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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 10, 2018 - 16:56
December 10, 2018

Next Blog on Monday, December 31
I'll be away the next couple of weeks for the U.S. Open and Christmas, so will skip the next two weeks. See you on Monday, Dec. 31!

Tip of the Week
Punish Passivity.

U.S. Open
The U.S. Open will take place in Orlando, Florida, Dec. 16-22. I'll be there to coach and attend meetings. I fly out this Friday, Dec. 14, and will likely attend the "Pong on the Plaza" event that night, 5-7PM (see link below). Then I will attend the USATT Board meeting, held all day long on Sat & Sun, Dec. 15-16. On Sunday there's also a "Rating Classification" event, and if I'm out of the meetings in time, I'll go over to coach our players in that. Then I'll be coaching MDTTC juniors throughout the tournament. I'll also be at the USATT Assembly at 7PM on Tuesday (see link below). Finally, on Sun and Mon after the tournament, Dec. 23-24, I'll be handing around,...




Monday, December 3, 2018 - 16:53
December 3, 2018

Tip of the Week
Style Disadvantage or Tactical Problem?

Weekend Coaching
On Saturday we had the usual Junior League, which is half league, half coaching. I spent some time working with many of our top juniors on doubles - I've sort of been put in charge of that. I worked with Stanley Hsu and Mu Du, who will be playing doubles together in three events - 10 and Under Boys' Doubles, Hopes Boys' Doubles, and Ratings Doubles. (If they can improve their positioning, they will do well.) In singles, we did a lot of work on serve and attack, forehand and backhand. Some of our players were following through off balance after forehand loops, and unable to get set for the next shot, so I spent a bunch of time on that, including demoing getting back into position quickly, even after a powerful forehand. Balance is key!!! (Dan Seemiller always emphasizes that, and he's right.) We also worked on attacking deep serves, and forehand attacking from the middle.

On Sunday, in the Beginning Junior Class, we ran the players through a number of...




Monday, November 26, 2018 - 17:02
November 26, 2018

Tip of the Week
Use Your Weaknesses or They Will Always Be Weaknesses.

North American Teams
Or as I would put it, here we go again! It was my 43rd year in a row at the Teams, starting in 1976 as a player, but primarily as a coach the last decade or so. Here are complete results - you can use the dropdown menu to see the results of any division and the preliminaries. You can see any player's complete results by going to the Team listing and clicking on their rating. Here is video from the livestreaming. Alas, as usual I saw little of it as I was out coaching. Here are Pongmobile Photos from the North American Teams....




Monday, November 19, 2018 - 16:56
November 19, 2018

Tip of the Week
Forehand Stroke Efficiency. (Note - on Monday night I added a last line that links to Ma Long's forehand loop, as an example.) 

Weekend Coaching

  • Friday: I watched and took notes on our junior players for 2.5 hours during the Friday night league at MDTTC, getting ready to coach them at the North American Teams this coming weekend. Lots of little stuff, some big stuff. The hard part at this point is deciding on what things each player should focus on. For example, there are two players who still tend to serve and go into a backhand position, and so often aren't ready for easy forehands. Do we spend the week trying to fix this, or wait until after the Teams? (I've been on them for this for months.) In general, most are pretty much ready. I told them that for this last week, play lots of practice matches and practice their serves.
  • Saturday: I coached in the Saturday night junior league training, which is half league, half training. We had them play team matches, using the...



Monday, November 12, 2018 - 15:46
November 12, 2018

Tip of the Week
Subconscious Aiming and Stroking.

Ten Things Every Table Tennis Player Should Be Able to Do

  1. Lob. It's the funnest thing to do in table tennis, it'll win you a few emergency points, and by doing it, you'll learn how to play against this style.
  2. Chop. Not only is it a great way to win an emergency point when you are out of position, but by learning to chop you will quickly learn how to play choppers.
  3. Loop. Even if you aren't a looper, you should learn to do it because it's such a big part of the sport, plus doing them yourself helps you learn how to play against them.
  4. Play with different surfaces. It not only is fun to try out short pips, long pips, and anti, but it allows you to understand how they play, and so you'll learn how to play against them.
  5. Have a tricky "go to" serve. If you don't have at least one serve that people have trouble with, you better see a coach and...



