Mar 282017
 

 SERVE MORE EFFECTIVELY USING CHANGEUPS

In baseball, a changeup is an “off-speed pitch thrown to look like a fastball but arriving much more slowly to the plate. Its reduced speed coupled with its deceptive delivery is meant to confuse the batters timing.” Using changeup serves during a racquetball match are crucial to keeping your opponent off-balance, disrupting their return of serve timing, and preventing your serve from becoming predictable.

Changeup serves include varying the height, angle, and speed of your serve, as well as hitting an occasional serve to their forehand. Another effective strategy using changeups is by serving from different positions within the service box.

Serving from different locations will create an illusion of different angles, and make your serves “arrive” at different times, e.g., a serve from near the right side wall takes longer to get to the receiver then one that is served from the middle of the service box. A successful changeup happens when you confuse the receiver, forcing them to hit a weak return, or,  you might get an occasional ace.

A simple strategy for 5 different serves (from a right-hander to their opponent’s backhand) might be:
  1. Drive serve from the middle
  2. Lob serve when near the right side wall
  3. Soft Z serve (half lob or lob) from the left side wall position.
  4. Drive serve from the right side wall position.
  5. Half lob from the middle

So try serving from different locations in the service box to get more weak returns, to deepen your arsenal of serves, and to get points faster!

Del Villanueva
Head Coach
Intercollegiate Racquetball Team
of the University of CA @ Berkeley
Jan 122017
 

In this video,  Ben Croft and Tom Fuhrmann explain the benefits of serving a drive jam serve. The short jam serve is hit to a target very low on the side wall and then comes in at a tough angle straight towards the receiver.

Dec 092016
 

If you wish to catch an opponent off guard and elicit a weak return, then occasionally hit your drive serve to your opponent’s forehand.  An ideal serving strategy includes this “change-up” drive serve because your opponent is expecting serves to their backhand and they “mentally lean” to this side.

Proper Technique for a Deceptive Serve
To be effective and not telegraph your intentions, your serving motion to the forehand side must look the same as to the backhand side.
If you are right-handed and serving to a right-hander, drop the ball about 8-12 inches further back in your stance (towards the back wall) from your normal ball drop position for the backhand drive serve. The further back you make contact with the ball, the more it will move to the right. Your actual ball direction will also depend on your technique and height.
For a left-hander serving to a right-handed forehand, make contact further forward to hit the ball cross court to the opposite corner.

Optimal Target Area
Aim the drive serve for the corner, with the ball taking its first bounce between the service short line and the 5 ft safety line. The second bounce should land near the corner before the back wall. If struck too high on the front wall, the drive serve will come off the back wall for a “set up” for your opponent!

Reaping the Benefits
If you serve an occasional drive serve to your opponent’s forehand, then you will keep them guessing, and reward yourself with a weak return or an occasional sweet ace through the element of surprise!