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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, February 8, 2021 - 17:54
February 8, 2021

Tip of the Week
Locking Up Your Opponents.

USATT Board of Directors Seeks Applications for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
Here's the USATT news item. Let's start with something positive!

USATT and NCTTA and Bylaws, Oh My!
The next three segments involve lots of USATT issues and politics. If you have no interest in these issues and battles between USATT and the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association, feel free to skip ahead! This blog starts with a LOT of USATT stuff, but there's plenty other things afterwards. 

USATT Board of Directors Seek Member Comment on Proposed Amendments to the Bylaws
...




Monday, February 1, 2021 - 18:03
February 1, 2021

Tip of the Week
Play the Middle Against Tall Players, Wide Angles Against Short Players.

$3000 Nittaku Ohio Open
I had a great time this weekend coaching at the Ohio Open  - as always, they run nice events at the Samson Dubina TTA. The tournament staff was Steve Graber Josh Graber, Sam Dubina, Mike Boyd, Blake Cottrell, and of course Samson Dubina (who also acted as referee). Here are complete results, with Gal Alguetti over Sharon Alguetti in the Open final. Here's video (21:53) of Sharon Alguetti's five-game win over Yahao Zhang in the Under 2650 final. All the expected Covid precautions were taken, with everyone's temperature taken on the way in, social distancing, and masks required except when actually at the table playing. (As a precaution...




Monday, January 25, 2021 - 17:56
January 25, 2021

Tip of the Week
Finding Simple Tactics That Work.

Sally Boggan RIP
Here's the online obit; she was 87. She was the matriarch of perhaps the greatest US table tennis family ever. Alas, they had to take her off life support and she passed away on Saturday, Jan. 23. She had a stroke a year and a half ago that paralyzed her on one side, but recently had a second stroke which paralyzed her other side and led to her death. Here's a picture of the Boggan clan - L-R Sally Boggan, Tim Boggan, Eric Boggon, and Scott Boggan. (Here's the...




Monday, January 18, 2021 - 17:54
January 18, 2021

Tip of the Week
Shorten Stroke on Receive.

Weekend Coaching - Not
Here's the notice at my club: "MDTTC will be closed for two weeks starting Jan. 15 due to possible COVID exposure." Yikes!!! So no coaching this past weekend. I'm told we can do limited private coaching, so I might do a session next weekend. We'll see.

Han Xiao Appointed to Co-chair Commission on the State of the U.S. Olympics and Paralympics
Below are two articles. (His co-chair is Edwin Moses.) Han, 33, is already the Chair of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) Athletes’ Advisory Council. He was a long-time member of the US National Men's Team, 4-time US Men's Doubles Champion, and Men's Finalist at the 2011 Nationals. He's from my club, MDTTC - in fact, I'm the first person in table tennis to meet him, when he came in with his dad at age seven. I was owner/director/coach, and assigned him to Coach Cheng Yinghua, who...




Monday, January 11, 2021 - 17:29
January 11, 2021

Tip of the Week
Should You Experiment If You Have a Big Lead?

Mercy Points and Comebacks
There was quite a lot of discussion on Facebook from my blog last week about whether to give "mercy points." So let's revisit. 

The basic rule is that it's up to you if you want to give a mercy point at 10-0. Both Ma Long and Jan-Ove Waldner, generally considered the two main candidates for Greatest of All Time, have given away mercy points or played exhibition at the end of a lopsided match. Other top players are die-hard try to win every point, even at 10-0 against a beginner. Some players might be insulted if you "give" them a point, so it depends on the player and circumstances. As I said, in a non-competitive match, I prefer to put a ball up and let them "earn" the point.

It also depends on the event. A senior focused on winning Over 50 at the Nationals shouldn't take chances there, but might give a point (or go easy) at 10-0...




Monday, January 4, 2021 - 17:55
January 4, 2021

Tip of the Week
Play Both Weaker and Stronger Players.

