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 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

Monday, June 27, 2016 - 12:35
June 27, 2016

Tip of the Week
Inside-Out Forehand Floppy Wrist Flip.

Maryland State Championships
I ran them this past weekend, Sat & Sun. Here are the results. It was two very long days – I arrived at MDTTC each day at 7:45AM, and didn't get out until nearly 9PM both days. Lots of prize money and trophies were given out, there were many rating points exchanged, and many balls were broken. I was up half the night finishing the paperwork on the tournament, writing the press release, and other timely items – such as this blog. (I plan to do another version as a USATT news item.) The bad news: I didn't get to bed until after 4:15AM, and I have to coach at the MDTTC camp this morning…

Here is a version of the press release I sent out, adjusted for the table tennis audience. (In the version sent to local media, I put in everyone's home city, left out ratings, used more general terms, etc.)

$5000...




Friday, June 24, 2016 - 13:03
June 24, 2016

History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 18 – DONE!!! (and Cleaning Up Eyebrows???)
Our My long national nightmare is over. For the past two years weeks, as readers of this blog know, I've been working with USATT Historian Tim Boggan on this volume, and it's done, complete, out the door! Soon it'll join the other 17 volumes at the History of U.S. Table Tennis page, now that it's finished.

Well, almost.

We got through all of Tim's edits yesterday, and finished at 444 pages and 1548 graphics. Then, last night, I spent an hour getting it ready for printing via Createpace.com, a subsidiary of Amazon.com. (This is how I now publish my table tennis books.) But Tim is doing a final proofing, and promises to get back to me with any final edits by Monday. Then I input those, and upload the files to Createspace.com. Within two days it'll get approved for print, and then I order a proof copy sent to Tim. He gives it a final lookover, and then...




Thursday, June 23, 2016 - 10:27
June 23, 2016

It's Fun Hitting with the (Future) Stars!
Yesterday in our MDTTC camp I got to work with someone who I'm guessing you'll be hearing about in a few years – but for now, I'll just call him "Smash," since that's what he likes to do, and I started calling him that during the session. As he will carefully explain, he's not five years old, he's five and a half. He was in my multiball group for three hours, so I worked with him a lot. (I'd worked with him a few times before.) He's got nice strokes, can do footwork drills at a pretty fast pace without missing much, and is already starting to loop. How did he learn all this so young? Well, it helps living near a club like MDTTC. It also helps that his older brother is another fast up-and-coming junior (who you'll be hearing about even sooner), who, as Smash explained, has been teaching him to smash. He has good form, great focus, is very physical, and with an older brother to practice with, the sky's the ceiling.

Or perhaps I've just been hit in the head with a ping-pong ball one too many times. Or perhaps to me it's happened to two too (...




Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 13:05
June 22, 2016

The Ping-Pong Apartments
Below is an essay I wrote in USATT Magazine in 1991. (It was then called Table Tennis Today.) Tim is including it in his latest history volume (see segment below). The state of our sport has dramatically improved since then – we have a much better product to sell. We've gone from 100 USATT certified coaches to 692; six full-time coaches to several hundred; one or two full-time clubs to almost 90; and from nearly all clubs using the "winner-stay-on" format to many or most clubs now offering regular leagues. (Note that the "Ec" in "Mr. Ec" referred to the USATT Executive Committee, which is now called the Board of Directors.)

The Ping-Pong Apartments
By Larry Hodges
(First published in USATT Magazine in 1991)

Mr. Ec bought the Ping Pong apartments in 1933.

The first thing he did was to take a tour of the facilities. He found the rooms were unheated, the plumbing broken, and there was no air conditioning. The building was drab and unkept, and rats and cockroaches infested the building. Paint was chipping.

Mr. Ec did not have...




Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - 11:17
June 21, 2016

USATT Board Meeting
The last few days have been a whir of activity. The main event, however, was the USATT board meeting in New Jersey on Saturday. Alas (or fortunately?), there were no fireworks, no one jumped on the table screaming political slogans, and against all expectations, we didn't vote to build a wall to keep out Chinese table tennis players, and make China pay for it.

I drove up (222 miles) with USATT lawyer Dennis Taylor on Friday afternoon. That night we had dinner with the board and all six USA Table Tennis Olympians – Timothy Wang, Yijun "Tom" Feng, Kanak Jha, Jiaqi Zheng, Lily Zhang, and Yue Wu. I had a long discussion with Cory Eider and Kagin Lee regarding what players should do about hidden serves.

Much of the board meeting the following day was reports followed by discussion. We had a roughly 40-minute discussion with new High Performance Director Cory Eider, where we had updates on the Olympics, National Team, funding, and (most important to me at the moment), the upcoming USATT Supercamp, July 10-24 at the Lily Yip TTC in New Jersey.

Regarding the USATT Supercamp, 22 of the best junior...




