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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, March 20, 2018 - 13:42
March 20, 2018

Doctors Over 2000
At the 1995 U.S. Nationals in Las Vegas, a player suffered a massive heart attack while playing. I was standing nearby when it happened, and was amazed at the response. Within minutes, he was surrounded by seven doctors and two nurses, all of them players or attendees at the Nationals. The patient survived. So now you know you are safe if you have a medical emergency at a big tournament! Here is a list of the doctors and nurses who saved the player:

  • Dr. Mark Schaffner
  • Dr. Robert Ho
  • Dr. Jiing Wang
  • Dr. Donald Geeze
  • Dr. Grady Gordon
  • Dr. Richard Poole
  • Dr. Michael Scott
  • Nurse Grace Matossian
  • Nurse Mary An Geeze

So there are a lot of doctors who play table tennis. But how many have reached a high level of play, such as over 2000? I'm going to include anyone who is a medical professional referred to as "Dr." (So this includes dentists, and other titles, such as a DPM (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine.) I put together a preliminary list of all I could think of, and then asked the question on Facebook on Saturday, and here is the...




Monday, March 19, 2018 - 13:49
March 19, 2018

Tip of the Week
Your Goal Should Normally Be to Win Playing the Style You Are Developing.

Serving Backspin, Tim's Latest History Book, the Flu, and an Irritating Writing Project
Let's go in order here!

  • Serving backspin. Too many of our local kids don't really have heavy backspin serves. So I'm starting to take it on as a project to solve this problem. Yesterday I gave a short lecture/clinic to eight of them, demonstrating this, and worked with them on it. The key thing is that some have developed the habit of contacting the ball in a certain way, rather than on trying to graze the ball more and more finely for maximum spin. Once they are getting decent backspin, I'm going to introduce them to the backspin game, and then they'll all go crazy competing at it, and soon they'll all be able to serve heavy backspin. What is the backspin game? Everyone gets five or ten serves. If you serve with enough backspin that the ball comes back into the net, you get one point. If it bounces back over the net cleanly...



Friday, March 16, 2018 - 14:10
March 16, 2018

USATT Hall of Fame
Every major sport has a Hall of Fame where fans can read about their favorite stars and learn about others. The USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame was created in 1979 - after a "false start" in 1966 (read about this in the History of the Hall of Fame). Steve Isaacson was the primary mover in its creation. The Hall honors the greatest table tennis players, officials, and contributors since USATT (then USTTA) was formed in 1933.

Now there are an even 150 members - 97 players and 53 officials/contributors. (Note that there were no inductions in 2016, the year USATT switched the Nationals from December to July.) Each year potential inductees are Nominated, and then the Hall of Fame Committee (President Sean O'Neill, Tim...




Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 08:53
March 15, 2018

A Monstrous Week
Wow . . . the sheer amount of stuff that's gone on this week is beyond mindboggling. Here's a rundown.

  • Power Outage. Remember the planned power outage I wrote about that was supposed to happen on Wednesday, 7AM - 5PM? Rather than lose a day, I was up at 6AM, packed the computer, monitor, printer/scanner, and lots of other supplies, and Tim and I left to go to the club (MDTTC) to work in the back room there. I got everything set up there by 8AM, and we were set to go to work. Then we received an email at 8:07AM that due to freezing temperatures - 32 even - they were postponing the outage. (Don't they read weather reports?) So I packed everything up again and went back home. Roughly speaking, from 6:30-9:30AM all we did was pack up things, move them, and set them up again. One worrisome item - while setting up at the club, I plugged in a power cord, and then tossed the cord under a table so I could connect it to the computer. As I tossed it, I felt a sharp pang in my shoulder. Hopefully I didn't hurt it much. I have to be very careful with that arm.
  • History of Table Tennis:...



Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 11:12
No Blog Tuesday and Wednesday

Power will be out in my house on Wednesday for outside electrical repairs (7AM-5PM), so Tim and I need to finish Volume 21 of his History of U.S. Table Tennis today. Translation: I worked practically all night Monday night, and we'll be working all day and late into the night on Tuesday to finalize everything. So no time for the blog. I'll be back on Thursday. Meanwhile, here are Strange Ping-Pong Tables and Other TT Stuff!




Monday, March 12, 2018 - 11:20
March 12, 2018

Tip of the Week
"Hot Anger" versus "Cold Anger."

