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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

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 - 13:54
May 30, 2018

Changes I Wouldn't Mind Seeing Tested
We're so used to the way table tennis is played that many are resistant to any change. And there's a good argument for that - why would we want to change the sport we already love? But let's open our minds and consider testing a few - and the key word is test

  • Colored Ball. Our sport is all about spin, and we have a ball that makes it almost impossible to see it! We're used to it, but I've always thought this was almost insane. We want to be a spectator sport while hiding what is practically the central aspect of our sport? Being able to read the spin more easily would also lead to fewer mistakes against serves. It would also pretty much solve the hidden serve problem as you could more easily read spin from the ball. Plus, imagine how cool it would look if we chose a really nicely designed ball! They actually tried this at a major tournament a few years ago, using a multi-colored ball, but the ball itself was a cheap one. It needs to be tried out with a high-quality ball. 
  • Adjustable Table Height. The standard...



Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 13:35
May 29, 2018

Tip of the Week
The Balance Between Tactical and Strategic Thinking.

Balticon and Back to Pong
For once, I had pretty much of a non-table tennis weekend. (But I'll get to the table tennis in a minute.) I was a panelist at the Baltimore Science Fiction Convention. Here's my Balticon Bio - note where it says, "He's also a professional table tennis coach, and claims to be the best science fiction writer in USA Table Tennis, and the best table tennis player in SFWA"! (That's Science Fiction Writers of America, which has stringent membership requirements - you have to sell at least three short stories to one of the big "pro" magazines - I've sold 26 - or a novel to one of the big "pro" publishers.)

On Saturday I had a one-hour book signing session - here's a picture. I was on four...




Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 13:45
May 24, 2018

No Blog on Friday and Monday
On Friday and Saturday I'll be at the Baltimore Science Fiction Convention ("Balticon") where I'm a panelist and have a book signing - here's my schedule. My first panel actually isn't until 4PM but I'm going out early (it's an hour away) to spend the day at the Baltimore Aquarium. On Sunday and Monday I'm at home reading and writing, i.e. celebrating Memorial Day, though I may drive over to coach at the Washington DC May Open, if I have the energy. (But I still have to coach a junior class on Sunday from 4-5:30 PM.) See you next Tuesday!

USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame
Here's a picture of the USATT Hall of Fame at the Triangle Club in North Carolina. I think it's great that after so many years we finally got this, with the grand opening last year. It's a...




Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 13:26
May 23, 2018

Serve and Receive Tactics Seminar at MDTTC and Nationals
As mentioned in previous blogs, I'll be running two Serve and Receive Tactics Seminars. The one at the USA Nationals is now the lead story on the USATT News page!  (Here's the direct link.) Here are the two, with links to the seminar flyer.

The one in Las Vegas is free - I'm running it as USATT Coaching Chair. The one at MDTTC is $15 for members, $20 for others, with 100% of the money raised going to the HW Global Junior Program at MDTTC, to pay for our coaches to go to the...




Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 14:02
May 22, 2018

Man in the Arena
Many years ago, when I was in one of my many battles with USA Table Tennis or with some other group of naysayers, I received a note from USATT Hall of Famer Wendell Dillon (one of the all-time great USATT officials, and still active) that I was "The Man in the Arena." To my great embarrassment, I only vaguely knew of this famous speech by Teddy Roosevelt, and had to look it up. Here it is:

THE MAN IN THE ARENA
Teddy Roosevelt Speech, April 23, 1910
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the...




Monday, May 21, 2018 - 13:55
May 21, 2018

Tip of the Week
Develop Power Timing by Slapping.

Weekend Coaching
On Friday I spent 2.5 hours watching the Friday night league at MDTTC, taking notes on our junior players on their games, both for those I coach and to pass on to the other coaches. I'll be doing this more and more as the U.S. Nationals approaches for many of the 17 MDTTC juniors who are going. It was a hodgepodge (that's the third time I've used my namesake word in this blog since it started in 2011) of strengths and weaknesses.

