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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, May 14, 2018 - 13:56
May 14, 2018

Tip of the Week
Tactical Thinking Between Points.

Doubles Foibles
I did a lot of doubles coaching on Saturday during the Junior League Training. This is a joint junior league and training session (mostly ages 8-13), where we do both singles and doubles, often using improvised games so the players get specialized type training. For example, we play games where the server loses the point if he doesn't serve and attack, or gets two points if he serve and attacks and eventually wins the point, or where the server starts out behind 7-9 or 8-10. And so on.

During the doubles segment on Saturday the one thing that stood out was that . . . no one thing stood out. Every team had different strengths and weaknesses. But there was one pattern and that was in most teams (not all), both players had the same doubles weaknesses, as if they copied from their partner. Here's a rundown. (Note that I'm picking on the problems I found, but they also did a lot of things well.)

  • The Wanderers. These two are good in singles, but in...



Friday, May 11, 2018 - 13:38
May 11, 2018

Upcoming Tournament, Coaching, and Writing Plans
WORLD VETERANS AND USA NATIONALS.
I'll be at both, June 18-24 and July 2-7 in Las Vegas. For the Veterans (4046 entries!), I'll be doing daily online coverage for USATT. We also have a USATT board meeting during the Veterans that I'll attend. At the Nationals I'll be coaching, attending meetings, and of course going to the Hall of Fame Banquet where I get the Lifetime Achievement Award!!! (Hope to see some of you there.) Between the two, June 25-July 1, I'm taking a Las Vegas writing/reading "vacation," where I plan on getting a lot of writing done in my hotel room - see my writing plans below. I'm also helping with a pre-Nationals clinic for some of our junior players, plus I'll be running a 90-minute coaching seminar, tentatively on July 1, on Serve and Receive Tactics - you are invited to that! (I may move that to Tue or Wed night.)

TABLE TENNIS COACHING PLANS.
My shoulder is rapidly improving, and I actually think I...




Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 13:15
May 10, 2018

Early Bird Entries at the USA Nationals and the Coaching Seminar
Here's the USA Nationals page, July 2-7 in Las Vegas. The early "Early Bird" deadline is tomorrow, May 11, so don't forget to enter NOW!!! On May 12 cost for adults goes from $250 to $325, for juniors from $225 to $300. So maybe, just maybe, you should consider entering NOW!!!, and save yourself $75? It's like getting a free sheet of Tenergy!!! (Did I mention you should enter NOW!!!?)

I blogged about the USA Nationals on April 19, where I wrote about the 91 events, spectating, equipment booths, the Hall of Fame Banquet, the VIP package, the USATT board meeting, and the coaching seminar I'll be running.

The coaching seminar will be on Serve and Receive Tactics, tentatively held on Sunday, July 1, from 5:30-7:00PM. (I might see if it can be moved to perhaps Tue or Wed night.) It will be FREE to all USATT members. Here are topics I will be covering:

...




Wednesday, May 9, 2018 - 12:46
May 9, 2018

Today is "Larry's Gripes" Day!
Everyone should be allowed to air their gripes once a year. Here are mine.

  • Dealing with constant shoulder problems, though they seem to be getting better. I think I'll start an association, Union of Shoulder Recoverers (USA). Let's make USA #1!
  • Dealing with a certain USATT member who has wasted more USATT time and energy than anyone in the past ten years. I've spent 90 hours on this person's issues (others have spent far more), and am doing all I can to get out of the web of intrigue and accusations (and, unfortunately, nonsensical, time-wasting grievance cases) he makes on a semi-regular basis. 
  • Dealing with the daily requests for articles - or more specifically, the ones who don't understand that just because they preface their request by saying, "Larry, you are such a great writer!" doesn't mean I have the time or energy to write an article about anyone or anything that someone asks me to do - and why do I seem to owe this to so many people just because I'm supposed "such a great writer!"? (Okay, I like that last part.) The...



Tuesday, May 8, 2018 - 13:48
May 8, 2018

Withering Weekend Work and Shifting Shoulder Shockers
Forget Spider-man, it's Spider-day at MDTTC! At least on Saturday it was. During a junior session a giant Wolf spider came crawling into the playing area. You can imagine how the kids reacted. At first the coaches shooed them back to the tables, as the spider was near the barrier, away from the table. But someone had to take action we needed a hero! I grabbed a box, and with my paddle, got the thing to crawl onto it. Then I let it go outside, despite several girls screaming, "Kill it!"

Despite all the excitement, we got some serious table tennis in. We did a lot of up-down table games, but had them start with varying scores, such as the server is down 7-9 or 8-10.

In my Sunday Beginning Class the focus was on smashing. Which is almost as exciting for them as the spider was on Saturday. Then we had the more advanced Talent program, where we challenged them with more complicated drills than usual. For example, in one drill the player would serve short...




Monday, May 7, 2018 - 13:39
May 7, 2018

Tip of the Week
Serve and Attack . . . Almost Always.

World Team Championships
The World Team Championships finished yesterday in Halmstad, Sweden, April 29 - May 6. SPOILER ALERT! Yes, China won Men's and Women's Teams (again, for the 21st time each), this time over Germany and Japan. So it was more of the same, but also more of the new. (See the numerous links on this below, as well as Team USA info.) Basically, only three men's team can give any serious challenge to the Chinese right now - Germany, Japan, and South Korea - but they are big longshots. It's unfortunate that Germany's Dimitrij Ovtcharov (world #3) was injured and couldn't play in the final, but it's unlikely that would have changed the final result. It's easier for a ping-pong ball to go through the eye of a needle than to beat a team that has Ma Long and Fan Zhendong.

On the women's side, Japan (and perhaps Hong...




Friday, May 4, 2018 - 13:59
May 4, 2018

Unified Korean Team vs. Japan
They played out the Women's Semifinals at the Worlds this morning (starting at 10AM their time, 5AM Eastern Standard Time), and as expected, Japan won relatively easily, though match #2 was 16-14 in the fifth! (Here's video from 8-all on in the fifth - Kim had three match points, but also had a pair of edges after deuce.) Here are the results - and I'm using the ITTF designation "COR" to designate the Unified Korean Team:

  • Mima Ito (JPN) d. Jeon Jihee (COR), 2,8,9
  • Kasumi Ishikawa (JPN) d. Kim Song I (COR), 4,-6,8,-11,14
  • Miu Hirano (JPN) d. Yang Haeun (COR), 4,5,-9,6

And so Japan moves into the final where they will play China . . . I mean, the winner between China and Hong Kong, which is being played right now. (So yeah, they'll play China.)

Yesterday a top player emailed me pointing out something about the unified Korean team issue that I should have addressed in my blog yesterday. (He asked to stay anonymous.) We're...




Thursday, May 3, 2018 - 13:52
May 3, 2018

North and South Korea Unified at Worlds
Here's some breaking news - rather than play their Women's Team quarterfinal match, the two Koreas will join forces. They will advance into the semifinals, where they'll play Japan, who defeated Ukraine in their quarterfinals. It's the first time they will have a unified team since they won Women's Teams at the 1991 Worlds, as commemorated in the 2012 movie, "As One."

My first thought on this was, "Is this legal, for two different countries joining up like this in the middle of a tournament? Can USA join forces with China perhaps?" But we'll let this Ping-Pong Diplomacy take precedence over such niceties.

Here's what USATT CEO Gordon Kaye posted on Facebook: "I am truly moved by what is unfolding in front of my eyes in table tennis, and more importantly, the world. A few moments ago, the teams from North Korea and South Korea, due to meet in the quarterfinals of the 2018 ITTF World Team...




Wednesday, May 2, 2018 - 11:56
May 2, 2018

Shoulder Shenanigans
I'm off this morning to the *Piccard Surgery Center in Rockville, MD, for a Shoulder Cortisone Injection with Arthrogram. So no blog this morning. But don't forget that the The World Team Championships continue in Halmstad, Sweden, April 29 - May 6. (Lots of USATT coverage.) And here's a hot chick in table tennis!
     *This is what the REAL Jean-Luc Picard says about ping-pong! (Well, Patrick Stewart's voice, anyway. Here's the meme...




Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - 13:25
May 1, 2018

Articles and Newsletters and Pulitzers, Oh My!
I quietly reached a few milestones recently, though I didn't realize it until last night. On April 20, USATT and Butterfly both published my article, $2700 3-Star Butterfly MDTTC April Open. It was my 1800th published article. (I count that as one article, though it was published in two places.) I've had two more articles published since then, for a total of 1802. Why is that number important? (Other than, of course, being the year the Treaty of Amiens was signed between France and the United Kingdom, ending the War of the Second Coalition, and the establishment of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in the U.S.)

This morning's blog is my 1802nd blog entry since I started tabletenniscoaching.com in January, 2011, so I've now had as many blog entries as published articles, or 3604 total. Since I blog Mon-Fri, the number of blog entries will soon far exceed the number of published articles. (I don't count blog entries as published articles.)

I keep a running list of my...