Aug 172013
 

The wide-angle passing shot is more effective than a standard cross-court passing shot. The wide-angle pass hits the front wall slightly higher and closer to the side wall. Then ball then travels deep to the side wall, hitting the side wall 1-2 feet above the floor and 4-5 feet behind the dotted 5-ft receiving line.  It then hits the floor and angles towards the center of the back wall. A well placed wide-angle passing shot may not rebound off the back wall and be an outright winner.

Your opponent will have a very hard time racing after this shot as it first caroms off the side wall at the farthest distance from them. Then the ball changes direction towards the back wall causing the chasing player to spin 180 degrees to play the ball off the back wall (if possible).

For instructions on hitting the wide-angle shot, review this video by John Ellis:

Next, watch the following video in which Ben Croft demonstrates some effective wide-angle practice drills:

Jun 192013
 

The racquetball drop shot is very difficult to execute. A successful drop shot will be hit with enough momentum to barely reach the front wall. It should hit the front wall no higher than about 16″ and then quickly bounce twice. The drop shot is exactly like a golf putt which drops the ball into the cup on its last revolution.

The drop shot is hit with very short push with the racquet. There is no arm swing. The trick is to use a loose wrist to brake the ball’s impact on the racquet face. Blocking the ball will absorb its energy and speed.

In addition, hit the ball between waist and knee level. If a drop shot is hit above waist-high, it is not likely to die in the front court. In most cases, hit the drop shot down-the-line.

If you opponent has the center court position and is watching you hit the ball, then it is foolish to attempt to hit a drop shot. The ball is much too lively and will stay up long enough to be easily re-killed by an attentive opponent.

But there are three cases when the drop shot can be very effective:

  1. The No-Looking-Back Player – If you play against someone who focuses exclusively on the front wall, then it is likely that they will not see you hit a drop shot from the back court. And, when they do finally see the ball hit low on the front wall, it will be too late for them to retrieve it.
  2. The Fading Quarterback – Often after serving, some players rapidly drop back too far into the back court. So a good opportunity to hit a drop shot is when your opponent is backing up.
  3. The Blast Shot – If your opponent has hit you a blast shot, then you are racing to the very front of the court. If you can, get to the side of the ball, wait for the ball to drop below knee level, and hit a very soft drop shot down-the-line.

If you can think of other situations where it is advisable to hit a drop shot, then share it in the comments!

Jun 102013
 

The racquetball blast is a shot which hits the front wall with such speed and force that it flies to the back wall without touching the floor. It then rapidly rebounds off the back wall with a first bounce on the floor near mid-court. If you are caught unaware in the back-court, you must run full tilt towards the front wall to catch up with ball before it bounces twice.

The blast shot puts you in an unusual situation. It forces you to hit the ball in an uncomfortable position near the front wall. It is even possible that you can wait for the blast shot to hit the front wall for a second time! Remember, the ball is still in play as long as it has not hit the floor twice.

In fact, the blast shot puts you in a disadvantageous court position. The most common mistake is to hit the ball too hard AND hit the ball cross court. This directs the ball straight to your opponent or gives your opponent a setup off the back wall.

Your goal is to regain center court position. So here are your best options, from most to least order of difficulty:

1. Drop Shot – If you can catch up to the ball and let it drop to below the knee, then try for a soft drop shot down the line. This is a very difficult shot and if not done correctly, your opponent will get to it for an easy re-kill.

2. High Z Shot – If the ball is waist-high or above, then hit a high Z shot. This will get your opponent in the back of the court while you return to center court.

3. Down the Line Passing Shot – Get to the side of the ball (see circling the ball), let it drop to knee level, and hit a very controlled passing shot down the line. This gives you time to get into center court position, and, it may even be a winner.

The most important thing about returning the blast shot is not to panic. Keep calm and hit a shot that sends your opponent to the back wall while you recover the center court position.

May 272013
 

A rubber grip provides a tacky and non-slipping surface to grip your racquet. The unique v-shaped tire-tread like pattern on a Python grip provides a sure grip that will last longer than a traditional grip.

It only takes a few minutes to replace a worn-out grip. Many players will immediately replace a brand new original manufacturers grip with a rubber grip.

In this video, Ben Croft shows how to put a rubber grip on a racquet. Make sure the new rubber grip is warm and pliable. Use a hair dryer to get the grip warm before sliding it on your racquet handle.


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