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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

Monday, June 7, 2021 - 14:41
June 7, 2021

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...




Monday, May 31, 2021 - 12:03
May 31, 2021

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...




Monday, May 24, 2021 - 16:44
May 24, 2021

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...




Monday, May 17, 2021 - 16:57
May 17, 2021

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...




Monday, May 10, 2021 - 16:58
May 10, 2021

Tip of the Week
How to Play a Player Who Attacks With Long Pips.

Eastern Regionals in New Jersey
I coached at the Eastern Regional Qualifier this past Saturday at the Lily Yip Table Tennis Center in Dunellen, New Jersey. As usual, Judy Hugh ran a great tournament, with everything on time in a very nice facility. I've been there many times before, including coaching at a two-week USATT Elite Camp, for a week-long ITTF Coaches Camp, and a number of tournaments.

I went up with Manager/Driver/Dad Ron Klinger (3.5 hour drive), along with Todd Klinger and Christian Funderberg. While there I had a tricky balancing act as I was coaching Todd and Christian, as well as Rachel and Jeremy Ku. One little problem I also faced is that the LYTTC has two floors. This is fine for players, who go to the floor where they play and play their RR. But since I was continuously jumping from match to match, it meant I was going up...




Monday, May 3, 2021 - 16:48
May 3, 2021

Tip of the Week
Team Lineup Strategies.

Weekend Coaching
On Sundays, I did sports psychology sessions with four of our junior players. The sessions range from 45-60 minutes, which usually include up to ten minutes of serve practice at the end. Two of them were first timers; the other two were follow-ups. I generally meet with each of them three times, and then after that play it by ear, but perhaps review sessions before major tournaments. I am running into "session creep" - I keep thinking of more examples and other things to add to the sessions, and so they get longer. So I'm going to move some of those to follow-up sessions.

One of my group sessions on Sundays is a group of five girls, all 7-8 years old, that meet for 90 minutes every Sunday at 5:30PM. They are improving fast! I think all are also signed up for private coaching, but it is the group sessions that they really look forward to. The first hour is practice, then we do 30 minutes of games. But I keep the practice part fun. For example, I usually rotate them around, and...




Monday, April 26, 2021 - 16:56
April 26, 2021

Tip of the Week
Looping a Push is Not Going for a Shot.

Three Things Table Tennis Can Learn from Nomadland and the Oscars
I'm a movie buff. I sometimes go several years in a row where I see over 100 movies at the theater - yes, two per week, with a Dr Pepper and small popcorn. Before they closed down due to the pandemic, they were my primary source of throwing away hard-earned money.

Last week I saw Nomadland, which won Best Picture at the Oscars last night. My thoughts on this movie? I had always thought that to be the best picture of the year, a movie shouldn't be boring. It shouldn't be nearly two hours of mundane activities, mostly by amateur actors, and all this allowed because it is a "character movie." ("The Trial of the Chicago 7" should have won.) Here are three things the world of table tennis should learn from this.

  1. Boring is Good. Nomadland got rave reviews from those who were able to stay awake for the nearly two hours of mundane activities. For now on, table tennis...



Monday, April 19, 2021 - 16:58
April 19, 2021

Tip of the Week
Imagine a Score or Situation.

Butterfly Invitational in Cary, NC
I had a great time this past weekend coaching at the tournament. We had ten juniors and five coaches - but with the huge RR format, there were LOTS of matches, so LOTS of coaching. Here are complete results, care of Omnipong. The tournament gave out about $10,000 in prize money and prizes. AJ Carney did a great job running the event. Sharon Alguetti was the dominant player, winning all three "Opens" - Thursday Open, 1800 & Over, and Division A of the Giant RR. There were 116 players, including four over 2550, seven over 2400, 18 over 2200, and 35 over 2000. 

Our kids from MDTTC played really well - lots of great wins, very few bad losses. Some of them we knew were under-rated, since some hadn't played tournaments in a while, due to Covid. (Others had been playing tournaments somewhat regularly the last few months.) The main worry was that when you don't...




Monday, April 12, 2021 - 16:56
April 12, 2021

Tip of the Week
Learn from a Match.

Breaking News - World Table Tennis Championships to Be Held in Houston
Here's the ITTF news item, and here's an article from Inside the Games. They will be held Nov. 23-29, 2021. (I added this Tuesday morning.) They were awarded to USATT in April, 2019 and were originally scheduled for Houston in June this year before they were postponed. One problem - this coincides with the Thanksgiving weekend dates for the North American Teams in Washington DC, which would normally be held Nov. 26-28. (Nov. 25 is Thanksgiving.) 

Weekend Coaching
I squeezed a lot into Sunday, pretty much non-stop from 11AM to 7PM. Two of the group sessions were with beginning-intermediate junior players, where (as always) the focus was on...




Monday, April 5, 2021 - 17:00
April 5, 2021

Tip of the Week
Reading Service Spin.

Weekend Coaching
I had a busy Sunday - was at the club almost all day. I started with the advanced beginning junior class, where I spent much of the time working on basics and serves. When we went to the more advanced sessions later in the day, I acted as a practice partner for an hour - I may not be as fast as before, but I can still block very consistently, and I wore a few players out. One of the advanced players was having some problems with his serves, so I spent a full half hour on this with him - the main problem was his contact point was too high, and it's often difficult to make that transition. But I also showed him how to make the serve bounce really low. I finished the day with the beginning junior girls' group, where I introduced them to serving with spin. (I'd built up to this the last few weeks by having them practice tossing a ball up and spinning it off their racket.)

All players and coaches are required to...