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Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers [Paperback]

Larry Hodges
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Feb 2013
Learn table tennis tactics from USATT Certified National Coach and Hall of Famer Larry Hodges. Includes tactics against different styles, grips, and surfaces as well as tactical and strategic thinking. The book opens with this: "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." The book then explores the tactical and strategic development needed to have the specific tactical tools needed in any given match - your "tactical toolbox."

"Larry has done an excellent job in breaking down the skills needed by all players to improve in these areas. This book should be on every table tennis player’s mandatory reading list." -Richard McAfee, USATT National Coach, ITTF Trainer, and USATT Coaching Chair, 2009-2013

"Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers is a must read for any player serious about winning. This tactical Bible is right on the mark, and is exactly how I was taught to put together game-winning tactics and strategies." -Sean O'Neill, 5-time U.S. Men's Singles Champion, 2-time Olympian

"Larry Hodges' book on table tennis tactics is the best I have ever seen on this subject. This is the first book that explains how to play against the many styles of the game." -Dan Seemiller, 5-time U.S. Men's Singles Champion and long-time U.S. Men's Team Coach
Includes 21 chapters:

Chapter 1: Tactical Thinking
Chapter 2: Strategic Thinking
Chapter 3: Your Tactical Game
Chapter 4: All About Spin
Chapter 5: Beginning Tactics
Chapter 6: Conventional Tactics
Chapter 7: Tactical Examples
Chapter 8: Service Tactics
Chapter 9: Receive Tactics
Chapter 10: Rallying Tactics
Chapter 11: Different Grips
Chapter 12: Pushing
Chapter 13: Loopers
Chapter 14: Blockers, Counter-Drivers, and Hitters
Chapter 15: Choppers
Chapter 16: Fishers and Lobbers
Chapter 17: Non-Inverted Surfaces
Chapter 18: Hardbat Tactics
Chapter 19: Doubles Tactics
Chapter 20: Tournament Tactics
Chapter 21: Coaching Tournament Matches
Afterword: Tactical & Strategic Thinking Revisited
Glossary Table Tennis Terminology
Appendix: Recommended Reading
About the Author

Frequently Bought Together

Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers + Table Tennis: Step to Success (Steps to Success) + Table Tennis: Skills, Techniques, Tactics (Crowood Sports Guides)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (6 Feb 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1477643788
  • ISBN-13: 978-1477643785
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 126,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Larry Hodges is a member of the U.S. Table Tennis Hall of Fame, a USATT certified National Coach, editor of USA Table Tennis Magazine for 12 years, and author of over 1300 articles and six books on table tennis. See his webpage at, including his daily table tennis blog.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and different 3 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers is excellent and different. It offers the reader logical tactical advice on playing table tennis that you simply won't get from other books, which is what makes it so different. It is aimed at the competent player and definitely not beginners, so I do imagine there will be people who buy it and find it is way above their level of play. But for the advanced players it offers great insight in tactical awareness and why certain tactics work. It is well written and enjoyable to read, Larry Hodges personality comes across through every page.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great! 3 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love it! Very useful to help you appreciate how you can think during a game and work out your way to win.
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5.0 out of 5 stars table tennis tactics for thinkers 26 July 2013
By saffron
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
excellent value .a very interesting read .i would recommend it to anyone interested in enhancing their skills as a player.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Dr Nick
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a book very much concerned with strategy and tactics.
The author Larry Hodges is a national level coach in the USA and so its reasonable to assume that all of the players that he works with will already have a fully developed range of shots so there's little, if any, advice on the developing the pure technique associated with different types of shots. The focus here is on knowing and playing to the strengths of your own game whilst stopping your opponent from playing their natural game or, if that can't be achieved, then disrupting it. There are sections on service types, playing with and against different types of rubber on the bat and differnt styles as well as the key tactics associated with playing against different types of players.

There are player photographs in the book although, unlike coaching manuals where the focus is on stroke play and these can be used to usefully illustrate points made in the text, here their use is largely limited to name-checking USA team players that Hodges has coached as well as a sprinkle of both past and present masters of the game.

For the British reader, there is some use of those quirky American English expressions that can really make your teeth grind. For example, the cover describes Hodges as a 'hall of famer' - whatever one of those is...