Overall, I was very happy with how they played, though of course they must all strive for constant improvement or I won't be happy! On the weakness side, way too many of them attacked the corners over and over instead of tactically attacking the middle (elbow). One still tends to lean instead of stepping to the ball - I'm recommending he do a lot of shadow practice, jump rope, and Stutter Stepping. (Another was so light on his feet that he stepped even...




Friday, May 18, 2018 - 14:02
May 18, 2018

The Ongoing Hidden Serve Saga
Here is a draft of the letter I plan to send to the ITTF at some point. I will likely ask the USATT Board of Directors to get behind this so the letter (or a version of it) can come from USATT. (NOTE - on Monday afternoon I updated the letter to a newer draft.)

Dear ITTF Rules Committee, Umpires and Referees Committee, and Athletes Commission:

The illegal hiding of serves is a major problem in our sport. Video and still pictures show that most world-class players regularly hide the ball when they serve, thereby gaining a huge advantage over those who serve legally. (Examples are given in the Net Visibility Rule proposal, one of a number of proposals to solve this problem - this is not an endorsement of any...




Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 13:01
May 17, 2018

Table Tennis vs. Science Fiction Writing
Outside table tennis I also write science fiction - see larryhodges.com and my bibliography. (Short version - 90 short stories sold, 4 novels, and 2 short story collections. I have a story coming out in the next issue of Analog.) However, table tennis is still the main priority and it pays the most of the bills, both coaching and writing (eight books).

I started a new science fiction novel last week, but every time I tried working on it, some table tennis issue came up and I'd put it aside. There was the Hall of Fame program; researching some history and photos for one of this year's Hall of Fame inductees; a USATT Board of Directors teleconference; proofing some USATT documents; an ongoing confidential issue I've hinted about and spent nearly 100 hours on and can't wait to blog about hopefully this summer; some Coaching Chair issues; planning out junior training group sessions; preparing Tim Boggan's History of U...




Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - 13:01
May 16, 2018

How the Game Has Changed! A Look Back to 1994
I was doing some research on something recently and came across an article I wrote in the Sept/Oct 1994 issue of USA Table Tennis Magazine. The article was my diary as the USA head coach at the King Car International Youth City Championships in Taipei, Taiwan, Aug. 22-30, 1994. We had two boys' teams and two girls' teams, with 14 players. Many of the best junior teams from all over the world attended, including teams from all over Europe, Asia, and a few from South America and Africa. The notable missing team was China, since we were in Taiwan.

Before the tournament we had a five-day joint training camp with the Taiwan and South Korean Teams. I noticed that their players had incredible footwork and forehand loops, but their backhand loops were rather weak. So I called our team together and told them our focus during the tournament was simple - get your backhand loops into play as they weren't used to facing them. The strategy worked - USA #1 (Dave Fernandez, Barney J. Reed, Richard Lee) came out of nowhere to get third place in Boys' Teams, beating some of the best teams from Taiwan,...




Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 13:45
May 15, 2018

USATT Teleconference and the USATT Hall of Fame Banquet
We had one last night, a rather short one, only about 70 minutes, starting at 7PM. All nine USATT board members (including me) attended, as did the USATT CEO, COO, HPD, LC, and the chair of the HPC. (Awe, c'mon, do I have to spell these out for you? Think of it as a brain teaser.)

The meeting really had two parts, the "Open" session and the "Closed" session. During the open session we primarily discussed:

  • World Veterans - over 4000 entries. However, there have been problems with visas from some countries, likely due to the U.S.'s changing to more restrictive policies, and we may have lost up to 100 entries. We also arranged to have a USATT board meeting at the Veterans on Wednesday, July 20, with a board dinner the night before. 
  • U.S. Nationals. Final entry deadline is May 25, so what are you waiting for?
  • Para Data Protection Guidelines
  • Volunteer Recognition

...