Twitter and the 2013 Worlds

April 9, 2013

Covering Up the Weak Spots Against Fast Hitter/Blockers

Here is an excerpt from Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers, from Chapter Seven: Tactical Examples, pages 78-79. Recently I've been using this tactics a lot against our top juniors, to great success. (Maryland juniors, do not read this. Go play video games or do homework or something.)

Here is an unconventional tactic I and some players I coach have used for years against fast hitters and blockers, especially in fast exchanges with junior players. Typically these players hit hard, quick shots over and over to the wide backhand, middle, and wide forehand. The tactic assumes you have a decent forehand and backhand, and can keep the ball in play pretty well, and can attack with your forehand against a quick shot if you see it coming and know where it’s going to go.

As soon as you get into a fast rally, stand toward your backhand side with your feet in a slight forehand position, but rotated to the left so you are facing the table in a backhand position. By rotating at the waist or taking a short step with the left foot, you should be able to cover the wide backhand and middle with your backhand, using the incoming ball’s speed to rebound it back. Watch the opponent until you see him about to go to your forehand. Immediately step over to the wide forehand and counter-attack. (This is where having your feet in a slight forehand position helps.) The key is you don’t try to cover the entire forehand side with the forehand; you anticipate that it’ll go to the wide corner and move there immediately to counter-attack. If the ball comes to your middle forehand, where you’d normally be comfortable, you’ll have difficulty since you are anticipating it going to the wide forehand, since that’s what top players and up-and-coming juniors are trained to go. What this strategy effectively does is move the middle weakness into the middle forehand, where few strong players will place the ball. Since your opponent is probably hitting down the line with his backhand, an aggressive counter-attack to his wide forehand usually wins the point.

Since I coach at the Maryland Table Tennis Center, where we have lots and lots of up-and-coming juniors who are extremely fast, I use this tactic in practice matches on an almost daily basis, to great success. I usually just counter-hit the crosscourt winner, but sometimes I loop it. It works either way. (Beware—if you use this tactic against a junior I’m coaching, I’ll tell him to put the ball to your middle forehand. Hah!)

Professional Table Tennis Coaches Handbook

It's now on sale at Amazon! There are two versions, one for Print ($7.99), and one for Kindle ($5.99). It's supposed to be one page with two versions, but there's some sort of blip on the system, and it instead is coming up on two different pages. (For example, here's the page for my Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers book - one page with both versions, paperback and kindle.) I've contacted Amazon about fixing this.

So what is this Coaches Handbook? It's a 44-page manual I wrote a few years ago. I use to give it away at coaching seminars, but it was just a rough printout. Now it's professionally published. See book description below.

"Long-time professional table tennis coach and USA Table Tennis Hall of Famer Larry Hodges shows how you can become a professional table tennis coach. This is not a manual on how to coach; it's a manual on how to make a living as a coach - how to maximize income, getting a facility and equipment, recruiting and retaining students, teaching classes, how to set up and run a junior program, private coaching, a drills library, sample flyers to promote your coaching, and more."

I now have five books on my Amazon page:

  • Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers. This came out in February, and is selling like popcorn at a movie theatre. (You wouldn't watch a movie without popcorn, and you wouldn't play table tennis without this Tactics book, right?)  
  • Professional Table Tennis Coaches Handbook. This came out yesterday. Here's the Amazon description: ""Long-time professional table tennis coach and USA Table Tennis Hall of Famer Larry Hodges shows how you can become a professional table tennis coach. This is not a manual on how to coach; it's a manual on how to make a living as a coach - how to maximize income, getting a facility and equipment, recruiting and retaining students, teaching classes, how to set up and run a junior program, private coaching, a drills library, sample flyers to promote your coaching, and more."
  • Table Tennis: Steps to Success. This is my fundamentals book, originally published in 1993 and updated in 2007. It's sold 28,000 copies in six languages. I plan a new version this year, with all new photos and major updates, probably retitled as Table Tennis Success.
  • Table Tennis Tales & Techniques. This is a compilation of my best work, with both essays on technique and stories about table tennis, often humorous.
  • Pings & Pongs: The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of Larry Hodges. (This has my 30 best short story sales. I've sold 66 in all. See my Science Fiction & Fantasy page.)
  • Also listed is Willy and the Ten Trillion Chimpanzees. This is actually a short fantasy story of mine that was published as an eBook by Musa Publications. "What if William Shakespeare was a demon with ten trillion captive chimpanzees in his basement, where time is sped up a trillion-fold, and where they are forced to randomly type as they produce the works of Shakespeare? And then the chimpanzees rebel...."

Note shown is Instructor's Guide to Table Tennis, a manual for coaches that I wrote a while back that teaches coaches how to coach table tennis. I'm planning a rewrite and publication later this year. For both this and the upcoming rewrite of Table Tennis: Steps to Success, I have a major photo session planned.

2013 World Table Tennis Championships

Here's the Trailer (1:45). The Worlds are in Paris, France, May 13-20. These are the individual championships - Men's and Women's Singles & Doubles, and Mixed Doubles.

Join the Conversation - the 2013 Worlds

Join them on Twitter, at #ITTF Worlds! (Disclosure - I have a twitter account, but haven't used it or read anyone else's in about two years.)

Young Table Tennis Player

Start 'em early!

Table Tennis Muffins

Mmmmm . . . Good!

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