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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, April 12, 2021 - 16:56
April 12, 2021

Tip of the Week
Learn from a Match.

Breaking News - World Table Tennis Championships to Be Held in Houston
Here's the ITTF news item, and here's an article from Inside the Games. They will be held Nov. 23-29, 2021. (I added this Tuesday morning.) They were awarded to USATT in April, 2019 and were originally scheduled for Houston in June this year before they were postponed. One problem - this coincides with the Thanksgiving weekend dates for the North American Teams in Washington DC, which would normally be held Nov. 26-28. (Nov. 25 is Thanksgiving.) But there's no reason why they can't run at the same time - one is for elite players with limited spectators due to Covid, and the other is for all levels of play. 

Weekend Coaching
I squeezed...




Monday, April 5, 2021 - 17:00
April 5, 2021

Tip of the Week
Reading Service Spin.

Weekend Coaching
I had a busy Sunday - was at the club almost all day. I started with the advanced beginning junior class, where I spent much of the time working on basics and serves. When we went to the more advanced sessions later in the day, I acted as a practice partner for an hour - I may not be as fast as before, but I can still block very consistently, and I wore a few players out. One of the advanced players was having some problems with his serves, so I spent a full half hour on this with him - the main problem was his contact point was too high, and it's often difficult to make that transition. But I also showed him how to make the serve bounce really low. I finished the day with the beginning junior girls' group, where I introduced them to serving with spin. (I'd built up to this the last few weeks by having them practice tossing a ball up and spinning it off their racket.)

All players and coaches are required to...




Monday, March 29, 2021 - 17:03
March 29, 2021

Tip of the Week
Power Player Control Shots.

Weekend Coaching
This Sunday I had three group sessions. In the first, I worked with Lidney Castro with our "Advanced Beginning Junior" group. It was an easy session - we had a practice tournament! Afterwards, I gathered them and quizzed them on what they had learned regarding their strengths and weaknesses. I emphasized that you should work on everything, but focus on getting rid of weaknesses while developing overpowering strengths.

In the Intermediate Group (mostly up to about 2000 level), I acted as a practice partner, mostly blocking for an hour. The last ten minutes we did a drill where two players took turns returning my deep serves (mostly to backhand) and playing out points - and I gave them fits! I especially worked with them on returning my big breaking serve that breaks sharply into the backhand, with backspin or topspin, though I focused more on a fast, side-backspin serve that broke a foot. I also had a discussion with one of our really promising players, who has great power. I...




Monday, March 22, 2021 - 16:50
March 22, 2021

Tip of the Week
Rally Down Faster & Quicker Players.

Coaching Niches
Recently, I've sort of fallen into four "niche" coaching roles. I used to coach all aspects of the game to all levels, but that's gradually changed. More and more these days at the Maryland Table Tennis Center I've been doing these four things:

  • Coach the Beginning Junior Classes. I've been doing this for years. A look at the USATT ranking pages show that kids that started out with me currently are #1 in 11 and Under; #1, 4, and 6 in 12 and Under; #4 in Under 16 Girls; and a whole slew of others among the top twenty or so of their age group. (Many thanks to the great coaches who continued their development!) There are two keys to success at coaching at that level: Give them a good foundation, and keep it fun. Some think that you put the least experienced coach in charge of beginners, but that's a recipe for huge headaches later on when the "experienced" coaches have to fix all those problems! But you don't...



Monday, March 15, 2021 - 17:04
March 15, 2021

Tip of the Week
Do You Really Play the Middle?

The $10,000 Patty and Si Wasserman Junior Table Tennis Tournament
Once again I had a great time in Akron, Ohio, where I went this past Friday and Saturday to coach two of our junior players from Maryland. Here are complete results, care of TTLive. There were 116 players in the tournament, played on 18 tables.

Five juniors from the Maryland Table Tennis Center went to the tournament: Stanley Hsu, Ryan Lin, William & Winston Wu, and Tiffany Ke. I was in charge of coaching Stanley and Ryan; Cheng Yinghua had William & Winston; and I believe Tiffany's dad coached her. Here's a group picture (Tiffany missing) - L-R: Larry Hodges, Stanley Hsu, Ryan Lin, Winston Wu, William Wu, Cheng Yinghua.

