RacquetWorld's Newsletter Racquetball Tip of the Month


Santa Gets Whacked - NO HINDER

You can’t write a fairy tale story without ruffling a few feathers along the way. In our epic battle between Santa and the Jolly Green Giant the ruffle point seemed to be the Giant’s swing follow-through and the non-hinder call. Many of you contemplated my sanity on this one and I could even see some of you lose a little faith...so below is the logic and the rule that backs up this call.

Here’s the original out take from our last article for those of you who missed it.

When the end was near and the big green guy was getting tired his follow through was getting wider and wider on his backhand. Hey, he’s a giant to start with and when he tried to rev up the power he was clearing six feet around him. The JGG was hitting winning backhands down the line and Santa was getting frustrated trying to dodge the huge follow through and get to the balls that were left up. Then it happened...bang – boom the JGG hit Santa with his racquet on the follow through. Santa took the welt in stride and pinched the Giant’s shot. The JGG wanted a replay saying it was a hinder. Point and match to Santa!

This is an interesting situation. First, from my experience playing tournaments, I was always aware of players trying to crowd me and thus make me alter my shot or at least change my normal swing motion...especially on the backhand side. I developed a very short follow through so I never had to worry about hitting my crowding opponents...thus I played with a clear mind and took away the crowding technique.

Rule 3.14 (3) - replay hinders - Body Contact. In this section of the rules you'll note the last line that states contact on the follow through is usually not a hinder for either player. I realize the word “usually” is in there and many of you will point to that and say “See”...but you see that word right after that “NOT”. It’s extremely rare for the correct call to be a hinder. I’m not saying players/refs don’t incorrectly call a hinder on this all the time and that’s the real problem. Players/Refs are incorrectly learning to call this a hinder by following along.

In theory, there has to be a point in the rally where the rights of the player hitting and the rights of his opponent switch. We have to ask exactly when is a “hit” over? The hit is deemed to be over when the ball leaves your strings...again in theory. If you are no longer the player hitting the ball, you don't have the right to call a hinder.

Also, this stops players from reaching out and hitting other players on "semi-purpose" looking for a call. A big looping follow through should not give a player a court position advantage by holding another player at bay...this cuts down on exaggerated swings that would do just that.

As far as the hitting player not allowed his full range of motion...he is as long as he doesn't make the mistake of hitting the ball back at himself...when a player hits back at himself, he has made a possible error and must live with the consequences...and in this case that may mean not getting his full follow through.

Let’s hop back to real court life for a minute. If both players stop play because of the contact or the encroaching player stops play because of a good solid whack the ref or players can play a hinder. However, if the encroaching player continues on and hits the ball the other player, even in his surprised, awkward state after whacking somebody, must continue to play the point out or he loses the rally. The option of any call does not rest in his court.

I hope this restores a little faith...if you’re going to really whack somebody make sure you hit a really solid part of their body so your racquet cracks. This will make them feel a little better about getting hit and it will help support Racquetworld.com.

Questions or comment…Pat@Racquetworld.com

You can forward any rules questions to me at Pat@Racquetworld.com