Apr 142011
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This tip from RacquetWorld Pats Tip of the Month discusses the importance of keeping your shots from rebounding off the back wall. The No Back Wall tactic is especially important when serving:

I often tell players simply “no back wall”. In short, this means that no ball you hit, drive serve, passing shot, ceiling ball, cross court or even the round-the-world ball, should rebound off the back wall, resulting in a setup shot for your opponent.

In addition, the “no back wall” tactic insures all passing shots (once past your opponent) are winners with no second chance of retrieval via a rebound off the back wall. Passing shots also have a far less chance of skipping compared to other shot choices.

So by adjusting your game towards passing shots, you are also drastically cutting down on your unforced errors. Plus, you put enormous pressure on your opponent when they realize that they must cut off each shot before it goes by them because there is no second chance. A hard hit passing shot is one of the hardest shots for an opponent to redirect accurately which also results in more easy setups for you.

The second bounce of a properly struck ceiling ball should land deep in the court at 39 feet (the back wall is at 40 feet). A ceiling ball which is moving away from the front wall is much more difficult for your opponent to return. Inversely, a ceiling ball that comes off the back wall  is easier to handle and allows your opponent to hit a passing shot at knee level.

A well struck ceiling ball should pin your opponent in a back corner with no shot off the back wall. If they attempt  to hit a passing shot or kill shot, it is much more likely that they will will skip the ball.

I saved the most important point for last. No back wall on any serve…EVER! Drive serves should be short or aces—bouncing twice before the back wall. Lob serves should never come off the back wall.

So keep the “no back wall” strategy in mind when you play your practice matches. Try to reduce the number of times your shots rebound off the back wall, and especially commit to the idea that drive serves should be short or aces.

More great tips and advice can be found at Pat’s Racquetball Tips.

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  10 Responses to “No Back Wall – Ever!”

  1. This is great! Thank you so much.

  2. Awesome web site. Great Info. i’ll be studying this heavily over the next many months and years. I’m 63 years of age and still playing. So far so good. This site is beautifully done and is teaching me so many great new ways of strategies, shots, and more. Keep up the great work! Jerry Eisner

  3. After understanding, and integrating most of the drive serve mechanics, I’m still hitting the ball high enough for a setup. I’d like to know how to hit it as low as possible. The same is true on my back hand.
    Thank you.

    • Without looking at your serving routine, it is hard to determine why your drives serve stays up. Here are a few things that I would look for:

      1. Do you drop the ball on the serve or bounce it? I suggest dropping the ball at the level you want to hit it on the front wall. Some players actually drop the ball too low and then are forced to hit the ball upwards to the front wall.

      2. Do you drop the ball too far in front of you? If so, then you may be hitting the ball on your upswing/follow through when the racquet path begins to arc upwards. Perhaps try dropping the ball farther towards your back foot.

      3. Are you standing up at the moment you are hitting the ball? Some players are in a hurry to back up out of the serving box so they start to stand up too early. It is crucial to stay it your sitting/crouch position for the entire serving motion.

      4. Are you picking a specific target on the front wall? This will help you to throw your racquet at the target and maintain a flat swing as long as possible.

      Hope one of these suggestions will help!

  4. I have a question that I can’t seem to find an answer for, hopefully you can answer for me.
    When a player is standing “mid court” tries to return a pass shot to the back wall (which is very dangerous for the opponent) calls a hinder if you are in his way. What is the rule on calling a hinder on a last resort shot to the back wall when the ball has already passed?

    • Hitting into the back wall is normally a shot of last resort and hit from just a few feet from the back wall. It shouldn’t be hit from mid court. But the rules state that a replay hinder can be called if your opponent thinks he will hit you, even if hitting towards the back wall. Under rule 3.14 Replay Hinders, you will find

      6. Safety Holdup. Any player about to execute a return, who believes that striking the
      opponent with the ball or racquet is likely, may immediately stop play and request a
      replay hinder. This call must be made immediately and is subject to acceptance and
      approval of the referee. (The referee will grant a replay hinder if it is believed the holdup
      was reasonable and the player would have been able to return the shot. The referee may
      also call a penalty hinder if warranted.)

      So to avoid this situation, after hitting your passing shot, move up to a center court position, but to one side of the court. This should keep you out of harms way if your opponent tries to blast the ball into the back wall.


  6. although not advisable, is it legal to hit the back wall from the receiving line. I understand it’s designed to protect the server. But, is it also to protect the opposing players in doubles. I cannot find the rule. Please help. Big argument the other night.

    • The 5 ft safety line is only for the return of serve. You can hit towards the back wall from any place in the court, but it can be dangerous when players are near the back wall. No rules prevent doing this in doubles, but all hinder rules apply.

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