TableTennisCoaching.com Home

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

Friday, September 1, 2017 - 13:11
September 1, 2017

USATT Club Coach Certification Course
Much of the current USATT coaching certification process was set up when we had few coaches in this country, and were desperately trying to get coaches certified. (I was coaching chair for four years in the 1990s, and remember those problems.) Currently you can become a club coach just by passing a test, having two years USATT membership, and a 1400 rating, current or past.

I don’t think you should have specific rating requirements for specific coaching levels – they are separate things, though closely related. A better rule would be to require (along with other criteria) a specific minimum rating achieved, or similar relevant experience. So that’s going to change.

We’re looking to change the certification process, now that we have so many more coaches than before. Below is a very rough outline of a six-hour coaching seminar for becoming club coach. Later I will expand on it, giving more details on what should be taught in each segment and how. It should be somewhat easy for any high-level coach to run such a seminar at any club in the country, where they’d just...




Thursday, August 31, 2017 - 13:59
August 31, 2017

$2700 Butterfly MDTTC August Open
Aug. 26-27, 2017 • Gaithersburg, Maryland
By Larry Hodges (tournament director)
[NOTE – not interested in reading about a local tournament, with a final between two of the best players in the country? Then jump ahead to the other segments below!]

The MDTTC August Open was the day the choppers, juniors, and women & girls roared. There were choppers in the final and quarterfinals of the Open, and they won Under 2200 and Under 1500. There were juniors in the final of five of the six rating events (and – surprise! – both junior events). And women & girls won three of the six rating events. The ultimate winner was Stephanie Zhang, a chopping junior girl who won Under 1500!

Top-seeded Jishan Liang (2671) of New York, a powerful lefty two-winged looper, won the Open over second-seeded chopper/looper Jian Li (2660) of New Jersey, 2-1 win in this best of seven. Well, it was scheduled to be best of seven, but both players asked if they could play best of five, and we...




Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - 13:03
August 30, 2017

Capital Area Team League and Other Leagues
The Capital Area Team League is for players in the Maryland, Virginia, and DC area. The “early bird” special deadline is tomorrow, August 31. Final deadline to enter is Sept. 12. If you don’t have a team, the league committee can help you find one. First league matches are on Oct. 1. Here are the basic rules:

  • Teams have a roster of at least 3 players.
  • Team contests will have 6 individual matches and one doubles.
  • Each team will be placed in a division according to their ratings, with similarly-rated teams – priority consideration will be given to teams who have participated in the last season.
  • No USATT membership required to play.
  • Detail league rules here.

So . . . you want to play in such a league, but don’t live in the Capital area? Here’s the USATT League page, where you can find info on other...




Tuesday, August 29, 2017 - 12:19
August 29, 2017

Fall Scheduling
With local schools starting next week, I’m working out my new Fall coaching schedule. This is one of those surprisingly tricky things, sort of like trying to do a 20-piece jigsaw puzzle, which sounds easy except the pieces keep moving around, changing shape, and sometimes disappearing, with new ones showing up randomly.

During the summer we have little private coaching before 6PM (Mon-Fri) due to our summer camps. (Only available times are before 10AM and during the 1-3PM lunch break, but I rarely schedule during those times.) So while we often have sessions after school at 4 or 5PM, during the summer everyone has to move to after 6PM. But now, with school nights, the kids generally do their sessions earlier. But strangely, most of them have other afterschool activities (!), so we have to schedule around them. Worse, their schedules aren’t set in stone – they keep changing as they get new info, and sometimes it changes, week to week. Plus I have to work the schedules around my group sessions, which are mostly on Thursdays and weekends.

My weekend schedule won’t change much, just my Mon-Fri...




Monday, August 28, 2017 - 14:12
August 28, 2017

Tip of the Week
Covering the Wide Angles.

$2700 Butterfly MDTTC August Open, PongMobile, and that Nasty Todo List
Getting up to blog after a pair of 15-hour days is like facing Mayweather for 12 rounds, then fighting The Mountain from Game of Thrones, and then jogging a marathon or two. This past weekend I ran the tournament, with great help from Mossa Barandao of PongMobile. I plan to do a write-up later today, with pictures, which I’ll send off for publication at the news sites at USATT and Butterfly, and link to from my blog afterwards. You can get complete results at Omnipong. Congrats to champions Jishan Liang, Khaleel Asgarali, Ed Watts, Kallista Liu, Haoran Guan, Stephanie Zhang, Todd Klinger, Xinsheng Michael Huang, George Li, and Stanley Hsu!

