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
What to Think About Between Points . . . and What NOT to Think About.

Why Many Top Players and Up-and-Coming Players are NOT Innovative
Here's a strange thing I've noticed. I sometimes let up-and-coming players (especially juniors) practice against my serves, which are notoriously rather tricky. Especially the first time out, they miss, over and over. What I've noticed is that it is the weaker players who immediately try to copy my serves!

I think I know the reason. Suppose you have two players starting out. One copies the best players like Ma Long, and keeps working to develop perfect shots like them. This player hones those shots and improves rapidly until he too is a top player. Now imagine the second one, who is more innovative. Because of this, he experiments more than the first player, and keeps trying new ways of doing his shots. Result? He never quite perfects his shots like the first player. The moral here is that when it comes to fundamentals, you really want to copy the top players and hone your shots until they are nearly perfect. This doesn't mean top players don't experiment on these fundamentals, but the experimentation is more subtle as they strive to perfect the technique. (Many top players do develop perhaps one innovative technique, but mostly they copy, very successfully, the tried and true methods. Your average non-top player has, shall we say, dozens of "innovative" techniques.) 

Tip of the Week
Why You Should Develop a Backhand Loop.

USATT Leaders and Editors
I've just spent an incredible amount of time compiling three lists. It involved going through the USATT Minutes, going through piles of old magazines and Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis (especially Volume 17, 1989-1990, page 272, which had lists of USATT presidents and editors), and getting info from Tim Boggan, Sheri Cioroslan (formerly Pittman), and Doru Gheorghe. If you find any corrections, please email me!

As a clarification, Presidents and Board Chairs are unpaid, volunteer positions. They mostly preside over the Board of Directors, including setting much of the agenda. Executive Directors and CEOs are full-time, paid employees, usually working out of USATT headquarters in Colorado Springs, who run the sport on a day-to-day basis.

The three lists are:

Tip of the Week
Recipe for Table Tennis Success. I had a little fun this week!

Virginia Sung Appointed New CEO of USA Table Tennis
Here's the USATT article. She starts work today. Here main credentials (from the article, and these are only a very brief outline):

Ms Sung founded and served as CEO of a number of large scale businesses in China, some with over 200 employees. She also holds a Bachelor of Philosophy from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. As a player, she represented the USA on numerous occasions, including as a six-time member of the US World Championships team between 1993 and 2001, a finalist in the Women's Singles event at the 2001 National Championships, and the co-winner of National Champion Women's Doubles event in 1998.

I knew her from many years ago, but mostly as a seemingly very shy junior after she moved to the U.S. from China at age 14, when her English wasn't so good. (She's very fluent now, almost no accent.) She lived and trained here in Maryland for a couple of years; I had a few practice sessions with her. (She's a chopper.) She and I spoke for nearly an hour at the U.S. Open in December, and she seemed almost a different person - far more outgoing, highly savvy on current table tennis issues, and obviously very enthusiastic about the possibility of being the USATT CEO and leading our sport into a new era. (At the time she was one of many candidates applying, but she quickly moved to the forefront for many.)

Tip of the Week
First Block and First Counterloop.

USA Nationals
Here's the home page for the event to be held in Las Vegas, June 30 - July 5. Final deadline is May 20. You can see the current list of entries by player or by event. There are currently 673 players entered, and if you aren't there, we will be talking about you - and it won't be nice! I'll be coaching there, and playing in Over 40 Hardbat. (I normally use sponge, but hardbat is a sideline.)

Here are two articles by Matt Hetherington on players who will be competing at the Nationals:

Here's another article on the Nationals from NCTTA, Play or Volunteer in US Nationals at Vegas!

There are 96 events this year. They include:

Tip of the Week
Playing Short Pips on the Forehand.

Sorry, no regular blog this week. I just went through the most painful 24 hours of my life. I came down with a "minor" toothache last week, but since I had a dentist appointment already for this week - ironically, at 9:40AM today (Tuesday), which is about when I'm writing this - I thought I could wait. But on Sunday it got very, very painful, and I barely made it through the two classes I teach those days.

I discovered that if I swirled room-temperature water over it the pain went away for about 30 seconds. So starting sometime on Sunday night, and until a little before noon on Monday (when I saw the dentist), I literally sat in my lounge chair with cases of water and some big plastic cups, and every 30 seconds or so would take a small mouthful of water, swirl, and spit out into the big cups. I kept that up for about 15 hours straight, never sleeping - I had no choice, it was either that or searing pain. I went through 47 bottles of water, was up for over 40 hours straight, and ate nothing but room-temperature Slimfast breakfast shakes since I couldn't chew anything. (I also popped Ibuprofen like M&Ms, but that didn't help much.)

Anyway, the dentist mostly fixed the problem, but as he warned, the tooth will hurt for a few more days - and he was right. It's not as bad as it was on Sunday and Monday, but it's pretty painful despite the Codeine prescription he gave me. (Today's regular check-up was cancelled - as he predicted, I'd be in no shape for it.) My arm, mouth, and the rest of me are also very, very sore and tired from that 15-hour bottle grabbing and water swirling marathon.

For your weekly news fix, here are a few links:

This week's blog will go up tomorrow (Tuesday). I have an incredibly painful toothache and have an "emergency" appointment at noon today. Until this is fixed I won't be doing much of anything. 

Tip of the Week
Rope-a-Dope Defense.

World Championships
Here's the ITTF home page for the event that finished yesterday in Budapest, Hungary, April 21-28, with results, and lots and Lots and LOTS of news articles, video, and pictures.

Tip of the Week
No More Excuses - Develop World-Class Serves with TNT

Serving Seminar at Maryland Table Tennis Center
Here's the info flyer for the Serving Seminar I'll be running at MDTTC in two days (Gaithersburg, MD, USA), on Wednesday, April 24, 7-8:30PM - hope to see you there! 100% of all fees will be donated to the HW Global Junior Program at MDTTC. I'm dividing the seminar into two parts - third-ball serves (serves that set up attacks, which should be the majority of your serves) and trick serves (serves designed to win the point directly, if not overused - I'll demonstrate a number of these). There is, of course, overlap between the two, as I'll go over. We already have a bunch of people signed up - hope to see you there! I'll likely stay late to work with players.

2021 World Championships - in Houston, USA!!!
Yep, we won the bid this morning at the ITTF meetings in Budapest, 83-44 over Morocco. This will be for Singles and Doubles, as are the current 2019 World Championships - for roughly the last 20 years they've alternated each year between that and World Team Championships. This is the first regular World Championship ever held in the USA, though we've had others for Veterans, Juniors and various World Cups. (See listing below.)

Tip of the Week
The Lead Problem.

MDTTC April Open, Weekend Coaching, Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis, and a Serving Seminar
It's been a BUSY week, finishing with an even busier weekend. Here's a rundown.

Tip of the Week
Remember Your Best Match.

Miscellaneous Topics