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

Thursday, May 3, 2018 - 13:52
May 3, 2018

North and South Korea Unified at Worlds
Here's some breaking news - rather than play their Women's Team quarterfinal match, the two Koreas will join forces. They will advance into the semifinals, where they'll play Japan, who defeated Ukraine in their quarterfinals. It's the first time they will have a unified team since they won Women's Teams at the 1991 Worlds, as commemorated in the 2012 movie, "As One."

My first thought on this was, "Is this legal, for two different countries joining up like this in the middle of a tournament? Can USA join forces with China perhaps?" But we'll let this Ping-Pong Diplomacy take precedence over such niceties.

Here's what USATT CEO Gordon Kaye posted on Facebook: "I am truly moved by what is unfolding in front of my eyes in table tennis, and more importantly, the world. A few moments ago, the teams from North Korea and South Korea, due to meet in the quarterfinals of the 2018 ITTF World Team...




Wednesday, May 2, 2018 - 11:56
May 2, 2018

Shoulder Shenanigans
I'm off this morning to the *Piccard Surgery Center in Rockville, MD, for a Shoulder Cortisone Injection with Arthrogram. So no blog this morning. But don't forget that the The World Team Championships continue in Halmstad, Sweden, April 29 - May 6. (Lots of USATT coverage.) And here's a hot chick in table tennis!
     *This is what the REAL Jean-Luc Picard says about ping-pong! (Well, Patrick Stewart's voice, anyway. Here's the meme...




Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - 13:25
May 1, 2018

Articles and Newsletters and Pulitzers, Oh My!
I quietly reached a few milestones recently, though I didn't realize it until last night. On April 20, USATT and Butterfly both published my article, $2700 3-Star Butterfly MDTTC April Open. It was my 1800th published article. (I count that as one article, though it was published in two places.) I've had two more articles published since then, for a total of 1802. Why is that number important? (Other than, of course, being the year the Treaty of Amiens was signed between France and the United Kingdom, ending the War of the Second Coalition, and the establishment of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in the U.S.)

This morning's blog is my 1802nd blog entry since I started tabletenniscoaching.com in January, 2011, so I've now had as many blog entries as published articles, or 3604 total. Since I blog Mon-Fri, the number of blog entries will soon far exceed the number of published articles. (I don't count blog entries as published articles.)

I keep a running list of my...




Monday, April 30, 2018 - 08:00
April 30, 2018

Tip of the Week
Weaknesses Can Be Strengths.

Regional Hopes Camp and Trials at MDTTC
April 27-29, 2018

The camp had 37 players, ages 7 to 14, including many of the best 12 and under players in the northeast and other regions - including the California invasion that snagged both golds. Most were here for the Regional Hopes Trials on Sunday, April 29, which was for players born in 2006 or 2007. The camp was run by USATT National Team Coaches Pieke Franssen (head coach), and Wang Qingliang, assisted by coaches Michael Lauro, Jeffrey Zeng Xun, Lidney Castro, Rajul Urvashi, John Hsu, and myself. Players from ten states took part - MD, VA, PA, OH, NY, NJ, MA, NC, MN, CA. Here's the group picture!

A huge thanks goes to the ITTF and USATT, to USATT High Performance Director Jörg Bitzigeio, and to Coach Pieke for organizing and running these regional camps and trials all over the country. (This was the sixth and final one in the U.S. this year.) Thanks...




Friday, April 27, 2018 - 14:05
April 27, 2018

Regional Hopes Camp and Trials
This weekend I'll be coaching at the Hopes Regional Camp at MDTTC (Fri & Sat), and then running the Hopes Regional Trials on Sunday. There's going to be a lot packed into the next few days - we're gonna need a bigger weekend!

This afternoon I'm picking up Coach Pieke Franssen at Dulles Airport at 3:32 PM. He was supposed to come in earlier but his flight was delayed, and so he's on a different flight. It's going to be a tight squeeze as the camp starts at 4:30PM, and the airport is about 45 minutes away without traffic - but we'll be driving during rush hour, which means it could take anywhere from 1-2 hours. We'll see! But Coach Wang Qingliang will run the camp until we arrive.

Coach Pieke is the USATT head coach for the camp. He's from the Alameda TTC in California, and has already run several of the regional Hopes camps. Assistant coaches in the camp will be Wang Qingliang, Jeffrey Zeng Xun, Lidney Castro, Mike Lauro, and myself. Wen Hsu and I are the local organizers. There are 38 kids in the camp, most of them in the 11- to 12-year-old range, but there a number...




