Each day I post the racquetball tip of the day. For beginners to pros on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), these tips are things that I teach in my camps, video lessons, and clinics. Here is a sampling of tips picked at random. Enjoy and see you on the court! Onward and upward!
1. Playing the weak backhand athlete may not be as obvious as you think. The typical game plan goes like this: hit everything to their backhand. However, these players adjust by getting around on 80% of the shots and hitting forehands. Therefore, consider this strategy: play their forehand and then hit to their backhand. A shot selection like ceiling ball to the forehand is safe and then hit to their backhand. There will be more room for error and they will not be able to get around on as many shots to hit forehands.
2. How to set the trap or the game within the game. Here is a question for you. Where is your weaker side? You may know that but your opponent does not. First chance you get during a competition, shoot from that side. You may get lucky and kill a few. When that happens the opponent will play your strong side and fall into your trap!
3. Taking care of your sticks. A racquetball player is as good as her or his racquet. Take care of the racquet. Avoid extreme temperatures. Make sure you have the racquets restrung and regripped regularly. If you have not had your racquet restrung in over a year, it’s time!
4. Move-and-hit drills simulate the action of a match much better than drop-and-hit drills. Two of my favorites are set-up-and-hit drills to the forehand and the backhand. At the receiving line, open the face of your racquet and gently tap yourself a setup. Move your feet and shoot down the line. Emphasize foot movement and do not lean to the ball. Move to the ball. That is the SUNH drill!
5. The old drop-and-hit drill serves one purpose if done correctly. It should teach you to keep your weight back and use your lower, not upper body to hit forehands and backhands. If you throw a step in this drop-and-hit drill, you run a bigger risk of “cheating” by using your upper body. That is why I teach “stationary drop and hit” not drop and hit.”
6. Playing the big hitter. The hard hitter looks very flashy and can be intimidating. Here are a couple of tips: First, play center court very deep as they hit everything hard, so traditional center court is out. Second, pick off any shot you can from deep in center court and pinch it. This pulls the big hitters up and neutralizes their power because they have to move forward!
7. Shot selection during rallies is often dictated by footwork. If you get to the ball with your weight forward, you will not have any power to execute a good shot. If you find yourself pushing the ball, keep your weight back!
8. Get rid of the dinky doo. A dinky-doo is a twist of the wrist in the middle of a swing. It is subtle. An exaggerated dinky doo is called twisty wristy. Fix a dinky doo by flattening out the forehand and backhand throughout the swing. If you have a dinky doo you have increased chances for error. Note: You won’t find these terms anywhere else!
9. Defeat is something that happens to all of us. Be gracious in defeat, humble in victory. Yes, you are frustrated, mad, disappointed and more when you lose, but be considerate of your opponent. Being a sore loser adds another loss to the one you already suffered!
10. Short Jamming the drive serve. Years ago, the great Charlie Brumfield wrote a series of instructional articles I gobbled up and used to win several tournaments. The angle of jam serves and drive serves was the gist of one of the articles so bear with me here. If you get a tight angle into the left wall vs. right handers and right wall vs. left handers, and get the ball so it “slides” down the wall. This is a difficult angle to get to off the drive serve. That is the “short jam” serve.”
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