Larry was introduced to the world of table tennis at the age of 16 when fate led him to Marty Reisman’s “The Money Player” at his high school library. He was inspired to learn more about USATT, found a local club, and gave it everything he had. Despite repeat poor performances, he stuck with it and was the best at the club a few years later. Soon he was National Collegiate Doubles and Team Champion and reached top 20 in the US, with 29 national titles and numerous state titles, including state champion in three states – Maryland, North Carolina, and Colorado. He’s won Open Singles at 17 tournaments. He’s also won a lot of national hardbat titles, but he normally uses sponge. But it was with his subsequent coaching, writing, organizing, promoting, and directing career that he really left his mark.
He served as the Director/Manager/Coach at the Resident Training Program for Table Tennis at the Olympic Training Center from 1985 to 1990; was the Coach of the USA National Junior Team for several years; and served as Editor of USATT Magazine for 12 years and 71 issues. (He has also edited numerous US Open, US Nationals, and USATT Hall of Fame Banquet program books.) From 1992 to present, Larry has been a coach (and for ten years the director) at the Maryland Table Tennis Center in Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA, where (starting in the early 1990s) they dominated the Junior Olympics and Junior Nationals for about 15 years, winning over half the gold medals and more total medals than any other state during that time. He has been the match coach for over 250 gold medalists at the Junior Nationals or Junior Olympics, more than any other coach. He has over 2000 published articles (over 1800 on table tennis), over 1900 blog entries at www.TableTennisCoaching.com (which are also published at Butterflyonline.com/news), and 17 books, including 9 on table tennis.
His USATT Developmental Coach of the Year Award in 2002 was followed by an induction into the USATT Hall of Fame in 2003 at age 43, the youngest person ever to be inducted as a contributor. He was awarded the President’s Award in 2007 for his contributions to table tennis and was the 2013 USATT Doc Counsilman Coach of the Year winner. He is certified as a USATT National Coach, the highest level. He’s had two tenures as chair of the USATT Coaching Committee (and is currently a member) and has also chaired at various times the USATT Club, League, and Resident Training Committees. He’s run over 200 USATT sanctioned tournaments and coached at over 100 training camps, almost all of them five days long, usually as a head coach. In 2018, he was awarded the USATT Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as a coach, writer, editor, promoter, organizer, and director.
Larry has authored nine table tennis books. Seven are in print and are sold at Butterfly.
- Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers (240 pages). Learn table tennis tactics from U.S. National Coach and Hall of Famer Larry Hodges. Includes tactics against different styles, grips, and surfaces as well as tactical and strategic thinking. 21 chapters, 102,000 words, 90 photos.
- The “Tips” Series – Table Tennis Tips, More Table Tennis Tips, and Still More Table Tennis Tips – each of these books in this ongoing series has 150 tips, arranged in logical progression. They cover all aspects of the game: Serve, Receive, the Strokes, Grip and Stance, Footwork, Tactics, How to Improve, Sports Psychology, Equipment, and Tournaments.
- Table Tennis Tales & Techniques (272 pages). The book contains the best published work of USATT Hall of Famer Larry Hodges – both funny and interesting stories about table tennis (“Tales”) and essays on how to improve (“Technique”) including servs, receive, rallying, footwork, tactics, how to improve, miscellaneous coaching, and even hardbat.
- Professional Table Tennis Coaches Handbook (42 pages). 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 – maximizing income, getting a facility and equipment, recruiting and retaining students, teaching classes, setting up and running a junior program, private coaching, a drills library, sample flyers to promote your coaching, and more.
- The Spirit of Pong (100 pages). Larry’s fantasy table tennis novel. Andy “Shoes” Blue wants to be a table tennis champion, but he’s just another wannabe American. And so he goes to China to learn the secrets of table tennis. He is trained by the mysterious Coach Wang and begins an odyssey where he learns the secrets of table tennis from the spirits of Ichiro Ogimura (who helped spawn China’s greatness), Rong Guotuan (China’s first world champion in 1959, whose tragic story Andy must relive), and others, and must face the mysterious “Dragon.” Can he overcome treachery and learn the final secret of table tennis in time to defeat his ultimate nemesis?
Larry has a Master’s degree in Journalism, and a Bachelor’s degree in Math, with concentrations in computer science and chemistry, all from University of Maryland since he didn’t want to leave the local table tennis community. He has worked with the best players in the country. Suffice to say, he knows a thing or two about the important table tennis skills and game strategies. We’re thrilled to regularly share his insights, expertise, and analysis at We Are Butterfly.