Game Evaluation: Championship Racquetball…Tips from the Coach!

Rocky Carson holds center court against Jose Rojas during the 2017 Shamrock IRT Shootout. Photo by Juan Martinez.

Rocky Carson holds center court against Jose Rojas during the 2017 Shamrock IRT Shootout. Photo by Juan Martinez.

Detectives investigate a situation and gather information before they can make a determination of what happened or what they need to do to solve the mystery. A “racquetball detective” is no different. You, the racquetball detective, must analyze your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses as well as your own strengths and weaknesses to determine the game plan you need to beat your opponent. Here’s a simple formula:

            Game plan = opponent’s strengths and weaknesses + your strengths and weaknesses

Here is a “Game Evaluation Sheet” to help you scout your opponent and gather the information necessary to develop a game plan. The more information you collect, the better prepared you will be when developing the game plan. This Evaluation Sheet has EVERY IMPORTANT area you want to pay most attention to:

            Court Positioning

            Serving

            Serve Return

            Stroke Mechanics

            Footwork

            Offensive Shots

            Defensive Shots

            Strategy

            Miscellaneous

DO NOT go into the match unprepared as the old saying goes, “If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail”.

 GAME EVALUATION

Area of Evaluation Strength / Weakness Comments
COURT POSITIONING 1         2          3         4       5
During Serve 1         2          3         4       5
During Rally 1         2          3         4       5
After Serving 1         2          3         4       5
Receive Serve 1         2          3         4       5
During Ceiling Shot Rallies 1         2          3         4       5
SERVING 1         2          3         4       5
Variety 1         2          3         4       5
Quality 1         2          3         4       5
Consistency 1         2          3         4       5
Strategy 1         2          3         4       5
SERVE RETURN 1         2          3         4       5
Quality 1         2          3         4       5
Consistency 1         2          3         4       5
Strategy 1         2          3         4       5
STROKE MECHANICS 1         2          3         4       5
Forehand 1         2          3         4       5
Backhand 1         2          3         4       5
Serving 1         2          3         4       5
FOOTWORK 1         2          3         4       5
Serving 1         2          3         4       5
Receive Serve 1         2          3         4       5
During Rally 1         2          3         4       5
OFFENSIVE SHOTS 1         2          3         4       5
Ability To Use The Back Wall 1         2          3         4       5
Variety 1         2          3         4       5
Quality/Use Of Passing Shots 1         2          3         4       5
Shot Selection 1         2          3         4       5
Consistency 1         2          3         4       5
Ability To Hit “Kill” Shots 1         2          3         4       5
DEFENSIVE SHOTS 1         2          3         4       5
Variety 1         2          3         4       5
Quality 1         2          3         4       5
Shot Selection 1         2          3         4       5
Consistency 1         2          3         4       5
STRATEGY 1         2          3         4       5
Shot Selection 1         2          3         4       5
Pace Of Game 1         2          3         4       5
Use Of Time Outs 1         2          3         4       5
EQUIPMENT 1         2          3         4       5
Quality 1         2          3         4       5
Completeness 1         2          3         4       5
MISCELLANEOUS 1         2          3         4       5
Warming Up 1         2          3         4       5
Watching Opponent 1         2          3         4       5
Watching Ball 1         2          3         4       5
Etiquette 1         2          3         4       5
Knowledge Of Rules 1         2          3         4       5
Rules Violations 1         2          3         4       5
Mental 1         2          3         4       5
Conditioning 1         2          3         4       5
Nutrition 1         2          3         4       5


Use the techniques in my book “Championship Racquetball”, Chapter 7 Developing Game Plans and Match Strategy, P. 190-191, for more details.

Here’s how Rocky Carson, part of my Championship Team, utilizes these techniques:

Rocky Carson versus whomever

Developing Game Plans is yet another required skill on the road to championship racquetball.

Rocky and I have watched every top pro player and we use this “Game Evaluation Sheet” to take notes and gather the information needed to develop a solid game plan. We discuss the game plan for that match starting with what serves Rocky will use, the serves Rocky’s opponent is going to most likely hit, Rocky’s return of the serve, and his opponent’s court positioning which lets Rocky know what shots to hit for impeccable shot selection.

Paola Longoria versus whomever

            Paola and I do exactly what Rocky and I do, tournament after tournament.     

Scouting your opponent using A Game Evaluation Sheet is yet another required skill on the road to championship racquetball. ALL of the players I coach, from the professionals led by Rocky and Paola to the amateurs, know just how important it is to scout their opponents and gather the information needed to develop a game plan. Their records speak for themselves.

In the next issue, I will continue to build your Championship Racquetball Game one level at a time so you too can be ready to become the champion you always dreamed of becoming, by giving you the tools to make it a reality. Rocky and all my athletes “Championship Racquetball Games” stem from their focus on ALL 3 sides of the triangle working together so they can develop into top competitors. Without a shadow of a doubt, they KNOW just how important it is to do the work. They are living proof it works and their titles substantiate it.

For details on more personalized instruction/video lessons, a weekend camp, instructional DVD’s and our book, Championship Racquetball) ALL which covers all aspects of the Sports Racquetball Triangle and more, please visit www.FranDavisRacquetball.com. Fran Davis is a 2004 racquetball Hall of Fame inductee; Racquetball Woman of the Year 2009; Coaches #2 mens professional International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Player / 1X US Open Champion / 5X and present World Champion, 2X and present Pan American Champion, Rocky Carson; Coaches #1 Women’s LPRT Pro Player for 8 seasons / 7X and present US Open Champion & 5X and present World Champion, 2X and present Pan American Champion, Paola Longoria; Coaches Jr. World & National Champions, Jordan Cooperrider, Wayne Antone, Mitchell Turner and Ingrid Robledo; Master Professional Instructor/Coach USAR-IP.