What’s PongMobile? Mossa sets up a station at our tournaments and leagues so players can easily...




Friday, August 25, 2017 - 13:55
August 25, 2017

USATT Coaching Questions
I’ve been very busy this summer - coaching, traveling, and writing. One casualty of this is that I haven’t done as much as chair of the USATT coaching committee as I’d have liked. However, sometime in the next few weeks I should be able to focus more on that. Here are upcoming coaching items. (Here’s the list of USATT committees – we’re third on the list.) I also have a coaching committee report due to the board, which I should have by Sept. 1. (We have a USATT board meeting in Washington DC, Sept. 9-10.)

What is the primary responsibility of the coaching committee? I’d say to recruit, train, and certify coaches. Recruitment basically means encouraging potential coaches into taking the plunge, either as part-time or full-time coaches. For the latter, this essentially means showing them that they can make a good living as a table tennis coach – as over 300 currently do in the United States.

Training means educating coaches so they become better coaches. I’ve had numerous...




Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 14:02
August 24, 2017

Play Hardbat or Sandpaper – Here’s Why
No, this will not be an evangelizing blog entry on why we should make sponge illegal and go back to a simpler time when everyone used hardbat, politicians were honest, and life was perfect. (No, those times never happened.) There’s a better reason why you should bring out that cheap hardbat or sandpaper paddle you have stored away at the back of your closet (or borrow one from someone), and learn to play with it.

Putting aside the fact that it is fun, as a sideline, to play with these rackets, there’s a better reason. There are table tennis tables all over the place. Unless you are some oddball who carries his $300 table tennis racket (and table tennis shoes, plastic balls, table tennis towel, net measurer, etc.) everywhere, you will someday find yourself someday at a table without your racket, watching inferior players play each other, each believing themselves to be champions, or at least competitive with the best players – of whom they have never seen. You will be forced to do one of the following:

  1. Watch and smile;
  2. Challenge one of them, but forced to use...



Wednesday, August 23, 2017 - 13:53
August 23, 2017

$80,000/Year Coaching Table Tennis?
An interesting question was raised at the Mytabletennis.net forum – how much money can one make coaching table tennis? At least one person ridiculed the idea that one could make $80,000/year coaching table tennis. However, many coaches in the U.S. do just that, including ones from my club. The arithmetic is simple. If you coach 40 hours/week at $40/hour for 50 weeks per year, you’ll make $80,000/year.

The reality is that there are a number of coaches at full-time clubs who work more like 50/hours a week, which comes to $100,000/year. Add in group sessions, where you often make more than you do in private sessions, and the annual salary goes up. Add in secondary income from selling equipment, tournaments, leagues, and so on, and some coaches get still more.

The $40/hour is typical, but not standard everywhere. In expensive areas like New York City coaching is more like $80/hour. The club typically gets a percentage, but most successful clubs know that they rely on the coaches to bring in and retain players, so...




Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - 14:03
August 22, 2017

A Short History of Chop Blocks
Recently, due to an article at SportsFlu, there’s been a lot of talk about chop blocking and who invented it. Here’s an entire thread devoted to it at the Mytabletennis.net forum. According to the article, it was “invented” by Koki Niwa, world #9 from Japan. Alas, it’s been around long before Koki was born in 1994.

To give you some perspective on how long players have been chop blocking, here’s a little history – and I’ll get to the point momentarily. How many of you remember the Paddle Point Rule? Until the early 1990s, if the ball went off the end of the table but hit your paddle, you lost the point, no matter how obviously the ball was off. Many thought it was a silly rule, and it was finally changed. (Here’s my blog where I explain how that happened – I made the original proposal...




Monday, August 21, 2017 - 14:11
August 21, 2017

Tip of the Week
Fourth-Ball Backhand Loop Attack. Of course, today’s the day when you should browse through all of my Tips of the Week (497 total) since “Eclipse TT” is just an anagram for “Select Tip”!

Two Common Successful Serving Patterns
In the adult training session last night I pointed out that there are really two main successful serving patterns among most players. At the higher levels, the most common one is half-long toward the middle, often mixing in backhand and no-spin serves, with sidespin and side-top mixed in. By serving half-long, you make it tricky for the receiver to rush or angle you, while also making it difficult for him to attack. (Half-long means the second bounce, given the chance, would bounce just short of the end-line. Some serve it slightly longer, just past the end-line, leading to many awkward loop attempts.)

By serving to the middle it cuts off the extreme angles, and makes it easier to follow up with an...