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Welcome to TableTennisCoaching.com, your Worldwide Center for Table Tennis Coaching!

 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

Friday, May 29, 2015 - 09:34
May 29, 2015

"Ping Pong’s First Fantasy Novel a Smashing Read!"

Here’s the review from MH Table Tennis. Disclosure: It’s my novel!!! (And that’s why it goes first in my blog.) There’s also a 5-star review at Amazon:

“A fascinating story of an American wanting to be the best in the world of table tennis, going to China for some magical and intriguing training sessions, and how he eventually achieved his hard-earned success. The best part is in the journey of it - vivid, colorful descriptions of the matches, processes, psyches, and sometimes point-by-point analysis. This was a real page-turner, and was one of the best binges I've been on.”

As noted in my blog yesterday, there have also been news items at the below:

  • ...

Thursday, May 28, 2015 - 11:37
May 28, 2015

The Spirit of Pong

The Spirit of Pong is getting a lot of publicity!

Meanwhile, 10-year-old Daniel Sofer, a student of mine (who I wrote about yesterday), read it cover to cover on Tuesday night . . . and found three typos. AAAAAHHHHH!!!!! (Fortunately, it’s in print on demand and kindle formats, so I can upload a new version and...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 11:14
May 27, 2015

Forehand and Backhand Loops Falling into Place

I had a great 90-minute session yesterday with one of our top 10-year-olds, Daniel, who’s rated 1639. (They said it was okay to blog about it.) In practice, he alternates between pretty good and then extremely awkward forehand looping, the latter because he either rushes or hangs back and plays lackadaisical. His contact point for his forehand loop, whether against backspin or topspin, is often all over the place, and so he can’t really time it, and it throws the rest of his body off as well. (His backhand loop right now is probably better than his forehand loop.)

I told him at the start of the session we were going to do a lot of shadow practice during the session, where we’d do the stroke and imagine the contact point. We’d done this once before and it worked well, but he’d fallen back into old habits. I explained the importance of stroking and contacting the ball roughly the same way each time, and we went through the stroke slowly to re-enforce the proper technique and contact point.

And guess what? Suddenly Daniel was looping over and over really well...

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 - 11:03
May 26, 2015

Three Items From Yesterday’s Blog You Might Have Missed

Memorial Day Table Tennis

Monday, May 25, 2015 - 11:39
May 25, 2015

No Blog Today – Memorial Day

While you get the day off, I’m hard at work with Tim Boggan putting together Vol. 16 of his History of U.S. Table Tennis. (Plus three hours of private coaching.) We hope to finish by Friday, June 5. I do the page layouts and lots of photo work. Meanwhile, here are a few things to tide you over until tomorrow.

Tip of the Week

Performance vs. Results.

The Spirit of Pong

Here’s the ITTF news item on my new fantasy table tennis novel! Why oh why haven’t you bought one yet??? (Print and Kindle versions.)

Ice Pong

Here’s the video (1:54) as two players genuinely go at it while skating around to music!!!


Friday, May 22, 2015 - 14:06
May 22, 2015

Top Ten Reasons to Attend the 2015 US Open

If you aren’t one of the 471 players entered so far in the US Open (Las Vegas, July 6-11), or a parent or coach attending, then consider this a warning. If you don’t go to this years’ US Open, you are going to miss it!!! Just what are you going to miss? (Deadline is Sunday, May 31, with entries accepted until Sunday, June 7, with a $75 late fee.)  So here are the Top Ten Reasons to Enter the US Open.

  1. Compete in some of the 94 events, which are all listed on the US Open page, as well as on the domestic entry form (for US players) and the...

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 09:21
May 21, 2015


That’s what time it is as I write this. (I posted it at 5:22AM; it normally goes up between 9AM and 10AM.) No, I didn’t get up early; I’ve been up all night working on various projects. I’m going to go ahead and post this shortly before going to bed. So what have I been working on tonight?

  • Samson Dubina’s new coaching book. Get ready to mark your calendars: it’s coming soon!
  • This blog, a little shorter than usual as I’m a bit too tired to have deep thoughts right now.
  • Regional Table Tennis Association Sample Bylaws. But I won’t be going public with much of my work on regional associations and related issues until this fall. (I’ll be pretty busy all summer due to our summer camps, which start in a few weeks.)
  • US Open plans. Are you going? C’mon, you have to!!!
  • Top secret discussions regarding the serving rule, which could lead to a better service rule where players don’t hide their serves, leading to peace...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 13:50
May 20, 2015

Disabled Veterans Camp

We had nine players in the camp yesterday from 10AM-1PM. A big thank you goes to assistants Steve Hochman and Josh Friedlander, who volunteered to help out as coaches/practice partners. It was another great and highly enthusiastic group. We covered all the basics - grip and stance, forehand and backhand, pushing, and serving. We finished with the ten-cup challenge, where everyone had two chances to see how many cups they could knock over with Steve and I feeding multiball. 

The camp was made possible by a grant to USATT from the USOC. Not only is the entire camp paid for - the players don't pay a cent - but they sent a box of goodies for the players. Each of the players received a nice Stiga racket with sponge. It was an honor working with these servicemen. I'd like to thank them for all the hard work they put in, both in uniform and at the camp! I'd also like to thank those who made it possible - the USOC and USATT, the Department of Veteran Affairs, MDTTC officer Wen Hsu, and especially Jasna Reed, USATT's Director of Para Programs. 

Arm Problems Non-Problems...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 12:51
May 19, 2015

Another Eventful Day

Here’s a rundown of yesterday’s events.

  • Disabled Veterans Camp. From 10AM-1PM I ran the first day of a two-day clinic for disabled veterans. (I did this last August as well, so perhaps it’ll be an annual thing.) It was supposed to be four days, but we didn’t get anyone signed up for Wed and Thur. We only had three signed up for the first day, but have about ten coming today.

    I went over the basics – grip, forehand, backhand, pushing, serve, receive, and looping. We used the robot a lot. There was a wheelchair player, so I spent some time with him going over the differences there. I also explained various organizations – USATT and Paralympics, MDTTC, and local leagues. The players were surprisingly good – probably close to 1000 level with a little practice.

    There was an interesting juxtaposition at the start – on three nearly adjacent tables we had two disabled military veterans (one in a wheelchair), two Buddhist monks in full robes who had come in for lessons, and two 2550 players (Wang Qing Liang and Han Xiao).

  • Orthopedist...

Monday, May 18, 2015 - 12:25
May 18, 2015

Tip of the Week

Become a Player of Routine.

Number of Hours and Hits in a Lifetime

Let’s do the calculation for myself.

  • I’ve started playing table tennis in 1976 when I was 16. From 1976-1985, nine years, I probably averaged at least three hours/day practice. So that’s 21 hours/week for nine years, or 9828 hours. (I played some recreationally before that, but those hours are inconsequential.)
  • From 1986-1989 (four years, actually starting at the end of 1985 and continuing to the end of 1989) I was a manager/director/coach for table tennis at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. I was often used as a practice partner during the three-hour sessions, plus did other sessions in camps and local clubs. I’m guessing that I averaged two hours/day, so about 14 hours/week, or 2912 hours.
  • From 1990-1991 (two years) I played at local clubs while going to graduate school. I probably continued to average two hours/day, so again 14 hours/week, or 1456 hours.
  • From 1992-1997 and...