June 19, 2023

Tip of the Week
Stepping Versus Lunging.

Yet Still More Table Tennis Tips
My new book is out!!! It’s on sale at Amazon for only $14.95. It’s my 20th book and fourth in the Tips series:

Here’s the book description from Amazon:

Here are 150 Tips to help your table tennis game, by Larry Hodges - a member of the U.S. Table Tennis Hall of Fame and a National Coach. They compile in logical progression three years' worth of Tips of the Week (2020-2023) from TableTennisCoaching.com. They cover all aspects of the game: Serve, Receive, the Strokes, Grip and Stance, Footwork, Tactics, How to Improve, Sports Psychology, Equipment, and Tournaments. (This is a sequel to "Table Tennis Tips," which covered the 150 Tips from 2011-2013, "More Table Tennis Tips," which covered the 150 Tips from 2014-2016, and "Still More Table Tennis Tips," which covered the 150 Tips from 2017-2020.)

It's 162 pages with ten chapters:

  1. Serve
  2. Receive
  3. Strokes
  4. Footwork and Positioning
  5. Tactics
  6. Training and Strategic Development
  7. Sports Psychology
  8. Coaching
  9. Tournaments
  10. Miscellaneous

Sure, you could practice many long hours, but with this book . . . why hit when you can buy it? (Think you can come up with a better rhyme for “buy it”? No? Then quiet!)

MDTTC Open and Weekend Coaching
Here are the results of the MDTTC Open held this weekend at my club in Gaithersburg, MD, USA. Many of our junior players, after months of hard training, had breakout performances. Ratings are only an indicator of recent performance . . . but when the ratings come out (possibly today), there will be a large influx for them.

We only had one group junior session, the novice group, the last regular training session of the season. But our summer camps start today, June 19 to Aug. 25. I used to run these camps, but in recent years we have so many full-time coaches who need the hours that I’m only there part-time. (EDIT - shortly after writing this they asked if I could come in Tue morning and perhaps other days.) I’m semi-retired and so get to stay home more and write books! With the novice group, I did a lot of down-the-line practice. To help with this, I put one of the ball nets on the table so they only had about 18 inches of table to hit into. It’s not only good practice, but it’s another way to challenge the kids, which keeps things interesting for them.

Alas, I hurt my shoulder again. How did I do it? Technically, I can say I did it while coaching Todd Klinger, one of our players in group one, the top group. But it happened in the lounge. How did it happen?

I was watching Santiago Acosta play in our tournament against one of our top juniors and recognized a tactic he was using, one I used to use a lot and talk about in my book, Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers. I don’t know if he was doing it consciously or not, but it’s an effective tactic against a fast player. He was playing steady with his backhand, covering both the wide backhand and middle with it, but just waiting for the opponent to change directions and go to his forehand. Since he was waiting for it, it didn’t matter if the shot coming at him was a strong one – he jumped on it over and over. The key is that as soon as you see the opponent changing directions, you don’t wait – you practically jump to the wide forehand and counter-smack the ball. If the ball were to go into the middle forehand, you’re helpless since you are already covering the wide angle. But good players don’t go to the middle forehand when changing directions, and so you can anticipate it’s going wide. Result? He kept making spectacular forehand counter-attacks. The way to play against this strategy, of course, is to first, realize the opponent’s “middle” is now just to the right of the middle line of his forehand side; and second, mostly go after the middle and wide backhand, and don’t give into the temptation of going to the wide forehand if the opponent is waiting for it.

What does all this have to do with injuring my shoulder? I made the mistake of demonstrating this for Todd, shadow hitting a few steady backhands, and then the sudden move to the wide forehand and a quick forehand – and two seconds later yelled, “OW!!!” Yep, hurt it again. I injured it 2.5 months ago and still haven’t gotten over it, probably because I keep hurting it again while coaching even though I’m only hitting with beginning/intermediate players. Anyway, at this point I’m guessing it’s at most 50-50 if I’ll be able to play at the Nationals. I’m there mostly to coach, but I’m also entered in two hardbat events, Over 40 and over 60. (I’m the defending Over 40 champion, which I’ve won eight times.)

US Classic Nationals
The US Classic Nationals, for Hardbat and Sandpaper, are in Austin, TX, on Aug. 12, run by Steve Claflin. You can enter via Omnipong. I’ll be there, both playing and doing coverage – will you? Here’s the article I wrote about them and two other upcoming Classic tournaments.

WTT Contender Lagos 2023
Here’s the home page for the event that took place in Lagos, Nigeria, June 12-18. Here are the Men’s and Women’s finals.

How Pros Train Off The Table With Fitness Trainer Kevin Finn
Here’s the video (49:48) from Seth Pech. “Produce more explosive power in shots, Attain better stamina, increase overall strength without increase in size and weight.”

Butterfly Training Tips

How to Improve Your Reaction Time By Doing a Simple Random Topspin Attack to Backhand Drill
Here’s the video (2:23) from PongSpace featuring Damien Provost.

New from Samson Dubina

New from Ti Long

New from PingSunday/EmRathThich

Harmeet Desai Forehand Flick against Jang Woojin
Here’s the video (79 sec) from Drupe Pong.

Fan Zhendong Ma Long and Others Train at WTTC Durban 2023
Here’s the video (9:59) from the Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

Interview with Bojan Besinger
Here’s the video (15:12) from Pingispågarna with the German coach who runs the coaching company High Performance Table Tennis.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from Steve Hopkins

Tournament Highlights

A Thrilling Journey at the Silicon Valley Teams Championship: Battles, Challenges, and Unforgettable Moments
Here’s the article by Charles Shen.

2023 Maryland Senior Olympics
Here’s the video (7:10) and here are results for the event held June 3 at the Potomac Community Center in Potomac, MD. John Olsen/Kevin Walton, two players I used to coach regularly, won 55-59 Men’s Doubles. (They didn’t play singles. They will be competing at the National Senior Games in Pittsburgh, July 12-18, in both singles and doubles.)

New from ITTF

Washington and New Delhi Share Interests, Not Values
No table tennis in this article from Foreign Affairs, but a nice table tennis image! Yes, that’s USA and India vs. China ping-pong paddles.

Blondie – Table Tennis Moves
Here’s the Blondie cartoon from yesterday (6-18-23)!

Ping-Pong in the Stone Age
Here’s the table tennis cartoon from 1901, on sale at Ebay! (Here’s a larger version.)

Pongfinity 4,000,000 Table Tennis Match
Here’s the video (15:22) from Pongfinity!

YouTuber vs. 10 Pros
Here’s the video (12:24) from Adam Bobrow! “After beating the top player at a club in Bali, I got invited to play the PRO team!” (So, how many did he beat?)

Forehand, Backhand Bird
Here’s the video (58 sec) – this is hilarious! (It looks like a crow or raven, except its throat and top of the head are turquoise. Email me if you can identify what type of bird this is. I Googled but couldn’t find it.)
BREAKING NEWS - it's a Superb Bird of Paradise from Papua New Guinea (see the second picture, which looks like the one above), according to Lance Bode, who emailed me this morning. 

Send us your own coaching news!