Here's a ...




Monday, March 8, 2021 - 18:02
March 8, 2021

Tip of the Week
Experiment with Serves and Receives Early.

Sports Psychology, Weekend Coaching, and Ohio, Oh My!!!
I may have to go back to college and get another degree, this one in psychology. I’m starting to do more sports psychology sessions with our up-and-coming juniors. I wrote about this in my February 15 blog, under “Weekend Coaching.” As a match coach, I’ve been both learning and teaching sports psychology for about 40 years (including many group sessions with the sports psychologist at the US Olympic Training Center during my four years there), but now I’m doing one-on-one sessions on it. From those years of coaching and learning, I have a whole basket full of mental tricks to help players overcome almost any sports psychology problem - but rather than deal with it during a tournament, it’s best to address it and solve the problem before the tournament begins.

I’ve actually found a unique mix - the sessions are...




Monday, March 1, 2021 - 18:00
March 1, 2021

Tip of the Week
Learn Something New Each Time You Play.

Smash! Moments, Memories and Tips, by Dan Seemiller
I spent most of last week working on Dan Seemiller’s new book, which will be about 200 pages (8.5x11), with over 300 pictures. Each page features a vintage photo from his 50+ years in the sport, with Dan’s notes about it. Most pages also feature a Tip. Dan had put together the rough layout, with the photo and text; my job was to fix up all the photos (they were mostly old ones in need of lots of work in Photoshop); finalize the layouts; edit; write the foreword; and do the front and back covers. Dan is now proofing it - he said he has lots of changes, including some new pages - and will send me those changes probably later today. Then I put in the changes, do the final pre-press work, and send it off for publication in Amazon’s KDP Publisher. It should be ready by March 15. There are still some complications...




Monday, February 22, 2021 - 17:48
February 22, 2021

Tip of the Week
Rote vs. Random Drills.

National Collegiate Table Tennis Association Hosts Townhall Meeting - Open to All
MEETING IS TONIGHT (Monday) at 9:30PM. Here's the Facebook info page. They will discuss various table tennis issues, but there will likely be a focus on the USATT-NCTTA ongoing battle over the NCTTA's position on the USATT board (see below). From the page, "Thank you to the hundreds of you that have supported NCTTA with emails to USATT. Many of you asked to have a zoom meeting, so we have organized it! We will present to you the why's and what's and any updates and answer any questions too. Any USATT or NCTTA player, volunteer, coach, alumni is welcome to attend!" Here is the direct link to the meeting. Remember, the meeting is open to All, not just college players. (There will be USATT board members present. I will attend, hopefully just to listen.)

The Ongoing...




Monday, February 15, 2021 - 18:15
February 15, 2021

Tip of the Week
Pushing Short: When to Learn?

=>BEGIN USATT SECTION<=
Ongoing USATT Sagas
I'm resigned to the fact that I'm going to need to have a USATT segment in every blog, just to keep up with all the crazy things going on. If you have no interest in USATT matters, skip over this segment - though you might find the final item, the $200,000 arbitration case (technically, $170,000-$200,000), a doozy. (Keep in mind that when I speak of USATT, I'm speaking of their leadership as a whole. There are USATT people who are trying to fix these problems.) Here's the latest - and I hope there's nothing to write about next week.




Monday, February 8, 2021 - 17:54
February 8, 2021

Tip of the Week
Locking Up Your Opponents.

USATT Board of Directors Seeks Applications for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
Here's the USATT news item. Let's start with something positive!

USATT and NCTTA and Bylaws, Oh My!
The next three segments involve lots of USATT issues and politics. If you have no interest in these issues and battles between USATT and the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association, feel free to skip ahead! This blog starts with a LOT of USATT stuff, but there's plenty other things afterwards. 

USATT Board of Directors Seek Member Comment on Proposed Amendments to the Bylaws
...