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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

Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 08:53
March 15, 2018

A Monstrous Week
Wow . . . the sheer amount of stuff that's gone on this week is beyond mindboggling. Here's a rundown.

  • Power Outage. Remember the planned power outage I wrote about that was supposed to happen on Wednesday, 7AM - 5PM? Rather than lose a day, I was up at 6AM, packed the computer, monitor, printer/scanner, and lots of other supplies, and Tim and I left to go to the club (MDTTC) to work in the back room there. I got everything set up there by 8AM, and we were set to go to work. Then we received an email at 8:07AM that due to freezing temperatures - 32 even - they were postponing the outage. (Don't they read weather reports?) So I packed everything up again and went back home. Roughly speaking, from 6:30-9:30AM all we did was pack up things, move them, and set them up again. One worrisome item - while setting up at the club, I plugged in a power cord, and then tossed the cord under a table so I could connect it to the computer. As I tossed it, I felt a sharp pang in my shoulder. Hopefully I didn't hurt it much. I have to be very careful with that arm.
  • History of Table Tennis:...



Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 11:12
No Blog Tuesday and Wednesday

Power will be out in my house on Wednesday for outside electrical repairs (7AM-5PM), so Tim and I need to finish Volume 21 of his History of U.S. Table Tennis today. Translation: I worked practically all night Monday night, and we'll be working all day and late into the night on Tuesday to finalize everything. So no time for the blog. I'll be back on Thursday. Meanwhile, here are Strange Ping-Pong Tables and Other TT Stuff!




Monday, March 12, 2018 - 11:20
March 12, 2018

Tip of the Week
"Hot Anger" versus "Cold Anger."

Weekend Update - Coaching
In the Saturday Junior League & Camp (two hours, about 25 players), the focus was on serve and attack, and handling your opponent's attack. We had them play games where the server had to serve and attack (or counter-attack if the receiver attacked the serve), or he instantly lost the point. However, the receiver, if he won the point after the server attacked, won two points. It made things interesting!

In the Sunday Beginning Class (90 minutes, 15 players) - week nine out of ten this session - the focus was on serves, smashing, and smashing lobs. I was impressed with some of the kids who are really learning to spin their serves. Two kids were practicing serves on the same table, with one serving forehand pendulum serves from the backhand side, the other serving backhand serves from the forehand side, and since they often timed it so they served at the same time, it was interesting to watch their respective serves spin away from each other.

...




Friday, March 9, 2018 - 13:52
March 9, 2018

USA's Best: Past, Present, and Future
Here's a quick look at our best in the past, present and future. Here goes - and if you aren't interested in our history, skip ahead to the Present and Future!

PAST

USA's best heyday was 1936-1938. USA had stars like Ruth Aarons, Jimmy McClure, Robert Blattner, and Sol Schiff. During that period they won the following titles at the World Championships:

  • Men's Teams: 1937
  • Women's Teams: 1937, finalist in 1936
  • Women's Singles: 1936, 1937 (Ruth Aarons both times)
  • Men's Doubles: 1936, 1937, 1938 (McClure/Blattner 1936-37, McClure/Schiff 1938)

Not a bad record!

There were no World Championships from 1940-1946 due to World War 2. And then Team USA returned almost as strong as before, with a whole new set of stars - Dick Miles, Marty Reisman, Lou Pagliaro, Mae Clouther, Reba Monness, and the sisters, Leah Thall Neuberger and Thelma "Tybie" Thall Sommer. Here are their results at the Worlds right after World War 2:

  • 1947: Finalist in Men's Teams, Finalist in Women's...



Thursday, March 8, 2018 - 12:34
March 8, 2018

Alas, between the long hours working with Tim Boggan on his latest History of U.S. Table Tennis volume, and catching up on things last night, I wasn't able to put together a blog for this morning - and now I'm due to go back to work with Tim. So no blog this morning. Back tomorrow with a nice feature blog, tentatively about the past, present, and future of our national level players. I'll leave you with this quote, which I said to Tim after finally finishing a page after spending an hour on it fixing up problems and making numerous changes to it: "Our short national nightmare is over. Let's start the next one." And here's two minutes and nineteen seconds of cats playing table tennis.




Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 11:38
March 7, 2018

Update on History of U.S. Table Tennis and My Shoulder
Yesterday Tim Boggan and I spent most of the day going back and putting in captions and photo credits for the 116 pages we'd done on Sunday and Monday. Between that and the many changes Tim had, we only got one additional chapter done. (This time we did the captions and credits as we did the pages.) So we've now done nine chapters and 132 pages. I haven't kept track of the graphics, but I'll get a count later on.

Volume 21 covers 1994-1995. Since this was during my first tenure as editor of USA Table Tennis Magazine, probably half of the material is direct from things I wrote. So I'm having some nostalgic times seeing my past words. (Yeah, I have a lot of articles - 1791 to exact, plus 13 books. As to USA Table Tennis Magazine, I did 91 issues, 1991-1995, 1999-2007.)

It looks like it's going to take a little over eleven working days to finish, so if all goes well, we'll finish next Wednesday or Thursday. We'll...




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...