TableTennisCoaching.com Home

Welcome to TableTennisCoaching.com, your Worldwide Center for Table Tennis Coaching!

 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 10, 2017 - 13:55
October 10, 2017

Tip of the Week
Top Ten Tactical Receiving Mistakes.

Sunday Coaching and Monday USATT Teleconference
I spent Friday and Saturday at the Capclave Science Fiction Convention – see segment at end of blog. On Sunday had a 5.5 hours of coaching, mostly group sessions.

In private coaching with Todd, we focused quite a bit on serve and loop, especially backhand loop. He tends to be forehand oriented, but we’re adding more backhand attack to the mix. He’s picking up backhand loop pretty well, but sometimes tends to rush it against pushes. We also worked on moving to the wide forehand faster – but the key here wasn’t the movement itself but rather a faster recovery from the previous shot, a forehand from the backhand side. His backhand in rallies was on fire – he’s discovered he can hit winners by going after my wide forehand. Thanks a lot, age and bad knee, dang it! One problem – he needs a lot more serving practice, so I’m hoping he can increase that.

In the Beginning Junior Class we focused...




Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 14:02
October 5, 2017

Capclave and Columbus and teleConference, Oh My!
No blog on Friday and Monday. On Friday and Saturday I’ll be at the Capclave Science Fiction Convention, where I’m a panelist (three panels, moderating two of them – here’s my Capclave bio with a link to my schedule), doing a book launch for my new SF novel, “When Parallel Lines Meet” (co-written with Mike Resnick and Lezli Robyn), and doing two autograph sessions. So no table tennis for me those two days, though I have a full day of TT scheduled on Sunday. Monday is Columbus Day, so I’m taking the day off – except for a 7PM USATT Board of Directors Teleconference.

2018 World Veteran Championships in Las Vegas
It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity – or at least once every 27 years, the last time the U.S. held a World Veterans Table Tennis...




Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 14:12
October 4, 2017

Corresponding Correspondence
One of the things you learn when you volunteer for an organization like USATT is that when you schedule your time, you have to use what I call the 25% Rule. What does that mean? It means that you spend 25% of your time actually doing “productive” work, and 75% of your time corresponding and answering questions. Some of this is good and reasonable, some of it is not.

I’m on the USATT board of directors and chair the USATT coaching committee. (These are both unpaid volunteer positions.) I’ve spent much of the last week just emailing with people, mostly answering questions and discussing issues. It’s a huge but necessary time allotment. The problem is that not all the time spent on this is what I would call “necessary.” There is a famous saying that you spend something like 90% of your time on 10% of the people you are working for. In USATT, I’d say you spend 95% of your time on 1%. It’s been really true this past week.

Of course you also have to divide the 1% into those who deserve responses (many of them well-meaning, thoughtful individuals who really...




Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - 13:33
October 3, 2017

Jun Mizutani vs. Interactive Robot
Here’s the video (66 sec). Suppose you entered this robot in a U.S. tournament, and ignore the fact that its serve is illegal. What rating would it achieve? It would be reminiscent of when they started entering computers in chess tournaments.

It mostly just keeps the ball in play, often high, and without spin. Alas, I don’t think it can adjust very well to spin – Mizutani (world #8 from Japan, #4 in February) is mostly just patting the ball back and forth without spin - so that right away would probably put it below 1000. On the other hand, 49 sec in Mizutani soft loops the ball, and the robot returns it with ease, though a bit high. How would it react to a heavy backspin serve, push, or chop? Or a fast serve to a corner? Or fast breaking sidespin serve? Or a heavy topspin lob?

As to its serve, it breaks two serving rules. (Go to 34 seconds in to see...




Monday, October 2, 2017 - 14:00
October 2, 2017

Tip of the Week
Top Ten Tactical Serving Mistakes.

US Open Entry Form and Hotel
They are out! Here’s the home page, entry form (pdf – online entry will be out later), and hotel info and for the U.S. Open, Las Vegas, NV, Dec. 17-22. (And yes, I’m aware of the irony of writing about going to Las Vegas right now while the news is all about the shooting in Las Vegas right now.)

This year there are 97 events to choose from. (Note to self: Let’s get them to add three events for a nice even 100!) They include:

  • Rating events from U800 to U2700 (many of them divided into adult and junior categories to solve the problem of under-rated juniors showing up and winning everything);...



