September 1, 2017

USATT Club Coach Certification Course
Much of the current USATT coaching certification process was set up when we had few coaches in this country, and were desperately trying to get coaches certified. (I was coaching chair for four years in the 1990s, and remember those problems.) Currently you can become a club coach just by passing a test, having two years USATT membership, and a 1400 rating, current or past.

I don’t think you should have specific rating requirements for specific coaching levels – they are separate things, though closely related. A better rule would be to require (along with other criteria) a specific minimum rating achieved, or similar relevant experience. So that’s going to change.

We’re looking to change the certification process, now that we have so many more coaches than before. Below is a very rough outline of a six-hour coaching seminar for becoming club coach. Later I will expand on it, giving more details on what should be taught in each segment and how. It should be somewhat easy for any high-level coach to run such a seminar at any club in the country, where they’d just roughly follow the seminar schedule, and we’d assume that the high-level coaches would know how to teach each aspect listed. Those who take the seminar would, with the approval of the coach teaching the course, become USATT certified Club Coaches.  (There are four levels - Club, State, Regional, and National. There's also Instructor, but that's designed for non-table tennis people, such as a PE instructor. Here are the current USATT coaching certification guidelines.) 

I toyed with calling it the Club Coach Certification Program, or CCCP – but some might remember that has a rather onerous vibe to it! (It’s the Russian abbreviation for the Soviet Union.) Some of you might also remember that I already did this – when I was Club Chair in the 1990s, I set up the Club Catalyst and Creation Program (CCCP)! (It led to an increase from 226 to 301 clubs in two years.)

USATT Club Coach Certification Course
By Larry Hodges (USATT coaching chair)


  • USATT membership
  • Minimum 1400 rating, or 3 years USATT membership or equivalent and 100 tournament or league matches. This is to show minimal experience in table tennis.
  • Certification fee (would be part of the course fee)
  • Pass SafeSport

For each topic, the coach should start with a demo, then have the students do a short session where they practice and demonstrate the technique. The following assumes a 9AM-Noon, 1-4PM schedule. Coaches can vary as needed. (Note – I’m 90% certain I’m going to take out the section on Tactics near the end – save that for State level – and find room for sections on chopping, fishing & lobbing, and smashing lobs.)

  1. Introductions (9:00-9:05)
  2. Multiball (9:05-9:30)
    1. Topspin
    2. Backspin
    3. Short
    4. Various drills
  3. Grip & Stance (9:30-9:40)
    1. Shakehand
    2. Penhold
    3. Ball bouncing
    4. Stance
  4. Forehand drive and smash (9:40-10:05)
  5. Backhand drive and smash (10:05-10:30)
  6. Footwork (10:30-10:50) Students can practice at the table or just shadow practice
    1. Side to side
    2. In and out
  7. Break (10:50-11:00)
  8. Pushing (11:00-11:25)
    1. Backhand
    2. Forehand
    3. Short
  9. Blocking (11:25-11:45)
    1. Backhand
    2. Forehand
  10. 11:45-Noon Q&A
  11. Lunch (Noon-1:00
  12. Forehand loop (1:00-1:30)
    1. Purpose, contact, acceleration
    2. vs. backspin (students feed multiball to each other)
    3. vs. block
    4. counterlooping
  13. Backhand loop (1:30-1:50)
    1. vs. backspin (students feed multiball to each other)
    2. vs. block
  14. Forehand flip (1:50-2:00) (students feed multiball to each other)
  15. Backhand flip (2:00-2:15) (students feed multiball to each other)
    1. Regular
    2. Banana
  16. Break 2:15-2:25
  17. Serve (2:25-3:15)
    1. Creating spin
    2. Serving low
    3. Depth
    4. Fast & deep
  18. Receive (3:15-3:30) (Mostly lecture and demonstration)
    1. Reading spin
    2. Against long serve (aggressive)
    3. Against short serve (push long or short, flip)
  19. General tactics (3:30-3:40, Q&A)
  20. Coaching kids (3:40-3:50)
    1. Ball bouncing
    2. Lots of multiball for beginners
    3. 2/3 practice, 1/3 games?
  21. Q&A (3:50-4:00)

Update – History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 20
On Tuesday Tim Boggan received the proof copy. He found three more typos to fix. I fixed them, and yesterday I sent in an order for 50 copies to be sent to him. He’ll have them by Sept. 8, and then he’ll be able to start sending them out! Here’s the Tim Boggan Table Tennis Page, where you can order copies. (Volume 20 covers the years 1993-94, with 460 pages, 1714 graphics.)

ITTF Education Page
Here’s the page – have fun browsing!

Boll – Harimoto: The Kid’s Revenge
Here’s the analysis article and video of Tomokazu Harimoto’s win over Timo Boll in the Men’s Singles final of the Czech Open this past weekend. (Harimoto’s the 14-year-old whiz kid from Japan, now #20 in the world.) Here’s the ITTF page for the event, with results, articles, pictures, and video.

New from Samson Dubina

Table Tennis for One, With Help From a Robot
Here’s the article from the Wall Street Journal. I linked to this on Monday, but that version seemed to require a subscription. This one does not. (I changed the previous link to this one as well.)

DHS ITTF Top 10 - 2017 Bulgaria Open
Here’s the ITTF video (6:01).

Aggressive Backhand - Fan Zhendong
Here’s the video (30 sec).

Ma Long Hand Switch Shot 2017
Here’s the video (50 sec, including slo-mo replay).

Ma Long Lost Again (due to injury) Chinese National Games 2017
Here’s the video (8:48) with commentary in Chinese with English subtitles.

Xu Xin vs Fan Zhendong (2017 Chinese National Games)
Here’s the video (10:03, time between points removed). Here are articles and more video from the ITTF.

Umpire Surrounded by Crazy People
Here’s the picture. (Here’s the non-Facebook version.) “We had a lot of fun at the 2017 Aurora Ford Sales South Slave Open in Fort Smith.”

Larry vs. Derek, Crystal Umpiring
Here’s a video (8:43) of an exhibition I did with Derek Nie five years ago, with Crystal Wang umpiring.

Suh Hyo Won Dropping Some Goal Tricks!
Here’s the video (3:27)!

Wild and Crazy Table Tennis Serve
Here’s the video (3 sec).

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