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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

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - 12:22
March 6, 2018

ITTF Proposal that Boosting No Longer Be Illegal
Here are new rules proposals that the ITTF will be considering at meetings during the upcoming World Championships. See #3, where they are considering adding the bolded parted part:

2.4.7 The racket covering shall be used without any physical, chemical or other treatment that may be considered harmful or unhealthy for the persons.

Rationale: 1. It is impossible to control boosters with the current equipment/procedures, so the actual rule cannot be enforced. 2. The main problem of the harmful substances in the way rubbers were collated to blades was mitigated with the introduction of the VOC controls.

I think this is a good idea, since (as I've blogged before), most top players are already boosting. (See more on this in my proposal below.) Making a rule that can't be enforced is silly as it simply penalizes those who refuse to join others in cheating, while forcing all players to face the reality that if they don't also cheat, they...




Monday, March 5, 2018 - 12:37
March 5, 2018

Tip of the Week
What You Should Be Watching.

Busy Weekend!
Even though I'm taking time off from private coaching for my shoulder to heal, it was still a way-too-busy weekend. On Saturday, where I'd normally have five hours of private coaching, instead I spent much of the morning and afternoon at the Maryland Table Tennis Center booth at the annual Lake Forest Mall Summer Camps and Activities Expo. Wen Hsu was there the entire time, with Todd Klinger (just turned 13) helping out all afternoon. For insurance reasons, the mall wouldn't let us bring a full-sized table, so we brought a mini-table instead. (We used to do annual exhibitions there, where I'd bring a bunch of our top juniors and give exhibitions all afternoon, but apparently those days are past. The cover of my book Table Tennis Tales and Techniques is from a Lake Forest exhibition where I'm using an over-sized racket.)...




Friday, March 2, 2018 - 14:36
March 2, 2018

Table Tennis Inventions Needed
Today I'm going to turn some of you into rich inventors, and someday I'm going to regret all the hordes of money I gave away by not patenting all these inventions. But it's all for the greater good of table tennis, right? When you (or the big table tennis companies and distributors reading this) create these devices and are rolling in money, make sure to credit me with the idea! Here are some table tennis inventions we need you to create.

  • Rackets with Different Speeds on Forehand and Backhand. This is a simple one - just put faster wood layers on one side, slower ones on the other. There's no rule against this. Not everybody wants the same speed on both sides, just as not everybody uses the same surface on both sides. For example, if you only spin steadily on the forehand while playing an aggressive backhand, you might want the forehand side to be slower. Or if you chop on the backhand while attacking with the forehand, you might want slower on the backhand. And so on. (Note - I'm told that some of the smaller manufacturers already make these - see comments below and my...



Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 14:56
March 1, 2018

Who Has the Best Table Tennis Name?
Upon realizing that nobody has ever investigated this extremely important question, I took it upon myself to resolve this issue. Mostly using the USATT's database (which only goes back to 1994), here are some of the more interesting table tennis names.

The Pings

  • There are 44 Pings in the database, though I think some are duplicates. One of them is 2004 USA Olympian Whitney Ping.

The Pongs

  • Beth Pong Green Berggren of Monument, CO
  • Johnny Pong of Lake Forest, CA
  • Vivien Pong of Eugene, OR
  • Chin Pong Tsui of New York, NY

Those Who Love Table Tennis - the Lovett's

  • Cullen Lovett of Sebring, FL
  • David Lovett of Fayetteville, NC
  • Reuben Lovett of Searcy, AR

The Balls

  • Ian Ball of Nashville, TN
  • David Ball of AZ
  • Ed Ball of Santa Monica, CA
  • Kevin Ball of Loveland, CO
  • Russell Ball of Swanzey, NH

The Loops

  • Craig Loop of Los Angeles, CA
  • Tom Loop of Scotch Plains, NJ

The Blocks

  • Adam Block of...



Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - 13:52
February 28, 2018

MRI Results
The results are in on the MRI on my shoulder on Friday. In layman's terms, the rotator cuff has a slight tear, but it's small enough that they call it "frayed." It's also badly inflamed, with some tendinitis and bursitis. The doctor showed me the pictures on a screen, and while I can't tell the difference between inflamed and normal, the small tear or fraying was obvious.

Now for the technical terms. Here are excerpts from the medical report - read these out loud. I'm not making fun of the doctor's terms, I'm in awe of them! And I thought "heavy no-spin" and "banana flip" were cool terms.