Friday, September 29, 2017 - 14:13
September 29, 2017

Table Tennis Biographies
Why not spend a weekend curled up with a good table tennis biography or autobiography? Here are a few to choose from. (I have copies of each of these books in my table tennis book collection.) Or, of course, you could always buy one of my books!

  • Revelations of a Ping-Pong Champion by Dan Seemiller (2016), 218 pages. “If you are in the sport of table tennis, then you know Danny Seemiller, USA’s greatest modern champion. In “Revelations of a Table Tennis Champion,” the five-time U.S. Men’s Singles Champion takes you through his 50 years in the sport, from the early days of training, the breakthroughs, the agonizing defeats and the great triumphs.”
  • Ping-Pong for Fighters by Tahl...



Thursday, September 28, 2017 - 14:00
September 28, 2017

Backhand-Forehand Towel Drill
Here’s a great drill I used yesterday while coaching Navin, one which you might want to try. Like many players, his crosscourt backhand doesn’t always go wide enough to the backhand, instead wandering out to the middle backhand, making things easier for the opponent as well as giving them an angle to attack into his forehand. It’s important to be able to hit accurate shots (forehand and backhand) almost always to the three main spots – wide corners and opponent’s playing elbow.

Once you do learn to play consistently wide angles into the backhand, an opponent may look to find ways to get out of this type of rally, often by going down the line to the forehand. This often happens to Navin, who can dominate the backhand diagonal but can be vulnerable to attacks to the forehand if he gives an easy opening.

So here’s the drill. I put my towel over much of the backhand side, leaving an opening about a foot wide from the corner. Then Navin and I played backhand to backhand where he had to avoid hitting the towel. A key to this was not aiming for the area between the corner and the...




Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - 13:42
September 27, 2017

Table Tennis People Who Owe Me Money
My trusting nature has cost me $450 plus interest. Maybe that’s not a huge amount over 41 years, but it’s an irritating $432 because of how they came about. (I’m probably owed other money over the years that I don’t recall offhand. These are the ones that stick out.)

Just last year I hired one of our local player/coaches to help run one of my beginning junior classes. He was short on money and asked if I could pay him $120 in advance. I did so. When the class started, he simply didn’t show, with no notice. The player still lives locally – about a mile from me, in fact - and coaches at a local rec center, but has never returned to MDTTC. I messaged him on Facebook (where he’s active and definitely got the message), texted him, emailed him, and called and left a message, but no response, not even an “I don’t have the money but will pay you later” note. (Not that that would have meant much after he didn’t show up to coach at the class as he’d been hired to do.) I’ve know the player since he was nine years old, practiced and coached him...




Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 13:58
September 26, 2017

Power Out
When I woke up this morning the power was out. I have no idea yet why, but it's been out for at least the last 2.5 hours. Alas, all my blogging files and links are on my desktop computer, so I don't have access to them. (I'm using my laptop on batteries for this.) So no blog today. Hopefully power will come back on soon. (I haven't called the power company yet, but will do so after this.) As if this weren't bad enough, I have a noon dentist appointment. To tide you over until tomorrow, check out the USATT news, ITTF news, or Butterfly news. Oh, and here's an animated gif of a man versus a cat

ADDENDUM 1 (1:00PM): Power came back on around 10:30AM. And I have the beginning of a cavity, and so have to go back to the...




Monday, September 25, 2017 - 13:34
September 25, 2017

Tip of the Week
Assume You Have to Move.

Looping the Flip and Other Game Drills
One of the drills we did in my adult training class last night was a new one that none of them had done before. The drill itself was simple: one player served short to the other’s forehand; the receiver flipped the ball to the wide forehand (crosscourt – all the players were righties); and the server looped crosscourt, and the rally continued crosscourt, with the server looping against the receiver’s block. (If you are a hitter, you can do this hitting instead of looping.)

The drill is a subtle change on the more common version where you just serve topspin and start looping – now the server had to adjust his timing to looping against a flip, just as he’d have to do in a real match. The added bonus was the server got to work on his short serve to the forehand and his looping, while the receiver got to work on his flip and his blocking.

Once a player has the foundation of his strokes down, it’s important to do...