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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

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 14:06
May 24, 2017

Table Tennis Trick Shots
On Sunday, after running a training session, I gave an impromptu clinic on trick shots, with about a dozen players joining in. Here are twelve of my favorites, with video of some of them. Why not learn a few of these and show off at your club? Let’s have a little fun today.

  1. 50-foot Serve, where you stand about 50 feet to the side of a table, and do an overhead tomahawk serve with backspin and sidespin so it hits both sides of the table. My record is 14 times in a row. Here’s video of me doing this in an exhibition. Usually I do this directly from the side of the table, adjacent to the net, but the pole was blocking my shot so I did it from the left.
  2. Comeback Serve, where you serve with enough backspin and a bit high so the ball comes back over the net to your side on one bounce. My record here is also 14 times in a row. Here’s video of me doing this...



Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 12:57
May 23, 2017

Backhand Flipping
There was a time when I was at the forefront of backhand receive technique. One of my strengths during my peak years was my ability to consistently backhand flip any short serve, regardless of how low it was or what type of spin, including heavy backspin. It drove many opponents crazy, since they often wanted a push return to attack. It allowed me to force neutral backhand exchanges on my opponent’s serve, while I’d dominate with my attack when I served. Gosh darn it, come to think of it, on paper I must have been the best player in the world!!!

Many-time U.S. team member (and 3-time Men’s Doubles Champion and Men’s Singles Finalist) Han Xiao developed at my club, and we spent probably a thousand hours hitting together. He once said he learned from my backhand receive that you could attack any ball, even a short, low, heavy backspin serve – but he took it to the next level. While my backhand flips had topspin, it was only light topspin, just enough to control the receive. At the higher levels, players could attack them. (Oh, that’s right, that’s why I wasn’t the best player in the...




Monday, May 22, 2017 - 14:00
May 22, 2017

Tip of the Week
Looping to the Forehand, Backhand, and Middle.

Another Brutal Weekend
Sixteen hours of coaching on a weekend is brutal. I can personally attest to this – and as usual, I’m feeling the aftermath on Monday. Okay, it’s brutal for me, but just another couple days at the office for many of my workaholic fellow coaches, who do this six days a week and have this much energy.

What made things worse was a silly sort of mishap on Saturday. After doing five hours of private coaching, we had the Saturday night junior league, 6:30-8:30PM. It’s really sort of a misnomer as it’s a combination of league and coaching. For me, it was a nice break – after standing up for five hours, I got to sit down for most of the first hour, watching and taking notes of our players for future use. But here’s where the silly mishap happened – I stood up. Yes, I was sitting in a chair, and I stood up, and pulled something in my left leg. Really...




Friday, May 19, 2017 - 14:03
May 19, 2017

ITTF Election - Saive and Sharara vs. Weikert?
Here’s the article. Now it can be told!!! Until now, nearly everyone assumed that former ITTF President and current ITTF Chairman Adham Sharara was supporting his previous protégé and handpicked successor, current ITTF President Thomas Weikert. However, I’d learned a while back they’d had a falling out. In the upcoming ITTF election, Sharara is backing Jean-Michel Saive against Weikert.

This sort of throws a lot of cold ping-pong balls on many voters’ plans. Some want to get away from the Sharara years, and so opposed Weikert, thinking he was a continuation of that – and that a vote for Saive was a vote against both Sharara and Weikert. And if you like what’s happened during these years, which way do you vote to continue it?

In fairness to Saive, we have no idea how close he is to Sharara, and he might not have any control over who is supporting him. If elected, hopefully he'll...




Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 12:58
May 18, 2017

82 Forehands
Yesterday I was coaching an 8-year-old girl who’s a relative beginner. In our last session we had set a goal of hitting 50 forehands in a row (live, not multiball), but despite spending 20 minutes on the quest, she wasn’t able to do it, though she got 43 one time. We tried again yesterday, and made it past 20 a few times, but couldn’t break 30. (She did manage to get 54 backhands in a row.)

The problem was obvious – she’d get nervous and try to consciously guide her stroke rather than let her subconscious – i.e. muscle memory – guide the shot. So I made it my goal to fix that. As is well known at the club, I keep a bag of candy in my bag (Jolly Ranchers) which I give out as rewards. So while hitting with her I asked her about her favorite flavor. The discussion continued, branching off into gummy worms and chocolate, and various foods she liked. Meanwhile, she completely forgot about the forehands, which she continued to do mindlessly (i.e. subconsciously) as we chatted. When she finally missed one, I asked her how many she thought she’d hit in a row. She guessed 15! Actually, she did 82...




Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - 13:17
May 17, 2017

One Off Day and Everything Happens!
I take one day off (Tuesday), and everything happens in table tennis!!! But first, how did I spend my “rest” day? Well, I did get some rest, but not before spending the morning going over the USATT coaching certification process one more time. Soon I’ll be making recommendations for changes/updates to the USATT Coaching Committee, which I chair. I also made some more arrangements for the upcoming coaching seminars at the USA Nationals. I’m thinking now of doing three clinics – one on serves that I will likely run, one on either receive or looping (with a top guest coach, I’d assist), and on “How to Set Up and Run a Junior Program.”

And then my “vacation” started as I spent most of the day in my lounge chair, trying to ignore various table tennis emails. (I'd get to them all eventually.) I did the Washington Post crossword puzzle (which is actually the LA Times crossword puzzle – wish they’d print the NY Times ones from Will Shortz), then read in one looooong sitting the entire “...




Monday, May 15, 2017 - 13:59
May 15, 2017

NOTE - As mentioned in the last paragraph below, I'm taking a "LORD" on Tuesday - "Larry's Occasional Rest Day." Here's your chance to explore the 102 Best Table Tennis Animated Images or the original "Matrix Ping-Pong" video (1:43)!

Tip of the Week
Towel for Fast Serve Practice.

Fast Serves and Ready Position and Looping, Oh My!
Another super-busy weekend – and I’d like to think I’ve improved the worldwide level of table tennis perhaps a little bit. I coached nine players in private sessions, and another 16 in group sessions, so that’s 25 players. Let’s suppose, on average, they are all ten rating points better – that’s 250 points in level we just added to the world! So yes, the world is not better at ping-pong – by an average of 0.00000003 ratings points per person. I made a...




Friday, May 12, 2017 - 13:25
May 12, 2017

Recent Doings
Has only 24 hours gone by since yesterday’s blog? I think time must have stopped; it seems like I’ve put in about 80 hours since then, mostly in one long binge since last night. I did a lot of arrangements for upcoming events, took care of a backload of emails, and can now sit back and relax on Friday (my “off” day) until something comes up. (3-2-1 – “Larry, can you do something for me?”…) Here’s a quick rundown.

  • Thursday Junior Class and Footwork. As I told them at the start of the class, “Today’s focus is getting from Point A to Point B, otherwise known as what?” It took two seconds for one of the kids to cry out, “We’re doing footwork today!” And that’s what we did, lots and lots of it. (Of course we do footwork every session, but more in some sessions than others.) Then we went to games – King of the Hill for the older kids, building pyramids on the table out of paper cups and knocking them down as I fed multiball for the younger ones.
  • Coaching at the Nationals. Working out my...



Thursday, May 11, 2017 - 13:20
May 11, 2017

Table Tennis Stuff I’ve Learned in the Last Few Days

  1. When faced with a teenager suffering sleep deprivation, a counterlooping duel is the best way to wake him up. Splashing water on the face also helps.
  2. If you encourage a kid to hit a certain number of shots in a row, she’ll probably do it. If you mock her and say she can’t do it, she will do it.
  3. There are few things more fascinating to a kid than hitting with that one orange ball mixed in with a box of white ones. (“Never miss with the orange ball!”)
  4. When a student can’t concentrate, have him stare at a ping-pong ball for five seconds. Works wonders.
  5. Older players can move their feet just as much as younger ones. They just aren’t in the habit of doing so, and don’t do it as fast. (Okay, I already knew this, but just wanted to emphasize it since it came up several times this week.)
  6. Rescheduling a coaching schedule to make up for the varied needs of students is like doing a jigsaw puzzle while trying to bounce a ball up and down on your paddle while on roller skates.
  7. Trying to arrange a...



Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - 12:14
May 10, 2017

USATT Coaching Committee and USATT Board Pages
I have a new picture of myself up at the USATT Board of Directors page and the USATT Coaching Committee page – call it “Laughing Larry.” But what do I have to laugh about? I’ll leave that to your imagination. Heh heh heh.

I blogged on March 17, 2017 on my plans as Coaching Committee chair. I’m pretty happy with our new Coaching Committee – together we will soon be orchestrating plans for world conquest. Who are they?

  • Rajul Sheth. He’s the founder and director of the highly successful ICC Table Tennis in Milpitas, CA, and a two-time USATT Developmental Coach of the Year, who you all know...