Thursday, April 26, 2018 - 13:43
April 26, 2018

I'm Off to See the Surgeon - in Song
I see him at 11AM this morning. (I blogged about this yesterday - it's just a consultation about whether I should get shoulder surgery.) Then I buy advance tickets for The Avengers: Infinity War tickets (via Moviepass, which requires I go in person) for the 8:30PM showing at Germantown. Then I spend the day doing the MDTTC Newsletter and a bunch of other TT stuff. Then I teach a junior class from 6:30-7:30PM. Then I see The Avengers! And now, in honor of my upcoming visit to the surgeon, I give you . . .

I'M OFF TO SEE THE SURGEON
By Larry Hodges
(Sung to the tune of We're Off to See the Wizard, with Apologies to Harold Arlen, the munchkins, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion.)
I'm off to see the Surgeon
The wonderful Surgeon of Oz
I hear he is a jock of a doc
If ever a doc there was
If ever, oh ever a doc there was...




Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 13:56
April 25, 2018

Frozen Shoulder Syndrome
I've been seeing a physical therapist three times/week, 90 minutes/visit, for two months, where I go through rigorous massage and shoulder stretching routines. I also do a 20-minute stretching routine twice a day.

Yesterday I saw the doctor again for an update. He put me through a number of tests. The good news was that my shoulder flexibility has gone from 50% normal to 70%. The bad news is that the shoulder hurts just as much as before - no improvement there. I can play with the pain - it's not that bad - but I'd just be injuring the shoulder further.

I'd already been diagnosed with a frayed rotator cuff, tendonitis, and bursitis in the shoulder, and with an extreme lack of shoulder flexibility due to muscle stiffness. Yesterday the doctor gave me a final diagnosis - Frozen Shoulder Syndrome. If I were to quit table tennis completely and only do normal things with the shoulder, it would gradually go away in 1-3 years - but that's not really an option, is it? So here are my real options.

OPTION...




Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - 13:45
April 24, 2018

Coaching Is Like Awkwardly Programming a Computer
How is this true? When coaching, you are trying to change the habits of the student's subconscious, which is what controls his conditioned shots. The student's conscious mind might be a partner in doing this, but it is the subconscious that is really the student.

If the student really was a computer, you'd just program him properly. Is he hitting forehands without rotating his body? Just go into his forehand programming, click the "rotate body" button, and you're done. But in real coaching there's no "rotate body" button, so you have to do it more awkwardly. Here's what really happens.  

STEP ONE: Tell student's conscious mind he needs to rotate his body on forehands.

STEP TWO: Student consciously rotates his body while hitting forehands.

STEP THREE: Student's subconscious mind notes that body is rotating while hitting forehands, and protests, since this isn't "normal," and so gives student feeling of awkwardness, which the student attributes to not being used to rotating his body while hitting forehands....




Monday, April 23, 2018 - 13:57
April 23, 2018

Tip of the Week
Are You a 10-8 or an 8-10 Player?

Happenings

  • MDTTC Talent Program Party. Last night we had our Talent Program Party at MDTTC, which we do about every six weeks. It took place after the usual 5:30-7:15 PM session, which is for our best and most dedicated kids, mostly ages 7-13. (The Talent Program is run by HW Global Foundation.) First up was buffet style Chinese food. (I had sesame chicken and beef with broccoli, on rice.) While this was going on our coaches met with the players and parents and went over how they have developed over the past six weeks. Then it was fun time - the kids and coaches went out on the table and battled it out with over-sized rackets, mini-rackets (with Tenergy), over-sized balls, and Wobb-Ball!
  • Beginning Junior Class. In the 90-minute session on Monday the focus was on spin serves, and then footwork - lots and...



Friday, April 20, 2018 - 13:47
April 20, 2018

Forehand Blocking
Here's the last point of the match (18 sec) where 14-year-old Japanese whiz Harimoto Tomokazu (world #13) recently upset world #1 Fan Zhendong at the ITTF-Asian Cup. The camera angle shows just how fast these players play. But to me the key thing here is what Tomokazu does at the start of the rally when Fan loops to his forehand - he blocks. Yes, at the highest levels of our sport, where nearly everyone tries to counterloops everything on the forehand (and often on the backhand) - he forehand blocks. And this is a well-placed block. He has an angle into the forehand, so Fan has to be ready to cover that - and so when Tomokazu instead blocks down the line, he forces Fan to play his backhand, followed by an awkward, out-of-position forehand, which sets Tomokazu up to win the point. (Fan would have tried to counterloop.)

One of the most under-used shots in table tennis (at all levels) is the down-the-line forehand block - most players automatically go crosscourt, both because of the angle (which forces the...