Monday, June 20, 2016 - 11:18
June 20, 2016

No Regular Blog Today…
Alas, just like last Monday, I just ran out of time. I drove up to the USATT board meeting in New Jersey on Friday at noon, and returned late Saturday night. After taking care of a pile of work, I went to bed at 2:30AM – and was up at 6:30AM so I could continue work with Tim Boggan on his History of U.S. Table Tennis by 7AM, as I'd promised him. We worked until 3PM, then I was off to the club to coach, returning at 9PM, just in time for Game of Thrones – which it's my Constitutional right to watch. (Fine, I admit it, I also watched Silicon Valley and Veep. Sunday 9-11PM is my weekly TV night.) At that point I was just too tired to do anything else, so I went to bed – and as promised, I'm back at my desk with Tim at 7AM, writing this as he taps his foot with folded arms and an icy stare that screams, "Will you gosh darn hurry up?" (But with slightly more colorful language.) The good news – while I'll be working all day and afternoons this week, I'll be free nights to do the blog, so no more missed blogs after today. (At least until I leave for the USA Nationals in July.)...




Friday, June 17, 2016 - 09:44
June 17, 2016

Private Coaching
Despite the long hours working with Tim as well as all the USATT and MDTTC work, plus blogging and a zillion other things, I've managed to make all my private coaching sessions this past week. But coincidentally, five of my most regular students are now either out of town or about to go out of town, and we're starting our MDTTC summer camps on Monday, and so I will have no more private coaching for the next ten days or so. (However, this is offset because I'll likely be coaching at least in the mornings at the summer camps. I'm hoping to get some time off since I'm so busy right now.)

I had a session Wednesday night with "The Bionic Man," Navin Kumar, the man with the mechanical heart and Parkinson's. On Sunday he'd been taken by ambulance to the hospital with very bad flu. He spent the night, and was discharged on Monday – and we had a session scheduled that night. At first he planned to make it, but he finally decided (helped by doctor's imploring, no doubt) to postpone it, and so we did the make-up on Wednesday.

He's leaving on June 21 for Romania for a Paralympic...




Thursday, June 16, 2016 - 10:42
June 16, 2016

Why Timmy Wore a Dunce Cap and Other Fascinating Stuff
As readers here know, I'm working with Tim Boggan on Volume 18 of History of U.S. Table Tennis. Tim had some old Executive Committee reports that he wanted in – but he'd unthinkingly underlined a number of passages that he wanted to focus on, forgetting that when I scanned them, the underlines would show. He asked if I could remove them in Photoshop, and I said yes, though it'd take about ten minutes. (I'd have to zoom in, and use the eraser tool at a very small size and go through it meticulously to avoid deleting any text.) I agreed to do it, on one condition. I rolled up a sheet of paper into a dunce cap and made him wear it until I was done with the corrections. He took it well. I think.

We've now done the covers, the four intro pages, and 13 chapters, totaling exactly 200 pages with 637 graphics. There will be 26 chapters, so 13 more to go. Figuring that the covers and intro pages are about as much work as a chapter, we're 14/27 of the way through. There's a lot of articles in this volume...




Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 11:53
June 15, 2016

History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 18 – Status, Plus Other Stuff
We've been at it all day starting Thursday morning, excluding Saturday (when I ran the MDTTC June Open), so it's been five long days so far. We've done the covers, the four intro pages, and 11 chapters, totaling 169 pages with 421 graphics. There will be 26 chapters, so 15 more to go. Figuring that the covers and intro pages are about as much work as a chapter, we're 12/27 of the way through. (Alas, some of the latter chapters appear to be rather long.)

We're hampered by the fact that I'm putting in a good eight hours every day in addition to working with Tim from 7AM to 2:30PM each day. Mon-Fri I leave at 2:30 for the afterschool program, then private and group coaching, and then I return after 8PM or so to a huge backlog of work to do – last night I started work about 8:30PM and didn't finish until 2:30 AM – and went to bed right as Tim was getting up! (As I've mentioned, he keeps strange hours.) So we had a "late" start this morning, starting at 8AM instead of the usual 7AM. Tim was good about it, only smacked me across...




Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - 11:33
June 14, 2016

Tip of the Week
The Difference Between a Drop Shot and a Short Push.

Will Shortz – 50 States, 1348 Consecutive Days!
On Sunday, Will Shortz did something we're pretty sure no one else has ever done before – he's now played table tennis in all 50 U.S. states! The final state was Hawaii, where Will played at the Aloha club. But it wasn't just 50 states – it also marked his 1,348 consecutive days playing table tennis! (That's every day for about 3.7 years.)

He's not through. Over the next three days during his Hawaii adventure he'll be playing in the Kona TTC, the North Kohala TTC, and the Waimea TTC. Accompanying him on this journey is Westchester TTC coach Robert Roberts.

There are pictures at the Aloha TTC Facebook page, including a nice one of Will with a cake commemorating both the 50 states and 1,348 streak. (Here's the...