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A daily blog from Coach Larry Hodges - feel free to comment.
The Olympic Sport of Table Tennis (commonly called ping-ping) is played by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, and is the second largest participation sport in the world after soccer. The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is the world governing body, with over 200 member nations. USA Table Tennis (USATT) is the governing body for table tennis in the U.S., with over 8000 members, 300 clubs, 300 annual sanctioned tournaments, a bi-monthly magazine, and a national rating/ranking system.
He was the recipient of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award. (Here is his table tennis resume put together for this, circa March 2018.) He is a member of the US Table Tennis Hall of Fame for his coaching and writing, is a member of the USATT Coaching Committee (which he chaired for many years in two tenures), is a former member of the USATT Board of Directors, and is a professional coach at the Maryland Table Tennis Center. A two-time USATT Coach of the Year, he's certified by USATT as a National Coach (the highest level), and is also certified as a coach by ITTF, which ran a news item on an ITTF coaching seminar he ran in the U.S. He was named USATT Developmental Coach of the Year in 2002 (he was Coach of the Year runner-up three times), won the President's Award for contributions to table tennis in 2007, and was named the 2013 USATT Doc Counsilman Coach of the Year. He has been the match coach for more gold medalists at the Junior Nationals and Junior Olympics than any other USA table tennis coach - over 250. He has coached the USA National Junior Team in tournaments in Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, and USA. He has over 2100 published articles, including over 1900 on table tennis (this does not include over 1900 blog postings at TableTennisCoaching.com), and 20 books, 11 of them on table tennis. He edited USA Table Tennis Magazine, the national magazine for U.S. table tennis (cir. ~8000) for 12 years - here are all 71 issues. He's run exactly 203 USATT sanctioned tournaments, almost all of them 2-day events, plus the 4-star 1998 Easterns.
Larry started playing in 1976, when he was 16, and began coaching before he turned 20. After graduating in 1985 from University of Maryland with a bachelor's in math (he later went back and got a master's in journalism), he went to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for five years where he was at various times the manager, director, and coach for table tennis. During those years he worked with many of the best players in the U.S., as well as Chinese Coaches Cheng Yinghua, Jack Huang, Li Henan, Liguo Ai, Li Zhenshi, and Li Zhang.
In 1991, despite many saying it was a crazy idea, he joined forces with coaches Cheng Yinghua and Jack Huang to open the Maryland Table Tennis Center in Gaithersburg, MD, the first successful full-time table tennis training center in the US. It has operated continuously since, with one of the strongest junior program in the U.S. over the last three decades. Others learned from them and opened other such centers, and now there are over 100.
As a player, his highest ranking was USA #18 (out of about 8000 ranked players). He's beaten members of the Canadian, Nigerian, Philippine, and Israeli National Men's Teams, and won 16 Open Singles titles. He's been state champion for Maryland, North Carolina, and Colorado. At the College Nationals, he won Men's Doubles once and Teams twice, and made the quarterfinals of singles. Though he normally plays with sponge, he's been the U.S. Open or National Champion for hardbat singles twice, hardbat doubles 14 times, and over 40 hardbat singles seven times - the latter most recently in 2021, where he also won Over 60 Hardbat. At tournaments, when he's not coaching, he takes on challenges . . . often with a clipboard as a racket, where he used to be about 2100 level.
And he can still move! Here's video (26 sec, with slo-mo replay) of him going after an edge ball on the way to winning Over 40 Hardbat - at age 62 - at the 2022 US Open!
Larry also writes science fiction and fantasy - he's sold over 140 short stories plus four novels. He claims, "I'm the best science fiction writer in USA Table Tennis and the best table tennis player in Science Fiction Writers of America!" Below are some Interviews with Larry Hodges - both table tennis and science fiction!
- 09-05-20 - Interviewed at Butterfly (30:46) by Steve Hopkins
- 08-08-20 - Interviewed at Kevin Table Tennis (40:53) by Kevin Nguyen
- 04-17-20 - Interviewed by USATT by Mark Thompson
- 10-02-19 - Profiled in China Daily
- 10-12-18 - Interview with Butterfly by Ayan Bagchi
- 11-04-17 - Interview by Tom Lodziak
- 03-07-16 - Interview at Eating Authors by Lawrence Schoen
- 10-09-15 - Interview at Expert Table Tennis (podcast, 55:09) by Ben Larcombe
- 11-04-11 - Interview at The Daily Quarterly (Part 1)
- 11-11-11 - Interview at The Daily Quarterly (Part 2)
- 01-17-22 - Interview: Odyssey Graduate Larry Hodges (Part 2)
- 01-10-22 - Interview: Odyssey Graduate Larry Hodges (Part 1)
- 01-19-21 - Interview with Todd Sullivan (9:18)
- 08-12-19 - Interview at Sci-Fi Thoughts (10:49), part 1, by Lancer Kind: Sci-Fi is about the idea
- 08-20-19 - Interview at Sci-Fi Thoughts (6:55), part 2, by Lancer Kind: What do the Mule, Psychohistory, the Internet waking up, and Kirinyaga have in common?
- 08-27-19 - Interview at Sci-Fi Thoughts (8:15), part 3, by Lancer Kind: Satirical style of Larry Hodges
- 09-03-19 - Interview at Sci-Fi Thoughts (6:27), part 4, by Lancer Kind: Orson Scott Card’s MICE, but enhanced, with Larry Hodges
- Aug & Sept, 2019 - All Four Podcast Interviews at SciFi Thoughts (see above) by Lancer Kind
- 10-02-18 - Interview at Analog Science Fiction
- 04-12-16 - Interview at Literary Escapism (an interview with Feodora Zubkov, a character from Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions)
- 04-03-16 - Interview by Michael Ventrella
- 03-18-16 - Interview at Live to Read by Krystal Larson (The Big Ideas of Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions)
- 11-01-13 - Interiew at Weird Tales
- 09-01-10 - Interview with New Myths Magazine
- 11-07-08 - Interview at Writing Life by Emma Larkins