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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, March 21, 2017 - 13:58
March 21, 2017

Coaching Almost Non-Stop from 11:15 AM to 8:30 PM Takes Its Toll
Yeah, I did that this past Sunday, not easy at age 57, and now I’m paying the bill. On Monday I had 4.5 hours of coaching scheduled, but one kid came down sick and so I “only” did three hours – but toward the end my back was killing me. I had to “retire” any looping in rallies with students. On top of that, my right Achilles tendon was screaming, “Stop moving or I’ll throw a fit,” and throw a fit it did as I developed a subtle limp toward the end that wasn’t so subtle later that night.

Anyway, after a good night’s sleep, the back and Achille’s tendon are back to mostly just angry muttering. I only have two hours of coaching today and two tomorrow, and then I can rest them on Thurday and Friday. (I’m normally off those two days, but I’m subbing on Thursday, teaching a class, but that’s not as physical as private coaching. I’ll wear running shoes instead of table tennis shoes – I’m sure Mr. Achilles will approve.)

I remember back in my late teens and early and mid-twenties...




Monday, March 20, 2017 - 14:11
March 20, 2017

Tip of the Week
Everything You Wanted to Know About Down the Line.

Sunday Coaching
Sundays is my “big” coaching day, though to some of the full-time Chinese coaches, it would be just another day. Many of them coach 50 or more hours per week, while I’m only doing 24 this next week. (I’m such a slacker.) This Sunday I mostly coached from 11:15AM – 8:30 PM, with a rare 1.5 hour break in the middle where I’d normally teach the Beginning Junior Class – we had a snow day built into the schedule, but since there were no snow days, we were off yesterday. (Another ten-week session starts next Sunday.)

After doing private coaching from 11:15AM – 4:00PM, and that 1.5 hour break, I worked with the “Talent” program from 5:30-7:00PM, where I supervised shadow practice, serve practice, and then fed multiball for almost an hour. We did a lot of interactive multiball, where I fed the first ball (usually backspin), and the two players played out points. There are 22 kids in the program, ranging from about 7...




Friday, March 17, 2017 - 13:45
March 17, 2017

More Table Tennis Tips
As noted in my blog yesterday, my new book, More Table Tennis Tips, is out! It’s 200 pages, $11.99, and covers the 150 Tips of the Week from 2014-2016, organized by topic, in logical progression. It’s the follow-up from "Table Tennis Tips," which covered the 150 Tips from 2011-2013. (Kindle version will come later.) By now so I’ll have money for dinner!!! (UPDATE on Saturday morning - kindle version is up!)

USATT Coaching Committee
On Monday I was appointed chair of the USATT Coaching Committee. (This will be my second tenure. I chaired the committee back in 1991-1995, and was on the committee 2010-2013.) This is a big honor, and will allow me to work directly on some of the things I promised to do when I ran for the USATT Board. (I’m also a bit more enthused about this position then I was with chairing the League Committee the last two years – that was important, but...




Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 14:03
March 16, 2017

More Table Tennis Tips
Here it is! And it’s yours now, exactly 200 pages, for only $11.99! I’ve been hard at work (yes, many of those late nights) compiling it in logical fashion, editing, doing page layouts, the covers, inputting edits from the “Terrific Trio” of proofers (Mark Dekeyser, John Olsen, Dennis Taylor), even putting in a few graphics. I don’t yet have a copy myself. I proofed and okayed an online version, and am now feverishly awaiting a hard copy. (A kindle version will come later.) This is my eighth book on table tennis (and twelfth overall). Here’s the description from Amazon:

Here are 150 Tips to help your table tennis game, by Larry Hodges - a member of the U.S. Table Tennis Hall of Fame and a National Coach. They compile in logical progression three years' worth of Tips of the Week (2014-2016) from TableTennisCoaching.com. They cover all aspects of the game: Serve, Receive, the Strokes, Grip and Stance...




Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 14:06
March 15, 2017

USATT Teleconference, New Coaching Chair, and the Service Judges Proposal
The USATT Board had a teleconference on Monday night, starting 7PM. (I blogged about the agenda on Monday.) Among other things, we appointed a number of USATT committee chairs and members. At exactly 8:36PM on Monday night I was appointed to my second tenure as chair of the USATT Coaching Committee. (USATT will publish online the full listings of soon of the various committee chairs and members we just appointed.) I’ll blog later about my plans for the coaching committee. My previous tenure was 1991-1995; I was also on the coaching committee 2010-2013.

The meeting was scheduled to last only 70 minutes, but took about two hours. This was mostly because the seven minutes allocated to the Rules Committee Proposal for Service Judges ended up taking something like 40 minutes of debate. The proposal was to give referees the option of appointing service judges on each end of the court at the upcoming USA Nationals, where they can better see the legality of a serve, in particular whether the...




Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 13:39
March 14, 2017

USATT Teleconference and Snow
We had it last night. I’ll blog about it tomorrow. Meanwhile, it's snowing here in Maryland, and my coaching (and the Tuesday night League) is cancelled for the day. So I'll get a lot of work done!!!

When was USA Table Tennis Team Strongest?
I’m referring here to the strength of our National Team, and their results at the World Championships in Men’s and Women’s Singles, Doubles, and Teams. (Our results in other events such as Paralympics is a separate issue.) I was asked recently when we were at our best. The answer is probably in the late 1930s.

  • In 1936 we won Women’s Singles and Men’s Doubles, and made the final of Women’s Teams.
  • In 1937 we swept Men’s and Women’s Teams, Women’s Singles, and Men’s Doubles. Easily the best year ever for us.
  • In 1938 we won Men’s Doubles and made the semifinals of Women’s Singles.

By comparison, we won only two titles in the 1940s – Mixed Doubles in 1948 and Women’s Teams in 1949, and one in the 1950s – Mixed Doubles...




Monday, March 13, 2017 - 13:54
March 13, 2017

Tip of the Week
Warm Up the Shots You’ll Be Using.

13.5 Hours of Weekend Coaching
My weekend hours keep going up. This weekend I did five hours on Saturday and 8.5 on Sunday! (Of course, to many full-time coaches, it's just another weekend.) On Mondays I have 3.5 hours, then just two on Tue and Wed. I’m normally off on Thur and Fri. Due to the USATT Teleconference, which is normally scheduled the second Monday every month, I had to cancel one hour for tonight, so being on the Board is costly.

On Sunday we had the tenth and final week of the Beginning/Intermediate Junior Class (90 min, 14 players). The first half was “player’s choice,” where the players go to choose what they needed to work on. Then we did what I always like doing at the end of each ten-week session – lobbing!!! We did a demo and I went over how to smash lobs. Then John Hsu, William Huang, and I each took a court and spent 15 minutes lobbing to the kids, who stayed up until they missed three. Wen Hsu took the youngest beginners and fed them...




Friday, March 10, 2017 - 15:10
March 10, 2017

More Table Tennis Tips
The book is almost done! This is a compilation of all 150 of my Tips of the Week from 2014-2016, put in logical progression. It’s the sequel to Table Tennis Tips, which did the same for 2011-2013. Yesterday I finished inputting the edits and suggestions from the Terrific Trio of Mark Dekseyser, John Olsen, and Dennis Taylor, who read the first draft. So the text is now done. Today I’ll be formatting the pages. I also have to do the back cover. (Front cover is done.) If all goes well, it’ll be ready for final proofing in a few days. When it comes out (by the end of this month), I may put together some sort of special where you can get both volumes at a discount. Or why not buy Table Tennis Tips and read it now, so you can go straight to More Table Tennis Tips when it comes out?

Shadow Practice
I’ve been encouraging some of my students to shadow practice. This is a big part of the Talent...




Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 14:36
March 9, 2017

Backhands to Get the Timing for Forehands
I have a new student who has been struggling with her forehand. It’s sort of strange – she has a very good backhand, and we can really go at it on that side. But on the forehand, her shots go all over the place. Sometimes she’ll hit a few good ones, and then she’ll swat it straight down into the net, then loft it way off the end, as if there’s no control over the timing or the stroke. The contrast between the two sides is huge. Her background was that she had trained as a kid in Poland, then stopped for decades, and was now picking it up again.

From a coaching point of view, it was rather frustrating as each session would start with us going forehand-to-forehand, sometimes multiball, sometimes live, and no matter what we did, the balls flew everywhere. Eventually we’d wear down and switch to backhands, where she’d have no problem – though by then she’d be a bit tired, physically and mentally, and so even there it wasn’t as good as it could be.

Yesterday (our fifth session) I had a brainstorm. We so often start off sessions going forehand to...




Wednesday, March 8, 2017 - 14:41
March 8, 2017

Celebrities Playing Table Tennis - Want to Host It?
Many years ago, “In a moment of sudden clarity, I realized what this world needed was a web page devoted to pictures of celebrities playing table tennis.” And so I created the Celebrities Playing Table Tennis Page. I maintained and continued to add to it for years, and it now has 1440 photos of 870 different celebrities playing table tennis. Why not browse over it?

How’d you like to take over the site?

A lot of blogs and web pages have links to the site. Here's a list of 68. It was even a "Yahoo Pick," and is one of their "Celebrity Picks.") At its peak, for several months the page averaged over 15,000 downloads per day! (Alas, I’m having trouble accessing the current stats, but I know it still gets a lot of daily hits.)

...