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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, January 11, 2021 - 17:29
January 11, 2021

Tip of the Week
Should You Experiment If You Have a Big Lead?

Mercy Points and Comebacks
There was quite a lot of discussion on Facebook from my blog last week about whether to give "mercy points." So let's revisit. 

The basic rule is that it's up to you if you want to give a mercy point at 10-0. Both Ma Long and Jan-Ove Waldner, generally considered the two main candidates for Greatest of All Time, have given away mercy points or played exhibition at the end of a lopsided match. Other top players are die-hard try to win every point, even at 10-0 against a beginner. Some players might be insulted if you "give" them a point, so it depends on the player and circumstances. As I said, in a non-competitive match, I prefer to put a ball up and let them "earn" the point.

It also depends on the event. A senior focused on winning Over 50 at the Nationals shouldn't take chances there, but might give a point (or go easy) at 10-0...




Monday, January 4, 2021 - 17:55
January 4, 2021

Tip of the Week
Play Both Weaker and Stronger Players.

Weekend Coaching - Navin and Stanley
The junior program starts again next weekend, so no group sessions this past weekend. I did my usual session with Navin Kumar, and it was one of our best. He blocks with long pips on the backhand (no sponge), and has gotten pretty good at it. About a year ago I'd worked with him on chopping down on the ball slightly at contact, a chop block, but due to Parkinson's, it didn't work out well - it requires a fine touch. So since the we've focused since then on meeting the ball more straight on.

Coach Gary Fraiman (from Florida) saw a video of one of our sessions and suggested he chop block more. (Gary is highly experienced coaching Para players, and as a player is a long pips chopper, so he knows about long pips.) He and I discussed it via Facebook messenger, and I decided to introduce it again - and this time Navin picked up on it quickly!!! When you meet a topspin ball straight...




Monday, December 28, 2020 - 17:59
December 28, 2020

Tip of the Week
Use Quick, Deep Pushes to Set Up Your Attack.

Miscellaneous

  • Today's blog is my 1800th blog, and coincidentally the last of the year. (I used to do them five days a week, Mon-Fri.) This is in addition to 17 books and over 2000 published articles!
  • There was no junior group sessions this past weekend - holidays!!! But I did coach Navin Kumar on Saturday. Here are two videos (note how empty the club is due to holidays and pandemic!): Forehands (20 sec, and note how six seconds in I move in and start taking the ball quick off the bounce, to rush Navin) and Loop to Navin's Block (35 sec, and if you listen closely, near the end you can hear me doing my Gollum impression, where I tell myself "I can't do this" and then "...



Monday, December 21, 2020 - 17:57
December 21, 2020

Tip of the Week
Proper Strokes Are 1-2-3: Don't Forget the Neutral Position!

USA Table Tennis Museum
Wouldn't it be great to have one? A place where we could all learn about the greats of our past? Schiff and McClure. Miles and Reisman. Seemiller and Boggan. O'Neill and Butler. Cheng and Zhuang. Aarons, Fuller, and Green. Neuberger and Shahian. Martinez and Sweeris. Bhushan and Lee. Gao and Feng. And so on.

There are various table tennis collections around the country, there's the online USATT Hall of Fame, and Mike Babuin maintains the Cary TTA museum in North Carolina (but the link to the actual museum is no longer active) - and Mike just sent me a video of the Cary Museum (10:52). So maybe that's something we might build on? Or do we start something new...




Monday, December 14, 2020 - 17:35
December 14, 2020

Tip of the Week
Use It or Lose It!

Weekend Coaching
This past Sunday and next Sunday we are running our season-ending practice tournament for our junior program. The kids are divided into three divisions by level/rating, with about ten in each, and play a complete round robin, all best of five to 11. I spent the sessions split between watching and taking coaching notes, and umpiring some of the matches (so they could get more of a tournament-like feel for the matches). In the lowest group (with the youngest kids), I taught them how to read the playing schedule and how it is created. After watching them, I realize that a lot of them need more work both on their serves, and on understanding the purpose of the serve, which is primarily to set up their attack. The really good news - I spent some time just watching their feet, and came away pretty happy - with one exception, all of them had "active feet." The only exception tended to lean to the ball instead of moving, so we'll work on that. Most had pretty good stroking technique.

In the...




Monday, December 7, 2020 - 17:50
December 7, 2020

Tip of the Week
Should You Stick With Your Best Shot If It Is Missing?

Weekend Coaching
On Sunday, I asked one of our junior players what she wanted to work on, and she wanted to do side-to-side footwork drills. We must be doing something right!!! As usual, we focused on fundamental as I was working with our younger kids. I also set up targets on the table for serve practice and they took great joy in knocking them off - though I kept insisting that they weren't really knocking them off, they were just showing me what it would look like if they were to knock them off, so that if they were to actually knock them off, I'd know what it would look like. Did you get all of that?

They played up-down tables the second half of the session. They would hide the ball to see who served first. If the server scored two in a row, he became the receiver, and the goal was to be the receiver. They would play for about five minutes, and then whoever was receiving at that time moved up, the server moved down. To help work on specific...




Monday, November 30, 2020 - 17:58
November 30, 2020

Tip of the Week
Letting an Opponent Control Play is Risky.

Sports Illustrated
They have an article in the new issue, Table Tennis Remains Diversity's Best Kept Secret. (I think it's in the December print issue.) The story features one of my students, Navin Kumar, as well as Nancy Zhou, Dr. Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu, Ibrahim Hamadtou, Anushka Oak, and Lily Zhang. Navin's involvement (and I think some of the others) came about when the writer contacted me with a series of questions about diversity in table tennis. I thought about it for a few days, and realized I was probably not the right person to interview about this. To use a metaphor, cars are important, but I'm probably not the person to interview about cars. (What's a carburetor? I have no idea.) So I sent them some other contacts, and then turned them over to Navin, who is Indian, as well as having Parkinson's (bronze in singles, silver in doubles at the 2019 World Parkinson...




Monday, November 23, 2020 - 17:50
November 23, 2020

Tip of the Week
The Forehand Down-the Line Block and Counterloop.

USA Table Tennis Executive Directors, CEOs, Presidents, Board Chairs, and Editors
Here is the comprehensive list, which I put together for the heck of it. I've published partial lists in the past, but now they're all there!!! I'm in it for my two tenures as editor, totaling 12 years and 71 issues.

Christmas Table Tennis Book Shopping
It's that time of year again - time to do your Xmas shopping, either for some other table tennis player, or for yourself. (Interesting tidbit - I sell almost as many table tennis books in November and December as the rest of the year combined - lots of Christmas shoppers.) Here are some choices.

=>Books by Larry Hodges

  • ...



Monday, November 16, 2020 - 17:59
November 16, 2020

Tip of the Week
Use Both Sides of the Body When Forehand Looping.

ITTF Men's World Cup
Here's the home page for the event, which finished yesterday in Weihai, China. Here are news articles, videos (or see them directly on Youtube), preliminary RR results (including USA's Kanak Jha's two seven-gamers), and the single eliminations results. The big news - Fan Zhendong won for the fourth time, including his third in a row! Here are some videos, with time between...