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Coaching Tip of the Week: Power Player Control Shots

(By Larry Hodges) There’s nothing an experienced player likes better than facing a player with big shots . . . but little else. On the other hand, there are few things scarier than an opponent with big shots . . . and little else, i.e. without the “little” shots to set the big shots up […]

Coaching Tip of the Week: Do You Really Play the Middle?

( By Larry Hodges) Except at the advanced levels, few players really attack the middle effectively. What is the middle? It is roughly the opponent’s playing elbow, midway between forehand and backhand, where the opponent has to make a quick decision on which to use; move into position to do so; and then try to […]

Coaching Tip of the Week: Experiment with Serves and Receives Early

(By Larry Hodges) Early in a match you should test your various serves against an unfamiliar player. Which serving motions work best? What proportion of the time should you serve long, short, or half-long (where second bounce is right at the end-line)? Should your deep serves be fast or slower, spinnier ones that break more? […]

Coaching Tip of the Week: Rote vs. Random Drills

(By Larry Hodges) A rote drill is a drill where you do the same repetitive movement over and over. An example of this is forehand to forehand, or a side-to-side footwork drill. These are excellent for developing specific techniques you will need in a match. A random drill is a drill where there is some […]

Coaching Tip of the Week: Pushing Short: When to Learn?

(By Larry Hodges) At the higher levels, pushing short is an important to stop an opponent from looping. (A short push is a push that, given the chance, would bounce twice on an opponent’s side of the table.) It is especially useful when returning short serves to stop the server’s attack. (You should learn all […]

Coaching Tip of the Week: Locking Up Your Opponents

(By Larry Hodges) The easiest and simplest way of beating a player is to “lock him up.” This basically means forcing him to do what he doesn’t want to do. A classic case would be to force an opponent with a weaker backhand to go backhand to backhand with you. Another example would be take […]

Coaching Tip of the Week: Finding Simple Tactics That Work

(By Larry Hodges) The opening lines to my book, Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers, is, “Tactics isn’t about finding complex strategies to defeat an opponent. Tactics is about sifting through all the zillions of possible tactics and finding a few simple ones that work.” But how do you find these simple tactics that work? Simple – […]

Coaching Tip of the Week: Shorten Stroke on Receive

(By Larry Hodges) Returning serves is all about ball control. In a rally, the incoming shot is usually more predictable than a serve, which has a much wider range of variation – topspin, sidespin, backspin, at all speeds, amounts of spin, directions, and depths. To control your return of serve, shorten your stroke. This cuts […]

Coaching Tip of the Week: Should You Experiment If You Have a Big Lead?

(By Larry Hodges) With games to 11, few leads are really safe. It only takes a short series of careless shots, and what seemed like a big lead becomes a big loss. However, if you do have a big lead, and the match won’t be over if you win that game, consider experimenting with different […]

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