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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 noon, 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

Monday, December 2, 2019 - 16:48
December 2, 2019

Tip of the Week
What to Watch During a Point.

JOOLA North American Teams
When I tell the kids I'm coaching at the Teams that this is my 44th consecutive Teams (starting in 1976), I can't tell if they are in awe of my experience or that they just think I'm really old. I probably sound and look it. My throat is still a bit sore from cheering and my hands hurt from clapping.

There were 1083 players on 272 teams (3.98 per team) on 154 tables, the biggest Teams in history. Wow!!! It's especially fun watching the reactions of new players when they first walk into the venue and see all this. Their eyes go wide, they look side to side as they pan everything, and then they get a big grin on their faces. Here's a camera pan (25 sec) of the whole arena from Pongmobile.

Here are complete results. Here are the...




Monday, November 25, 2019 - 14:11
November 25, 2019

Tip of the Week
Serving from the Forehand Side.

USATT Training Camp
I'm one of the coaches at the USATT Training Camp here at the Maryland Table Tennis Center, Nov. 23-28. Actually, I'm spent over half the sessions so far as a practice partner - I may be getting older, but I can still block pretty consistently. (And when needed, I can loop!) I also made two trips to the airport (an hour away) to pick up players.

Wang Qingliang is the head coach. He's one of the USATT National Development Team Coaches. The rest of the coaching staff is myself, Cheng Yinghua, Jack Huang, and Alex Ruichao Chen. Khoi & Khai Dinh, and Vikash Sahu, are practice partners (with Vikash leading the warmup routines in the morning - jogging and stretching). Wang's a strict disciplinarian and has the players' respect, but he still has fun with the kids - this morning, before practice, he joined the kids in a winner-stay-on battle on the mini-...




Monday, November 18, 2019 - 17:00
November 18, 2019

Tip of the Week
"Proper Way" is What Works for You.

Illegal Serves History
I regularly get emails from people asking about illegal hidden serves, since I've been known to campaign against the current situation where the rule is rarely enforced. In recent times I've sort of thrown up my hands in disgust and despair - nothing I do is going to convince ITTF or USATT to take action, and many still ignore the evidence of their eyes when it's pointed out that most top players hide their serves, usually by tossing the ball behind their head, or thrusting out their head or shoulder.

Remember that the problem isn't that umpires don't call serves that they see are hidden; the problem is they don't call serves where they aren't sure, which, of course, is exactly why top players have developed such serves, which are hidden but in ways where the umpire isn't quite sure, and so they are not called and the players get away with it regularly - and to compete on an equal basis, others must do so as well. The rules state...




Monday, November 11, 2019 - 16:56
November 11, 2019

Tip of the Week
Three Spots or Two?

Happy Veterans Day!

Weekend Coaching
The focus of the Thursday Beginning Class was pushing, especially backhand pushing. (We'll work more on forehand pushing later.) Due to an apparent car accident, there was a huge traffic jam in the road leading to the club, and over half the class came in 10-15 minutes later. I had planned a forehand-to-forehand consistency contest, but we ran out of time and will have to do that later. (We'll also have a backhand-to-backhand contest.)

There was no Sunday Beginning Class due to Veterans Weekend. However, we did have the advanced Talent Development Program. I mostly ran drills on two table - the usual footwork and serve and attack drills, followed by Brazilian Teams. Later today I have to put together my player evaluations for the players I've been working with. Next Sunday we go over these with the players and their parents after the training session, followed by a party. After the session Sunday the coaches went out for Chinese food and...




Monday, November 4, 2019 - 16:59
November 4, 2019

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...




Monday, October 28, 2019 - 15:49
October 28, 2019

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...




Monday, October 21, 2019 - 15:55
October 21, 2019

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...




Monday, October 14, 2019 - 05:16
October 14, 2019

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...




Tuesday, October 8, 2019 - 16:01
October 8, 2019

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...




Monday, October 7, 2019 - 14:19
October 7, 2019

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.