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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, April 15, 2019 - 14:13
April 15, 2019

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.

  • JOOLA MDTTC April Open - Here are the complete results, care of Omnipong. (It was a wild Open final, with Lidney Castro winning over Chen Bowen in a wild duel with lots and Lots and LOTS of wild counterlooping - but Lidney can also block and lob really well. I ran the tournament with Klaus Wood, who is gradually taking over as the MDTTC tournament director. We ran things together on Saturday, but he ran it alone on Sunday - smaller turnout - while I mostly worked on other things in the back room. On Friday night we had serious computer problems - it took me 90 minutes and five restarts to get my laptop computer to work! Klaus brought his laptop as a backup, but for technical reasons, it wouldn't print on our printer. We...



Monday, April 8, 2019 - 11:38
April 8, 2019

Tip of the Week
Remember Your Best Match.

Miscellaneous Topics

  • Weekend Coaching - I was actually supposed to spend Fri and Sat at the Ravencon Science Fiction Convention in Williamsburg, VA, but had to drop out because I was sick. The only coaching I did was on Sunday, 3.5 hours of group sessions. We started a new ten-week Beginning Junior Class. The focus in the first class was grip, stance, ball-bouncing, and the forehand. We finished with games, with half the class playing real ones, the younger ones playing first around-the-world, and then taking turns trying to hit my Gatorade bottle, with me feeding multiball - if they hit it, I had to drink the "worm juice" inside.
    In the more advanced Talent Development Program, the younger kids usually do lots and lots of multiball, but this time we had them do footwork drills among themselves. For some of them, it was the first time they'd done footwork drills except with a coach, either live or multiball. They did surprisingly well - ingraining the strokes with...



Monday, April 1, 2019 - 15:56
April 1, 2019

Tip of the Week
Positioning After Serve.

Donald Trump Visits MDTTC
We were all excited to welcome the President of the United States to our club. He played some matches, bragged about how good he was. Here's a picture of him playing

ITTF and USATT Rule Changes and Announcements and a Board Brawl
And so this is what happens the minute I leave the USATT Board of Directors? The ITTF
proposed and approved a new rule that says that the umpire, at his discretion, after a great
rally, may award both players a point. This has got to be the single most ridiculous rule
idea ever, and yet has been approved, first by the ITTF, and now by USATT. And so,
literally right after winning an incredible point, your opponent will now also get a point!
Foolishly, when I first heard about the proposal, I assumed it would be voted down,
or perhaps laughed into oblivion, but it passed unanimously. Suppose there is no...




Monday, March 25, 2019 - 16:00
March 25, 2019

Tip of the Week
Advanced Sponge but No-So-Fast Blades.

USATT Committee Selection Task Force
Did your eyes glaze over just reading that headline? I'm on the task force, along with Eric Wu and chair Gary Schlager. We had three teleconferences, sometimes joined by USATT board chair Anne Cribbs and USATT attorney Dennis Taylor. The purpose of the task force was to sort through the 45 people who had volunteered for 19 USATT committees and make recommendations for the USATT board on who should chair and be members of each committee. It was a herculean task, made much easier by the herculean efforts of Gary and Dennis, who kept us updated on all the needed info. This weekend the board will meet for two days in the Bay Area in California where they will, among other things, finalize and approve the committees for the next two years.

As noted before, my latest two-year term as coaching chair ended recently, and Pieke Franssen has already been approved as the new coaching chair. I have agreed to stay on the coaching committee as a member, pending the...




Monday, March 18, 2019 - 16:00
March 18, 2019

Tip of the Week
Challenge an Opponent's Strength.

USATT Election
As I write this, I am a member of the USATT Board of Directors. However, very likely later today I will no longer be on it as they will be counting the ballots in the current election. (I chose not to run for re-election.) The result will be announced on the USATT news page, though I don't know for sure if it will go up today. (I'll link to it directly from here when it goes up.) BREAKING NEWS - Bruce won, 260-208. Congrats to him!

The two candidates in the final runoff are Bruce Liu and Mike Babuin. While both have been sharply critical of USATT in many ways, I'm fine with either of them; I know I can talk to either of them. But that might not be the case for some of the people with USATT - there's going to be some friction involved with either of them. But maybe that's a good thing as it makes us really look at what we're doing.

When I ran for the USATT Board, I made it...