Weekend Update - Coaching
In the Saturday Junior League & Camp (two hours, about 25 players), the focus was on serve and attack, and handling your opponent's attack. We had them play games where the server had to serve and attack (or counter-attack if the receiver attacked the serve), or he instantly lost the point. However, the receiver, if he won the point after the server attacked, won two points. It made things interesting!

In the Sunday Beginning Class (90 minutes, 15 players) - week nine out of ten this session - the focus was on serves, smashing, and smashing lobs. I was impressed with some of the kids who are really learning to spin their serves. Two kids were practicing serves on the same table, with one serving forehand pendulum serves from the backhand side, the other serving backhand serves from the forehand side, and since they often timed it so they served at the same time, it was interesting to watch their respective serves spin away from each other.

...




Friday, March 9, 2018 - 13:52
March 9, 2018

USA's Best: Past, Present, and Future
Here's a quick look at our best in the past, present and future. Here goes - and if you aren't interested in our history, skip ahead to the Present and Future!

PAST

USA's best heyday was 1936-1938. USA had stars like Ruth Aarons, Jimmy McClure, Robert Blattner, and Sol Schiff. During that period they won the following titles at the World Championships:

  • Men's Teams: 1937
  • Women's Teams: 1937, finalist in 1936
  • Women's Singles: 1936, 1937 (Ruth Aarons both times)
  • Men's Doubles: 1936, 1937, 1938 (McClure/Blattner 1936-37, McClure/Schiff 1938)

Not a bad record!

There were no World Championships from 1940-1946 due to World War 2. And then Team USA returned almost as strong as before, with a whole new set of stars - Dick Miles, Marty Reisman, Lou Pagliaro, Mae Clouther, Reba Monness, and the sisters, Leah Thall Neuberger and Thelma "Tybie" Thall Sommer. Here are their results at the Worlds right after World War 2:

  • 1947: Finalist in Men's Teams, Finalist in Women's...



Thursday, March 8, 2018 - 12:34
March 8, 2018

Alas, between the long hours working with Tim Boggan on his latest History of U.S. Table Tennis volume, and catching up on things last night, I wasn't able to put together a blog for this morning - and now I'm due to go back to work with Tim. So no blog this morning. Back tomorrow with a nice feature blog, tentatively about the past, present, and future of our national level players. I'll leave you with this quote, which I said to Tim after finally finishing a page after spending an hour on it fixing up problems and making numerous changes to it: "Our short national nightmare is over. Let's start the next one." And here's two minutes and nineteen seconds of cats playing table tennis.




Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 11:38
March 7, 2018

Update on History of U.S. Table Tennis and My Shoulder
Yesterday Tim Boggan and I spent most of the day going back and putting in captions and photo credits for the 116 pages we'd done on Sunday and Monday. Between that and the many changes Tim had, we only got one additional chapter done. (This time we did the captions and credits as we did the pages.) So we've now done nine chapters and 132 pages. I haven't kept track of the graphics, but I'll get a count later on.

Volume 21 covers 1994-1995. Since this was during my first tenure as editor of USA Table Tennis Magazine, probably half of the material is direct from things I wrote. So I'm having some nostalgic times seeing my past words. (Yeah, I have a lot of articles - 1791 to exact, plus 13 books. As to USA Table Tennis Magazine, I did 91 issues, 1991-1995, 1999-2007.)

It looks like it's going to take a little over eleven working days to finish, so if all goes well, we'll finish next Wednesday or Thursday. We'll...




Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - 12:22
March 6, 2018

ITTF Proposal that Boosting No Longer Be Illegal
Here are new rules proposals that the ITTF will be considering at meetings during the upcoming World Championships. See #3, where they are considering adding the bolded parted part:

2.4.7 The racket covering shall be used without any physical, chemical or other treatment that may be considered harmful or unhealthy for the persons.

Rationale: 1. It is impossible to control boosters with the current equipment/procedures, so the actual rule cannot be enforced. 2. The main problem of the harmful substances in the way rubbers were collated to blades was mitigated with the introduction of the VOC controls.

I think this is a good idea, since (as I've blogged before), most top players are already boosting. (See more on this in my proposal below.) Making a rule that can't be enforced is silly as it simply penalizes those who refuse to join others in cheating, while forcing all players to face the reality that if they don't also cheat, they...