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

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 - 13:40
April 4, 2018

Head Chinese Coach??? April Fools!
Yesterday's blog was, of course, an April Fools' joke, something I do every year on April 1. This year it fell on a Sunday, and I was off on Monday, so it came out two days late - but note that I dated the blog April 1, even though it came out on April 3! Also note that I said I'd been hired as the Head Chinese Coach on Sunday, which was April 1. And most important, read the first letter of each line (which I've now bolded), which reads out (twice), "April Fool April Fool"! It should also have been suspicious that each line had a hard break ("manual line break") instead of flowing like all the other articles - otherwise I couldn't force the starting letters. (Plus do you really think I'm going to kick Ma Long and Fan Zhendong off the Chinese team if they don't learn English? Or that China would hire an American coach due to his table tennis books?) But some emailed me believing it was true.)  Here are my annual April Fools' blogs since 2011. And now to start planning next year's! (I did...




Tuesday, April 3, 2018 - 13:55
April 1, 2018

Tip of the Week
Arrange Practice Partners in Advance.

I'm hired as the Head Chinese Coach!!!
An incredible announcement: I've been hired as the Head Table Tennis Coach for China!!!
Probably because of the recent very poor performance of Chinese players, the Chinese TTA
reached out and hired me on Sunday. Liu Guoliang was replaced as head coach last year, and
it hasn't gone well for China since. But that is going to change - I'm already in contact with
Liu to get his advice on bringing Chinese table tennis back to the top. I'll be working with
famous players: Ma Long, Fan Zhendong, Zhang Jike, Xu Xin, Lin Gaoyuan, Fang Bo, and
others on the men's side, and stars Chen Meng, Zhu Yuling, Chen Xingtong, and Liu Shiwen
on the women's side. I am going to work these players to death! I have a few weeks before I
leave, but seriously, this...




Friday, March 30, 2018 - 14:01
March 30, 2018

NOTE - no blog on Monday - power will be out from 7AM-5PM for electrical repairs, plus local schools are closed for Easter holiday, and so I'm off too. 

Upcoming USATT Stuff
As usual, there's all sorts of time-consuming USATT stuff going on behind the scenes. I get a double-whammy because I'm both on the USATT Board of Directors and chair the USATT Coaching Committee, both unpaid volunteer positions. (I'm probably going to have to drop one of them next year - just too much.) A lot of it is email correspondence. Fortunately, I'm a writer, so emailing is a strength. But then you add all the local volunteers stuff (such as the monthly MDTTC newsletter I'll be working on today), and then add in all the actual paid stuff, and I'm pretty busy. 

This past year there's also been a major headache with one individual who believes there's a huge conspiracy against him, and has lodged numerous complaints - a total of 64 (!!!), to be exact - against about 20 USATT people with both the USATT and the ITTF Ethics Committees, with one big filing to each containing the complaints. (I'll give a full report on...




Thursday, March 29, 2018 - 12:25
March 29, 2018

MDTTC Spring Break Camp: Day Three
Yesterday I had six players in my group for most of the session, so I decided to put them in three groups of two. Two of them would practice on a table by on their own. Two would be on the robot, taking 15 shots each, sometimes with a target on the table to aim for. And two would be with me, with one on ball pickup. It worked pretty well. I did some changes in the pairings after each cycle so they'd get different players to hit with when they were on their own.

Much of the session was stroking and footwork drills. But for one cycle I hit with each player live (rather than multiball), and so each got to do some steady forehand-to-forehand and backhand-to-backhand, and some did live footwork drills. (This was the morning session, which emphasizes multiball. In the afternoon session it's almost all live play.)

We also had a serving session, where I worked with the various levels, from one who is still struggling to serve on the table, to several who were well into learning spin serves. One was hard at work the whole session on his tomahawk serve, and he can now do sidespin, backspin, or side-backspin...




Wednesday, March 28, 2018 - 12:19
March 28, 2018

MDTTC Spring Break Camp, Day Two
I focused on basics in my group today - forehands, backhands, footwork, and serves. The strokes are coming along nicely. One girl "invented" a heavy topspin serve, with almost a looping contact - she did this on her own, I hadn't even taught her yet about the different spins or what a loop was. She was so excited about it I didn't have the heart to tell her that she hadn't invented the serve. Others in the group had difficulty returning it, and so were trying to copy the serve.