Monday, March 11, 2019 - 15:52
March 11, 2019

Tip of the Week
How to Beat a MUCH Stronger Player.

U.S. Open and Nationals
The entry form for the US Nationals recently went up at the 2019 US Nationals Home Page. It's in Las Vegas, June 30 - July 5, and I'll be there! I'll mostly be coaching, though I'm toying with entering Over 40 Hardbat Singles - I've won it five times, and from the schedule it won't conflict with my coaching. (I'd like to play Hardbat Doubles, which I've won 14 times, but it would conflict with events I'd be coaching in, alas. Note that I normally use sponge, but like hardbat on the side.)

There's been some controversy about the cut in prize money. For example, first place in Men's and Women's Singles last year was $7000 each; this year...




Monday, March 4, 2019 - 16:55
March 4, 2019

Tip of the Week
Be an Olympian - In Your Mind.

USATT Election, Coaching Committee, and the USATT Committee Selection Task Force

  • The election ended yesterday for my position on the USATT Board of Directors. (As noted previously, I decided not to run for re-election.) Today they are counting the votes between Mike Babuin, Bruce Liu, and Lily Yip. If one of them gets a majority then he/she wins and takes my spot immediately. If none get over 50%, then there will be a run-off between the two highest finishers, which will take about two weeks. Whoever wins, can you PLEASE get 50%+ so we can get this over with???
  • As also noted previously, I decided not to continue as USATT Coaching Chair. (I was appointed to the position two years ago, my second time - I also chaired it for four years in the 1990s.) My term ended on March 1, but according to the bylaws, I would continue as chair until my successor was named. Since they likely wouldn't do this until the in-person board meeting in Milpitas, CA, March 29-31, I took matters into my own hands and...



Monday, February 25, 2019 - 17:03
February 25, 2019

Tip of the Week
Top Ten Ways to Turn a Match Around.

Weekend Coaching
This past week in my two Beginning Junior Classes (Thursday and Sunday nights) the focus was on smashing. We started the sessions (which are two different groups of players) with about 30 minutes of basic stroking and footwork drills. Then came the demo and lecture on smashing. Then the players went into their groups, and either smashes against multiball, or against coaches who fished. (My assistants on Thursday are Lidney Castro and Aron Zhang; on Sundays Lidney and John Hsu.)

At the Saturday Junior League (which is half league, half coaching), we did the usual doubles and singles matches, often with improvised rules to force players to work on specific aspects of their games. For example, one segment, for the lower-ranked players, had them serving backspin to the backhand, the receiver pushed down the line to the forehand, the serve forehand looped, and they played out the point. For the advanced players, they had similar drills, such as serve and backhand loop, or serve and...




Monday, February 18, 2019 - 15:04
February 18, 2019

Tip of the Week
Judging the Depth of a Serve.

Offensive Clothing
At some point I'm guessing we are going to be faced with the following situation. Someone shows up at a tournament wearing something that, to some, is offensive, while to others, it is not. Before I get into this, here's the pertinent rule:

3.2.2.6, Clothing shall not carry designs or lettering which might cause offence or bring the game into disrepute.

The tournament referee has to judge this, and they will have varying judgments. So where do we draw the line? I'm fairly certain every referee will rule Nazi symbols are offensive, and not allow it. But how about someone wearing a Confederate flag? Would it make a difference if they do this in, say, South Carolina as opposed to New York? Some might find Islamic or Christian symbols offensive, so how does the referee judge this? Would he allow someone wearing a shirt with a picture depicting Allah? (It is offensive in the Islamic faith to show pictures of Allah. People, especially cartoonists...




Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 16:59
February 13, 2019

Tip of the Week
Wanting to Win Versus Hating to Lose.

Pink Eye
As noted the last couple of days, I've been sick in bed with Conjunctivitis, i.e. "Pink Eye." I'm 80% over that, and no longer look like Frankenstein's monster. There's still a lot of puffiness, I'm still going through Kleenex faster than a coach can feed multiball, and I have the energy of a smooshed ping-pong ball, but I'm back in action. Alas, my stomach seems perpetuall queezy right now. 

USATT Election
A USATT election is taking place, with three candidate running for my current position - Mike Babuin, Bruce Liu, and Lily Yip. (As I've blogged about, I chose not to run for re-election. It's someone else's turn! I expect to stay neutral in the election.) Here is the USATT Election News Item. Here is the pertinent info from it:

  • Voting will start on...