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Newsletter Racquetball Tip of the Month
Many times, you can learn more about your opponents standing outside the court watching them play than playing against them on the court. There is no law against scouting your "friends" so you're more prepared the next time you meet. I know many of you watch potential opponents on the court for hours...the real questions is what should you be looking for and how can you use this information to score?
The first thing I note is if the player is righty or lefty. I know many of you are saying...that's obvious...it is obvious for the guys who you play once in a while...but I can tell you which hand almost every member of my club plays with even if I've never played them....because someday I may have to play them. One of the feelings I hate is to show up to a league match after picturing my game plan most of the day and learn I'm playing a lefty..you don't have to remember everyone...just remember the lefties and by default you got all the righties. Maybe this is the reason all you lefties usually get a strange look as you walk down the hallway...we're burning your image into our heads with the lefty stamp.
The next thing I pay attention to is the two most used serves my potential opponent uses. This way I can plan out my returns. If this guy has read my serving article and he's throwing aces your way...try and see if he serves more to the forehand or more to the backhand side...this will up your retrieval rates.
I see what serves are being used against him. Is there a particular serve that he is weaker retrieving? Does he hit the same return shot again and again? Does he not hit a certain return shot (ie never pinches or never cross courts) Knowing what somebody won't or can't do is almost as valuable as knowing what they will do.
Then I pay a little attention to what side of the court the player is weaker on...many players have weaker backhands as they start...then they eventually balance out. But I note this and plan to ceiling ball that side of the court when we meet.
With opponents you play often, you can get carried away and know too much. But for the players you only meet occasionally, having even a limited scouting report gives you a mental edge. It's funny but when I see certain people pass me in the hall, I don't even remember a name...I think, Lefty, Pincher, Hates Jams...and I smile and walk by...I'm sure he thinks I'm happy to see him but I'm really happy to KNOW him....
Questions or comment…Pat@Racquetworld.com
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