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 1PM, 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

Tip of the Week
July 26: Don't "Guide" Your Loop.
Aug. 2: Practice Service Spin … on a Rug!

Writing and Table Tennis Advice
I just finished up a nine-day TNEO online science fiction & fantasy writing workshop, an annual event I go to nearly every year. (This was my twelfth one and ninth in a row.) It's nine days of total writer immersion, with story critiques, master classes, readings, brainstorming & problem-solving sessions, plot breakout sessions, and writing salons on various topics. (Think of it as a training camp for writers.)

Tip of the Week
Playing the Non-Adjuster. (There was no blog last week while I was at the US Nationals, but in case you missed it, there was a Tip - Changing the Pace.)

2021 US Nationals
I had a great time at the Nationals last week in Las Vegas, July 4-9. The players I coached did very well, and in between coaching I managed to squeeze in two gold medals myself!!! However, as usual, due to my coaching and hardbat, I didn't get to see as many high-level matches as others. (When they were playing the Men's and Women's Finals I had to go online to find out who they'd beaten in the semifinals.) A great thanks to the many staff who did an INCREDIBLE job, given the difficult parameters they had to work under.

Here are a few links:

No Blog Next Week . . . But There'll be a Tip!
I'll be at the US Nationals in Las Vegas coaching away . . . but there will be a Tip of the Week!!! (It's already written, I'll put it up on Sunday night, July 4.) The next blog will go up on Monday, July 12. See you then!

Note - the July 5 Tip of the Week is up, "Changing the Pace." 

And note the new look - I just migrated from Drupal 6 to Drupal 9!

Tip of the Week
Forehand Attackers Should Serve & Backhand Attack.

US Nationals
I leave this Friday for the US Nationals in Las Vegas, along with about 30 others from my club (players, parents, coaches). It's 2800-mile flight. Originally I'd expected to coach only the first few days, since all of the junior events start on Sunday and Monday, with some rating events on Tuesday. (Nationals is July 4-9, Sun-Fri.)

So I figured they'd all be done by Wednesday, and on Thursday I'd play the three Hardbat events - Hardbat Singles, Over 40 Hardbat, and Over 60 Hardbat. (I'm normally a sponge player, but play hardbat on the side.) Alas, it's not likely.

Tip of the Week
Don't Start a Point Until You Have a Game Plan.

US Junior Team Trials
I got back late last night from four days at the Westchester TTC in New York, where they held the US Team Trials for Under 17, Under 13, and Under 11, for boys and girls. Here are some links:

  • Complete results, care of TTLive
  • Final Standings for all six events
  • Live Streaming of Under 13 from Day Three/Sunday (6hr 24min). Ryan Lin (2037) is playing at the very start (far side), with Coach Jack Huang coaching. Toward the end, at 5:29:00, you can see Stanley Hsu (2311) playing He Xianyao (2160), with me coaching Stanley (in red shirt on far right). At 6:03:00, you can see Stanley against Patryck Zyworonek (2196), with Wang Qingliang coaching Stanley, as the top two seeds in U13 battle it out.

A great thanks for setting up and running this event goes to USATT, Westchester TTC and Will Shortz, High Performance Director Sean O'Neill, Referee Roman Tinyszin, all the other volunteers whose names I don't have, and all the players, parents, and coaches! The trophies are especially nice - they weigh a ton and the kids love them. (See pictures below.)

Tip of the Week
Tournament Experience vs. Practice.

Weekend Coaching,  Larry's Six-Month Rule, and the Junior Trials in Westchester
Most of our junior training sessions are done for the season, with our summer training camps starting up on June 21. But our Group A juniors, who mostly all went to the US Junior Trials at the ICC TTC in California last weekend (for Under 19 and 15) had a make-up session. I spent most of the session just watching, especially when they played games at the end, to prepare for coaching them at the US Junior Trials at the Westchester TTC in NY this coming weekend (for Under 17, 13, and 11). I also had a session with Navin Kumar, where the focus was on fundamentals (since we hadn't had a session in several weeks) and serves. Here's video (30 sec) with a humorous finish! Overall, it's been a slow week for me, coaching-wise. (I also did a sports psychology session with one of our kids on Wednesday.) Things will pick up dramatically in the summer.

Tip of the Week
What to Do in the "Big Points."

