ireland, England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Vatican City, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Greece, and Egypt. I saw all the famous sites, from Stonehenge to the Great Pyramids and Great Sphinx, from the beaches of Normandy to the Eiffel Tower to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the ancient sites of Athens, Rome, and Pompeii, the sobering tour of Auschwitz and other Holocaust museums and monuments, and the many other sites of Dublin, London, Paris, Lausanne, Venice, Florence, Siena, Berlin, Warsaw, Krakow, and Cairo, with short stopovers in Lisbon and Budapest as well. I saw a zillion museums (from the British Museum to the Louvre to the Cairo Museum) and more ancient cathedrals than there are bits of sand on a beach. I even did a camel ride around the Great Pyramid!

I've had a growing stomachache the last couple of days, and this morning I woke up feeling like I swallowed a jackhammer, plus a sore throat. I hope it's not the beginning of the flu. (I was completely healthy my entire 6.5 weeks in Europe and Egypt, so I guess I'm due.) I'm taking today off, and hopefully by tomorrow I'll feel like I only swallowed a few ping-pong balls, and so will be back to blogging. Meanwhile, the Tip of the Week is up: Top Ten Reasons You Might Not Be as Good at Table Tennis as You Could Be.