Aug 312017

Early Racquet Preparation Benefits

Racquet Ready for Forehand

Many players are too late in bringing up their racquet to a ready position when they are on top of the ball.

There are huge advantages that occur when we get our hitting arm and racquet ready to hit as early as possible.

Early racquet preparation (ERP) gives you time to bring your racquet far enough back to execute a full swing. Without ERP, you will be forced to just take a short “stab” at the ball.

If your racquet comes up late, the urgency to hit will prevent a full and powerful follow-through, which is needed for optimum ball control.

Racquet Ready for Backhand

With ERP, your power is maximized by the longer arc in your swing, which generates more racquet speed. When you are late getting the racquet ready, the racquet does not travel as far due to a shorter and rushed swing.

With early racquet readiness, the ball is more likely to be struck in the center of the racquet.

And getting the racquet up and ready early allows us to get our feet set beneath us in a stable and balanced hitting base.

So it is absolutely crucial that as soon as you take your first step towards the ball, you need to have your hitting arm and racquet up early to help promote a more productive swing.

With ERP, you will begin to trust that you can hit high quality shots just like the very elite players do.

Del Villanueva
Head Coach
Intercollegiate Racquetball Team
University of CA at Berkeley

Mar 282017


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.