BREAKING NEWS - 2021 US Nationals Preliminary Rounds to Play RR Format, Masks Not Required
Here's the news item that went up Tuesday night. Deadline to enter the US Nationals is in one week, June 15. Note the changes in starting days and times listed at the end. (At the time this went up, there were only 328 entries. I'll write more about this next week.)

US Junior Team Trials - Under 19 and Under 15
I spent last week at the US Junior Trials at the ICC Table Tennis Center in Milpitas, CA, in the Bay area, June 3-6. Here are complete results, care of TTLive. (Besides the Trials, for boys and girls, they also had separate events for Under 17 and a combined Under 11/Under 13.) Here is the USATT graphic showing the members and names of the players making the four teams. A total of 101 players competed in 516 matches. (The rating results are already up.)

Tip of the Week
How to Play the Attacker/Blocker with Dead Rubber.

Have a Happy Memorial Day
But remember who are being memorialized. 

Recovering from Injuries - an Opportunity!!!
Recently, a top junior hurt his wrist and so his table tennis play became limited - he couldn't loop forehand or backhand without aggravating the wrist, which made things tricky, since he's a two-winged looper. But I pointed out to him and his dad (via Facebook) that this is really an opportunity! This is what I posted.

He definitely should see a sports medicine doctor and/or therapist, and take time to let the wrist heal. But that doesn't mean taking a break from training. It means he'll finally have time to really focus on the aspects that don't involve the movements that hurt his wrist. He can get himself into top-notch physical shape; work on his pushing (short and long); forehand flipping (less wrist needed than backhand flip); work on his blocking; do footwork drills where the opponent is looping and he's blocking; shadow-practice; and if the motion doesn't hurt the wrist, work on his serves. He should experiment and list all the table tennis moves he can do that don't hurt the wrist, and work on those - but be absolutely certain to avoid those that do. (It could also be a time to have a little fun and practice chopping and lobbing.) It's not lost time; it's an opportunity!!!

Weekend Coaching
On Saturday I went to the club and just got to sit around and watch. Why? They were having the Elite League, so I came in to watch our top juniors play, since I'll be coaching them this next week at the Junior Trials. (See segment below.) I had a few tips for them in helping them prepare, but mostly took notes, especially on serve and receive.

Tip of the Week
Inside-Out Backhands.

Olympian Lily Zhang at MDTTC
On Sunday, May 24 (yesterday), at 5PM, Olympian and 5-time (and current) US National Women's Singles Champion Lily Zhang visited the Maryland Table Tennis Center to give a talk, answer questions, do a demonstration and exhibition, and signed autographs. It was arranged by Richard Lee (owner of JOOLA and part-owner of MDTTC). The event went off great, with about 100 spectators. Here are pictures:

After a short talk, Lily took questions from the audience, and there were many! I even asked one - "Since you are about to play a chopper/looper in an exhibition, in general, how would you advise players on how to play a chopper?" She answered that playing choppers was not her strength, but that the key was patience. After the Q&A, she and MDTTC Coach Wang Qingliang did an exhibition, best two out of three to 11. It was spectacular!!! Wang won game one, 11-8; Lily game two, 11-9. They started the third game at deuce. Lily won the first point to have match point, but Wang won, 13-11. (But remember, this was an exhibition. But they really went at it - some points featured Lily attacking and Wang chopping, others had Wang ripping forehands while Lily blocked, plus a few counterlooping rallies.)

Tip of the Week
Patient Decisiveness.

The Subconscious and Table Tennis
One of the hardest things to convince up-and-coming players to do is to just let go, and let their training take over. What that really means is letting your subconscious do what it was trained to do.

Your brain has about 90 billion neurons. On average, each connects to 7,000 others, for a total of roughly 70 trillion connections. Nearly all of that is your subconscious. If I say, "Who was the first US president?", those neurons immediately cough up George Washington. When you tie your shoe, you don't consciously think about each movement - the movements are stored in your subconscious, ready to be brought up on command by your conscious mind.

Similarly, every time you train at table tennis, those neurons are making connections as they learn what they are supposed to do. Once they learn, they are pretty good doing it, as long as you don't interfere. Who is the "you"? That's the conscious mind, which doesn't have all these neurons that instantly do things the way they are taught. Once you bring the conscious mind into it, you start a fight as your conscious mind tries to take control of a process it isn't well trained at, while the subconscious is trying to do what it is well trained at. Here are some examples.