But if you can get past that mincing of the English language, there's a lot of sound tactical and strategic advice here. Its almost certainly aimed at players and coaches toward the intermediate to elite end of the ability spectrum. So this is not a book for beginners and, as the title indicates, it really does need some concentration and thinking to be applied in order to get the best out of it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent addition to table tennis library 13 Sep 2013
By Alex Polyakov - Published on
This book talks about tactics a player can utilize in a generic way, and against different styles. It also provides many examples that explain when a given stroke should be used and how. Having learned tactics throughout my journey I was not surprised by the information. Most of it is acquired through experience. Generally, the more experienced the player, the deeper is his tactical understanding. The good part is the fact that you can now refer to the material yourself or refer other players to a specific chapter for an easy in-depth explanation that covers all sorts of combinations. Experience wise, Larry has decades of it both in terms of playing and coaching. So he definitely has a lot to share.

As I have mentioned before, the information in the book is vast and remembering it all will be hard to do. So I would warn that players should not read it to remember it. Its important to read the book to understand it! This is the purpose of the book. To give enough knowledge so that the player can come up with his own ideas on what the player should do next, or what a given opportunity presents.

What did I like the most in the book? Well, for me, I found Larry's stories of his coaching experience within a match invaluable. There are many times when you play someone and think you're doing great, until bam, the opponent's coach gives his player some advice and nothing goes your way anymore. I always wanted to find out - what did the coach tell him that the tempo of the match totally changed. In this regards, Larry provides incredible amounts of information on coaching his students to victory.

Larry's book might be a simple novelty item for professional players, but that is only because the pros are already familiar with the topics in the book. But for mere mortal amateurs like myself, beginner, intermediate and advance players alike, this book is surely a must have.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My best table tennis purchase so far 19 Sep 2013
By Andriy Hrishin - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book when I was out of the game for a few month because of injury, so I really had time to read and think about what I read.

Immediately after my return my rating went up from 1700 USATT to solid mid 18xx and I truly believe it's because of this book. Several people in my club suspected that I wasn't out because of injury but went away to some sort of table tennis school for intensive training - that much of a difference my game was just because of this book.

There is lot's of material and it's hard to remember it all during the game, but I keep rereading it, practicing one or two aspects at a time and every time I spend time rereading the book I play better because I play smarter.

Definitely a better purchase then yet another "tenergy" or new blade you might be tempted to try just because they are new and shiny and the advertisement promises they will raise your game to the next level. New equipment wont, this book definitely will.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For all skill levels 31 Mar 2013
By debbieb - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a low rated player and read this book easily, as it is written very clearly and easy for anyone to understand. I have put some of the information into action already and it has helped. My husband is a much better player than me as well as a USATT & ITTF Coach and he also read this book. He has suggested his students read this book and even carry it with them to a tournament fo a quick refresher before their matches. Much of the information is known by the better players already, but Larry puts it all together so it is easy to find and all in one book. It is really a super reference tool. Including a chapter on hard bat and "funny" rubber surfaces adds to the value as most current players really need to better understand the way these surfaces play. I suggest every table tennis player have this book in their library. Bravo Larry. Aloha!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended! 15 Mar 2013
By Feangfa Thaicharoen - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is the missing link between technical expertise and match outcome.

Usually, you perfect all the strokes without knowing why. This book puts those strokes into cohesive pattern. You will learn the distinction between strategic (for long-termed result) and tactical (for immediate result) thinking along the way.

After reading this book, you'll see tabletennis matches in different light. You'll appreciate the nuances of shot selection and the most important thing is you know "why" they use them.

A lot of examples in this book. Larry puts questions in between the narrative to make you "think".

Thanks, Larry, for writing this book. I'm an intermediate player without proper coach. Previously, I blindly practice strokes and drills without clear goal. In matches, I played blindly, instinctively. Most of the time, I didn't know why I won. And more importantly, I didn't know why I lost. So I had no way to improve my game. Your book gives meaning to my training. I'll train with strategic mind and compete with tactical thinking.

Finally, to answer your question, YES, Larry, you made me THINK. Thank you.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to find sources on tactics other than Mr. Hodges 15 Mar 2013
By Seth Redford - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've been playing seriously for about two years so I am still learning the many important aspects of competitive Table Tennis. While searching the internet and other places I found a lot of information on technique but not much on tactics. This book is a fantastic resource that covers a wide variety of topics. I feel like it focused my thinking onto a number of important aspects that apply to each of the different shots and situations that you can face against each opponent. My only small issue is I have been following Mr. Hodges' blog and I have read a number of his articles and tips of the day. Since much of the information in those online sources was also included in the book, I had seen a lot of it before. But having it all in one place was well worth the price of the book.
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