RacquetWorld's Newsletter Racquetball Tip of the Month
Climb the Mountain – Reduce Injuries
August 1st has always been a
wakeup-call day for me. This
date marked the beginning of my racquetball season for years.
Most of us take the summers off from racquetball here in the Northeast
and enjoy the limited nice weather outside while we can.
So this time of year marks the start of the early migration back to
the courts. The call back is
further bolstered for sponsored players because this is also when the
manufacturers grace us with their new, latest and greatest, racquetball gear.
The added significance of the beginning
of August is that it is typically 6-8 weeks before the first event of the
season. In this article, I’m
going to run through my typical 8-week training camp that will lay the
foundation for a successful racquetball season.
This will not only help tournament players, but it also works for all
you league players as well.
The first step is to work backwards from
your first event date to make sure you get enough time on the court. I’m planning on attending my first event the week of
October 5th so if I start this August 6th, I not only
get a full 8 weeks, it still allows all you out there time to join me.
The first 4 weeks are pretty simple.
I concentrate on cardio, strength training and stretching to build a
solid body foundation and to help avoid injuries.
I’m not a diehard anymore…and a consistent plan is better than
starting off crazy and giving up.
I’m not going to tell you how to do
each exercise…I’m not a professional on that matter.
I’m just giving you an overview of what I concentrate on.
Week #1 – Hello Body – Where ya been?
Cardio – 2 miles elliptical machine, ½ mile Stairmaster. (40 minutes)
Weight Lifting – Major muscle groups Chest, Back, Quads, Calves, Shoulders, Biceps and Triceps. 2-3 sets, higher rep counts. (30 Minutes)
– Mostly lower back, hamstrings, arms, foot arches (20 minutes)
Week #2 - #4 – Climbing the Mountain.
increase elliptical by 1 mile a week, increase stair master by ¼ mile per
week. However, you also have to
increase your pace. By week #4
– 5 miles elliptical and 1.25 Stairmaster should not be more than 1 hr 15
minutes (hey about the time of a full racquetball match)
Weight Lifting – You should be able to quickly increase your weights while maintain reps as your muscle get used to the workout. Make sure you get a burn and don’t dog it.
Week #5 – So this is what the court looks like.
It just turned September…Labor Day…time to hit the courts!
looking for games yet, but I run through drills this week.
I get the cobwebs out of my forehand, backhand, serves, ceiling balls
and then work more specifically on down the line setups, pinches, splats.
Look at the Lazyman’s
But don’t get lazy with all that
built up cardio under your belt…keep your feet moving on the court.
looking for players at your level to setup playing times the following week.
Cut back on
Cardio to 2 days and weight lifting to 2 days to make time for your on court
training. Keep the limited
cardio and weight lifting at your upper 4-week levels.
Week #6 – Dealing with ball speed
Here is where
I split my time between drilling and playing – 4-5 days a week. Don’t over play…each session limited to 1.5 hours or so.
Work on the weakest parts of your game behind closed doors.
Play real matches in practice and get used to the ball speed.
There is a big difference between drilling and playing.
You need to make the transition so your play starts to become as
consistent as your drilling.
Weight-lifting and Stretching the same.
Week #7 – Fine tuning your game.
I cut my
cardio and weightlifting down to 2 days and run through them quick.
I go in 4 mornings and hit 20 minutes of drive serves..10 minutes of
lob serves…I show back up at noon and hit another 20 minutes or so of drive
serves…then I show up at night and play or drill like week #6.
helps to simulate multiple matches on the same day.
Your arm will be fatigued at different levels at different times of
this training. You will have to
learn to adapt and continue to serve well throughout a multiple session
day…just like a real event.
Week #8 – Looking for the peak
I can see the
tournament looming there on Friday of this week.
I will stop playing by Wednesday. I will stop full cardio on Tuesday
or so. I will lift light through
Thursday and I will stretch more. I
concentrate on my serves and my setup shots the beginning of the week. On Thursday, I may hit ceiling balls only if I get the bug
and can’t keep off the court.
I will set aside time to close my eyes and visualize my serves and other shots. This is almost as good as playing but doesn’t break down your body. This is practice with no pain or loss of stamina and no chance to get inured before your event.
to give my body a couple days full rest before battle starts on Friday or
Saturday…If I learn I don’t play Friday…I may extend training a day.
Play the Tournament, meet people, and
After your event, you will have learned
a weakness or two. Depending on
your next event, you adapt your training schedule accordingly.
At this time you should have a very strong body and very good cardio
wind. The racquetball season
will slowly start breaking you down, but a good base is key.
Drill and play during the week, paying attention to strengthening your
weaknesses. Keep cardio and
weight training to a maintain mode.
Before I get a million questions…this
is only what I do. There are
training experts who would do things differently I’m sure.
Some of you will have to spend more time on the court to work out the
kinks (I’ve put in my time and for me it’s like riding a bike…I only
need limited court time to get up to speed).
This is only a guideline…feel free to adapt it anyway that fits you
and your schedule.
My main goal is to play well, not get
tired on the court, and to remain injury free.
(I just heard ten thousand of you say – “Hey, Me Too!”) Well get
out the calendars and start planning the training now!!!