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

Monday, May 3, 2021 - 16:48
May 3, 2021

Tip of the Week
Team Lineup Strategies.

Weekend Coaching
On Sundays, I did sports psychology sessions with four of our junior players. The sessions range from 45-60 minutes, which usually include up to ten minutes of serve practice at the end. Two of them were first timers; the other two were follow-ups. I generally meet with each of them three times, and then after that play it by ear, but perhaps review sessions before major tournaments. I am running into "session creep" - I keep thinking of more examples and other things to add to the sessions, and so they get longer. So I'm going to move some of those to follow-up sessions.

One of my group sessions on Sundays is a group of five girls, all 7-8 years old, that meet for 90 minutes every Sunday at 5:30PM. They are improving fast! I think all are also signed up for private coaching, but it is the group sessions that they really look forward to. The first hour is practice, then we do 30 minutes of games. But I keep the practice part fun. For example, I usually rotate them around, and...




Monday, April 26, 2021 - 16:56
April 26, 2021

Tip of the Week
Looping a Push is Not Going for a Shot.

Three Things Table Tennis Can Learn from Nomadland and the Oscars
I'm a movie buff. I sometimes go several years in a row where I see over 100 movies at the theater - yes, two per week, with a Dr Pepper and small popcorn. Before they closed down due to the pandemic, they were my primary source of throwing away hard-earned money.

Last week I saw Nomadland, which won Best Picture at the Oscars last night. My thoughts on this movie? I had always thought that to be the best picture of the year, a movie shouldn't be boring. It shouldn't be nearly two hours of mundane activities, mostly by amateur actors, and all this allowed because it is a "character movie." ("The Trial of the Chicago 7" should have won.) Here are three things the world of table tennis should learn from this.

  1. Boring is Good. Nomadland got rave reviews from those who were able to stay awake for the nearly two hours of mundane activities. For now on, table tennis...



Monday, April 19, 2021 - 16:58
April 19, 2021

Tip of the Week
Imagine a Score or Situation.

Butterfly Invitational in Cary, NC
I had a great time this past weekend coaching at the tournament. We had ten juniors and five coaches - but with the huge RR format, there were LOTS of matches, so LOTS of coaching. Here are complete results, care of Omnipong. The tournament gave out about $10,000 in prize money and prizes. AJ Carney did a great job running the event. Sharon Alguetti was the dominant player, winning all three "Opens" - Thursday Open, 1800 & Over, and Division A of the Giant RR. There were 116 players, including four over 2550, seven over 2400, 18 over 2200, and 35 over 2000. 

Our kids from MDTTC played really well - lots of great wins, very few bad losses. Some of them we knew were under-rated, since some hadn't played tournaments in a while, due to Covid. (Others had been playing tournaments somewhat regularly the last few months.) The main worry was that when you don't...




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.) 

Weekend Coaching
I squeezed a lot into Sunday, pretty much non-stop from 11AM to 7PM. Two of the group sessions were with beginning-intermediate junior players, where (as always) the focus was on...




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...