Monday, November 5, 2018 - 17:00
November 5, 2018

Tip of the Week
Heavy and No-Spin Pushes.

Coaching Subtleties and Attacking the Middle
After 42 years of playing and coaching I can pretty much analyze an opponent's weaknesses within a game, based both on what he does, but also on his strokes, stance, footwork, etc. If a shakehand player has long arms and tends to extend his arm when stroking, and so has a big gap between where they contact their forehand and backhand, I don't need to see the player react to an attack to the middle for me to know there's going to be a weakness there.

However, when coaching, you also have to know the player you are coaching to really be effective. Even if you watch a player for a time you can't always pick up on everything. It's not just what your player does, but what he doesn't do - and why. If he isn't playing into an opponent's weakness, is it because he hasn't seen the weakness, or because he can't effectively go after it, at least in some ways?

Here's an example. If I played someone who doesn'...




Monday, October 29, 2018 - 16:01
October 29, 2018​

Tip of the Week
Don't Try So Hard When Ending the Point.

Upcoming USATT Strategic Meeting
USATT is holding a Strategic Meeting in Colorado Springs, Nov. 3-4. They hold these periodically. They've had a number of mini-strategic meetings, where the USATT board breaks up into groups to discuss specific issues - I've been to about ten of those. But the last time they had a real Strategic Meeting like this was in 2009, which didn't go well and led to nothing. (I've been to five of them.) I was debating whether to attend this one - as Coaching Chair, I was allowed to choose two coaches, and could include myself - but chose not to this time, though now I'm sort of regretting it - I'd like to be there. So I did the next best thing, and wrote the following letter to the attendees, which focuses on learning from the mistakes of past Strategic Meetings, and on Regionalization, which will be a major issue at this meeting. 

Dear Members of the Upcoming 2018 USATT Strategic Meeting, USATT Board and Staff,

I...




Monday, October 22, 2018 - 15:49
October 22, 2018

Tip of the Week
Top Ten Ways to Be a Professional at All Levels.

Weekend Coaching
I did a lot of "scouting" this weekend. By scouting, what I really mean is I watched and studied our junior players in matches and practice and took lots of notes. Plus, of course, there was the usual weekend group sessions. Here's a rundown.

Friday. I watched our junior players in the Friday night league for 2.5 hours, getting pages of notes on a number of players. I spoke with each of the players on the issues I saw, including both strengths and weaknesses. Some problems I saw included:

  • Not using backhand loop
  • Not attacking the middle
  • Weak pushes
  • Standing in backhand stance as a ready position
  • Frozen footwork against a pips-out player
  • Lifting too much when looping instead of driving the ball more forward
  • Backhand drive too flat
  • Not enough serve variation
  • Rushing, especially when serving
  • Backs off table too easily
  • Grip problem
  • Getting too...



Monday, October 15, 2018 - 13:26
October 15, 2018

Tip of the Week
Style Experimentation.

Table Tennis Inventions
Table tennis regularly has new innovations, both in technique and equipment. The major equipment manufacturers are constantly coming up with new products. For example, Butterfly (which sponsors me) came up with Tenergy rubber a few years ago, and as a truly innovative product, with high-tension sponge and rubber surface, it became a huge seller. They've since innovated on it in numerous ways, including coming up with four types (05, 25, 64, and 80, and please don't ask me how they got those numbers), as well as FX versions of each, which are softer. And now they have come out with Tenergy 05 Hard! (Here's the Here's the review by Stefan Feth.)

But that is NOT the subject of today's blog. Instead, I'm writing about other table tennis inventions. We'll...




Monday, October 8, 2018 - 15:59
October 8, 2018

Tip of the Week
Counterlooping and the Forehand Block.

Why China's Dominance in Table Tennis is Unmatched at the Olympics
Here's the video (10:54). This is fascinating viewing, and I recommend you watch it.

One interesting statement in the video was someone saying, "61% of the worldwide table tennis innovation techniques and tactics are from China." Now this is a rather arbitrary thing as who judges what is an innovation?

Here's discussion on this at the Mytabletennis.net forum, which includes a listing of the innovations by China and others, where they got the 61%. But as noted, it's somewhat arbitrary. It includes many techniques that are no longer common at the high levels, and some are somewhat redundant. If they are going to include those, then they should include many more European hardbat techniques from the 1940s...