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Thread: Just took up racquetball

  1. #1
    Resident optimist OldRightHander's Avatar
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    Just took up racquetball

    I need to get in shape something serious and my routine at the gym has been rather inconsistent, so I decided to trick myself into getting more exercise by taking up something that looked like fun. I kept walking by the courts and it looked interesting, so I finally decided to give it a try.

    A friend of ours has a teenage son who has been going to the gym with me on the weekends and neither of us had ever played, so I went to Dick's, bought some inexpensive equipment, watched some online videos for basic technique and rules, and hit the court. We've been having a blast learning the game, and since we're both learning at the same time, we're pretty evenly matched.

    The first day I could hardly walk the next morning and now I can play a couple hours without any ill effects beyond a little soreness here and there, so I feel like my conditioning is improving, but at my age, (44) I'm not nearly as limber as I used to be and I'm still at that stage where I'm just trying to hit the darn ball and occasionally I might manage a good shot.

    Anyway, who else around here plays? Any experienced players with some good practice tips for a beginner, or any other beginners interested in playing a bit? I'm open to any suggestions from practice tips to improve my game to what kind of equipment I should look into down the road. I belong to L.A. Fitness and play mostly at the Oakley and West Chester locations.
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  3. #2
    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: Just took up racquetball

    Man, I haven't played racquetball in 15+ years. Really enjoyed it back then, though. I had been a tennis player up to that point so I had to unlearn some things before I got half-decent:

    1. Lose the topspin.
    2. Lose the full-arm swing. Racquet speed is generated from wrist action.
    3. Try not to play guys who haven't figured out point #2, because with the exaggerated backswing in a confined space, they will eventually clock you in the face.
    Not all who wander are lost

  4. #3
    Resident optimist OldRightHander's Avatar
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    Re: Just took up racquetball

    I've never played tennis, so there's nothing to unlearn there, just plenty to learn. Balls in the corners still mess me up pretty good.
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    The rest is drama. marcshoe's Avatar
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    Re: Just took up racquetball

    I finished my undergraduate degree when I was 31, and the college I graduated from required 2 gym classes, which hadn't been required at my previous colleges (yeah, I took my time.) My last semester I took both Racquetball (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, first thing in the morning,) And Tennis (Tuesdays and Thursdays.)

    Everyone warned me that racquetball would wear me out, but it didn't. What killed me was tennis. I weighed more than I had ever weighed in my life, about thirty pounds more than I weigh now, and I had never been taught the correct way to play tennis. The movement was unnatural. I literally had to use the railing to pull myself up the steps to my dorm afterward because I could barely walk.

    But racquetball didn't phase me. The court was a small, limited space, so I didn't have to run forever, and the game didn't require the weird over-the-top swing. To me, the shorter swing and limited space made the game easier. I beat bad players and lost to good players, so I figured I was okay.

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    Member PedroBourbon's Avatar
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    Re: Just took up racquetball

    I used to play quite a bit in college. It was my motivation to get to the gym. After my weight lifting routine, an hour of racquetball was my reward. It worked me harder than the weight lifting session and time really flew by b/c it was so much fun.

    Practice shots hitting multiple walls. It's a good shot when your opponent is in the back of the court. It takes a lot of momentum off the ball and forces them to dart forward. A good soft drop shot to the rear of the court is good too when your opponent is in the front.

    Eye protection, I'm sure you're using it but it just can't be stressed enough.

    Just talking about it makes me wanna play again.
    "Trying is the first step towards failure." Homer Simpson

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    Member Spazzrico's Avatar
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    Re: Just took up racquetball

    Now I've got the bug again myself. I love it but am currently without facilities or playing partners.

    I would say one thing is that it is really much more about quickness and anticipation of angles and possible trajectories than anythingl. Being fast helps, but I was destroyed in multiple games by portly people who could locate their shots and pretty much feel out everything I was going to do.

    One thing to work on is the serve. Develop a decent serve that engages the wall fairly close to where they will be forced to hit. Sometimes the ball will completely die with no return possible but otherwise the goal is to keep them from getting a completely squared up free shot on the return. Some people also really like the lob shot to the back that dies in teh back corner, that one has been deadly to me at times.

  8. #7
    My clutch is broken RichRed's Avatar
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    Re: Just took up racquetball

    Quote Originally Posted by Spazzrico View Post
    I would say one thing is that it is really much more about quickness and anticipation of angles and possible trajectories than anythingl. Being fast helps, but I was destroyed in multiple games by portly people who could locate their shots and pretty much feel out everything I was going to do.
    Shot location is definitely critical. I played a lot in my 20s and a co-worker who was in his 50s used to crush me when I was starting out because he had learned how to control his shots much better than I, and was therefore able to dictate the pace of the game. He'd barely leave the center of the court while I ran around all four corners like my hair was on fire.
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    Re: Just took up racquetball

    Quote Originally Posted by RichRed View Post
    Shot location is definitely critical. I played a lot in my 20s and a co-worker who was in his 50s used to crush me when I was starting out because he had learned how to control his shots much better than I, and was therefore able to dictate the pace of the game. He'd barely leave the center of the court while I ran around all four corners like my hair was on fire.
    In my mid 30's I used to play a guy who was in his late 60's. He kicked my arse. I've played a lot of the years, but never consistently. I still never learned how to get the soft corner shot. Nor how to lay one on my opponent consistently.

    I'd like to learn handball but it doesn't seem like anyone plays it any more. At least not in San Francisco.
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  10. #9
    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: Just took up racquetball

    I love playing racquetball. I try to play a couple of times a month. My buddies and I used to play a lot of tennis but I enjoy racquetball more. Its more faster pace and for amateurs its much easier. No hitting the ball into the net, no finesse, etc. Its actually very good training for sports like basketball where first steps and reaction time is important.

  11. #10
    First Time Caller SunDeck's Avatar
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    Re: Just took up racquetball

    Learn to play defense, use the ceiling and drive your opponent to the back wall. Get down low, bend at the knees to keep your kill shots close to the floor. And it's not about hitting hard, but rather keeping your opponent out of the center, patiently moving the ball into places that are hard to play from. It seems like good players always keep me pinned in the back corners.
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  12. #11
    My clutch is broken RichRed's Avatar
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    Re: Just took up racquetball

    Quote Originally Posted by Rojo View Post
    In my mid 30's I used to play a guy who was in his late 60's. He kicked my arse. I've played a lot of the years, but never consistently. I still never learned how to get the soft corner shot. Nor how to lay one on my opponent consistently.

    I'd like to learn handball but it doesn't seem like anyone plays it any more. At least not in San Francisco.
    My dad played handball 50 years of his life but I agree that it seems like nobody plays any more. I played with him once or twice; it's a tough game. My hands were killing me for days afterwards. Even into his 70s, Dad liked to say he'd take up a "sissy" game like tennis or golf when he got old.
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