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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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 13:52
April 26, 2017

Tip of the Week
How Do You Develop Ball Control and a Feel for the Ball?

USATT Board Meeting
On Friday I flew out to the USATT board meeting in Milpitas, CA, last Friday, arriving in San Jose Airport around 5PM. I spent much of the flight going over USATT coaching committee plans – I was recently appointed the chair. (It’s my second tenure – I also chaired it for four years in the 1990s.) I flew in with fellow board member Gary Schlager (his first in-person board meeting) and USATT lawyer Dennis Taylor. Local player Michael Greene picked us up at the airport – right on time - and would later be picking up others as well.

That night we did a quick visit at the Silicon Valley TTC, which was a five-minute walk from the hotel, hitting for perhaps 15 minutes. Then we had dinner at the Outback Steakhouse. (I just had a salad.)

On Saturday morning we took what I kept calling the “Great White Whale” (a large white van, almost a bus, which USATT CEO Gordon Kaye drove to charter us everywhere) to the ICC Table Tennis...




Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 14:04
April 20, 2017

USATT Board Meeting, and No Blog Until Next Wednesday
Tomorrow morning I’m flying out to San Jose, CA, for the USATT Board meeting on Sat & Sun in nearby Milpitas. I won’t get back until Monday night. I’ll have a lot of work to catch up when I return, so I’m going to take Tuesday off as well to catch up – so no blog until next Wednesday. I’m going to the meeting as a member of the USATT Board as well as the recently appointed chair of the Coaching Committee.

We’ll be staying at the Courtyard Marriot in Milpitas – which, I discovered by chance when I looked it up on Google Maps, is practically across the street from the full-time Silicon Valley TTC. So I may walk over there after dinner on Friday night. (Gee, this could be my big...




Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - 14:05
April 19, 2017

The Relationship Between Stroking and Footwork
I worked with an adult beginner yesterday. She’s only had a few lessons, and her forehand and backhand shots were still more or less patting the ball back and forth. Until yesterday.

Here’s what happened. We probably spent a good 20 minutes at the start just hitting forehands, first multiball, then live, and she was unable to do more than awkwardly pat the ball back and forth, hitting the ball flat (no topspin). Then we did backhands, and it was the same, though a little better. We did some pushing and serve practice, then came back to forehands, and still mostly just patting the ball back and forth. Then I decided to introduce her to footwork, which we normally hold back on until the strokes are more solid. So I fed multiball side to side as she hit forehands from the forehand side and the middle.

And suddenly she was driving the ball! The balls even had some topspin. She hadn’t been able to do this while standing more or less stationary, but once I had her moving, the stroke fell into place. Presto, instant good forehand! (Well, it still needs a lot of practice, but a lot...




Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 13:31
April 18, 2017

Tip of the Week
Serving to the Backhand Flipper. (This is similar to a Tip I did a few years ago, but with a different perspective and expanded. I linked to this yesterday in my “shortened” blog.)

Down the Line
This past weekend I emphasized down-the-line shots in much of my coaching. Players habitually drill crosscourt so much that they often forget there’s that other direction. I once realized in my match coaching that about one-half of players at the intermediate to advanced levels automatically cover the crosscourt angle when an opponent is attacking – meaning they are wide open down the line. The reason players don’t take advantage of this is 1) they are so used to going crosscourt; 2) there’s more table if you go crosscourt; and 3) they are worried about leaving themselves open to a crosscourt angled return if they go down the line.

While these are legitimate reasons, all are easily overcome. If you practice attacking down the line, it becomes almost as easy as crosscourt, which takes care of the first...




Monday, April 17, 2017 - 12:11
April 17, 2017

Happy Pong Easter!!! Local schools are closed today for Easter Monday, and so I’m off too. (Not really – I still have 3.5 hours of coaching tonight, and a bunch of USATT work, alas. I do need the break – I was at the club 12.5 hours yesterday, coaching and doing other work, and about eight hours on Saturday.) But here’s the Tip of the Week, Serving to the Backhand Flipper. (This is similar to a Tip I did a few years ago, but with a different perspective and expanded.) And in case you missed it in the "Animals Pong" listing on Friday (under "Beagle"), here's Snoopy playing table tennis




Friday, April 14, 2017 - 13:13
April 14, 2017

Interview with Larry Hodges – and the Best Tip Ever!
USATT is featuring my interview from yesterday

MDTTC Spring Break Camp Days Four and Five
Here’s the official group picture! Today’s the final day of the camp. Much of yesterday's focus in my group was serve and receive. I confess I still get a kick out of watching a new kid's eyes go wide when I demo the various spin serves. After explaining and demoing the serves, they went out on the tables to practice their serves.

