Butterfly Online

TableTennisCoaching.com Home

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, July 3, 2015 - 13:59
July 3, 2015

Last Blog Until Tuesday, July 14 (after U.S. Open)

I'm off to the U.S. Open this Sunday, where I'll be coaching and maybe vacationing when I have time. As usual, I don't blog when I'm at major tournaments, so this'll be my last blog until afterwards.

I urge you to browse over the links in yesterday's blog (Thursday, July 2), if you haven't already. Why? I was sick all last week, and so didn't blog from Friday until Thursday – meaning yesterday's blog was packed with links to coaching articles and other items. But it is today's blog that'll be the front page for the next eleven days, and so it'll be seen and read by far more people. (My Friday blogs, which are read Fri-Sun, typically get twice as many reads as my other blogs.) Yesterday's blog had four coaching articles (by Han Xiao, Richard McAfee, Ben Larcombe, and Samson Dubina), plus seven coaching videos (including four "Ask the Coach" from PingSkills...

Thursday, July 2, 2015 - 13:59
July 2, 2015

Our (okay, My) Long National Nightmare is Over

I jumped the gun yesterday in trying to coach all day at the MDTTC camp. When I went in I was still tired, and my voice still slightly hoarse. When I came out I was tired ^100th power, and my voice was back to a croaking whisper. Note to self: After spending four days lying in bed feverishly sick, it's not good to go straight to six hours of coaching. (As noted previously, I had a suspiciously simple-sounding sinus infection, but that came off as bad or worse than the flu.) 

I've been on the following medications. They are:

  • Antibiotics: Amoxicillan and Clavulanate Potassium Tablets
  • Guaifenesin AC Syrup (for cough)
  • Eye drops: Gentamicin Opth Solution
  • NightQuil. I was taking DayQuil as well but the doctor said it wouldn't really help, but thought the NightQuil would.
  • Lots and lots of liquids, on doctor's orders.

Today I'm only doing the afternoon session, 3-6PM. This works out well as it gave me plenty of time to do the blog and other things. (Next on list of things I...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015 - 12:31
July 1, 2015

Blog Returns Tomorrow, and Ding Dong, the Bacteria is Dead!

I'm back!!! Well, sort of. I was pretty sick for four days, but I'm perhaps 90% over it. I'm going to the MDTTC camp to coach this morning - hopefully my energy will be back. I spent yesterday in bed (which is where I've pretty much lived since Friday), and didn't want to get up early this morning, so no blog today. Blog will return to normal tomorrow morning. Alas, I leave for the U.S. Open this Sunday, and I won't be blogging while there, so that means only two blogs until after the Open. 

As hinted at by the head bacterium in yesterday's "blog," I had a serious infection of the sinuses behind and below the eyes. Gunk was pouring out of the corners of my eyes - yeah, sounds disgusting, so guess how much more disgusting if it's coming out of your eyes? There are still big, black bags under my eyes; I really do look like Frankenstein. Hopefully I won't scare any kids this morning. The side effects of the infection were similar to a very bad cold - fever, chills, constant coughing (and coughing up an incredible amount of...

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 12:53
June 30, 2015

Dear Human Readers,

We are the bacteria infecting Larry Hodges’ body. Last Thursday we invaded, using “Pong Blitzkrieg,” where we destroy all enemy forces before us with our tiny paddles and balls. By Friday we had taken over much of his body. He was beaten – fever, chills, coughing up incredible amounts of green stuff (that’s our glorious dead), runny nose (more of our dead), aching muscles and teeth, sore throat, and laryngitis. In fact, there were so many of us that we overran our positions and began to overflow out his eyes – what he called “gunk” was just more of our dead. (Admittedly, a lot of us get killed taking over a body, with all those marauding white blood cells with their super spinny Tenergy sponges that overpowers our hardbats, but we reproduce faster than we get killed and overwhelm the sponge enemy by sheer numbers.)

Our glorious campaign was going so well. And then Larry saw a doctor Monday morning. A DOCTOR!!! How do these quacks look themselves in the mirror, knowing the misery and death they spread among our kind? This mass killer quickly saw that our stronghold was in the sinuses...

Monday, June 29, 2015 - 11:23
June 29, 2015

No Blog This Morning

I’m pretty sick right now. Not sure if it’s flu, cold, or something else. I’m seeing a doctor this morning. I put my symptoms into an online medical diagnosis page, and according to that here are the top ten most likely diagnoses: Influenza, Tularemia, Sinusitis, Common Cold, Swine Flu, Infectious mononucleosis, Bird Flu, Lemierre's Syndrome, Sars/Coronaviruses, and Babesiosis. Meanwhile, since I did it already, here’s the Tip of the Week.

