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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

Monday, October 19, 2020 - 16:58
October 19, 2020

Tip of the Week
Sometimes Hit Twice to the Same Spot.

Weekend Coaching and Shadow Practice
I worked mostly with the youngest players on Sunday. In the 90-minute session, we spent the first 45 minutes doing multiball. For most of it, I'd feed multiball to one player, with various footwork drills, while I'd have one or two others behind him, shadow-practicing as they match the player's movements. I'd rotate them every two minutes or so. It's a great way to work with beginning-intermediate players. Here's a video example (61 sec), but not of the players I was working with, who are a little more advanced.

Shadow practice is one of the most under-utilized training techniques. Most players try to develop both their technique and timing at the same time (i.e. stroke and hit the ball in a drill), when you can develop the stroke better if you don't always have to also time it to hit the ball. You need both, of course, but if you shadow-stroke the...




Monday, October 12, 2020 - 16:56
October 12, 2020

Tip of the Week
Don't Telegraph the Direction of Your Attack.

USA Table Tennis Announces New Membership Programs for 2021
Here's the USATT news item. Here are the first two paragraphs:

"USA Table Tennis, the National Governing Body for the sport of table tennis, today announced that the organization is implementing a new, simplified membership structure, which will take effect on January 1, 2021. Under the new program, members can select one of two available annual memberships – "Basic" and "Pro" – depending on each particular member's playing goals."

"The Pro Plan, which will cost $75 per year, will allow the member to play in all USATT Sanctioned Tournaments and Leagues, including the US Nationals and US Open. The Basic Plan, which will cost $25, permits the member to play in 0 – 4 Star...




Monday, October 5, 2020 - 16:56
October 5, 2020

Tip of the Week
Exaggerate Serving Follow-Through in "Wrong" Direction.

This is B.E.S.T. Week - Buy Every Seemiller Tome!
Here's the new Dan Seemiller page, where you can buy both of the books by USA's greatest modern player. (It's a relatively simple page I put together.) One teaches you how to play table tennis; the other is about his table tennis life.

Here's Dan's very short resume:

  • Dan Seemiller's USATT Hall of Fame Profile (by Tim Boggan)
  • 5-time U.S. Men's Singles Champion: 1976, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983
  • 12-time U.S. Men's Doubles Champion: 1976-1983, 1990-1991, 1994, 2009
  • 7-time U.S. Mixed Doubles Champion: 1976-1978, 1981-1983, 1988
  • U.S. Men's National Team Coach, 1999-2009
  • U.S. Men's Olympic Coach, 2000 Sydney...



Monday, September 28, 2020 - 16:54
September 28, 2020

Tip of the Week
Use Quickness, Ball Placement, and Variation Against Short Serves.

Two Zoom Coaches Meetings
I was on two coaches Zoom meetings this past week.

  • Meet the Coaching Committee (26:57). This was on Wednesday, with USATT COO Mark Thompson interviewing Pieke Franssen (chair), Gao Jun, Dave Fullen, and Larry Hodges (me).
  • USA Table Tennis Coaches Catch-up (33:48). This is a new bi-weekly meeting for USATT coaches, held every other Friday at noon eastern time. Come join us! Attending this first one were Sean O'Neill (USATT High Performance Director), Doru Gheorghe (USATT High Performance Manager), Jasna Rather (USATT Director of Para Programs), Samson Dubina, Dora Kurimay, and Larry Hodges (me). For this meeting, topics of discussion were Club Status; Group and Private Lessons Status; USATT...



Monday, September 21, 2020 - 16:24
September 21, 2020

Tip of the Week
Against a Fast Attacker, Make At Least Two Strong Shots.

USA Table Tennis Reschedules US National Table Tennis Championships for July of 2021 . . . and My Recommendation
Here's the USATT news item. Dang! But here is my recommendation.

The problem of moving the 2020 Nationals to 2021 is that you've skipped an entire year (2020), so are the winners of the 2021 Nationals the champions for 2020 or 2021? Or are they going to run the 2020 and 2021 Nationals together or back-to-back? Suppose they run both, running the championship events as they normally do, with lots of round robin events, but only running one set of rating events. This would mean going from five or six days to nine or even ten, and many players can't afford to take that much time off. It could be a logistical nightmare as well. But there's an easier way.

