Category: Video

Racquetball Forehand Technique + SloMo!

Your forehand stroke is the bread and butter of any racquet sport; the racquetball forehand technique is no different.

Because a tennis racquet is so heavy, poor stroke mechanics are punished severely. However, in sports like raquetball where the racquet is lighter, it is easy to get away with bad technique. However, when you meet a better opponent, or want to take your game to the next level, you may find that your porr technical execution is limiting your game.

This great “Getting Technical” video by Ben Croft does a wonderful job of breaking down the mechanics of the forehand stroke for raquetball, and also shows a slo-mo version of the stroke. I would encourage you to watch this video multiple times, and create a short set of keys or “swing thoughts” just like golfers use to help remind you what to do.

The next time you go hit a few balls on the racquetball court, use these cue words to guide your practice, rather than “just doing what comes naturally.” Athleticism can only take you so far!

Racquetball Forehand Video

Key points covered in this raquetball forehand technique video:

  1. Increasing power and decreasing injury
  2. Stance
  3. Posture
  4. Parallel position
  5. Elbow lead
  6. Contact position
  7. Hip rotation

And, of course, don’t forget the always important “Bug squash!”

Now get out there and shape up your racquetball forehand.

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Racquetball Pinch Shot – Balancing Risk & Reward in Your Game

racquetball-pinch-shot

photo: spablab

There are several shots in racquetball that help you balance out the risk-reward aspect of your gameplan, and the racquetball pinch shot is one of these.

Any shot that goes directly into the front wall is harder to kill than one that contacts a side wall first, because of the accuracy required to prevent setting up your opponent. If you attempt a front wall kill and hit it too high, your opponent will likely do YOU in!

However, by hitting the same ball as a pinch shot, several things will happen:

  • The pinch shot ball loses speed  from contacting the extra wall, and so rebounds less
  • The ball moves on an angle away from your opponent, making it harder for them to retrieve the ball
  • Less accuracy is required on your part, meaning you can take the risk of a pinch kill from a broader range of situations, with less risk of setting up your opponent.

Ben Croft talks below about two versions of the pinch shot; the essential difference in the pinch and the splat is how close to the front corner the ball contacts the side wall, and how close you are to the side wall when making the shot.

The Racquetball Pinch Shot (Plus the Splat Shot)

 

 

Personally, I wish that Ben had discussed the pinch shot first instead of the splat, because it is the more generally useful ot the two shots. The splat is great fun to hit, and one of the few times that  “spin” actually enters into the game of racquetball, but it is not a shot you want to hit a lot. The situation has to be right, as he explains.

There is some “touch” involved, and each player works best with slightly different angles and situations, because of the combination of your swing, strength, positioning, and experience. It really IS one of those shots that you just have to try out, and play with, until you find the right mix for your game.

Pinch Shot Angles

Note the angle that the pinch shot and splat shot both end up taking after contacting the front wall. Despite Ben’s assertion that you hit as close to the front corner as possible (also an option for a “pinch kill,” but also carrying more risk,) the standard pinch shot contacts the side wall at roughly knee height, about half way between the service line and the front wall. It also bounces twice before it reaches the short line as it rebounds cross court.

The Pinch Shot as Part of Your Game Plan

I think of the game as divided into three kinds of  primary shot situations; kill shot situations, court control situations, and “stay alive” situations. Many newer players tend to treat each shot as if it is a kill shot situation, hitting the ball as hard as possible — only to discover that “the ball knows angles,” and rebounds to a perfect setup point for their opponent.

A large part of your game needs to be made up of court control shots — moving your opponent OUT of center  court, and taking over their position — with relatively low risk passing, ceiling, and pinch shots. The racquetball pinch shot, (and its cousin, the splat shot) is a great low risk/high reward way to make kills and force your opponent out of center court.

Use it!

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Racquetball Drive Serve – Feel the Power!

Racquetball is a game that features both finesse and power; the racquetball drive serve is an opportunity to use your full body power to put your opponent on the defensive right away.

Most beginning players stand with an open stance and use their arm strength to generate power for their serve. However, with a little practice and some “fancy  footwork,” you can learn to hit your serves significantly harder using your total body momentum into the ball.

Racquetball Lessons with Rocky Carson
Edson Hong / Family Photos / CC BY-NC-ND

Although it may take a few practice sessions to get the rhythm of the footwork down, it is probably especially important for less athletic players, who are not blessed with the natural strength or speed of better athletes. Learning the drive serve technique will allow you to pound your serves with the best of them. While accuracy is importance, learning to hit the ball with enough force that it starts to explode off the wall like it was fired by a cannon makes your serve an intimidating weapon.

Check out Ben Cross in this video, as he “takes us through the steps” of a powerful racquetball drive serve.

 Racquetball Drive Serve

Key points covered in this drive serve video:

  • Varied starting positions
  • Step and a half footwork

You should watch the slow motion segments carefully; replay them, and  look at the timing of the  ball drop relative to the first half step. It is this timing that throws many off. Once you get it, you will begin hammering your racquetball drive serve with greater confidence.

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