The best table tennis tip ever (interview with Larry Hodges)

This week’s blog post is dedicated to the great Larry Hodges. If you don’t know who Larry Hodges is, where the heck have you been? This man is MR TABLE TENNIS. He’s an inspiration to me, both as a coach and a writer. In this blog post, I’m going to briefly explain my love of Larry, shamelessly plug his new book (and a previous book which is the best table tennis book I’ve ever read) and share a recent interview, where he reveals his most important table tennis tip he’s ever written.

Tactics for beating a good junior player

Any adult who has played competitive table tennis at any level has faced the unnerving and unglorified challenge of trying to beat a junior player. And not just any junior player. A junior who has been coached. A junior who has good technique and some great shots. A junior who plays without fear. It’s a difficult situation. There is no glory in beating a junior, but if you don’t try your best, you can easily get beat. In this blog post, I’ll give you some tactics on how to beat a good junior player.

Tactics for beating a one-wing attacker

Some players have a very strong side (i.e. forehand) and a relatively weak side (i.e. backhand). They are often called ‘one-wing attackers’, as they will only attack with their strong side. Most commonly, the strong side is the forehand. We’ve all faced this type of opponent. No matter where you put the ball, they seem to be able to attack with their strong side. Play the ball to their weaker backhand, they step around and whizz a forehand past you. Try to catch them out with a ball to their wide forehand and they quickly step across and whizz another ball past you. Here some tactics to beat this type of player…

Tactics for beating a looper

As you progress from an intermediate player to an advanced player, you will start playing more and more loopers. These are players who like to play big topspin shots (loops), whenever they can. If you push a ball, they loop! If you block a ball, they loop! Even if you topspin a ball, they loop! What the heck are you supposed to do against this looping onslaught? Do not despair. Loopers are not unbeatable. Here’s a few of my favourite tactics to use when playing a looper.

What went wrong with my season?

It has been a league season of mixed fortunes. Our team remained unbeaten all season in the league, yet we only finished in second place. I achieved a respectable win percentage (84%), but this was lower than the previous two seasons. We won the handicap competition, but crashed out of another cup competition in the quarter final due to a shocking performance by myself. So, what went wrong? In this blog post I reflect on my playing performance over the past few months and examine my big tactical mistake.

Tactics for beating a blocker

Playing a very good blocker is like playing a brick wall. Everything comes back. They seem to know where you’re going to attack even before you’ve played your shot. You put all the effort in, topspinning this way and that way, but the ball keeps being returned. By the end of the match you’re exhausted and dripping in sweat. You look across the table and your blocker opponent is as fresh as a daisy. So what can you do to beat a blocker? Here’s my list of top tactics you should use…

How to win a deciding game

I used to have a terrible record in matches which went to a deciding game. In a best of 5 match, if the score was 2-2, I just knew I would lose the final game. And guess what? I would lose. Over and over again.

Fast forward to the present. Over the past four league seasons, my success rate at winning a deciding game is a lot better. In fact, it’s fantastic! At one stage, I won 14 consecutive matches which went to a deciding game. That’s a big improvement.

So, how did I do it? In this blog post I explain how I changed from a player who always lost a deciding game to a player who mostly wins a deciding game.

Put your opponents under serious pressure with short, long and wide pushes

Hands up if you regularly practise playing pushes? I’m guessing there aren’t many hands in the air right now. I can partly understand why players avoid practising their pushes. They find it boring. They think a push is defensive, safe and passive. But rather than seeing a push as a passive shot, you should approach pushing as an opportunity to put your opponent under some serious pressure. In this blog post, I reveal how you can become a pushing master and win lots more points.

How to identify and exploit an opponent’s weakness

Every player has weaknesses. An inexperienced player will have lots of weaknesses. A better player will have fewer weaknesses. The very best may seem as though they have no glaring weaknesses, but they will have areas of their game which aren’t as strong as others. There are loads of weaknesses a player potentially may have. In this blog post, I share my list of the most common weaknesses and how you can exploit them.

Tips for maintaining a positive attitude when you’re losing

All players have bad games. Sometimes when a match isn’t going well, a player’s head will drop and they will stop competing. This is the worst kind of defeat. No one feels good about losing control of their emotions and giving up. You learn very little from the defeat. There are no positives to take away. Ideally you want to eliminate this type of loss from your game completely. How can you do this? Here are a few tips on maintaining a positive attitude when you’re losing…