My suggestion is to, this one time, run all the championship...




Monday, September 14, 2020 - 17:01
September 14, 2020

Tip of the Week
A Trick to Beat a Tricky Pusher.

Breaking News - US Nationals Postponed to July, 2021 in Las Vegas
Here's the news item - added on Tuesday.

Weekend Coaching
On Sunday, I worked with Group 3 of our Junior program. Most of the group did a practice tournament. However, two of the players weren't really ready for matches, and so I worked with those two the entire session. Focus was on fundamentals.

I came up with what will now go down in history as the greatest table tennis joke, to be retold through the ages. (But you have to pay me $1 every time you use it.) I asked one of the kids how many hands he has. He said two and held them up. I said I have four hands. He didn't believe me, so I shadow-practiced my forehand and said, "See, these are my four hands." (...




Monday, September 7, 2020 - 16:59
September 7, 2020

Tip of the Week
Tactics Early In a Match: Explorers and Dominators.

My Interview at Butterfly
Here's my PongNow video (30:46) by Steve Hopkins at Butterfly! We covered a lot of material - enjoy!

Weekend Coaching
This was my first full day of coaching at MDTTC in six months. I started at noon and didn't leave until 7:15PM!!!

Because of the pandemic, our elite junior program - the "Talent Development Program" - is now divided into three levels, no more than twelve players at a time. At noon I helped coach the Level 3 group (along with John Hsu), which also is mostly the youngest group. One girl (age 7) has mostly been doing regular forehands and backhands, and lots of footwork, but has barely worked on pushing - so I spent much of the session working with her on both backhand and forehand pushing. She got pretty excited when she would pull off ones that were heavy enough that they'd stop bouncing and even bounce back...




Monday, August 31, 2020 - 16:35
August 31, 2020

Tip of the Week
Move Like a Pro.

USA Table Tennis Elections
BREAKING NEWS (added Tuesday because of timeliness) - Here is the USATT Elections news item. It's timely as the deadline to apply is Sept. 10. The elections are for one or two At-Large Representatives (it's not clear) and one Club Representative. USATT really could use some new people on their Board of Directors, so why not run?

The news item is a bit confusing. It refers to the rules for the election in the USATT bylaws, but gives no link to those bylaws. It refers to the election for At-Large Representative, but doesn't mention that, according to the very bylaw referred to, there are two At-Large positions, so presumably two At-...




Wednesday, August 26, 2020 - 16:01
August 26, 2020

Tip of the Week
On Short Serves to the Forehand, Challenge the Forehand, Often Go to the Backhand.

Two Weeks Training at the Samson Dubina Mega Camp in Ohio
So what was I, at age 60 and out of shape, doing training with players one-fifth to one-half my age, including numerous footwork drills that left me gasping for air and my body screaming at me to have common sense and go home and watch TV?

Like many others, I was stuck at home for five months because of the pandemic, where I got way out of shape and gained weight. So I decided to do something about it. (My club, MDTTC, where I coach, was partly open, but all group sessions, including training camps, had been cancelled.) So I contacted Samson and arranged that I'd come as a player in the mornings, a practice partner in the afternoons. That would mean five hours of intense play each day, Aug. 10-14 and 17-21.

Then I hopped in my car and drove the five hours from Maryland to Akron, Ohio and the...




Monday, August 24, 2020 - 01:40
August 23, 2020

Tip of the Week
On Short Serves to the Forehand, Challenge the Forehand, Often Go to the Backhand.

This Week's Blog Will Go Up on Wednesday
I was supposed to be return home on Friday night after twelve days in Ohio. However…

I left Akron at about 5:10 PM on Friday. At around 6:25 PM, while near Beaver Falls, PA, while in the far left lane (on I-76E, going about 75 mph, speed limit 70), I had a car accident. I was snacking on a bag of walnuts on my lap, which fell on the floor. I checked to make sure no cars were around and then reached for the walnuts. I inadvertently swerved right. I then swerved left to get back in my lane, but the car spun and hit the left wall. It bounced right, and I thought I'd regained control. But both left tires went flat when they hit the wall, and so I lost control, and my car spun across the highway. (But no cars around.) It hit the right side embankment and flipped in the air at least once and the landed upside down. The car is 100% totaled. 

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