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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

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 13:58
October 24, 2017

Coaching, Injuries, Volume 20, and All That Pushing in Class
I spent much of last week with a cold, but was mostly over it by the weekend. Meanwhile, the right knee I injured way back in July at the Nationals, and re-injured several times since, is about 70% okay now, though I still wear a knee brace just in case. The back is fine - it's been a year or so since that's been a problem. And my arm is okay, though I also still wear an arm brace. So I'm the peak of health, right?

Except for the dumb moment last Thursday (first day back while still fighting the cold) when I found a celluloid ball mixed with the plastic training balls, and tried to backspin smack it all the way across the club to a court where they were being used. Ow!!! I tore my shoulder up doing so. It's the same shoulder injury I've had in the past, but I think it's been okay for something like two years. So it was due. 

So since Thursday I've haven't been able to really extend my arm, whether going to my wide forehand to loop or even on some forehand pendulum serves. I can’t smash high balls. When students loop to my wide...




Monday, October 23, 2017 - 13:51
October 23, 2017

Tip of the Week
Top Sixteen Reasons Players Don’t Improve.

Liebherr Men’s World Cup
It was held this past weekend in Liege, Belgium. As usual in table tennis, one country dominated, with another all- China German Final – wait a minute, what happened there!!! Yes, it was Dimitrij Ovtcharov vs. Timo Boll in the all-German final. So what happened to the Chinese? To be concise, they were Timoed. Ovtcharov won the final over Boll, but he really should share the prize as it was Timo who took out the Chinese. But only barely.

First, note that China was handicapped because at the World Cup, there’s a limit of two players per country, and so their great depth is not rewarded there. Instead of their usual lineup of world #1 Ma Long, world #2 Fan Zhendong, world #3 Xu Xin, world #6 Zhang Jike, and world #9 Lin Gaoyuan (not to mention world #12 Fang Bo and #17 Yan An), they sent only Ma and Lin. (Lin qualified by winning the Asian Cup.) These days, it’s obvious that Ma Long and Fan Zhendong are the two best in...




Friday, October 20, 2017 - 14:03
October 20, 2017

Not Worth a Nuisance Lawsuit
I wrote a long blog this morning (Friday) on the recent happenings regarding the long saga and removal of Lee Kondo as chair of the USATT Ethics and Grievance Committee. (He was removed as chair last night in a board teleconference by a vote of 7-1.) However, while I believe all of it to be accurate, after consulting with a lawyer, and considering the reactionary history of Lee (covered in the blog), I could be facing a nuisance lawsuit, which USATT would also inevitably be drawn into. (Lee's a lawyer.) We've already spent a huge amount of time on this issue, and who knows how much longer it would go on. Sufficient to say that it simply isn't worth spending any more time on this issue just so I could win a nuisance lawsuit while spending who knows how many thousands of dollars to do so, as well as wasting more USATT time. Just as Lee shared his version of events with the USATT Board of Directors and others, I will share my version with those involved as needed. 

$2700 3-Star Butterfly MDTTC October Open, Oct. 14-15
My write-up and photos of the tournament went up yesterday....




Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 13:47
October 19, 2017

Table Tennis Cold
Yes, when you catch a cold from some evil player while running a two-day table tennis tournament, you get to call it a cold. I’ve had one since Monday, meaning I must have caught it at the latest on Saturday. However, though I skipped my blog on Mon and Tue, I’ve gotten some work done. (Though I’ve spent most of the time in my lounge chair reading, doing crossword puzzles, watching movies, making funny pictures of cold viruses, and eating chicken soup.)

I had sort of a good break on Wednesday. I normally have four hours of coaching on Wednesday nights, my busiest day other than weekends. However:

  • One student was out of town, visiting Rome on business. (I mistakenly told a few people she was in Australia, but it’s easy to get the two mixed up, right? It was a friend from science fiction, my other world, who was visiting Australia.)
  • One student came down sick and cancelled, not knowing at the time that I was also sick. Maybe we had the same donor?
  • One student cancelled because of...



Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 13:55
October 18, 2017

Tip of the Week
Top Twelve Tactical Rallying Mistakes.

Table Tennis North America Submits Letter of Interest To Host 2020 ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships
Here’s the article. “Table Tennis North America, a partnership which includes USA Table Tennis (USATT) and Table Tennis Canada (TTCAN), today announced that the group has submitted a Letter of Interest to host the 2020 ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships in San Jose, CA.”

