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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, August 12, 2019 - 15:09
August 12, 2019

Next Blog Will Be on October 7, but Tips Will Go Up Every Monday
I'll be away until the end of September - see segment below. However, I've written a bunch of Tips of the Week in advance, and so they will continue to go up every Monday while I'm gone.

Tip of the Week
Serving Short. I've done similar articles on specific short serves, but this is a more general article.

What's Your Non-Playing Table Tennis Expertise?
If you are reading this, you are probably a table tennis player, or at least a former player. But there's more to table tennis than just playing. There are other aspects of the game you can do, either because you enjoy doing it, or to help out. So . . . what's Your Non-Playing Table Tennis Expertise? (The links below are for people in the U.S., but others can contact their country's association.)

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Monday, August 5, 2019 - 15:57
August 5, 2019

Tip of the Week
Serving Long. I've done similar articles on specific long serves, but this is a more general article. Next week: Serving Short.

Solution to the Mexican Wall Problem
Let's have a little table tennis fun this morning. The U.S.-Mexico border is 1954 miles long. That's 10,317,120 feet. A table tennis net is six feet long, so it would take 1,719,520 nets to cover it. I did some online checking and the absolute cheapest net I could find was $7.46. But that's retail; we could probably buy them directly from China for $2/net. (That's $1.60 plus a 25% tariff.) So it would cost $3,439,040, or about $3.5 million, to put up a U.S.-Mexico ping-pong net.

We'll make China pay for it. If they don't, we'll threaten to boycott any tournament with a Chinese player. That'll show 'em; they'll back down and pay the $3.5 million.

We'd get umpires and referees to put them up. They are volunteers, right? So we don...




Monday, July 29, 2019 - 14:51
July 29, 2019

Tip of the Week
Do You Want to Know an Opponent's Rating Before a Match?

The Subconscious Rules
At the U.S. Open a few weeks ago a strange thing happened. I was mostly there to coach, but entered one event - Over 40 Hardbat. (I've now won the event six times at the Open or Nationals.) I normally play and coach with sponge, but hardbat's been a sideline of mine for decades. (I've won Hardbat Singles at both the Open and Nationals, and have won Hardbat Doubles 14 times.) I'm 59, so I'm competing against these younger players (!), and I'm both out of practice and out of shape. In the preliminary RR, I played okay, but nothing special.

In the final I'm up against Mark Conti, a full-time hardbat player with a 2113 hardbat rating. (I'm 2198.) He's a steady blocker. I continue to play well as I win the first, 21-15. (It's best of three to 21.) In the second, he gets more and more consistent and is getting better and better at blocking balls at wide angles, making things tricky for me - I'm basically an...




Monday, July 8, 2019 - 13:33
July 8, 2019

Next Blog
I'll be out of town July 13-28, so the next blog will be Monday, July 29 Tuesday, July 30. I'm on vacation!!! Early on Saturday morning (July 13) I drive up to Boston (seven hours) for the last 1.5 days of Readercon, a big science fiction convention. Then I spend Mon-Thur (July 15-18) touring Boston - Freedom Trail, USS Constitution and Bunker Hill, New England Aquarium, Franklin Park Zoo, Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Science, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, and perhaps a stop at Revere Beach. (I was thinking of visiting the local TT clubs, but there are too many and I don't want to insult the ones I don't visit.) Then, from July 19-27, I'm in "The Never-Ending Odyssey," my annual nine-day science fiction writing workshop in Manchester, NH, an hour from Boston - I've been going regularly since 2006. See you all in a few weeks!

Tip of the Week
Take the Shot.

USA Nationals
Let's start with the results -...




Monday, June 24, 2019 - 15:59
June 24, 2019

Tip of the Week
Learning to Win.

No Blog Next Week, July 1
I'll be away at the U.S. Nationals - see next segment.

USA Nationals
Here's the home page for the event coming up June 30 - July 5 in Las Vegas. Here's the player listing (755) by Name and by Event. Here's where they will post Results. I'll be there, primarily coaching as one of the five MDTTC coaches. (We have an even 20 MDTTC players flying across the country for the event.) I'm also playing in one event - Over 40 Hardbat on Friday, July 5. (I'm primarily a sponge player and coach, but play hardbat as well - and I've won this event five times at the Nationals or Open, along with Hardbat Singles...




