Feb 262014

It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.
– Babe Ruth

Many racquetball games are won or lost by a slim margin of one or two points. So it is crucial to believe that you can retrieve every one of your opponent’s shots.

This means that you will never give up on a shot during a rally. Also, after every shot you take, you will try your best to get back to center court. Do not make an unforced error by giving up too early on a shot.

In addition, you must assume that your opponent is capable of returning every possible shot. Do not underestimate the speed of your opponent. Often a player will hit a ‘winner’ only to be caught flat-footed after their opponent returns their shot.

Perfection in racquetball is unattainable, for you, or for your opponent. So be ready to go after everything!

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Feb 152014

In a recent interview for Life Time Racquetball, six-time world champion Cliff Swain passed along some great racquetball tips.

If you could offer only one tip to a new racquetball player, what would it be?
Get quality instruction right away. It will make you enjoy the game much more and you’ll get the very best out of yourself.

What advice would you give to up-and-coming junior players?
Watch the pros play as much as possible. Find out who has the best serve, forehand, backhand, etc., and try to mimic those qualities while still keeping your own style.

It is so important to learn the basics from a qualified teacher. Advanced players can also benefit from private coaching by working on improving their game tactics.

What is your favorite shot?
The ace serve! One shot, one point and very demoralizing.

Your first serve is a weapon. In racquetball, the player with the best server usually wins!

What is the best racquetball advice you have ever received?
Play every point like it’s the first and last point. It’s very difficult to do but it’s a skill within every person’s reach.

The top racquetball players win their close matches by playing every point at 100% intensity. This means never giving up after hitting a loose shot, running down every passing shot, and always recovering to center court.

Feb 072014

Most racquetball players get fixated on hitting the ball with more power. But in most cases, hitting the ball harder does not help win more matches.

In fact, forget completely about trying to hit every shot as hard as possible. Instead, diligently follow these three basic rules:

  1. The purpose of every shot is to maintain or gain the center court position.
  2. Never hit a shot any harder than is necessary to keep center court position.
  3. Hit every shot to keep your opponent as far away from center court as possible.

What are the ramifications of using these rules in a match? For one, you become focused entirely on controlling your center court position and not on winning points nor hitting the ball hard.

Second, you will concentrate on hitting the ball at a pace which keeps your opponent pinned against the back wall of the court (also see No Back Wall-Ever!).  This also means hitting many more ceiling ball shots than kill shots!

Most importantly, you will learn to focus more of your attention during a rally on your opponent’s position than the ball.

Using these rules, you will be winning more rallies, which in turn will win you more games.