So, when was the last time the World Championships were held in U.S., or North America, or even South America? Answer: NEVER!!! So this would be a first. USATT has been doing a lot of that in recent times – last year we held the first World Women’s Cup in the U.S., and next year we’ll have the first World Veterans Championships in the U.S. since 1990. (As the article says, other than...




Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 12:45
October 17, 2017

Nasty Cold Virus Playing Pong and Making USATT Great
To whoever gave me the cold virus at the MDTTC October Open this past weekend for safe keeping – you can come and pick it up at any time. I know you meant well, but this virus you gave me has multiplied beyond its original numbers, and it has annoying taken up residence in various locations in my throat and lungs, where it is now studying to become a doctor, lawyer, or pneumonia. While I applaud its attempts to better itself, and I may help it out financially if it chooses to go to medical or law school, I’d prefer it not go the pneumonia route, and in fact I’m leaning toward kicking it out at any time as it is no longer welcome. So please come and pick it up at any time.

Here’s a picture of the nasty critter playing pong and crusading to make USATT great again.

Because of the cold, and the struggle to get some timely work done, I need to skip the blog again today. Assuming I'm still alive tomorrow, nothing in the universe can possibly stop me from blogging again. 




Monday, October 16, 2017 - 13:59
October 16, 2017

No Blog Today
There should be a rule that if you run a 2-day, 3-star tournament over the weekend, you should get Monday off. (Plus it looks like someone there gave me a cold...) However, there is no such rule, and so I was going to do the blog this morning. Unfortunately, I’m involved in three major time-consuming projects – one USATT, one MDTTC, one involving Tim Boggan’s History of U.S. Table Tennis (preparing the 28 chapters for online publication for USATT), plus my ongoing battle with Amazon (see my Thursday blog), and a dozen other smaller items, such as doing the tournament write-up and photo work. So I need to work on these today. But to tide you over, here’s a question to you: Who would win between these dizzying table-circling speedsters?




Friday, October 13, 2017 - 13:38
October 13, 2017

Upcoming Table Tennis Events to Sign Up For
There are a lot of table tennis events coming up, and it’s time to make plans and sign up for them! We’ll start with tournaments. (I’m referring to USA events. Others should look to their own country’s table tennis association for their schedule.)

You can find upcoming tournaments at the USATT Tournament Schedule. If you are free this weekend (and haven’t missed the deadline), there are exactly ten USATT tournaments scheduled this weekend. There is one 3-star event – the Butterfly MDTTC October Open, which I’m running this weekend. (Deadline to enter is 7PM tonight.) There are also eight 2-star events, and a 1-star. Events this weekend include tournaments in Austin, TX; Erie, PA; Franklin, TN; New Albany, IN; Gaithersburg, MD; Clearwater, FL; Rosemead, CA; New Orleans, LA; Westfield, NJ; and Manville, RI.

Looking for something bigger? Like a 4-star tournament? At the...




Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 13:54
October 12, 2017

I Am at War with Amazon
Today’s blog is only partly table tennis related. In fact, the main connection is that I’m doing a lot less table tennis stuff temporarily as I’m spending more time in my battle with Amazon, plus of course I sell table tennis books on Amazon. Here’s the situation.

I’ve used Amazon for years, both as a buyer and seller. I have an author page there with 13 books – eight table tennis, six science fiction. (“The Spirit of Pong” counts as both, so yes, 8+6=13.) I make a pretty decent living selling my books there (along with coaching).

On October 31, my new science fiction novel is coming out, “When Parallel Lines Meet.” I co-wrote it with Mike Resnick (a legendary SF writer) and Lezli Robyn. We even had a launch party for it at the Capclave Science Fiction Convention this past weekend. I have ten preliminary copies, though it doesn’t officially come out until Halloween. (That’s a coincidence.)

...



Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - 14:03
October 11, 2017

$4000 Ping-Pong Table Shaped like Easter Island on Family Guy
In the Sunday, Oct. 8 episode of Family Guy (Foxx in the Men House), Peter goes to an Anthropologie store and (completely randomly) asks for a “$4000 ping-pong table that’s shaped like Easter Island.” The cashier responds, “We’ve got one right over there.” We then see a picture of this item, with letters on the screen saying, “Actual Anthropologie item.” Here’s the video – it should take you directly to 2:29 in, and the table tennis only takes up the first eight seconds.

There really is an Anthropologie store – I’d never heard of it – but nothing showed up when I did a search there for “ping-pong” or “table tennis,” alas. Then I had a brainstorm and did an online search for “ping-...