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Playing the Percentage

altPlaying the percentages, or in other words, playing high-percentage racquetball, gives you the edge. When you play high-percentage racquetball, you make more shots than you miss; when you play low-percentage racquetball, you miss more shots than you make. If you play the percentages, you make it more difficult for your opponent, causing them to make more mistakes that lead to your easy points. If you shoot the ball prematurely or consistently try to kill balls that you cannot successfully kill, then you do not give your opponent the chance to miss.

Playing the percentages forces your opponent to take difficult shots and allows you to earn the right to kill. Earning the right to kill means you put your opponent in a difficult position, forcing a weak return into the middle of the court, which allows you to take a kill shot when the situation is in your favor.

Use the techniques in my book, “ Championship Racquetball” to understand “Playing the Percentages” (Chapter 6, page 159-160).) Playing the Percentages is a must for my “Championship Team,” Paola, Rocky, Taylor, Sharon, Connor, Jordan, Spencer, Lexi and Wayne. I encourage each and every one of them to play smarter not harder, and percentages do just that.

Let’s examine what tools Rocky, Paola, Jason and all of my athletes use for “Playing the Percentages” by taking a closer look at all 3 sides of The Sports Racquetball Triangle: Conditioning, Mental, and Physical Skills.

Left Side of the Triangle

Conditioning

In order to maximize on a conditioning-and-stretching program, make sure you include all these areas: speed, agility, power and strength, balance, and stretching. I recommend that your program should include the exercise sequence of two flexibility, one agility, two flexibility, two agility, two balance, three speed, two power and strength, and four flexibility. It should be done two times each week, allowing a two-day rest between workouts. Always work flexibility first to get your body warmed up, and progress to the areas of focus for that week. Remember that quality is more important than quantity when performing the movements. You want to master the movements much the same as your racquetball technique.

Use the conditioning exercises in my book,“ Championship Racquetball” to understand your stretching program, which will lead to “Playing the Percentage’s” because you will be stronger and have more flexibility (Chapter 10, pages 237-257)

Nutrition

You want to make sure you are routinely eating right and drinking lots of water as your body and mind NEEDS this in order to think so you can “Play the Percentages.”

***Check my book, “Championship Racquetball” for specific information on your NUTRITIONAL needs.

Right Side of the Triangle

Mental Skills

Ideally, you want to get into a state of total concentration and focus on the court because that is when you play your best. By thinking clearly you are able play the percentages. Concentration is total awareness, giving your undivided or fixed attention to the game. Focus is the narrowing of concentration onto a specific thought, idea, or object to a central point. In other words, you concentrate on the game and focus on the ball and your opponent, which helps you, play smarter racquetball.

Use the mental skills in my book, “ Championship Racquetball” to understand keeping your concentration and focus, which will lead to “Playing the Percentage’s” (Chapter, pages 228-229).

Base of the Triangle

Physical Skills

Here is an important factor to keep in your mind when deciding what shot to take when….30% of all balls can be killed from the dotted line. A kill shot is defined as a shot that hits 6 inches and lower on the front wall and bounces 2X before the short line. Therefore the further back you go in the court the less likely you or your opponent will be able to effectively kill the ball. So when you are playing you want to keep these percentages in mind.

Good rules of thumb are as follows:

  1. When you are in front of your opponent and shooting the ball, you should kill or pinch kill the ball since you are closer to the front wall (your target). Your percentages will be higher.
  2. When you are behind your opponent and shooting the ball, pass (where it hits 18 inches or lower and bounces twice before the back wall) since you are further from the front wall (your target) and your percentages will be MUCH lower than the 30% you can expect trying to kill the ball.
  3. When you opponent is on the right side of the court, shoot to the left side of the court. When your opponent is on the left side of the court, shoot to the right side of the court.
  4. When you are off-balance or out of position, you want to hit up to either a ceiling or Z ball rather then try and shoot it because your percentages of hitting a winner diminishes drastically.

ALL of the players I coach, from the professionals led by Rocky and Paola to the amateurs, know just how important it is to “Play the Percentages”. “High Percentage” racquetball is the philosophy that will win you more points, more games and thusly more matches. 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 ‘s 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, a weekend camp, instructional DVD’s, our book, Championship Racquetball, and our APP (coming soon), 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, Coach #2 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Pro Player, Rocky Carson; Coach #1 Women’s LPRT Pro Player, Paola Longoria; Coach Jr. World & National Champion, Intercollegiate Champion, & IRT Pro Player, Taylor Knoth; Coach Intercollegiate Champion & LPRT Pro Player, Sharon Jackson; Master Professional Instructor/Coach USAR-IP.  International Racquetball Tour.