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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 noon, 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, November 19, 2018 - 16:56
November 19, 2018

Tip of the Week
Forehand Stroke Efficiency.

Weekend Coaching

  • Friday: I watched and took notes on our junior players for 2.5 hours during the Friday night league at MDTTC, getting ready to coach them at the North American Teams this coming weekend. Lots of little stuff, some big stuff. The hard part at this point is deciding on what things each player should focus on. For example, there are two players who still tend to serve and go into a backhand position, and so often aren't ready for easy forehands. Do we spend the week trying to fix this, or wait until after the Teams? (I've been on them for this for months.) In general, most are pretty much ready. I told them that for this last week, play lots of practice matches and practice their serves.
  • Saturday: I coached in the Saturday night junior league training, which is half league, half training. We had them play team matches, using the same teams that will play in the Teams next weekend. (We have a LOT of teams - at least ten junior teams, and...



Monday, November 12, 2018 - 15:46
November 12, 2018

Tip of the Week
Subconscious Aiming and Stroking.

Ten Things Every Table Tennis Player Should Be Able to Do

  1. Lob. It's the funnest thing to do in table tennis, it'll win you a few emergency points, and by doing it, you'll learn how to play against this style.
  2. Chop. Not only is it a great way to win an emergency point when you are out of position, but by learning to chop you will quickly learn how to play choppers.
  3. Loop. Even if you aren't a looper, you should learn to do it because it's such a big part of the sport, plus doing them yourself helps you learn how to play against them.
  4. Play with different surfaces. It not only is fun to try out short pips, long pips, and anti, but it allows you to understand how they play, and so you'll learn how to play against them.
  5. Have a tricky "go to" serve. If you don't have at least one serve that people have trouble with, you better see a coach and...



Monday, November 5, 2018 - 17:00
November 5, 2018

Tip of the Week
Heavy and No-Spin Pushes.

Coaching Subtleties and Attacking the Middle
After 42 years of playing and coaching I can pretty much analyze an opponent's weaknesses within a game, based both on what he does, but also on his strokes, stance, footwork, etc. If a shakehand player has long arms and tends to extend his arm when stroking, and so has a big gap between where they contact their forehand and backhand, I don't need to see the player react to an attack to the middle for me to know there's going to be a weakness there.

However, when coaching, you also have to know the player you are coaching to really be effective. Even if you watch a player for a time you can't always pick up on everything. It's not just what your player does, but what he doesn't do - and why. If he isn't playing into an opponent's weakness, is it because he hasn't seen the weakness, or because he can't effectively go after it, at least in some ways?

Here's an example. If I played someone who doesn'...




Monday, October 29, 2018 - 16:01
October 29, 2018​

Tip of the Week
Don't Try So Hard When Ending the Point.

Upcoming USATT Strategic Meeting
USATT is holding a Strategic Meeting in Colorado Springs, Nov. 3-4. They hold these periodically. They've had a number of mini-strategic meetings, where the USATT board breaks up into groups to discuss specific issues - I've been to about ten of those. But the last time they had a real Strategic Meeting like this was in 2009, which didn't go well and led to nothing. (I've been to five of them.) I was debating whether to attend this one - as Coaching Chair, I was allowed to choose two coaches, and could include myself - but chose not to this time, though now I'm sort of regretting it - I'd like to be there. So I did the next best thing, and wrote the following letter to the attendees, which focuses on learning from the mistakes of past Strategic Meetings, and on Regionalization, which will be a major issue at this meeting. 

Dear Members of the Upcoming 2018 USATT Strategic Meeting, USATT Board and Staff,

I...




Monday, October 22, 2018 - 15:49
October 22, 2018

Tip of the Week
Top Ten Ways to Be a Professional at All Levels.

Weekend Coaching
I did a lot of "scouting" this weekend. By scouting, what I really mean is I watched and studied our junior players in matches and practice and took lots of notes. Plus, of course, there was the usual weekend group sessions. Here's a rundown.

