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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

Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 14:55
January 11, 2018

Tip of the Week
Systematically Practice Against What You Have Trouble With. (I normally do these on Mondays, but I was out of town Monday and Tuesday, and didn’t have time to do one on Wednesday.)

Spin Wheel
I had some fun in December with the new TSP Spin Wheel, which was sent to me by PingPongDepot. It’s basically a small tire attached to the table that allows you to practice looping by spinning the wheel. Included with it is a speedometer (technically, a tachometer) that tells you how fast you are spinning it! That’s half the fun – the kids at the club were battling to see who could make it spin the fastest. Here’s video (4:02) of the wheel in action. (This one is white, but the one I have is black.)

I didn’t want to hurt the sponge on my racket so I annexed an inexpensive sponge racket as the full-time racket to be used with the Spin Wheel – I recommend you...




Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 14:57
January 10, 2018

USOC Meeting on Coaching Education and Certification
I returned yesterday afternoon from a whirlwind trip to the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, where I met with USATT and USOC people on creating a USATT Coaching Education and Certification Program. Those attending the meeting were:

  • Larry Hodges (Chair of USATT Coaching Committee and member of USATT Board)
  • Jörg Bitzigeio (USATT High Performance Director)
  • Mark Thompson (USATT Chief Operating Officer)
  • Denise Parker (USOC Vice President, National Governing Bodies Services and former CEO for USA Archery)
  • Chris Snyder (USOC Director of Coaching Education)
  • Avery Wilson (USOC Director of Strategic Planning)

The USOC people have extensive experience in developing education and certification programs for Olympic sports, and so we weren’t starting from scratch. They were very knowledgeable and extremely helpful. We spent probably the first half of the meeting going over where USATT currently stood – who the coaches were, where they coached, the current business model of USATT clubs where the coaches develop...




Friday, January 5, 2018 - 14:58
January 5, 2018

Coaching Matters, and Away Mon & Tue
I’ll be away Monday and Tuesday, so next blog will be next Wednesday. I’ll be at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, meeting with USATT and USOC people about setting up a USATT coaching education and certification program. My flight leaves at 6:50AM from Dulles Airport on Monday, so I’ll be leaving for the airport very early. We have a detailed agenda to go over – I’ll likely go over here when I return. It’s actually formulated in the form of questions – 18 of them.

The USOC is in the business of winning medals for the U.S., and part of that business is setting up coaching programs that lead to these medals. They have a lot of experience working with the various sports organizations in doing this, and are willing to support us in this with money and other resources. There was a time when there simply weren’t enough training centers or potential coaches in the U.S. to make this worthwhile for table tennis, but these days we have lots of both. So now we can focus more and more on quality.

Meanwhile, I’m also involved in about a...




Thursday, January 4, 2018 - 14:28
January 4, 2018

Books I Read in 2017: "I have no life, and I must read."
Today’s blog is only partly related to table tennis – skip ahead if you have no interests in my book-reading proclivities. Below is a listing of the 58 books I read in 2017, which includes three books on table tennis, and another on coaching. It includes 21 novels by Mike Resnick; I’ve now read 43 of his books, 41 of them science fiction novels, the other two books on writing. I also read biographies of the first ten U.S. presidents (partly in preparation for a SF novel I might write), and lots of other stuff.

NON-FICTION (21)

  1. How to Coach Table Tennis, by David Hewitt (1990)
  2. History of U.S. Table Tennis: Vol. 19, 1991-92, by Tim Boggan
  3. History of U.S. Table Tennis: Vol. 20, 1992-93, by Tim Boggan
  4. Successful Coaching, by Rainer Martens
  5. Zen in the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury
  6. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil De Grasse Tyson
  7. How to Build a Time Machine, by Paul Davies
  8. The Third...



Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - 15:04
January 3, 2018

North American Youth Olympic Games Qualification – Boys’ Final
Here’s the match, Kanak Jha vs. Jeremy Hazin (17:35, missing first game). This was one of the few top matches I got to see at the US Open, since I was so busy in meetings, coaching, and playing. But it was a great tactical match – basically, Kanak, age 16 but already over 2700 and #90 in the world, gave a clinic in receive and ball placement.