Best part? When we called break, one kid stayed and practiced serves the entire 20 minutes. The highlight? I had introduced the exercise where you try serving a high backspin that bounces back over the net. The kid was very excited when he served his first one! Then he worked on serving it lower, with the goal of getting the ball to bounce back into the net. Soon there was a small...




Thursday, April 13, 2017 - 13:14
April 13, 2017

MDTTC Spring Break Camp, Day Three
Yesterday the focus was on honing the forehand and backhand strokes, and footwork. I did a lot of multi-player multiball drills, where I'd work with two or more players at a time. Here are some of the drills we did. (All of the players I worked with were righties.) 

Two players: The Multi-Player Side-to-Side Drill. The A player would stand in the forehand corner, the B player in the backhand corner but a step back. The A player hit a forehand, moved to the backhand side, hit a backhand, moved back to the forehand side, hit a forehand, then step back. Then the B player would do the same, going backhand, forehand, backhand, step back. Then repeat. It's continuous, with me feeding the balls side to side. Halfway through the drill I'd have them switch sides. (If the players are complete beginners, then they just stand in separate corners and practice forehands or backhands.)

Two or more players: Circling Drill. Players lined up on the backhand side, and hit three forehands, one from the backhand side, one from the middle, one from the forehand side, and then circle back to the end of the line....




Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - 13:13
April 12, 2017

Interview with Larry Hodges – “The Best Table Tennis Tip…Ever”
Here’s the article and interview from Todd Lodziak at TableTennisCoach in England. I’m a bit embarrassed by it!

MDTTC Spring Break Camp
Yesterday was Day Two of our Spring Break Camp. I’m in charge of a group of seven players who are mostly beginners. The complication is their diversity - there are four boys who are all about 10-12 and about the same level; a girl about 8 who is a beginner; and two very young kids, a boy and girl, about ages 5 and 6, who struggle to hit the ball. During the multiball sessions I tend to break them into two groups, the four older boys and the other three, and go back and forth.

We’ve done a lot of work on forehand, backhand, and footwork so far. I started the younger ones on serves on the first day to give them a “head start,” and introduced the others to serving with spin yesterday. I was going to have them practice their serves, but was running out of time, so instead we...




Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - 13:05
April 11, 2017

Butterfly MDTTC April Open
April 8-9, 2017 • Gaithersburg, MD
By Larry Hodges

Players from six states, DC, and Nigeria competed in our 3-star April Open at the Maryland Table Tennis Center, with over $2700 in cash prizes. I sent the results in on Sunday night; found a mistake on Monday morning and resent the new results at 9AM, and USATT still managed to process the tournament that day! So the rating results of both the 4-star Cary Cup from the week before the MDTTC Open went up on Monday at the USATT Tournament Ratings Page. Here are complete results, care of Omnipong.

The Open final between the lefty top-seeded Alex Ruichao Chen (2689 and a full-time coach at MDTTC) and second-seeded Azeez Jamiu (2609, former Nigerian star visiting New York) was a nail-biter at the end. Alex may have the best pure serve and forehand attack game in...




Monday, April 10, 2017 - 13:16
April 10, 2017

Tip of the Week
First Step to Blocking Well is Taking That First Step.

Tournament and Camp
I spent all day Saturday and Sunday running the 3-star Butterfly MDTTC April Open, assisted by Mossa Barandao. Here are complete results, care of Omnipong. I’ll write more about this tomorrow, but suffice to say I was there each morning at 8AM, finishing around 8PM on Saturday, and 5PM on Sunday – and then coaching for 1.5 hours. I was going to blog more about it this morning, but I’m running out of time – have to go coach at our MDTTC Spring Break Camp this morning, which is Mon-Fri this week, 10AM-6PM. Combined with the usual private coaching at night, it’s going to be a VERY busy week. (I ran out of time this morning, despite getting up at 6AM, because I had to fix some problems in the results for the tournament - technical problems - which I just managed to do before putting this up, and in a few minutes I'll be off to the club....)

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