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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 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

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - 12:42
March 1, 2017

Breaking the Rules?
In 41 years in the sport, I think there has been only one time where I intentionally broke the rules (other than joking around) - and it wasn't as a player; it was as a tournament director. I've run over 170 USATT sanctioned tournaments, and rest assured I try to run them by the rules. But there was this one time, around 1983, when . . . okay, I confess, I broke the rules!!! So sue me. But there's actually a coaching lesson involved.

I was 23 and had only recently began running USATT tournaments (at the Northern Virginia Table Tennis Club) though I'd helped out at a few before. As the tournament director, I'm supposed to do legal draws, right? Well, the day before the tournament I was talking to players at the club, trying to get last-minute players. There was this one player, who shall remain nameless, who said he'd play, but he had a simple condition - he'd only enter if I guaranteed him he could play me in Open Singles.

Now I was perhaps 2200 at the time, and was seeded in the top four at the tournament, with Sean O'Neill and Dave Sakai likely the top two seeds. (Yes, I was playing in it...




Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 15:07
February 28, 2017

Navin - on the Attack!
Here's video (53 sec) from my session with Navin Kumar last night. He also did a nice write-up to go with it. Many of you already know of him, either from this blog or elsewhere, as "The Bionic Man," since he has a mostly mechanical heart, as well as Parkinson's. (He gives many talks on the latter as a motivational speaker.) Here, for example, is the video The Bionic Man - Navin Kumar (9:22), and here's the USATT article, Navin Kumar: A Passion for Table Tennis.) He's mostly a blocker, with long pips (no sponge) on the backhand, often called a "pushblocker." But we've been working on his attack, especially on the forehand. The video shows his increasingly aggressive forehand. We're working on establishing it more in games.

In last night...




Monday, February 27, 2017 - 14:53
February 27, 2017

Tip of the Week
Forehand Follow-Through Back into Position.

Weekend Coaching
Well, it's finally happened . . . after a year of zealously keeping Saturdays free from coaching, I've opened it up again, and did three hours of coaching this past Saturday. But don't feel sorry for me, before I did this I cleared up my Thursday schedule so I'm now off on Thur & Fri each week. (Used to be Fri & Sat.) I'll probably gradually pick up more hours on Saturdays, one by one, until I wake up one morning and discover I'm coaching twelve hours that day. Nightmare!!! (Note that my "off days" are really just "writing days.")

Sundays I had three consecutive 90-minute group sessions, as usual. First I ran the Beginning Junior Class, where the focus was on serving, which we did for the first 20 minutes. Then we did the usual series of footwork drills. Training is one hour, then 30 minutes of games, with the group divided in two: The older and stronger players play regular games, while the younger ones play...




Friday, February 24, 2017 - 15:00
February 24, 2017

Busy Table Tennis Week
This was one of those incredibly busy table tennis weeks. It started with the weekend, where I ran the MDTTC February Open - "The Days the Juniors Howled." Afterwards there were some corrections and lots of accounting, and of course the results sent to USATT for ratings processing - and it was processed on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, I was busy all week coaching. Despite running the tournament on Sat and Sun, on Sunday night I still ran my 90-min beginning junior class (the day's focus: attacking backspin), and ran the 90-min adult training session. (My featured drill for the latter session was serving and following up on long, breaking serves into the backhand.) Afterwards there was the weekly class accounting (for group and private coaching). And then the week began, with the usual private coaching - eight hours the first three days, then off Thursday. (As noted in my "short" blog yesterday, I was up late working on Wednesday,...




Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 13:59
February 23, 2017

I went to bed way too late last night with a headache, and woke up this morning with a headache. Meanwhile, my todo list keeps banging me in the head, further aggravating said headache. I'm going back to bed for a while, and hopefully wake up refreshed and ready to attack that todo list with a tensor-sponge machete. So no blog this morning, alas - call it a sick day, my first in a while. Meanwhile, here's the best table tennis rally ever (22 sec).




Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 14:50
February 22, 2017

West Coast Open Cancellation and Past Near Tournament Disasters
As noted in my blog yesterday, the 4-star West Coast Open was cancelled at the last minute due to the venue's mistaken double-booking. Here is the letter sent out to players by tournament director Meng-Yu Wang on this. Here is a notice on this by USATT CEO Gordon Kaye on it. (Not sure why it's not up as a regular news item.) I know that there is going to be a lawsuit against the venue, and USATT will likely get involved. It got me wondering about past such disasters - but frankly, I couldn't think of anything similar. However, it brought back memories of a number of near-disasters! Here's a listing of ones where I was involved. (I'm sure I'm missing an obvious one.)

  • 1993 Junior Nationals in Potomac, MD. I ran the tournament, the only time in our history we've run the Junior...



Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 15:02
February 21, 2017

Tip of the Week
Hitting Accurate Shots.

$2700 MDTTC Butterfly February Open - the Days the Juniors Howled!
by Larry Hodges

Kids dominated at the tournament this weekend at the Maryland Table Tennis Center in Gaithersburg, MD, winning five of the six rating events (the five highest ones), not to mention Under 15 and Under 12. (Here are complete results from Omnipong.) Only in the Open, Over 50, and Under 1200 were the kids fought off. Taking part were 83 players from nine states (MD, VA, PA, WV, NC, NY, OH, MA, and MO, plus DC), as well as players from Nigeria (Azeez Jamiu), Brazil (Lidney Castro) and Ghana (Courage Nanevie), plus of course a number of Chinese stars now playing and coaching in the U.S. - Jishan Liang, Ruichao "Alex" Chen, Chen Bo Wen, and Wang Qing Liang

I ran the tournament, but with great help from Mossa Barandao of Pongmobile (who acted as assistant director) and Wen Hsu, as well...




Monday, February 20, 2017 - 13:09
February 20, 2017

It's President's Day, a Federal holiday, and so I'm off today celebrating the YUUUUGE success of all 45 of our presidents. In other fake news….




Friday, February 17, 2017 - 14:00
February 17, 2017

St. Andrews Invades MDTTC!!!
Yesterday afternoon, for 75 minutes, MDTTC was invaded by hordes of small creatures, students ages 8-10 from the nearby St. Andrews School - 75 of them to be exact. I ran a demonstration and exhibition, assisted by fellow MDTTC coaches Wang Qing Liang ("Leon") and John Hsu. After giving a short introduction to the sport, Coach Wang and I demonstrated the various techniques - forehands, backhands, looping, footwork, and serves. The serving demo always is a big hit as I use backspin to make the ball bounce back into the net, then directly bounce back over the net (made it on the first try), and then sidespin to make the ball curve and hit a target off to the side.

Then I went into my, "A very bad thing happened today" routine, and explained how Coach Wang told me that he believes he can beat me (!) in table tennis. And so we had it out, one game to 11, with the loser to sweep and mop the entire club. We did lots of fast counter-hitting, lobbing, smashing lobs while on my knees, blowing the ball, big racket vs. small racket, 50-foot serve from the side, the world's "first...




Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 15:06
February 16, 2017

Training to Loop Against Backspin
I had a nice session with a ten-year-old on Tuesday, Jackson Beaver, who's about 1300 but will soon be shooting up. He'd been having some trouble looping against backspin - but the reason was somewhat obvious, he stood up too straight when he played. (He's tall for his age.) So we focused on staying down for much of the session. With him, it was somewhat easy - he played basketball a lot, and so I had him "cover me." He'd immediately go to a wider stance, bend his knees, and put his weight forward, which is exactly what you want to do whether you are covering someone in basketball or playing table tennis, as explained in this tip, Your Ready Position - Think Basketball.

Then we did a three-part process to work on his loop against backspin. Throughout it I urged him to make sure at least half his power went into topspin, not just speed. First, we did multiball, where I fed backspin. Once he was in a proper ready position, he was able to generate great force and made many formidable loops. When I thought he was ready...