Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers by Larry Hodges (2013)

Book Review, Overview, and Insights.

Topics Covered:

Who is this book for?

Larry Hodges introduces the book by saying, “This book is for anyone who wants to make the most of his game, especially those who like to think.”

“Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers” will make you think, all right...

This book is an invaluable resource for table tennis players at every stage of their development. Whether you are a total beginner or a seasoned veteran, this book is guaranteed to deliver many essential lessons that can be applied to your current game, as well as the future game you wish to build.

On the surface, many beginners or casual players may think it does not apply to them or that they may not be able to implement the ideas and strategies presented in this book, however, it is never too early to begin thinking tactically. The lessons are timeless in their applicability. The structure of ideas and repetition of key concepts are incredibly effective in their ability to present the material and make it stick in the reader’s mind.

Read it, study it, and refer to this epic table tennis resource whenever you find yourself searching for answers along your table tennis journey.

What value does it provide?

Well to start, the glossary in the back of table tennis terminology is worth its weight in gold to the uninitiated. Nowadays, that may not be quite the selling point it once was but it is only one of many ways in which this book serves as a reference for the game of table tennis. This book holds the keys to understanding the game on many levels; strategically, tactically, and personally.

Chapter One on Tactical Thinking starts with the quote that is highlighted on the back book cover, “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.”

You’ve probably played against opponents whose games solely consist of a few different serves, techniques, and sequences. Yet these players can present immense challenges due to their mastery of their skill set, however limited it may appear. Without the proper tactics, you may be destined to succumb to these players time and time again.

Would you like to do something about that?

You shouldn’t allow yourself to become complacent or make excuses. Rather, you need to search for the solutions to the styles and situations that trouble you most. If you fancy yourself a thinking player, then you owe it to yourself to get your hands on “Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers” by USATT Hall of Famer and National Coach, Larry Hodges.

What are some key takeaways?

This book is organized in a way that addresses a myriad of tactical and strategic concerns. Tactics are classified by playing level, conventional and distinct playing styles, various playing surfaces and grips, and how to apply such tactics during various stages of a given point (serve, receive, and rally skills).

Larry starts out by saying, “Table tennis has been called chess at lightning speed.” This becomes increasingly apparent as we move up the ranks and observe play between high-level opponents. It is a game of millimeters and every point has the potential to be a titanic battle.

Playing tactically involves playing in such a way that matches your strengths against your opponent’s weaknesses as often as possible. There are many ways to achieve this and you have to determine which path is best in a given matchup.

The author states that you should know your own table tennis game so well that you could write an entire book on the topic given the chance. You should know how you win and lose points, what your main strengths and weaknesses are, and how to create the best opportunities for your playing style that will translate to sustained success.

Could you write a book on your table tennis game?

If not, perhaps you have not spent sufficient time examining your playing style and skills and how they match up to your competition.

Can you distinguish between tactical and strategic thinking?

If not, perhaps you need to read “Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers” by Larry Hodges. It is available from Amazon and other places.

Hodges, L. (2013). Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.