It was interesting contrasting two players and their forehands. One had a tendency to take a short, quick stroke, and hit the ball on the rise with a jerky, almost slap-like stroke. The other tended to take a long, wandering backswing, with a flapping wrist, and hit the ball late with a very flat contact. Both improved as the session went on, but the two shots were such extremes I told them that, on average, they had perfect forehands. 

We did the ten-cup challenge, where I stacked ten cups into a vertical pyramid (four on bottom, then three, two, and one on top), and with me feeding multiball, each got ten...




Tuesday, March 27, 2018 - 13:00
March 27, 2018

Tip of the Week
Finding Simple Tactics That Work.

MDTTC Spring Break Camp
We had a great first day of camp yesterday. As usual in recent years, I worked with the beginners - though they weren't all exactly "beginners"! I got to work with one five-year-old for the first time. I was expecting to have get him started, but lo and behold, he'd been taking lessons regularly with our coaches, and already had an excellent forehand, a decent backhand when in position (not easy when your head barely comes over the table and so the racket hides the ball when you hit backhands unless you hit from the side), and had incredible focus for his age. He was fun to work with.

There were five in my group. All had played, though two (both about 8) hadn't had formal coaching. With those two, I focused on the basics, while the others did more footwork. By the end of the morning training session, all five were doing the two-one drill.

They had great stroking practice at the...




Monday, March 26, 2018 - 12:59
March 26, 2018

I'm coaching this morning at the MDTTC Spring Break Camp, and ran out of time to do my blog. I'll be back tomorrow. Meanwhile, here's a Doubles Fighting Pong Cartoon - could one of them be you?




Friday, March 23, 2018 - 13:00
March 23, 2018

Coaching "Future Stars" vs. Coaching "Older Players" and Fixing Bad Habits
There's a huge difference between coaching, say, a young, up-and-coming player, who started out with a good coach and has good basic technique; and coaching either an older player, or one who has technique problems.

Many top players, without extensive coaching experience, can be somewhat effective in working with young, up-and-coming players, since they are basically coaching younger versions of themselves, and are simply molding the player as they hone those good techniques as they player develops. In fact, much of the coaching may be inspirational, where you help the player strive to be the best. There's more to it than this, but there's less creative thinking involved in trying to solve problems, as opposed to continued pushing of the player to higher and higher levels, where the biggest need is often exactly what the top player brings - high-level play as a practice partner. (Alas, there are aspects where a top player with less coaching experience might miss, which may hurt the player eventually, but they are often subtle, and mostly...




Thursday, March 22, 2018 - 13:01
March 22, 2018

Shoulder and Snow
Just a short blog as I'm off for a morning shoulder therapy session to make up for the cancelled one yesterday, due to the snow (about eight inches). I'm still a bit worried about the shoulder as at least once a day I do something that reminds me that there is still an injury in there. Much of the therapy is not about the injury, but loosening up the muscles around it that are constantly pulling on it. (I probably have the tightest shoulder muscles in the history of the galaxy.) As noted in a previous blog, I aggravated the shoulder last Wednesday while tossing a power cord under a table. That's all it took.

Tentatively, I plan to start private coaching with beginners starting Saturday, March 31, and see how it is. I'm leery of testing it against stronger players, where I'd have to get more physical.

Return to Ready Stance Drill
Here's the video (32 sec) from EmRatThich.

To Boost Or Not To Boost …..
...




Wednesday, March 21, 2018 - 13:44
March 21, 2018

It's Snowing
Yes, it's snowing - we're supposed to get 5-8 inches here in Maryland. But that barely affects us, an indoor sport, correct? Well, obviously it does affect us as players have to get to the club before they can take part in the world's greatest indoor sport. We had to cancel our Tuesday night league last night due to weather.

Except why do we insist on believing table tennis is an indoor sport? Do you really need walls around you to play? I once did an outdoor exhibition with Scott Preiss in the rain, with the wind blowing. (Okay, we looked like amateurs.)

Table tennis can be played anywhere. Don't believe it?