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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, July 22, 2016 - 04:03
July 21, 2016

Next Blog - Friday, Aug. 5

It’s been a great eleven days here at the USATT Supercamp, but now I’m off for my annual “vacation.” Normal people vacation at the beach, camping, Disneyworld, or some other sane thing. Me, I go to an annual science fiction writing workshop, July 22-30. So Friday morning, after taking Matt Hetherington to the airport at 7:15AM (see below), I’ll be driving up to Manchester, NH (four hours), for my “vacation.” I drive back to Maryland on Saturday afternoon, July 30 (I’m dreading the eight-hour drive), and flying out to Houston early the following morning to coach at the Junior Olympics, returning on Aug. 4. I’ll be back on my regular blogging schedule, Mon-Fri, starting Friday, Aug. 5, with the usual blog and other segments.

USATT Supercamp - Day Eleven
By Larry Hodges

This is my last day here; I’m leaving tomorrow morning for my annual vacation. But it was a really full day! We started with physical training - and today’s was short and simple. After jogging half a lap and walking the rest to loosen up, and some stretching, we...

Thursday, July 21, 2016 - 02:26
July 20, 2016

USATT Supercamp - Day Ten
By Larry Hodges

[Here's the USATT Day Ten page, with video and photos by Matt Hetherington, and this article.]

Sometimes cold print like this doesn’t really do justice to all that’s happening. With luminaries like Dan Seemiller, Sean O’Neill, Lily Yip, Richard McAfee, Samson Dubina, Han Xiao, Wang Qing Liang, and Cory Eider, and with so many of the top juniors in the country, there are so many interactions going on that there’s no real way of reporting on them. For example, Lisa Lin has a really nice backhand serve, her best serve. I told her how Dan probably had the best backhand serve in U.S. history - incredibly spinny and deceptive, plus he knew how to follow it up - and suggested she talk to him about it. Five minutes later I find them in deep discussion as Dan’s demonstrating and explaining it for her. This is how knowledge is passed from one generation to the...

Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 04:14
July 19, 2016

USATT Supercamp - Day Nine
By Larry Hodges

[Here's the USATT Day Nine page, with video and photos by Matt Hetherington, and this article. Here's a group shot taken today.) 

Never have I seen so many totally dedicated coaches working with so many talented players. Richard, Samson, Han, Leon, Dan, Sean, Lily, and Cory - they didn’t come here for work, they came excited to finally get so many top up-and-coming USA juniors training together with the opportunity to do something we haven’t done since the 1950s - take on the world with a chance to win. They are putting their all into this effort - not just by themselves, but as perhaps a spark to get it going. The final responsibility will rest with these kids, their parents, and their coaches, spread all over the U.S., as team spirit spreads and we transform from a bunch of clubs into Team USA, a rising...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 - 04:27
July 18, 2016

USATT Supercamp - Day Eight
By Larry Hodges

[Here's the USATT Day Eight page, with video and photos by Matt Hetherington, and this article.]

The physical training this morning was the most grueling yet, though this was partly because of the heat - already into the 80s at 9:30AM. After a quarter mile warm-up run and a number of warm-up exercises, the wind springs began. We started with 100-yard sprints, six players at a time, with the next group starting as soon as the previous one finished. Then they did it again, going back. They did about 6-8 at this distance, then continued with 50-yard sprints, and then 40 yards. We kept pushing them to accelerate as they reach the end, since many would slow down instead. We also had to keep pushing them to pump their arms as they ran.

At first it was almost fun, as they raced each other, but gradually they got more and more tired, and many began to struggle - “It’s just as I suspected,” said coach Dan Seemiller about our lack of fitness. Two players were so...

Monday, July 18, 2016 - 04:36
July 17, 2016

USATT Supercamp - Day Seven
By Larry Hodges

[Here's the USATT Day Seven page, with video and photos by Matt Hetherington, and this article.]

We’ve had sad farewells for the Week One coaches leaving us - Samson Dubina, Han Xiao, and Wang Qing “Leon” Liang, with Richard McAfee leaving on Monday night. But this morning we welcomed Sean O’Neill, with Dan Seemiller coming in tonight. Sean and Dan have each won five USA Men’s Singles titles - or as I put it to the kids, “Dan, Sean, and I have combined for ten Men’s Singles titles.” Lily Yip is also joining us, but she’s been here all along doing her own coaching here at the Lily Yip TTC. Sean and Lily give us two Olympians - and since about half the kids have put making the Olympics their primary goal, perhaps they’ll get some Olympic stories. They join Cory Eider and I for the second week.

