May 20, 2024

Junior Trials #2 and No Blog Next Week
I’ll be out of town this next week, coaching at the US Junior Trials Part 2, May 24-27, at the 888 Table Tennis Center in Burlingame, CA. (The broke the trials into two parts this year, with results from both used to finalize the US junior teams.) Here is full info and the player listing. I fly out on Thursday, May 23, and return on Tuesday, May 28. So no blog next week, but there will be the usual Tip of the Week on Monday.

Tips of the Week
I was out of town last weekend, so no blog, but the Tip of the Week went up as usual. In case you missed it, here is that tip and this week’s tip.

April 15, 2024

Tip of the Week
How to Play Doubles with a Much Stronger or Weaker Player.
(Excerpt from Table Tennis Doubles for Champions by Larry Hodges. April is Doubles Month!)

Weekend Coaching
Had an interesting experience with two of our junior players, both about ten and still relative beginners. They were struggling to even hit three forehands in a row together – their shots just flew all over the table. So I hit with them, taking turns. Immediately they both were able to hit 50 or more in a row, mostly keeping the ball to my forehand corner, no problem. After a time I put them together again, and again they struggled. The problem was their feet weren’t “active,” and so whenever the ball wasn’t exactly where they were standing, they’d reach or lunge after it. So, yes, we spent a bunch of time working on getting their feet more active, including pointing out the obvious, “We do all these footwork drills so you can learn to move to the ball!”

April 8, 2024

Tip of the Week
Top Ten Things to Remember in Doubles.
(Excerpt from Table Tennis Doubles for Champions by Larry Hodges. April is Doubles Month!)

Weekend Coaching and My Short Stint as Head Tactical Coach for the Chinese National Team
I only coached one group junior session this past weekend (Beginning-Intermediate group) – our other coaches need the hours more than I do! I fed multiball for most of the session, then hit live with players the last 15 minutes or so. At the start we did a group shadow-practicing session, which is a good warmup, where we put the players through a series of stroking and footwork drills. Key things to remind players when they do this:

March 18, 2024

Next Blog on April 1
Not an April Fool’s Joke! I’ll be out of town, March 24-31, coaching at the US Junior Team Trials. See segment below. So no blog or tip on March 25. 

Tip of the Week
Let’s Talk About Shoes.

Table Tennis Doubles for Champions
It has come to my attention that you - yes, YOU, the one reading these words - have not yet bought a copy of my new book, Table Tennis Doubles for Champions. I know who you are. I have a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long table tennis career. If you buy the book now that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you and I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will beat you in ping-pong and take your rating points. (Oh My God, Liam Neeson has Taken my words and used them in his movie!)

March 11, 2024

NOTE – due to a neck injury (see “Weekend Coaching”) I can barely hold my head up straight. So, I’m doing a shortened version of my blog this week, where I’m skipping all the usual links. (I’ll catch up with them next week.) Much of the below was written in advance. The rest I painstakingly typed this morning.

Tip of the Week
The Four Types of Defense.

Table Tennis Doubles for Champions - NOW ON SALE!!!
My new book is out at Amazon!!! It’s 133 pages, with 109 pictures and illustrations. There have been many instructional books on singles, but rarely more than perhaps a few pages on doubles. So, if you like doubles, this is for you! (I’ve won a lot of doubles titles, but more importantly, I’ve coached a lot of doubles champions.) Chapters include:

March 4, 2024

Tip of the Week
The Definition of Insanity and Its Table Tennis Implications.

2024 US Table Tennis Hall of Fame Inductions
Here’s the announcement! Inducted this year are Glenn Cowan as a player, Stellan Bengtsson and Dennis Taylor as contributors, and Patty Martinez-Wasserman the Lifetime Achievement Award. The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Dinner will be held on Oct. 10 at the Houston International TT Academy, in conjunction with the Si and Patty Wasserman Jr. & Open Championships on Oct. 11-13. (I expect to be there, both for the HoF Inductions & dinner and to coach at the tournament.) I’ll be doing the Hall of Fame program booklet, as I’ve done since 2009. Already started on it! (On a side note, both Stellan and Dennis are on the Editorial Board for my upcoming book, “Table Tennis Doubles for Champions,” which should be out by the end of March.) Here are the honorees: