ERP stands for Early Racquet Preparation, one of the most critical parts of a proper stroke. The idea is to get your racquet up as soon as the ball hits the front wall (or on the way to the front wall) when you know whether you’ll be hitting a forehand or backhand shot. “Racquet up” means your elbow should be in line with your shoulder and racquet pointing up to the ceiling.
The reason for ERP is the same reason a batter has his bat up in baseball before the pitch is thrown. All the batter has to do when his bat is up is swing at the ball. He does not have to start the lifting motion and then swing, which takes much more impeccable timing and leads to more mistakes. The same principle applies in racquetball. If the hitter prepares early, then all they have to do is swing at the ball when it hits the front wall (or is on the way). They do not have to lift up their racquet and then swing which also takes much more impeccable timing and leads to more mistakes and inconsistency.
Think about it: in baseball the batter is 60 feet away from the pitcher’s mound and the average pitch is around 85-90 mph. In racquetball, the receiver is usually between 25-40 feet from the front wall with the ball traveling in excess of 100 mph, clearly much faster than a pitcher in baseball and over a much shorter distance.
ERP in racquetball is just as important as having your bat up in baseball, if not more so.
ERP is also a critical part of the return of serve because once again the ball could be traveling in excess of 100 mph. The racquet should be rising as the receiver’s foot moves to begin the crossover step in order to square up to the sidewall. Before the foot that’s crossing over hits the ground, the racquet should be up and in position. Now the receiver is ready to respond to the serve with the best odds of a clean and more consistent return.
In summary, remember to prepare early when there is more time to reduce the number of mistakes and increase the consistency…that is the name of the game. ERP is a MUST.
There are many areas of “ERP” in my book, Championship Racquetball, in Chapter 1 (Attacking Forehand), P. 6-9, 20-23; Chapter 2 (Penetrating Backhand), P. 35-37, 48-50; Chapter 3 (Return of Serve Mechanics), P. 93-94. Also, look in the Index as ERP is throughout the book in various chapters as it is used in every aspect of the game.
All my athletes from Rocky Carson and Paola Longoria who are presently playing the pro tour, to my junior champions Jordan Cooperrider, Wayne Antone, and Mitchell Turner and legends Jason Mannino and Sudsy Monchik, when they were playing the pro tour, all have/had great “ERP”, preparing them to be 100% ready to shoot the ball consistently and efficiently.
Here’s how my Championship Team PROVES that “ERP” is a critical part of performing at their best:
Rocky Carson & Paola Longoria:
Rocky and Paola have incredible resumes:
– #1 or #2 on their respective professional tours rankings, IRT or LPRT, over the last decade.
-Rocky has his 23rd career tournament victory on the IRT, putting him into the sixth spot on the all-time win’s list. Rocky also has won 486 matches in IRT tournaments, placing him just six matches behind reaching the Top Three in the history of men’s professional racquetball.
-Paola has 74 tournament wins of her professional career.
-Rocky and Paola won over 30+ National & World Championship Titles for their respective countries, USA & Mexico, in singles and doubles.
Wayne Antone, Jordan Cooperrider, & Mitchell Turner:
Wayne, Jordan, and Mitchell also have incredible resumes:
-All went to the 2016 Junior National Championships in Minneapolis, MN and brought home 3 Gold and 1 Silver medals.
-All are on the USA Junior National Team going to the Junior World Championships in San Luis Potosi, MX November 12-20, 2016.
-Jordan has been on the USA Junior National Team for the last 5 years and won all age groups from 12 & under to this past year 18 & under. She is also now playing on the LPRT professional tour intermittently, based on her school schedule as she is a senior in high school.
-Wayne has been on the USA Junior National Team for the last 3 years.
– Mitchell has been on the USA Junior National Team for the last 2 years.
Because of their “ERP” and me coaching Rocky, Paola, Jordan, Wayne and Mitchell for the last 7 years they were able to be very consistent and put pressure on their opponents, which allowed them to play their personal best and have a banner year.
I am so proud of ALL MY ATHLETES, Rocky, Paola, Wayne, Jordan, and Mitchell for achieving their goals of winning the World Championships in Cali, Columbia in July 2016 and my juniors who were selected to attend the Junior World Championships in San Luis Potosi, MX in November 2016.
Their “ERP” is yet another required skill set 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 have “ERP” on all their set up shots and on the return of serve. Their records speak for themselves…Rocky and Paola are BOTH 2 of the most decorated athletes in racquetball. Paola finished ranked #1 for the 6th time on the LPRT, 7X US Open Champions, 5X World Champion and 4X Pan American Champion. Rocky finished ranked #2 for the 8th time on the IRT, 5X World Champion, 2X Pan American Champion and US Open Champion.
In the next issue, I will continue to offer tips 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-ranked men’s professional International 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 / 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, and Mitchell Turner; Master Professional Instructor/Coach USAR-IP.