Weekend Coaching - Navin and Stanley
The junior program starts again next weekend, so no group sessions this past weekend. I did my usual session with Navin Kumar, and it was one of our best. He blocks with long pips on the backhand (no sponge), and has gotten pretty good at it. About a year ago I'd worked with him on chopping down on the ball slightly at contact, a chop block, but due to Parkinson's, it didn't work out well - it requires a fine touch. So since the we've focused since then on meeting the ball more straight on.

Coach Gary Fraiman (from Florida) saw a video of one of our sessions and suggested he chop block more. (Gary is highly experienced coaching Para players, and as a player is a long pips chopper, so he knows about long pips.) He and I discussed it via Facebook messenger, and I decided to introduce it again - and this time Navin picked up on it quickly!!! When you meet a topspin ball straight...




Monday, December 28, 2020 - 17:59
December 28, 2020

Tip of the Week
Use Quick, Deep Pushes to Set Up Your Attack.

Miscellaneous

  • Today's blog is my 1800th blog, and coincidentally the last of the year. (I used to do them five days a week, Mon-Fri.) This is in addition to 17 books and over 2000 published articles!
  • There was no junior group sessions this past weekend - holidays!!! But I did coach Navin Kumar on Saturday. Here are two videos (note how empty the club is due to holidays and pandemic!): Forehands (20 sec, and note how six seconds in I move in and start taking the ball quick off the bounce, to rush Navin) and Loop to Navin's Block (35 sec, and if you listen closely, near the end you can hear me doing my Gollum impression, where I tell myself "I can't do this" and then "...



Monday, December 21, 2020 - 17:57
December 21, 2020

Tip of the Week
Proper Strokes Are 1-2-3: Don't Forget the Neutral Position!

USA Table Tennis Museum
Wouldn't it be great to have one? A place where we could all learn about the greats of our past? Schiff and McClure. Miles and Reisman. Seemiller and Boggan. O'Neill and Butler. Cheng and Zhuang. Aarons, Fuller, and Green. Neuberger and Shahian. Martinez and Sweeris. Bhushan and Lee. Gao and Feng. And so on.

There are various table tennis collections around the country, there's the online USATT Hall of Fame, and Mike Babuin maintains the Cary TTA museum in North Carolina (but the link to the actual museum is no longer active) - and Mike just sent me a video of the Cary Museum (10:52). So maybe that's something we might build on? Or do we start something new...




Monday, December 14, 2020 - 17:35
December 14, 2020

Tip of the Week
Use It or Lose It!

Weekend Coaching
This past Sunday and next Sunday we are running our season-ending practice tournament for our junior program. The kids are divided into three divisions by level/rating, with about ten in each, and play a complete round robin, all best of five to 11. I spent the sessions split between watching and taking coaching notes, and umpiring some of the matches (so they could get more of a tournament-like feel for the matches). In the lowest group (with the youngest kids), I taught them how to read the playing schedule and how it is created. After watching them, I realize that a lot of them need more work both on their serves, and on understanding the purpose of the serve, which is primarily to set up their attack. The really good news - I spent some time just watching their feet, and came away pretty happy - with one exception, all of them had "active feet." The only exception tended to lean to the ball instead of moving, so we'll work on that. Most had pretty good stroking technique.

In the...




Monday, December 7, 2020 - 17:50
December 7, 2020

Tip of the Week
Should You Stick With Your Best Shot If It Is Missing?

Weekend Coaching
On Sunday, I asked one of our junior players what she wanted to work on, and she wanted to do side-to-side footwork drills. We must be doing something right!!! As usual, we focused on fundamental as I was working with our younger kids. I also set up targets on the table for serve practice and they took great joy in knocking them off - though I kept insisting that they weren't really knocking them off, they were just showing me what it would look like if they were to knock them off, so that if they were to actually knock them off, I'd know what it would look like. Did you get all of that?

They played up-down tables the second half of the session. They would hide the ball to see who served first. If the server scored two in a row, he became the receiver, and the goal was to be the receiver. They would play for about five minutes, and then whoever was receiving at that time moved up, the server moved down. To help work on specific...