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The Proof of Angle

By now you know most of these articles come from my life wanderings and this one is no different.  On a whim a buddy of mine asked me to play in a handball tournament with him.  This was strange for a couple reasons, most notably is that I’ve never played handball in my life.  Not one to pass up a challenge, I embarked on a 30 day mission to not embarrass myself on what I still refer to as a “racquetball court” to the dismay of the local handball community.

Changing games can lead you to many insights or re-enforce strategies you once took for granted.  In this case, due to my diminished paddle size (aka my hands) I no longer possessed any skills.  It truly was a case of my mind knows what to do and my body was nowhere close to accomplishing the mission.

 With limited skills I found myself hitting straighter shots with less angle.  I also find myself praying straighter shots were hit at me because any strange angles had a bad tendency to miss my “paddles”.  Here’s an even scarier part, I knew exactly how the ball would bounce…I mean my head was still attached, but it made little difference.

With all that said here is my simple proof of angle…

When I describe to you a ball hitting the front wall and doing a 180 off the back wall, look how easy it is for you to see it in your mind.  When I say your Z serve came off the sidewall at 90 degrees once again, you can easily see the shot in your head.  However, if I say I hit an around the world ball that carried to the back corner coming off the side wall at 37degrees and then ricocheted off the back wall at 129 degrees…think of the thought process you have to go through to see this ball in your head. 

Here I go…well 37 degrees is less than 45 and I know about what that looks like…now I go a little tighter than 45 and I have it approximately.  So now I see a ball coming into the back corner hitting the side wall very close to the corner (aka tight) now the 129 degrees is way more than a straight off 90….so that means it’s bounce would appear to slide along the back wall a little as it came off….it probably had some spin on it.

My point being that if it takes you this much thought to be able to see a ball with strange angles, it must take many more calculation for you to track such a ball on the court. 

It was this “Proof” I woke up with the morning of my first ever handball competition.  Most of the time if I had an option of hitting the ball I added more angle…as a beginner my typical shots were all straight up and back trying to learn technique…however, these added angles made a huge difference in my opponent’s abilities to return the ball.

I did lose my first ever handball match in a tie breaker…11-8…my opponent did have 3+ years experience on me…my hands are sore…and I’m retiring.  Give me a big racquet with a tight string bed to sail her by and I’ll be set.