The match epitomizes something I’ve been quoted saying many times: “Tactics isn’t about finding complex strategies to defeat an opponent. It’s about sifting through all the zillions of possible tactics and finding a few simple ones that work.” In this case, Kanak used disarming receives to take away Jeremy’s serve advantage, and then used one seemingly simple tactic that completely dominated the match – attack the middle and wide forehand.

It seems simple, but the execution is far more difficult than it appears. If you just keep going after someone’s middle or forehand, they can anticipate it, and...




Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - 14:59
January 2, 2018

Tip of the Week
Elbow Drill.

U.S. Open
It seems like ancient history now, but the US Open ended only eleven days ago. A lot happened there, and a lot’s happened since! In case you missed them, here are the complete results.

I flew to Las Vegas on Thursday, Dec. 14. We had USATT board meetings all day Friday and Saturday, Dec. 15-16. I blogged about the agenda on Dec. 13. The minutes for the meeting will go up later, but the list of Actions and Notices is already up. They don’t really give a proper reflection of all that went on – the minutes will do a better job of that. I’ll likely blog more about the meeting when they go up. (Note – I’m on the USATT Board of Directors, and chair the...




Friday, December 29, 2017 - 14:54
December 29, 2017

Sometimes life just isn’t fair. I battled the flu just before the U.S. Open. During the Open I battled shoulder and knee problems – and after badly injuring my shoulder, I’ve had to cancel all private coaching for the next 2-3 weeks. And now I’ve come down sick again - chills, queezy stomach, complete exhaustion, and just miserably sick. I got up this morning fully expecting to start blogging again, and then reality hit – and I’m about to go back to bed. (I’m still on west coast time, so 9:30AM feels like 6:30AM.) I’ll get back to my usual daily blogging, Mon-Fri, next Tuesday, Jan. 2. Until then, check out the news items at USATT and ITTF. Plus here’s a dog trying to play table tennis (12 sec). 

5 PM FRI UPDATE: I spent the day in the hospital. Diagnosis is Gastroenteritis, better known as...




Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 14:52
December 13, 2017

Last Blog Until Friday, Dec. 29
I leave tomorrow for two days of USATT board meetings, the US Open, and then Christmas with family, so this will be my last blog until Dec. 29. (I originally said Dec. 28, but after being out of town two weeks, my todo list has reached epic size and I need another day to catch up.) 

USA Open, Meetings, and Christmas
I’m leaving tomorrow morning for two weeks, which I’ll divide into three parts below. Here’s the US Open home page, where you can follow all the action. Here’s the player listing, the event listing (showing who is in each event), and perhaps most importantly, the results page (where the draws will go up in a few days, and then results). Here are the two USATT articles that might be of interest for your US Open viewing:

    ...



Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 15:02
December 12, 2017

Tip of the Week
Push-Button Matches - Playing the Scary All-Out Attacker.

Top Ten Ways to Describe My Weekend with the Flu

  1. I went 100 rounds with Mike Tyson. I lost the first 99 rounds.
  2. Or maybe that was the Chinese team used me for smashing practice. With golf balls.
  3. I alternated freezing and boiling over. Yeah, climate change every ten minutes.
  4. If you’d bought $100 in stock in Kleenex on Friday, by today you’d be a millionaire.
  5. I’ve proven you can live on nothing but cream of wheat, chicken soup, and Dayquil/Nightquil for three days – but it isn’t fun. Just looking at anything else made my stomach explode like a thousand celluloid ping-pong balls in a microwave.
  6. I can’t decide whether I can now check “Flu shot” off my todo list, since I’ve now had the flu. It’s been on the todo list for a month or so, and I was going to do it….
  7. My fever hit 101.5 on Saturday night. That may not seem high, except I normally am around 97...



Monday, December 11, 2017 - 13:49
December 11, 2017

No blog today - sick with flu. I went in to coach on Saturday, had to leave early when my fever hit 101.5. The fever's gone, but I feel like I just went 100 rounds with Mike Tyson. I singlehandedly have sent Kleenex's stock soaring while living on a diet of cream of wheat, chicken soup, and Dayquil/Nightquil. I also somehow lost two pounds from dehydration. And yes, I had a flu shot - last year. It's been on my todo list for a while to get a flu shot this year. Oops.