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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.

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-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

UPDATE - I'm still sick in bed and feeling like someone dropped a ping-pong table on my head, and I've decided I'm skipping this week's blog. (Don't worry, I tested for Covid, negative.) I'm going through Kleenex like multiball and coughing up stuff every few minutes. I don't think I've had a cold or flu like this in several years. I think I caught whatever I have last Wednesday, when I spent the day in DC touring Ford's Theater, and then a tour of all the major monuments - Washington (took the elevator to the top), Lincoln, Jefferson, MLK, FDR, WW1, WW2, Korean, Vietnam, and even the Einstein Memorial a few blocks away from the National Mall. I also walked around the White House and visited Lafayette Square, and then visited Spin DC Table Tennis, which was also just a few blocks away. So I was around crowds all day, and also on the jammed subway back and forth. I was supposed to spend Fri & Sat as a panelist at the Baltimore Science Fiction Convention, but had to drop out. I was feeling better Saturday night, and so coached two group sessions on Sunday - but near the end of the first one, I got weak and dizzy and had to stop about 15 minutes before the end of the session. (But I still came back for the second one.) Afterwards, whatever I have got worse. But I think it's just a bad cold, though I have some suspicions I might have had mild flu at the same time - had some stomach problems. 

Tip of the Week
Table Tennis Gems.

Weekend Coaching
I coached five group sessions this weekend. I only had one on Saturday, with the other four on Sunday – including three in a row without a break, totaling five hours. I used to coach five hours straight somewhat regularly, but not anymore – and these days, it’s pretty tiring! And yet, the reality is I wasn’t that tired during the sessions where I was focused, mostly afterwards, when I felt like a ping-pong ball that had been used in a smashing drill and then stomped on by an army of over-excited kids.

As usual, I’m constantly harping on “active feet.” As an amusing side, it means I know everyone’s shoes, and even asked a few of them why they chose those particular shoes. In the higher groups, one wore volleyball shoes, which work can for table tennis, but the rest had various TT shoes. I also stressed always doing something with each shot, don’t just blindly do them. Choose and place each shot for a reason – the more you do that, the more reflexive it becomes. For example, don’t just push the ball back – do it quick and fast, or super heavy, or short, or aim one way and go another, or use an extreme angle, or something.

Tip of the Week
Are You Trying Too Hard?

US Table Tennis Hall of Fame
All mention and links to the US Table Tennis Hall of Fame are gone from the USATT web pages. If you want to visit it, you have to know to go to their new website since it no longer exists, as far as USATT is concerned. It’s just indescribable how the current USATT does these silly things that hurt our sport. I could do a VERY long blog on how many table tennis groups the current USATT has gone to war with, all to the detriment of the sport. 

Tip of the Week
Five Tips to Increase Forehand Looping Power.

Weekend Coaching
Five group sessions, two private sessions, nine hours total, and yes, I’m exhausted, as I always am on Mondays after coaching on the weekend. (Yet, the other coaches at MDTTC do far more hours, as I did when I was younger before I semi-retired.) I spent much of the sessions either feeding multiball or (in two sessions) as a practice partner with rotating players. There was a lot of work looping backspin and in general on consistency. We did a lot of box-bashing, where I put on the table one of the plastic boxes or bowls we use for serving practice, perhaps a foot from the end-line, and the player has to knock it off as I feed multiball – it takes a bunch of hits to do so. Often I do this two at a time, with each player typically doing three shots – perhaps a forehand from the backhand corner, middle, and forehand corner, then rotating around while partner does three. Or they do the backhand-forehand-forehand drill – backhand from backhand side, forehand from backhand side, forehand from forehand side, then rotate around. I time it each time to see how long it takes them to knock it off, so they compete on this – and so they have fun while developing their footwork, strokes, consistency, power, and accuracy.

Tip of the Week
Tactics at the End of a Close Game.

Weekend Coaching
Note to self: Never let kids you are practicing with know that you are recovering from a shoulder injury and can’t extend your arm to cover the wide forehand. If you do, guess where they’ll put every ball while gleefully laughing?

I coached in four group junior sessions over the weekend. Here are some of the things that came up.

Tip of the Week
Dumb Ways to Lose.

Weekend Coaching
It was a servey weekend with lots of serve practice. In group sessions, I worked one-on-one with a number of players on their serves – how to generate more spin, serve lower, control the depth, create deception, and so on. Since serving (along with receive and tactics) are my favorite topics, it was a lot of fun. Also did a lot of random ball drills, often with multiball. For these, I emphasize three things: 1) good ready position; 2) react, don’t guess; and 3) move to the ball. I did five group sessions, including one where we had an odd number of players, so I acted as a practice partner. Not easy as my shoulder and neck are still hurting!

Tip of the Week
Top Ten Things For the Day Before the Tournament.

Weekend Coaching and MDTTC Open
Here are the results of the MDTTC Open held this past weekend at my club. Big breakthroughs by Feng Xue and Daniel Anteneh! Jeez, some players just don’t respect ratings and go out there and win against players who are mathematically better.

There was still one group coaching session. Some topics that came up:

Tip of the Week
Do You Need to Be a Top Player to Be a Top Coach?

Major League Table Tennis
It’s here, in the US, starting soon! This could be a ground-breaking breakthrough for table tennis in the US. Cross your fingers. Here’s their press release, Major League Table Tennis Launches as First Professional Table Tennis League in the US. They also have a Facebook page you should like. (Here’s the USATT news item by Barbara Wei, $250,000 Professional Table Tennis League Launches in the US.) The driving force behind this is Flint Lane, who already started up and owns two table tennis clubs, Princeton Pong and Naples Pong. I’m told he’s got the deep pockets necessary to get something like this off the ground. I also had an exchange of ideas on this with him.

Tip of the Week
How to Win the Choice at the Start of a Match.

Kanak Jha Suspension
It was a shocker when it came out in December that US #1 Kanak Jha was suspended for missing three USADA tests in a twelve-month period. They went to arbitration, and unfortunately, Kanak lost. His suspension is one year, starting Dec. 1, 2022. Here’s the USADA Announcement. Here’s the American Arbitration Association Report – actual testimony starts on page 32. (It’s fascinating reading.) Here’s a video report from TT11TV (1:58).