  • Rotator Cuff: There is mild supraspinous tendinosis with bursai sided fraying and interstitial fissuring. Infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis tendons are intact.
  • Subacromial/Subdeltoid Bursa: Mild bursitis.
  • Glenohumeral Joint: The inferior glenohumeral ligament is mildly T2 hyperintense and irregular at the humeral attachment.
  • Labrum: There is subtle signal abnormality within the superior labrum from approximately 1 o'clock to the 9 o'...



Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 13:54
February 27, 2018

58 and Jörg
That sounds like an address doesn't it? "Taxi, take me to the table tennis club at 58 and Jörg." Actually, it's two things.

First, today I'm turning 58. How did that happen??? To mourn celebrate I was going to take the day off from blogging, but I decided the last thing I wanted on my birthday was for legions of USATT members storming my house with pitchforks and torches. So instead I'll celebrate by going to the doctor at 1PM today to go over the results of the MRI on my shoulder on Friday, find out if I have a rotator cuff tear, and whether I'll be out for weeks or months. (I'll put in a small "Breaking News" item here when I get back.)

Second, USATT High Performance Director Jörg Bitzigeio was at MDTTC yesterday afternoon where he watched some of our top kids in training, and even worked with a couple. (One had a tendency to play backhands with his right foot in front, so Jörg put a wire cord on the floor in front of him and had him play backhands while keeping the...




Monday, February 26, 2018 - 12:57
February 26, 2018

Tip of the Week
Sound and Feet.

Friday Twos
Friday was a red-letter day for me for multiple reasons, and they all came in twos.

I had to do two "bad" things - I had my shoulder MRI, and I did my taxes. I meet with my doctor Twosday (smirk) at 1PM to go over the MRI results and find out if I have a torn rotator cuff - i.e. will I be out for weeks or months. (I'm already scheduled for physical therapy three times per week, one hour each time. I have session #2 today at 11AM.) Here's what an MRI machine looks like - I was in it for 30 minutes with my shoulder strapped down to immobilize it. As to taxes, someone's got to pay for Trump's golf outings. These two bad things happened on Friday the 23rd, where of course the two is all that keeps it from being Friday the 13th.

I finalized the entry form for the Maryland State Championships (June 2-3) and ordered 32 (two to the fifth) plaques - the latter...




Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 13:22
February 22, 2018

NOTE - off to do MRI on my shoulder Friday morning, so no blog that that morning. (See my Wednesday blog on this.) Wish me luck!

Help Fund Coaches to the Nationals for These Top Juniors!
The HW Global Foundation, which runs the Talent Junior Program at the Maryland Table Tennis Center, is trying to raise money to send coaches for the many kids they will be sending to the USA Nationals in July. In their words:

"We're raising $15,500 to bring the coaches that work with the kids all year to the tournament to ensure that our young athletes have the support they need to succeed in the sport they love. They will create a training camp for the kids before the tournament and coach them during the tournament."

Want to help out? Here is their...




Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 15:03
February 21, 2018

Shoulder Shenanigans and Other Maladies
Yesterday I finally went to see an orthopedic doctor about my shoulder. As I've blogged, I began having shoulder problems in October or November, but it was just a repeat of past problems. At the U.S. Open in December I tore it badly while moving wide to the forehand for a big smash, and had to default out immediately. Because I'd injured it before, I thought I knew how to rehab it, and so took a month off from coaching and did various exercises with these giant resistance rubber bands.

I started coaching again in mid-January, but the shoulder was only (in my estimation) 80% healed. I've been careful not to aggravate it by extending my arm out or reaching upwards too much, but occasionally a student would put a ball wide or short to my forehand and I'd mistakenly reach out for it - ow! Anyway, the shoulder seemed to get worse, so I finally saw the doctor yesterday. (How bad is it? When I comb my hair I have to use my left arm to hold up my right arm.) 

They did x-rays, and he ran some tests, and I have an...




Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 15:04
February 20, 2018

Tip of the Week
Forehands and Backhands: 1-2-3, not 1-2.

USA Team Selections
On Friday I spent much of the day studying the USATT Team Selection Process. (I blogged about this on Friday morning - somewhat jokingly though it's a serious matter.) There's a lot of nuance to this. For example, I often read complaints about how the teams are selected, but without distinguishing between how players are selected to be on the National Team (now called "TTTeam USA"), as opposed to who is selected to play at specific events, such as (for juniors) the World Junior Championships, Pan Am Junior Championships, or various ITTF junior tournaments. So there are really things involved in Team Selection - these two (who is on National Team, who plays in which events), plus the selection of coaches.

There's also the question of how much should be done by Trials, and how much by Selection. Many instinctively want it to be all Trials, until it's pointed out that due to injury...