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 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

Monday, March 26, 2018 - 12:59
March 26, 2018

I'm coaching this morning at the MDTTC Spring Break Camp, and ran out of time to do my blog. I'll be back tomorrow. Meanwhile, here's a Doubles Fighting Pong Cartoon - could one of them be you?




Friday, March 23, 2018 - 13:00
March 23, 2018

Coaching "Future Stars" vs. Coaching "Older Players" and Fixing Bad Habits
There's a huge difference between coaching, say, a young, up-and-coming player, who started out with a good coach and has good basic technique; and coaching either an older player, or one who has technique problems.

Many top players, without extensive coaching experience, can be somewhat effective in working with young, up-and-coming players, since they are basically coaching younger versions of themselves, and are simply molding the player as they hone those good techniques as they player develops. In fact, much of the coaching may be inspirational, where you help the player strive to be the best. There's more to it than this, but there's less creative thinking involved in trying to solve problems, as opposed to continued pushing of the player to higher and higher levels, where the biggest need is often exactly what the top player brings - high-level play as a practice partner. (Alas, there are aspects where a top player with less coaching experience might miss, which may hurt the player eventually, but they are often subtle, and mostly...




Thursday, March 22, 2018 - 13:01
March 22, 2018

Shoulder and Snow
Just a short blog as I'm off for a morning shoulder therapy session to make up for the cancelled one yesterday, due to the snow (about eight inches). I'm still a bit worried about the shoulder as at least once a day I do something that reminds me that there is still an injury in there. Much of the therapy is not about the injury, but loosening up the muscles around it that are constantly pulling on it. (I probably have the tightest shoulder muscles in the history of the galaxy.) As noted in a previous blog, I aggravated the shoulder last Wednesday while tossing a power cord under a table. That's all it took.

Tentatively, I plan to start private coaching with beginners starting Saturday, March 31, and see how it is. I'm leery of testing it against stronger players, where I'd have to get more physical.

Return to Ready Stance Drill
Here's the video (32 sec) from EmRatThich.

To Boost Or Not To Boost …..
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Wednesday, March 21, 2018 - 13:44
March 21, 2018

It's Snowing
Yes, it's snowing - we're supposed to get 5-8 inches here in Maryland. But that barely affects us, an indoor sport, correct? Well, obviously it does affect us as players have to get to the club before they can take part in the world's greatest indoor sport. We had to cancel our Tuesday night league last night due to weather.

Except why do we insist on believing table tennis is an indoor sport? Do you really need walls around you to play? I once did an outdoor exhibition with Scott Preiss in the rain, with the wind blowing. (Okay, we looked like amateurs.)

Table tennis can be played anywhere. Don't believe it?




Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 13:42
March 20, 2018

Doctors Over 2000
At the 1995 U.S. Nationals in Las Vegas, a player suffered a massive heart attack while playing. I was standing nearby when it happened, and was amazed at the response. Within minutes, he was surrounded by seven doctors and two nurses, all of them players or attendees at the Nationals. The patient survived. So now you know you are safe if you have a medical emergency at a big tournament! Here is a list of the doctors and nurses who saved the player:

  • Dr. Mark Schaffner
  • Dr. Robert Ho
  • Dr. Jiing Wang
  • Dr. Donald Geeze
  • Dr. Grady Gordon
  • Dr. Richard Poole
  • Dr. Michael Scott
  • Nurse Grace Matossian
  • Nurse Mary An Geeze

So there are a lot of doctors who play table tennis. But how many have reached a high level of play, such as over 2000? I'm going to include anyone who is a medical professional referred to as "Dr." (So this includes dentists, and other titles, such as a DPM (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine.) I put together a preliminary list of all I could think of, and then asked the question on Facebook on Saturday, and here is the...




Monday, March 19, 2018 - 13:49
March 19, 2018

Tip of the Week
Your Goal Should Normally Be to Win Playing the Style You Are Developing.

Serving Backspin, Tim's Latest History Book, the Flu, and an Irritating Writing Project
Let's go in order here!

  • Serving backspin. Too many of our local kids don't really have heavy backspin serves. So I'm starting to take it on as a project to solve this problem. Yesterday I gave a short lecture/clinic to eight of them, demonstrating this, and worked with them on it. The key thing is that some have developed the habit of contacting the ball in a certain way, rather than on trying to graze the ball more and more finely for maximum spin. Once they are getting decent backspin, I'm going to introduce them to the backspin game, and then they'll all go crazy competing at it, and soon they'll all be able to serve heavy backspin. What is the backspin game? Everyone gets five or ten serves. If you serve with enough backspin that the ball comes back into the net, you get one point. If it bounces back over the net cleanly...



Friday, March 16, 2018 - 14:10
March 16, 2018

USATT Hall of Fame
Every major sport has a Hall of Fame where fans can read about their favorite stars and learn about others. The USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame was created in 1979 - after a "false start" in 1966 (read about this in the History of the Hall of Fame). Steve Isaacson was the primary mover in its creation. The Hall honors the greatest table tennis players, officials, and contributors since USATT (then USTTA) was formed in 1933.

Now there are an even 150 members - 97 players and 53 officials/contributors. (Note that there were no inductions in 2016, the year USATT switched the Nationals from December to July.) Each year potential inductees are Nominated, and then the Hall of Fame Committee (President Sean O'Neill, Tim...




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.

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