Just because some things may sound elementary doesn’t mean they are not important in intermediate and advanced levels of play. Some players get to the intermediate levels while ignoring the core strategies—which is why they plateau. Also, after you reach the intermediate and advanced levels of play, there’s more to know.
Remember…when you strategize, you are being proactive, which is taking control of the match. You are in a much better position to win, which is your goal. Now I am going to give you a list of ADVANCED STRATEGIES to help you carry out your game plan.
WAIT FOR THE SHOT TO DEVELOP, READ THE BALL AND PLAY THE PERCENTAGES: Do not rush, overrun the ball, and hit out of control. Read the ball coming off your opponent’s racquet, and make a determination as to how your opponent hits the ball.
PLAY YOUR GAME AND FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS: You certainly want to start out with this strategy because it is a confidence booster, but you must make adjustments if your strengths match your opponent’s strengths or if their strengths counter yours.
BE IN CONTROL OF THE MATCH: Being in control means playing more methodically and being aware of your surroundings and what’s happening out on the court.
KNOW THE RULES: Knowing the rules puts you in a more powerful position where you can challenge calls your opponent makes or the referee makes. When you start understanding the rules, you can use them to your advantage.
USE YOUR TIME OUTS* EFFECTIVELY:
Recover from a long rally.
Change the momentum of the match and stop the flow of points.
Regroup and review your game plan.
Change your opponent’s rhythm and tempo because this makes them uncomfortable.
Get rid of negative thoughts because negativity breeds negativity.
*You should never have any time-outs remaining, especially if you have lost the game, because then you haven’t done everything in your power to try to win.
PLAY ONE POINT AT A TIME: Most players think too far back (in the past) or too far ahead (in the future) instead of being in the now (the present).
STAY FOCUSED AND CONCENTRATE: Keep all your attention on the task at hand: the game.
PLAY THE BALL, NOT YOUR OPPONENT: The ball does not have a personality or does not cheat or does not look at you funny or does not talk back.
Use the techniques in my book “Championship Racquetball,” Chapter 7, Pages 195-197.
Here’s how my Championship Team utilizes these techniques:
Rocky Carson vs. Ben Croft in the quarterfinals of the 2014 US OPEN
Rocky was down 0-2 in games and 7-10 in the third game on the way to being eliminated. He used some of the “advanced strategies” to help him win the third game and then the next two to advance to the semi-finals.
PLAY ONE POINT AT A TIME—Rocky DID NOT look too far back (in the past) or too far ahead (in the future) instead he was in the now (the present).
STAY FOCUSED AND CONCENTRATE—Rocky kept all his attention on the task at hand: the game.
Paola Longoria vs. Rhonda Rajsich in the finals of the 2014 San Antonio, TX LPRT Pro Stop
Paola was down 0-2 in games and on her way to being eliminated, which would end her 3-year winning streak. She used some of the “advanced strategies” to help her win the third game and then the next two to win the match and the event.
PLAY ONE POINT AT A TIME—Paola DID NOT look too far back (in the past) or too far ahead (in the future) instead she was in the now (the present).
STAY FOCUSED AND CONCENTRATE—Paola kept all her attention on the task at hand: the game.
ADVANCED STRATEGIZING 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 “strategize.” It’s sometimes easy to stray from your strategy, but it is a MUST to stay on track with it. Their records speak for themselves…Rocky and Paola are BOTH two of the most decorated athletes in racquetball. Paola finished the 2013/2014 season ranked #1 on the LPRT for the third consecutive season only dropping one match since May 2011 and was crowned BOTH the 2014 World Champion and the Central American Champion. Rocky finished the 2013/2014 season ranked #2 on the IRT and was crowned the 2014 World Champion.
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, 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; Coach #2 IRT Pro Player / 1X US Open Champion / 4X and present World Champion, International Racquetball Tour (IRT) #2 Rocky Carson; Coach #1 Women’s LPRT Pro Player / 5X and present US Open Champion & World Champion, 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.