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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, February 19, 2018 - 14:21
February 19, 2018

President's Day
It's President's Day, the day we all celebrate all of our great presidents and try to forget the bad ones. (Or perhaps mock them.) It's a federal holiday, so I'm off today - though I'll be spending most of the day on a writing project. Meanwhile, to tide you over until tomorrow, here's the best 21-second rally in history - the Maggie intro scene from Balls of Fury




Friday, February 16, 2018 - 14:59
February 16, 2018

UTZ Day
Yes, it's Usa Team Zelection (UTZ*) Day, the day I start looking into how USATT chooses its National Teams. I blogged about this on January 22 blog, where I wrote, "However, right now I'm just too busy to look into it too much, but I plan to do so in February, probably after I run the MDTTC February Open (Feb. 10-11)."
[*Our High Performance Director Jörg Bitzigeio and our long-time National Men's Coach Stefan Feth are both German, and in really bad movies the Germans always pronounce "S" words with a Z, so I'm going with "Zelection" here. And I'm suddenly craving potato chips. Yeah, it looks more like a Pringles, but close enough.]

Now, While Hodges Yielding a Mesmerizing Editorial (WHYME) on this, where I rip into any little thing I don't like, may be entertaining, that's not gonna happen. Instead, I...




Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 13:06
February 15, 2018

USATT Teleconference
We had a USA Table Tennis Board of Directors teleconference on Monday night, 7:00-8:31PM. Attending were all nine board members (including me), plus the CEO, the COO, the HPD, and the S&LC. (Give up on this alphabet soup? The first three are listed on the USATT Staff Page, the third is the Secretary and Legal Counsel, Dennis Taylor.) I'm guessing that I spoke less in this meeting than any past meeting, probably by several magnitudes. However, before the meeting I did do a number of edits to the minutes of the December 2017 meeting - once an editor, always an editor.

First on the agenda was the approval of the minutes of the December two-day board meeting in Las Vegas during the U.S. Open, and the January teleconference minutes. After some discussion, they were both approved - I made the motions. They are now both online for your reading pleasure in the USATT Minutes and Actions page.

Then came reports on SafeSport. We have lost almost 1/3...




Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 14:00
February 14, 2018

Tip of the Week
Focus on Performance and Fun to Maximize Your Chances of Winning.

$2700 3-Star Butterfly MDTTC February Open
February 10-11, 2018 • Maryland Table Tennis Center • Gaithersburg, MD
[Here's my write-up of the tournament I ran this past weekend. If not interested, then as usual skip ahead to the many segments afterwards!]

Top-seeded Wu Junhan from New Jersey, rated 2691 (but over 2750 most of last year, with a high of 2788), cruised into the final without losing a game, or even going deuce. As someone on the sidelines said, "He makes it look so easy." Yes he does, but that's why he's 2700. How many players that level make it look hard? Well, maybe Chen Alex Ruichao, the other Open finalist, who goes after every shot in ways that do not look so easy. (Here's a nice picture of the final.)

Alex was also over 2700 for a number of months the last three years, with a high of 2722 before...




Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - 13:55
February 13, 2018

Three Coaches Moving In Downstairs
The three MDTTC coaches are moving into my townhouse this morning, and I'm helping them, and doing last-minute clean-ups and fixes. Has there ever been a higher-rated group of movers? Chen Alex Ruichao, Wang Qingliang, Wu Jiacheng, Cheng Yinghua, and Jack Huang? The first three are renting the first two floors of the townhouse I own; I live on the third floor. I'm compiling a list of damages downstairs - the people before left much of it a mess, with everything from damaged windows to broken drawers, so I'm calling a handyman probably today to fix things. So no blog today. Back tomorrow, likely with an aching back. 

Addendum, added Tuesday afternoon: Here's the Tip of the Week, Focus on Performance and Fun to Maximize Your Chances of Winning. (This will go up in tomorrow's blog as well.) 




Monday, February 12, 2018 - 14:08
February 12, 2018

I'm off today - I'm resting from the MDTTC February Open I ran this past weekend, plus I have a todo list from here to Mars, much of it table tennis stuff. Below is a quick rundown of today's list - fortunately, I have no coaching scheduled for today, "my day off." But here's a new video (9 sec) of a great behind-the-back counter-smash to tide you over.

