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.


May 192013

Championship RacquetballIf you like to learn and to process information by reading, then Championship Racquetball by Fran Davis and Jason Mannino is the newest and smartest racquetball instruction book out there. As former top-level pros themselves, these two authors are able bring you the most current racquetball techniques and tactics.

The following excerpt is from an excellent discussion on how to generate forehand power:

More About Power

One of the most important areas where power is created is the lower body. The step, pivot, and hip rotation are the core of lower-body power creation and release. Before you step, your weight begins even at approximately 50/50, and then you transfer your weight an additional 5 to 10 percent, depending on your level of play, toward your front leg, using the groin, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf to transfer weight both forward and backward simultaneously between both legs to create energy at point of contact. As this is happening, your hips twist and turn to add to this explosion of energy, creating maximum power. The higher the level of player, the more violent each energy transfer is.

Championship Racquetball is especially suited to advanced players who would like to learn more about high-level tactics from which to build a highly competitive over-all game.

May 182013
The Racquetball Screen Serve FAQ

What exactly does the rule say?
Rule 3.9 (h) Fault Serves Screen Serve – “A served ball that first hits the front wall and on the rebound passes so closely to the server, or server’s partner in doubles, that it prevents the receiver from having a clear view of the ball. The receiver is obligated to take up good court position, near center court, to obtain that view.”

When Does a Screen Serve Occur?
Screen serves normally occur during fast serves, since slower serves allow the receiver a view and time to see where the ball is moving. With rare exceptions, screen serves may also occur after hitting a side wall.

Who Makes a Screen Serve Call?
Only the “receiver” (or referee) may call a screen serve. The receiver, or referee, may make a slow or no call if the serve becomes playable off the back wall. The receiver may not play a serve, then because of a poor return shot, ask for a “screen serve” call.

The Ball Must Be How Far Away From the Server?
There is no designated distance the ball must pass the server by, since it is difficult to measure while playing.

What Determines a Screen Serve?
The server is allowed to hide the ball from the receiver during contact to and from the front wall. But the ball must be in clear view to the receiver as the ball passes next to the server inside the service zone. Good serves are sometimes hit so fast that the receiver may not have time to react and argue for a screen call. Situations may be resolved by determining the path of the ball between the front and the back wall in relation to the server’s position.

How Does One Make a Screen Serve Call?
The receiver should “signal” by raising their non racquet hand above their head during the
serve return, but still attempt a return, if possible, unless they believe they may hit the opponent.The signal tells the server (referee) that you will be requesting a screen serve, or any other service rule call like a foot fault, short or long serve. Screen serves are faults.

good serveGood Serve (Fig 1) This serve is from the center area and away from the server. It could be a screen serve if ball path was closer to the server and further from the side back wall corner. Figure 2 shows the same player positions with the serve passing too close to the server.
possible screen serveScreen Serve (Fig 2) This ball passes too close to the server. Only the receiver may call a screen serve. The receiver may play the serve, especially if the serve is playable after rebounding off of the back wall. The receiver is not allowed to play a serve, then wait to see if they hit a good shot before calling a Screen Serve.
screen serveScreen Serve (Fig 3) Server is left of center court. The red shade shows possible screen serve area. Notice that the ball is hit from the center of the court while the server is positioned just left of center court. This explains the greater chance for a screen to occur at the left side.
screen serveScreen Serve (Fig 4) The server is in center court. The serve is actually hit just right of center court. Red shade shows possible screen serves. The angle of the ball will likely pass closer to the server on the left side, since the ball was hit slightly right of center court.
screen serveScreen Serve (Fig 5) Server is at left side of court. Any serve to the left side that does not go directly to the left back corner will be a screen serve. Any serve hit to the right of the server’s body will not be a screen serve, but could result in a Penalty Hinder (side-out) if the server is blocking a straight-in or cross court return by the receiver.
screen serveScreen Serve (fig 6) Server is at right side of court. Any serve to the right side that does not go directly to the right back corner will be a screen serve. Because the serve is hit at the right side of the server’s body, the angle is slightly different from what occurs in Figure 4 above. This slight angle increase will occur when a right-handed server positions right of center
and serves left.
serve violationScreen Serve (Fig 7) Server is at left side wall and must serve to the right side. Server is violating Drive Serve Zone and may not serve a drive serve down the left side wall.
screen serveScreen Serve (Fig 8) Server is at right side wall and must serve to the left side. Server is violating Drive Serve Zone and may not serve a drive serve down the right side wall.

Special thanks to WEB Racquetball for the screen serve diagrams.