Friday. I watched our junior players in the Friday night league for 2.5 hours, getting pages of notes on a number of players. I spoke with each of the players on the issues I saw, including both strengths and weaknesses. Some problems I saw included:

  • Not using backhand loop
  • Not attacking the middle
  • Weak pushes
  • Standing in backhand stance as a ready position
  • Frozen footwork against a pips-out player
  • Lifting too much when looping instead of driving the ball more forward
  • Backhand drive too flat
  • Not enough serve variation
  • Rushing, especially when serving
  • Backs off table too easily
  • Grip problem
  • Getting too...



Monday, October 15, 2018 - 13:26
October 15, 2018

Tip of the Week
Style Experimentation.

Table Tennis Inventions
Table tennis regularly has new innovations, both in technique and equipment. The major equipment manufacturers are constantly coming up with new products. For example, Butterfly (which sponsors me) came up with Tenergy rubber a few years ago, and as a truly innovative product, with high-tension sponge and rubber surface, it became a huge seller. They've since innovated on it in numerous ways, including coming up with four types (05, 25, 64, and 80, and please don't ask me how they got those numbers), as well as FX versions of each, which are softer. And now they have come out with Tenergy 05 Hard! (Here's the Here's the review by Stefan Feth.)

But that is NOT the subject of today's blog. Instead, I'm writing about other table tennis inventions. We'll...




Monday, October 8, 2018 - 15:59
October 8, 2018

Tip of the Week
Counterlooping and the Forehand Block.

Why China's Dominance in Table Tennis is Unmatched at the Olympics
Here's the video (10:54). This is fascinating viewing, and I recommend you watch it.

One interesting statement in the video was someone saying, "61% of the worldwide table tennis innovation techniques and tactics are from China." Now this is a rather arbitrary thing as who judges what is an innovation?

Here's discussion on this at the Mytabletennis.net forum, which includes a listing of the innovations by China and others, where they got the 61%. But as noted, it's somewhat arbitrary. It includes many techniques that are no longer common at the high levels, and some are somewhat redundant. If they are going to include those, then they should include many more European hardbat techniques from the 1940s...




Monday, October 1, 2018 - 12:02
October 1, 2018

Tip of the Week
How to Punish those Slow, Spinny Loops.

History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 22
This morning USATT Historian and Hall of Famer Tim Boggan moves in with me for about 12 days so I can do the photo work and page layouts for the latest volume of History of U.S. Table Tennis. This one covers 1996-1997, and will be in the 450 page range, with about 1700 graphics. Actually, every page is technically a graphic, since Tim creates the volumes by mostly cut & pasting articles from the past. He arranges them into 8.5x11 pages, which are scanned by another USATT Hall of Famer, Mal Anderson.

Then comes the "hard" part, for me, as I have to place each page into the layouts, and then fix up all the graphics - and there are a LOT of...




Sunday, September 23, 2018 - 22:49
September 24, 2018

Tip of the Week
Top Ten Guidelines for Playing the Unconventional Style.

USATT Board Meeting
This past weekend I attended the USATT board meeting at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Sept. 21-23. (I attended both as a member of the board and as chair of the coaching committee.) Friday was travel day, plus an informal dinner at the OTC dining hall. I flew on the same flight as USATT legal counsel Dennis Taylor. Others attending the meeting included fellow board members Anne Cribbs (chair), Rajul Sheth, Ed Hogshead, Carolyn Savini, and Erica Wu (who just took a job at Facebook), with Gary Schlager and Tara Profitt attending via e-conference. Also attending were USATT CEO Gordon Kaye, COO Mark Thompson, High Performance Director Jörg Bitzigeio, and High Performance Committee Chair Carl Danner. Also attending for a few hours were new...




Monday, September 17, 2018 - 15:59
September 17, 2018

Tip of the Week
Development of an Outrageously Great Spin Serve.

New Format at the U.S. Open
Here's the 2018 U.S. Open page, and here's the entry form. It will be held Dec. 16-22 in Orlando, FL, near Disneyworld. (Yep, I'm going afterward, probably with a group of our juniors.)

Two huge pluses are 1) Every match will be played on rubberized floors (no more cement!), and 2) Did I mention it's near Disneyworld? The entry form includes discounts for Disneyworld, Universal Orlando, and Universal's...