Monday, June 17, 2019 - 13:55
June 17, 2019

Tip of the Week
Six-Step Training Progression. (This is an old article that I never used as a Tip, so I did some updating.)

Weekend Coaching
In our Thursday Beginning Class, we introduced the players to forehand looping - or, for most of them, rolling the ball with topspin. For some of the more advanced ones we had them both looping and following it up with a smash. (Key issue: drop shoulder some for loop, keep up for smash.) We also did some service practice.

On Saturday I fed multiball for two hours to John Olsen and Kevin Walton, getting them ready for the table tennis events at the World Senior Games in Albuquerque, New Mexico, June 19-21. We've been doing this most Saturdays for the last two months. We finish each session with me serving to them so they can work on receive, about 7 minutes each.

In the Sunday Beginning Class we introduced them to random drills. The main drill was putting the ball randomly to the forehand or backhand, and they had to correctly react, not...




Monday, June 10, 2019 - 15:55
June 10, 2019

Tip of the Week
Should You Play Differently at Deuce?

USA Players Training and Competing in Europe
Here are two new articles on this, both by Matt Hetherington:

This is HUGE news - from the first article, we now have 23 USA players, mostly juniors or under 20, all training and playing in Europe (mostly Germany), representing clubs in professional leagues. This is GREAT news, and here's why.

I've always thought that for a USA players to reach the highest levels, either USATT needs to find a way to set up professional leagues across the country (very difficult and expensive, and you have to attract lots of top...




Monday, June 3, 2019 - 16:09
June 3, 2019

Tip of the Week
What to Think About Between Points . . . and What NOT to Think About.

Why Many Top Players and Up-and-Coming Players are NOT Innovative
Here's a strange thing I've noticed. I sometimes let up-and-coming players (especially juniors) practice against my serves, which are notoriously rather tricky. Especially the first time out, they miss, over and over. What I've noticed is that it is the weaker players who immediately try to copy my serves!

I think I know the reason. Suppose you have two players starting out. One copies the best players like Ma Long, and keeps working to develop perfect shots like them. This player hones those shots and improves rapidly until he too is a top player. Now imagine the second one, who is more innovative. Because of this, he experiments more than the first player, and keeps trying new ways of doing his shots. Result? He never quite perfects his shots like the first player. The moral here is that when it comes to fundamentals, you really want to copy the top players and...




Monday, May 27, 2019 - 14:01
May 28, 2019

Tip of the Week
Why You Should Develop a Backhand Loop.

USATT Leaders and Editors
I've just spent an incredible amount of time compiling three lists. It involved going through the USATT Minutes, going through piles of old magazines and Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis (especially Volume 17, 1989-1990, page 272, which had lists of USATT presidents and editors), and getting info from Tim Boggan, Sheri Cioroslan (formerly Pittman), and Doru Gheorghe. If you find any corrections, please email me!

As a clarification, Presidents and Board Chairs are unpaid, volunteer positions. They mostly preside over the Board of Directors, including setting much of the agenda. Executive Directors and CEOs are full-time, paid employees, usually working out of USATT headquarters in Colorado Springs, who run the sport on a day-to-day basis.

The three lists are:

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Monday, May 20, 2019 - 16:05
May 20, 2019

Tip of the Week
Recipe for Table Tennis Success. I had a little fun this week!

Virginia Sung Appointed New CEO of USA Table Tennis
Here's the USATT article. She starts work today. Here main credentials (from the article, and these are only a very brief outline):

Ms Sung founded and served as CEO of a number of large scale businesses in China, some with over 200 employees. She also holds a Bachelor of Philosophy from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. As a player, she represented the USA on numerous occasions, including as a six-time member of the US World Championships team between 1993 and 2001, a finalist in the Women's Singles event at the 2001 National Championships, and the co-winner of National Champion Women's Doubles event in 1998.

I knew her from many years ago, but mostly as a seemingly very shy junior after she moved to the U.S. from China...