Today was an “off” day, with no table tennis training as they rested from a week of...

Sunday, July 17, 2016 - 04:14
July 16, 2016

USATT Supercamp - Day Six
By Larry Hodges

[Here's the USATT Day Six page, with video and photos by Matt Hetherington, and this article.]

I thought I’d start this with something we can all use - the “Think Circle.” On Thursday I wrote about Coach Samson Dubina’s lecture and game drills on tactics. He emailed me the following as an elaboration, which he spoke about in the lecture.

The Think Circle
Between pitches in baseball, the batter steps out of the batter’s box to re-focus. The same thing is true in table tennis; the pros often call this the “Think Circle.”

Between points, step back about 4-6 feet away from the table and draw an imaginary circle around yourself and collect your thoughts in your think circle.  Every pro athlete has a different method of processing the points, relaxing, and gearing up for the next point, but I’m going to give you the method that I personally use.

  1. Ask yourself the question,...

Saturday, July 16, 2016 - 02:42
July 15, 2016

USATT Supercamp - Day Five
By Larry Hodges

[Here's the USATT Day Five page, with video and photos by Matt Hetherington, and this article.]

Today was rather a fun day. First, because the kids are all playing in a tournament tomorrow, they only had one three-hour session instead of the usual 6.5 hours in three sessions. They also got to sleep late, since the session didn’t begin until 11AM. There were some very happy kids, especially since I relaxed curfew, allowing them to have some late-night powwows. But we’re back on curfew on Friday.

We started the three-hour session with a 35-minute lecture and demo by Han Xiao on serving and then receiving, with Wang Qing “Leon” Liang assisting. (This was for the entire camp, both upper and lower groups.) Here are some of the major points he went over:

  1. When serving you use body, arm, and wrist, in that order. There is also a weight transfer, at least for forehand pendulum serves.
  2. The importance of a proper serving...

Friday, July 15, 2016 - 03:03
July 14, 2016

USATT Supercamp - Day Four
By Larry Hodges

[Here's the USATT Day Four page, with video and photos by Matt Hetherington, and this article.]

It’s 9PM, and the training ended an hour before - and nearly half of the 27 players are still at the club. They are playing penhold, doubles, and against my clipboard. They don’t want to go home, they want to keep playing, just in different ways. Cory Eider and I both agreed that this is why some players develop such a feel for the ball, by constantly trying new things, just as generations of past players with great control did. (Waldner was infamous for that, and it seems to have paid off for him. The Alguettis seem to be following in his path.) This doesn’t mean you replace practice with such “goofing off” - it means you have fun with it while developing that feel.

Several new players joined us today - Allen Wang (18, 2546), Amy Wang (13, 2416), Matthew Lu (12, 2241), and Jack Wang (15, 2537). Jack was there only for the day, but might rejoin us...

Thursday, July 14, 2016 - 04:59
July 13, 2016

USATT Supercamp - Day Three
By Larry Hodges

[Here's the USATT Day Three page, with video and photos by Matt Hetherington, and this article.]

I started off the morning telling horror stories over breakfast: the player who, after a loss, utterly destroyed a bathroom (something like $5000 in damages); in another match, the same player broke his racket after losing a few points, tried playing with the broken paddle for a while and lost more points, borrowed a friend’s paddle near the end (it was legal back then), but ended up losing an 800-point upset - and broke the friend’s racket; the player who ate half a notebook of paper after a loss; and yes, me, who once bought ten cheap sandpaper paddles and broke them all, one by one, during a tournament. (It was a long time ago, and I was only 17!)

As usual, we started off with physical training - but this was a short session. After jogging to the track (1/2 mile), and some stretching, we gathered the players together. I gave a few tips on distance running - proper...

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 - 03:39
July 12, 2016

USATT Supercamp - Day Two
By Larry Hodges

How do you spell exhaustion? U-S-A-T-T-S-U-P-E-R-C-A-M-P! No, not exhausted kids - how about us older coaches trying to keep up with these energized looping machines? Yes, they get tired during training, especially the physical training, but minutes later they are bouncing around like hungry Tasmanian Devils. (They never stop moving and eating. Even during breaks they are hitting with mini-paddles; playing doubles; lobbing to each other; or dragging me onto the table to challenge me where I chop and pick hit with a clipboard.)

Here's the USATT Day 2 Page, with video and photos by Matt Hetherington, as well as this article.

The physical training may be the most important aspect of the camp, which is taking place July 11-24 at the Lily Yip TTC in New Jersey, with 27 of the top juniors from around the country taking part. Compared to overseas players, top U.S. players and juniors are way behind in physical...