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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, April 4, 2017 - 14:07
April 4, 2017

April Fools’ Blogs
I hope you enjoyed the groundbreaking exposé in my blog yesterday of the new techniques by the Swedes to beat the Chinese – edge serves, net receives, knuckle shots. Some of you may have noticed that although the blog was on April 3, it referred to events that took place on Saturday. April 1. The more attentive of you may have read the first letter of each line. If not, now’s your chance!!! And for the record, Jan-Ove Waldner does have an older brother sort of named Ake Waldner – his real name is Kjell-Åke Waldner, and he too was a top table tennis player.

Here are my past April Fools’ Day blogs, where the first letter of each line spells out this secret message.




Monday, April 3, 2017 - 13:23
April 3, 2017

Tip of the Week
Coaching Tournament Matches.

How The Swedes Will Beat the Chinese Again
Ake Waldner visited MDTTC this past Saturday, spending the day watching our
players train. He is the brother of former Swedish superstar Jan-Ove Waldner, and was
recently named Head Coach of the Swedish National Men’s Team. Our players had some
interesting questions, of course. Sweden had battled with China for decades, with such
legendary players as Bengtsson, Persson, Appelgren, and of course Waldner.

First question, of course, was rather straightforward – how could Sweden, USA,
or any other team possibly beat China? I’ve always argued that if we use the same
orthodox techniques that make the Chinese so good, we’ll always be just a pale
likeness, with no chance of matching them.

Ake agreed with me! And it turns out the Swedes are working on new techniques,
practicing things that might allow them to beat the Chinese. Serve, receive, and
rallies – you have to win at all...




Friday, March 31, 2017 - 14:07
March 31, 2017

$2700 3-Star Butterfly MDTTC April Open and Coaching at Tournaments
I'm running the tournament next weekend (April 8-9) at the Maryland Table Tennis Center in Gaithersburg, MD. I hope to see many of you there! We've expanded our tournaments from last year, going to two days and three-star events, doubling the prize money, and going from seven to ten events. Here is our tournament page and here is the entry form. You can also enter online at Omnipong. The ten events are (on Saturday, with prize money in all events): Open, U2400, U2200, U2000, Over 50, and Under 15, and (on Sunday): U1800, U1500, U1200, and Under 12.

Some of you are playing a tournament this weekend. According to the USATT Tournament Page, there are four this weekend in the U.S.:

  • 4-star Butterfly...



Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 10:53
March 30, 2017

USA Nationals Entry Form
While browsing around this morning I discovered that the entry form for the 2017 Supermicro USA Nationals was up. (Here’s a direct link to the print entry form.) This is the first I’d seen it – I printed it out and will go over it more closely later today. The tournament will be in Las Vegas, July 3-8 (Mon-Sat). (The hotel link still links to the U.S. Open hotel from December.)

There are a mind-boggling 97 events. Most are similar to last year’s Nationals. I did find some interesting items – for example, what appears to be Men’s and Women’s Singles are currently named simply “Hsing Family Foundation.” Presumably that’s a sponsor, but it probably should be “Hsing Family Foundation Men’s/Women’s Singles.” Beyond that are the usual events – Men’s & Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles; Junior, Cadet, and Mini-Cadet Team Trials (...




Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 13:39
March 29, 2017

Tip of the Week
Serve and Forehand Loop.

Pre-Tournament Preparation
One of the kids I coached last night is preparing to play in the 4-star Cary Cup Open this weekend. I had gone into the session preparing to really work on his looping game, both forehand and backhand. However, he was noticeably glum about this, and admitted he didn’t think he’d be looping much in rallies at the Cary Cup, that he’d mostly be looping against backspin and then hitting.

Now I could have said, “No, you have to think long-term and focus on looping more,” or the opposite, “Sure, we’ll forget about looping and worry about developing that later on.” Instead, I did something in between. I pulled out an invisible piece of paper, and wrote with invisible ink with an invisible pen the invisible words, “After the Cary Cup, I will focus on looping in rallies.” I then pricked his finger with an invisible pin, and he signed the agreement with invisible blood. And so we spent the session preparing him for the Cary Cup...




Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 13:10
March 28, 2017

Stomach Queasiness and the Tip of the Week
For the second day in a row I woke up to what feels like the World Table Tennis Championships going on in my stomach. I’m guessing it’s some sort of stomach virus, or some sort of cold or flu, or perhaps I swallowed a gross of ping-pong balls or something. Symptoms are extreme stomach queasiness and discomfort; runny nose; extreme exhaustion; and an extreme compulsion to lie down for a few years. I started writing the Tip of the Week (Serve and Forehand Loop), but I think I’ll finish that tomorrow. I did manage to get through 3.5 hours of coaching yesterday, despite exhaustion, helped out by one player having to cancel (I had 4.5 hours scheduled). Tonight I only have two. (My current schedule: Sun 8.5 hours; Mon 4.5 hours; Tue 2 hours; Wed 2 hours; Thu & Fri off - writing days; Sat 5-7 hours.) 

Some of this might have been brought on by recent very bad sleep habits. I generally go to bed sometime between midnight and 1AM, and up at 7AM, but recently I’ve been up until 3AM, and still getting up at 7AM as that’s when I keep waking up – probably because the...




Monday, March 27, 2017 - 13:38
March 27, 2017

Alas, I woke up this morning feeling sick to my stomach. So I think I need to take a sick day - or at least a sick morning. I have 4.5 hours of coaching scheduled today (3:30-8:00), and I'm determined to make that somehow. (The nice thing about coaching is that you can stay ten feet away from your student.) But I'm probably going to spend most of the day in bed, and see how things are this afternoon. (I don't think I have a fever, but I'll take my temperature later today.) I'll be back tomorrow. While I'm gone, you can browse over the results, articles, and videos at the USA Team Trials page - they were held this past weekend. 




Friday, March 24, 2017 - 14:00
March 24, 2017

USA National Team Trials
They had the preliminary qualifier yesterday, with the main Trials today through Sunday. Tournament is at the Triangle TTC in North Carolina. Below are links. Livestreaming  starts at noon today, Eastern time. I wish I were there!

USATT Team Funding Week
USATT has a funding page, Friends with Paddles, where you can “directly fund USATT’s...




Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 14:16
March 23, 2017

Tips of the Week and Equipment
I’ve been doing them almost every Monday since January, 2011 - in all, 306 of them. I’m still coming up with them, but it’s not as easy as before. Do you have something you’d like me to write about? Here’s your chance - comment below! Serve (my second favorite topic!), receive, strokes, footwork, tactics (my favorite!), training and improving, sports psychology, equipment, tournaments - take your pick!

Tips can cover nearly all aspects of the sport. The only thing I avoid are ones on specific equipment. I’m sponsored by Butterfly, so writing about rival equipment would be a problem. At the same time, if I write strictly about Butterfly equipment, then my writing is a bit biased. So long ago I decided to stay away from discussing specific equipment in the Tips.

The Tips are all online, but in chronological order. If you want to see them organized in logical order, by subject, with a table of contents, then you can read the first 300 of them this way in...




Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 13:23
March 22, 2017

Serve and Attack
One of my junior students (age 10, about 1600) is a great rallier, but often just serves to put the ball in play. So now we’re focusing on third-ball attacking. He knows he’s supposed to do this, but to make it a habit, he has to do it in games. The problem is most of his games are either league or tournament matches – and he doesn’t want to lose those. So we’re arranging for him to play regular practice matches once a week where he just plays games, where he can work on new things such as this.

The problem with league matches is 1) they are rated, and players get protective about even league ratings, and 2) if you do poorly, you move down a division the following week. As I explained to him, 1) you shouldn’t take the league ratings seriously (or other ratings, for that matter), and 2) if he moves down a division one week, it’s actually an opportunity, as that means he can focus on beating these “weaker” players with his third-ball attacks.

I’m working with him on three types of third ball attacks:

  1. Serve short, follow with forehand.
  2. ...