  • USATT Tournament Report - DONE
  • Tournament Accounting - DONE
  • Tournament Write-up, Results, and Photos (Results and Photos - DONE)
  • ITTF Coaching Report for a Coach - DONE
  • Create ITTF Hopes Camp Flyer - DONE
  • Finalize ITTF Hopes Tournament Flyer - DONE
  • Finalize Coaching Committee Vote on Coach of the Year Guidelines - DONE
  • Prepare for 7PM USATT Teleconference tonight - DONE
  • I own a townhouse with three floors, and live on the top floor. The people who rented the first two floors for the past 4.5 years left this weekend, and today I've got a cleaning crew coming in to clean up the...



Friday, February 9, 2018 - 15:03
February 9, 2018

Tournament Prep for Butterfly MDTTC February Open This Weekend
I'm running the Butterfly MDTTC February Open this weekend at my club, the Maryland Table Tennis Center. We'll have about 80 players in the eleven events.

MDTTC normally has 16 tables set up, about half full courts, the others smaller courts. For tournaments, we use eight full-sized courts, with the full-time coaches using the others throughout the tournament. With the tournament set-up the coaches have six tables that they'll be coaching on throughout the tournament, which is actually a strain since we have ten full-time coaches - but I'm one of them and won't be coaching, and another is out of town. After lunch some of them stop coaching as they are playing in the Open. (We sometimes use some of those tables in the afternoon.)

I run the tournaments on Omnipong. It's great for running tournaments, very user friendly, and the creator, Craig Krum, is very helpful when problems arise...




Thursday, February 8, 2018 - 14:43
February 8, 2018

Illegal Hidden Serves: Letter to the ITTF

Two years ago I had an email with a pair of ITTF officials over fixing the problem with hidden serves. Both said they were working on it, but nothing so far as happened. So yesterday I sent them the following email. If nothing happens, I may once again go to the USATT Board on this. Previously I went to the Board and asked them vote to ask our Umpires and Referees Committee (then the Officials Committee) to enforce the serving rules as they are written, but it lost 6-1-1 as they didn't want to handicap USA players, since to compete internationally they'd both need their own illegal hidden serves and be able to return them. This time I'd simply ask the Board to send a note to the ITTF, imploring them to take action on this issue. My email below could be the draft of such a note.

Dear [NAMES WITHHELD],

I presume nothing has happened regarding fixing the problem of hidden serves? Coaches still have to go through that uncomfortable routine with their top juniors and parents where we explain that if they want to compete on an equal basis, they'll have to cheat as the top...




Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - 15:01
February 7, 2018

How to Change USATT Policy or Ask Questions
People regularly contact me about various USATT policies with their suggestions on what they think we should do. There's nothing wrong with this, as long as they approach it with an open mind - often there are things going on or info that they don't know about. But there's also this mistaken notion that I can single-handedly change things, or even that the USATT Board of Directors (of which I'm a member) would be the ones to make some of these changes. So let's look at how things actually do get done in USATT.

You have to separate the day-to-day operations and policy issues. Day-to-day operations are done by the paid full-time USATT Staff, mostly at USATT headquarters in Colorado Springs, CO. Policy issues are done by the USATT Board of Directors and by USATT Committees. (These latter two groups are unpaid...




Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - 15:12
February 6, 2018

Vintage Film Reels
Back on January 8-9 I flew to USATT headquarters in Colorado Springs to attend a USATT/USOC Meeting on Coaching Education and Certification. (I blogged about it on January 10.) I also wrote about my adventures in the USATT storage area:

"After the meeting Mark [Thompson] took me to the USATT storage area, and I was stunned at all the boxes of vintage stuff – film reels of vintage players from the 1930s like Viktor Barna and Lezlo Bellak; boxes and boxes of VHS tapes from the 1980s, USATT Magazines, program booklets, and so on. It was way too much to go over in the short time I had there. I may discuss having a USATT history person do a visit and spend a day going over it all."

Mark Thompson (USATT Chief Operating Officer) agreed to send the four vintage film reels I found to Scott Gordon, who is USATT's expert on vintage films, in addition to chairing the Classic Table Tennis Committee. (Here's info on both.) Below is what Scott wrote to us yesterday...