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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 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
Start With Your Trickiest Serve.

Three Big Things to Happen to USA Table Tennis Since I Started
I started playing table tennis and joined USATT in 1976. Since that time, I would say there are three BIG things that have happened in our sport, specifically in the US for two of them. (If I’d started five years earlier, then I might have put Ping-Pong Diplomacy as a fourth.) They are:

Tip of the Week
Court Tricks.

Weekend Coaching
Only did one group session this past weekend – other coaches needed the hours more than I did! I did multiball for about an hour and thirty minutes as a practice partner. (There were 18 in the group. We have over 70 in our junior program, so have to have different groups based on level.) The multiball focus was lots and Lots and LOTS of fundamentals, focusing on topspin drills and footwork. While one player does multiball, another shadow-strokes behind him, matching his shots and imagining hitting the ball each time. Another player does serves, while another does ball pickup. As a practice partner, we again did lots of footwork drills. We also did a rather intensive shadow-practice session at the start, going through lots of stroking and footwork drills without the ball. I spent much of the time yelling, “Turn your shoulders!” as many kids get lazy and go for rapid-fire but poor arm strokes – but not on my watch!!!

Tips of the Week

2023 US Open
The 2023 US Open seems ages ago – it was held Dec. 15-22 in Ontario, California, near LA. But since I’ve been traveling almost non-stop this is my first blog since then. (I’m back to blogging every Monday, except when sick or out of town.) Here are a few tidbits – with more in the next segment about USATT. I had more to write about, but since it’s been a month, I’ll keep the segment short.

Next Blog: January 15
I’ll be out of town Dec. 15-27 for the US Open and then Christmas, and again Jan. 2-10 for the $36,600 Ping Pong World Cup in Mexico City (plus some sightseeing afterwards). So next blog will be Monday, Jan. 15. There will be a Tip of the Week on Monday, Dec. 18, and Monday Jan. 8. Have a great holiday season!

Tips of the Week
Dec. 11: Why Aren't You Pushing Heavy?
Dec. 18: Are You Too Backhand Oriented?

Tip of the Week

USA Table Tennis Election
This is it, the final week for USATT members to vote – voting ends at 7PM Eastern time on Friday, Dec. 8. If you don’t vote, you cannot gripe about ANYTHING that USATT does for the rest of posterity. (Worse, you may be fined 100 rating points.) On Monday, Nov. 6, at 11AM eastern time, if you were a USATT member for at least the previous 60 days and are age 18 or over, you should have received the election email. Open it and VOTE!!!

Tip of the Week
Forcing or Adjusting Your Game.

North American Teams
I just completed another North American Teams, my 47th in a row. (It would be 48 except they skipped 2020 because of Covid.) My first one was in 1976, where I played with Mike Shapiro and Jackie Heyman. I was a player for most of those years, then a player/coach, but in modern times I’ve only been coaching. Let’s see, 47 Teams, three days each, that’s 141 days at the Teams! (Almost five months.)

This year I think I set two records that will never be broken. Over those three days I coached 102 matches, going 61-41 in all. Has anyone every coached that many matches in a tournament? I coached 46 matches on Saturday, which has got to be a record for one day. On that day I coached from 8AM until 11:40PM, even eating meals while coaching. In several of them I coached two matches at the same time. (I normally only do that with lower-rated teams, where coaching is a bit simpler.) When one team finished a team match, I’d move to another. On Friday and Sunday I coached 28 matches each day.

Tip of the Week
Are You Maximizing Your Angles?

Group Coaching and the Teams
This past week we had a tournament at our club so I only did one group training session, with our advanced group (about 1700 to 2500). You want to know the difference between coaching elite juniors versus the novice ones? At the novice level, we focus on fundamentals. At the elite level we focus on . . . fundamentals!!! Yes, it’s true for both, though the fundamentals are a bit more advanced at the elite level. For example, at the novice level we work on basic strokes and footwork. In the elite session this past week, I worked with several players on recovery – basically, following through back into position. (See Follow Through Back Into Position After Forehand Looping.)

Tip of the Week
Coaching Between Games for the Non-Coach.

2023 USA Table Tennis Election and USATT Problems
=>(Skip ahead if you have no interest in the morbid world of USATT politics.)
I blogged about the election last week. If you are a USATT member 18 and over, you should have received an email about the election at 11AM Eastern Time last Monday, Nov. 6. (I think you had to be a member for at least two months before that date.) Once again I am urging you to vote for Dennis Taylor. I know or know about the other four candidates, and I think most would be good officers, but Dennis is more proven.

Tip of the Week
Three Keys to Fast Reacting.

2023 USA Table Tennis Election
It’s time for another USATT election! This is a “special” one, to take up a spot on the board that was recently vacated. There are five candidates running for one position. Balloting starts today (Monday) at 11AM Eastern Time. Here is the election info page.

I strongly urge you to vote for Dennis Taylor. Here is his Campaign Flyer, which gives you his background and why he’s running. I’ve known and worked with him for 25 years. He’s a former board member, chaired the High Performance Committee, was on or advisor to eleven committees, was USATT secretary and took minutes for over one hundred USATT board meetings, and was the pro bono USATT lawyer for 18 years. He helped me run the Eastern Open one year and was a student in my adult training sessions for years at MDTTC. He is a rock of integrity and will bring that, experience, and vision to our sport.

Tip of the Week
Quicker Drives with the Forehand-Backhand Drill.

Weekend Coaching, a White House Halloween, and Humongous Technical Issues
I coached in five group junior training sessions over the weekend. I was scheduled for four, but when my appointment with a computer guru at the Geek Squad on Sunday was postponed (more on that below), and they needed me for a session at that time, I stepped in, mostly feeding multiball for 90 minutes with players in the session rotating in and out.