Tip of the Week

The Feel of a Shot and a Checklist.

Send us your own coaching news!

Friday, June 26, 2015 - 12:12
June 26, 2015

MDTTC Camp, Sick & Exhausted, and Media

One of the side effects of coaching kids is you are exposed to every germ known to mankind. Yep, I’ve come down sick. It’s probably just a cold – 100 degree temperature, extremely sore throat, aching teeth, the general sick feeling (every muscle feels like it was hit by a tsunami), and complete exhaustion. The problem is I was exhausted before I came down sick, from coaching every day for over two weeks, including coaching all day (and sometimes night) in our camps Mon-Fri, even longer hours on Sundays, and about two hours on my “rest” day, Saturday. So right now my exhaustion level on the Richter scale is 11.0, enough to win a game while destroying half the planet.

Even after 24 years of coaching at MDTTC I’m never really sure where to draw the line at when I should just stay home, for myself but even more so I don’t get anyone else in the camp sick. But I’m sort of needed – without me the sun might fall out of the sky, right?

Meanwhile, we did a lot of smashing yesterday. I was surprised at how fast some of the new players picked it up. One...

Thursday, June 25, 2015 - 12:22
June 25, 2015


Yesterday was a rather peaceful day – no nosebleeds, no meltdowns, nothing more dramatic than a few untied shoelaces. We did a lot of work on pushing and other fundamentals; nine of us went to 7-11 after lunch; and at the end of the day, many paper cups were stacked and smacked to death by excited kids. One thing did stand out today – during all three breaks (morning break, lunch break, and afternoon break), several kids stayed late each time to work on things. At one point during lunch break I was secretly glancing at my watch wondering if I would ever get to eat lunch as several kids wanted me to work on their serves, and so all of me (other than my grumbling stomach) happily went along.

Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers

Here’s the review of my book by Samson Dubina. I like the first line! You can buy it at Amazon, in print or kindle.

Ping Pong for Quitters

Some of you might have read the book...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - 12:34
June 24, 2015


Yesterday was the Day of the Nosebleed. When you run a camp with kids, you'll get them occasionally. How about two in five minutes, and both from my group? First a five-year-old (the youngest in the camp) walked right into someone's forehand backswing, and got smacked in the nose. It bled pretty badly. Five minutes later a seven-year-old kid was shadow-stroking his forehand, as I'd directed him to do, and somehow he managed to smack himself in the nose - and the blood came pouring out. (What type of forehand stroke am I teaching these kids?!!!) We went through a lot of paper towels before all the bleeding stopped. A couple hours later the seven-year-old was running about picking up balls and the nose started bleeding again, even worse than before. (Yes, we did a thorough clean-up each time.) Table tennis is a violent sport....

We spent a lot of time working on spin serves. Two kids who had never put spin on their serves on their lives were able to put enough backspin on the ball so the balls came to a stop on the table. (Here's my article...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - 12:40
June 23, 2015


Yesterday was Day One of Week Two of our Eleven Weeks of Camps at MDTTC. (That’s enough capitalization for the week.) With one “minor” exception (can’t go into that since the person involved is a kid who likely won’t be back), it’s a great group this week, especially the ones in my group. We did a lot of work on fundamentals – forehand, backhand, footwork, and serve.

I think right now we have the most talented and promising group of kids in the roughly 7-8 age range than we’ve ever had at MDTTC in our 24 years – lots of depth. Check back with us in a few years – they’re getting scary. We had a 7-year-old today who was smacking bottles off the table like they were the broad side of a barn, and he’s not even in the top five at MDTTC for that age group. Of course, it’s more than just apparent talent – this is a very serious group of kids who already seem to have the mental dedication to the sport that’s usually lacking until much older. Plus they can loop anything!

Every camp there’s something different. This week it seems as if all the...

Monday, June 22, 2015 - 12:24
June 22, 2015

Tip of the Week

Conquer the One-Winged Blues by Developing Your Weaker Side.

USATT Club Development Handbook

The new USATT Club Development Handbook by Yang Yu (Head Coach and Business Director of the Austin TTC) and Roderick Medina (League Director and Board Member of ATTC) is out! (Here’s the direct link to the PDF file.) This is a great new manual for those hoping to start a new club. (Disclaimer: I edited and critiqued an early version of this.)

I’m especially interested in how it can be used to assist those hoping to start up full-time table tennis centers. Assisting in the growth of such centers is something I promised when I ran for the Board as a key part of growing USA Table Tennis...