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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 21, 2018 - 13:55
May 21, 2018

Tip of the Week
Develop Power Timing by Slapping.

Weekend Coaching
On Friday I spent 2.5 hours watching the Friday night league at MDTTC, taking notes on our junior players on their games, both for those I coach and to pass on to the other coaches. I'll be doing this more and more as the U.S. Nationals approaches for many of the 17 MDTTC juniors who are going. It was a hodgepodge (that's the third time I've used my namesake word in this blog since it started in 2011) of strengths and weaknesses.

Overall, I was very happy with how they played, though of course they must all strive for constant improvement or I won't be happy! On the weakness side, way too many of them attacked the corners over and over instead of tactically attacking the middle (elbow). One still tends to lean instead of stepping to the ball - I'm recommending he do a lot of shadow practice, jump rope, and Stutter Stepping. (Another was so light on his feet that he stepped even...




Friday, May 18, 2018 - 14:02
May 18, 2018

The Ongoing Hidden Serve Saga
Here is a draft of the letter I plan to send to the ITTF at some point. I will likely ask the USATT Board of Directors to get behind this so the letter (or a version of it) can come from USATT. (NOTE - on Monday afternoon I updated the letter to a newer draft.)

Dear ITTF Rules Committee, Umpires and Referees Committee, and Athletes Commission:

The illegal hiding of serves is a major problem in our sport. Video and still pictures show that most world-class players regularly hide the ball when they serve, thereby gaining a huge advantage over those who serve legally. (Examples are given in the Net Visibility Rule proposal, one of a number of proposals to solve this problem - this is not an endorsement of any...




Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 13:01
May 17, 2018

Table Tennis vs. Science Fiction Writing
Outside table tennis I also write science fiction - see larryhodges.com and my bibliography. (Short version - 90 short stories sold, 4 novels, and 2 short story collections. I have a story coming out in the next issue of Analog.) However, table tennis is still the main priority and it pays the most of the bills, both coaching and writing (eight books).

I started a new science fiction novel last week, but every time I tried working on it, some table tennis issue came up and I'd put it aside. There was the Hall of Fame program; researching some history and photos for one of this year's Hall of Fame inductees; a USATT Board of Directors teleconference; proofing some USATT documents; an ongoing confidential issue I've hinted about and spent nearly 100 hours on and can't wait to blog about hopefully this summer; some Coaching Chair issues; planning out junior training group sessions; preparing Tim Boggan's History of U...




Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - 13:01
May 16, 2018

How the Game Has Changed! A Look Back to 1994
I was doing some research on something recently and came across an article I wrote in the Sept/Oct 1994 issue of USA Table Tennis Magazine. The article was my diary as the USA head coach at the King Car International Youth City Championships in Taipei, Taiwan, Aug. 22-30, 1994. We had two boys' teams and two girls' teams, with 14 players. Many of the best junior teams from all over the world attended, including teams from all over Europe, Asia, and a few from South America and Africa. The notable missing team was China, since we were in Taiwan.

Before the tournament we had a five-day joint training camp with the Taiwan and South Korean Teams. I noticed that their players had incredible footwork and forehand loops, but their backhand loops were rather weak. So I called our team together and told them our focus during the tournament was simple - get your backhand loops into play as they weren't used to facing them. The strategy worked - USA #1 (Dave Fernandez, Barney J. Reed, Richard Lee) came out of nowhere to get third place in Boys' Teams, beating some of the best teams from Taiwan,...




Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 13:45
May 15, 2018

USATT Teleconference and the USATT Hall of Fame Banquet
We had one last night, a rather short one, only about 70 minutes, starting at 7PM. All nine USATT board members (including me) attended, as did the USATT CEO, COO, HPD, LC, and the chair of the HPC. (Awe, c'mon, do I have to spell these out for you? Think of it as a brain teaser.)

The meeting really had two parts, the "Open" session and the "Closed" session. During the open session we primarily discussed:

  • World Veterans - over 4000 entries. However, there have been problems with visas from some countries, likely due to the U.S.'s changing to more restrictive policies, and we may have lost up to 100 entries. We also arranged to have a USATT board meeting at the Veterans on Wednesday, July 20, with a board dinner the night before. 
  • U.S. Nationals. Final entry deadline is May 25, so what are you waiting for?
  • Para Data Protection Guidelines
  • Volunteer Recognition

...




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...