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 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 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, January 17, 2018 - 14:51
January 17, 2018

Ten Tips

  1. Shirt Longevity. Have you ever bought a nice table tennis shirt, and perhaps had your name and/or club lettered on it – only to see it wear away after a year or so? There's a simple way to avoid this. Always turn your shirts inside out before putting in the laundry. A washing machine pretty much pounds with water the outside of a shirt, so put that lettering and other shirt designs on the inside.
  2. USATT Clothing. Buy some USATT clothing, brand table tennis clothing, or some sort of table tennis outfit, and look like a real pro!
  3. Shoes in a Bag. Keep your playing shoes in a plastic bag or shoe bag in your playing bag. You don't want to wear them to and from the club unless you want to get the soles dirty (thereby losing traction), track dirt into your club, wear the shoes down, and put extra pressure on your legs and knees (since table tennis shoes aren't designed for extensive walking – little support).
  4. Dedicated Shoes for Slippery Floors. Do...



Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 14:32
January 16, 2018

Tip of the Week
Best Way to Learn – Watch, Mimic, Practice.

Board Teleconference – Executive Session
Last night we had a USATT Teleconference from 7PM to 8:40PM. Unfortunately, most of the meeting was in executive session, where we discussed confidential matters (personnel, legal, and/or certain financial issues). So I'm limited in what I can talk about.

We did come out of executive session to approve the 2018 USATT budget. It should be published on the USATT site sometime soon. We went over this previously, and went over it again during the teleconference. We also went over the dates of the USA Nationals this summer in Las Vegas – and the official dates should come out very soon. (There were scheduling complications in regard to the World Veterans Championships, June 18-24, also in Las Vegas, which I may blog about later.)

I've been pretty busy with USATT meetings recently. In December we had two days of meetings at the U.S. Open, plus the USATT Assembly. I flew out to Colorado Springs for a meeting on USATT...




Monday, January 15, 2018 - 13:42
January 15, 2018

MLK Day
Today's MLK Day, so I'm off today - yes, it's Ma Long Karaoke Day! Here's the Chinese National Team members singing Karaoke (2:57) in 2010 – Ma Long, Wang Liqin, Ma Lin, and Wang Hao. The music starts about 15 seconds in. Ma Long sings 54 seconds in. (When they are standing at the stage at the start, L-R it's Wang Hao, Wang Liqin, Ma Lin, and Ma Long.) And just for fun, here's video (15 sec) of a trusting player blowing the ball up as Adam Bobrow smacks it out of the air. 




Friday, January 12, 2018 - 15:00
January 12, 2018

EmRatThich Table Tennis World Ranking System
Here’s the article and ranking list. This is not something he threw together – he goes over in detail the way his system works, which analyzes “43,735 table tennis matches played in 2017 (in official ITTF events) nearly 100 table tennis international tournaments during 2017.”

There have been many complaints about the new ITTF system, which rewards participation as well as level of play, leading to results that often don’t always correspond to actual playing levels. For example, it has Ma Long at #7 in the world, when he’s obviously #1 or #2. Here are the ITTF rankings. If you page down to “Official Documents,” there is info on how they are done. 

When doing such ranking systems, there is always the conflict between trying to set up the most accurate system, versus setting up a system that rewards and thereby increases participation. This is a classic case. USATT has the...




Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 14:55
January 11, 2018

Tip of the Week
Systematically Practice Against What You Have Trouble With. (I normally do these on Mondays, but I was out of town Monday and Tuesday, and didn’t have time to do one on Wednesday.)

Spin Wheel
I had some fun in December with the new TSP Spin Wheel, which was sent to me by PingPongDepot. It’s basically a small tire attached to the table that allows you to practice looping by spinning the wheel. Included with it is a speedometer (technically, a tachometer) that tells you how fast you are spinning it! That’s half the fun – the kids at the club were battling to see who could make it spin the fastest. Here’s video (4:02) of the wheel in action. (This one is white, but the one I have is black.)

I didn’t want to hurt the sponge on my racket so I annexed an inexpensive sponge racket as the full-time racket to be used with the Spin Wheel – I recommend you...




Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 14:57
January 10, 2018

USOC Meeting on Coaching Education and Certification
I returned yesterday afternoon from a whirlwind trip to the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, where I met with USATT and USOC people on creating a USATT Coaching Education and Certification Program. Those attending the meeting were:

  • Larry Hodges (Chair of USATT Coaching Committee and member of USATT Board)
  • Jörg Bitzigeio (USATT High Performance Director)
  • Mark Thompson (USATT Chief Operating Officer)
  • Denise Parker (USOC Vice President, National Governing Bodies Services and former CEO for USA Archery)
  • Chris Snyder (USOC Director of Coaching Education)
  • Avery Wilson (USOC Director of Strategic Planning)

The USOC people have extensive experience in developing education and certification programs for Olympic sports, and so we weren’t starting from scratch. They were very knowledgeable and extremely helpful. We spent probably the first half of the meeting going over where USATT currently stood – who the coaches were, where they coached, the current business model of USATT clubs where the coaches develop...




Friday, January 5, 2018 - 14:58
January 5, 2018

Coaching Matters, and Away Mon & Tue
I’ll be away Monday and Tuesday, so next blog will be next Wednesday. I’ll be at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, meeting with USATT and USOC people about setting up a USATT coaching education and certification program. My flight leaves at 6:50AM from Dulles Airport on Monday, so I’ll be leaving for the airport very early. We have a detailed agenda to go over – I’ll likely go over here when I return. It’s actually formulated in the form of questions – 18 of them.

The USOC is in the business of winning medals for the U.S., and part of that business is setting up coaching programs that lead to these medals. They have a lot of experience working with the various sports organizations in doing this, and are willing to support us in this with money and other resources. There was a time when there simply weren’t enough training centers or potential coaches in the U.S. to make this worthwhile for table tennis, but these days we have lots of both. So now we can focus more and more on quality.

Meanwhile, I’m also involved in about a...




Thursday, January 4, 2018 - 14:28
January 4, 2018

Books I Read in 2017: "I have no life, and I must read."
Today’s blog is only partly related to table tennis – skip ahead if you have no interests in my book-reading proclivities. Below is a listing of the 58 books I read in 2017, which includes three books on table tennis, and another on coaching. It includes 21 novels by Mike Resnick; I’ve now read 43 of his books, 41 of them science fiction novels, the other two books on writing. I also read biographies of the first ten U.S. presidents (partly in preparation for a SF novel I might write), and lots of other stuff.

NON-FICTION (21)

  1. How to Coach Table Tennis, by David Hewitt (1990)
  2. History of U.S. Table Tennis: Vol. 19, 1991-92, by Tim Boggan
  3. History of U.S. Table Tennis: Vol. 20, 1992-93, by Tim Boggan
  4. Successful Coaching, by Rainer Martens
  5. Zen in the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury
  6. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil De Grasse Tyson
  7. How to Build a Time Machine, by Paul Davies
  8. The Third...



Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - 15:04
January 3, 2018

North American Youth Olympic Games Qualification – Boys’ Final
Here’s the match, Kanak Jha vs. Jeremy Hazin (17:35, missing first game). This was one of the few top matches I got to see at the US Open, since I was so busy in meetings, coaching, and playing. But it was a great tactical match – basically, Kanak, age 16 but already over 2700 and #90 in the world, gave a clinic in receive and ball placement.

The match epitomizes something I’ve been quoted saying many times: “Tactics isn’t about finding complex strategies to defeat an opponent. It’s about sifting through all the zillions of possible tactics and finding a few simple ones that work.” In this case, Kanak used disarming receives to take away Jeremy’s serve advantage, and then used one seemingly simple tactic that completely dominated the match – attack the middle and wide forehand.

It seems simple, but the execution is far more difficult than it appears. If you just keep going after someone’s middle or forehand, they can anticipate it, and...




Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - 14:59
January 2, 2018

Tip of the Week
Elbow Drill.

U.S. Open
It seems like ancient history now, but the US Open ended only eleven days ago. A lot happened there, and a lot’s happened since! In case you missed them, here are the complete results.

I flew to Las Vegas on Thursday, Dec. 14. We had USATT board meetings all day Friday and Saturday, Dec. 15-16. I blogged about the agenda on Dec. 13. The minutes for the meeting will go up later, but the list of Actions and Notices is already up. They don’t really give a proper reflection of all that went on – the minutes will do a better job of that. I’ll likely blog more about the meeting when they go up. (Note – I’m on the USATT Board of Directors, and chair the...