RacquetWorld's Newsletter Racquetball Tip of the Month
Players have recently commented that my ceiling balls
don’t come off the back wall. After
my initial, “DUH”, that’s the plan statement I knew I had to try and
explain why. The ceiling ball
shots we’re talking about today are off 140-150 mph drive serves so they
are a little above average in difficulty.
It was funny, when these guys made me think about how I
was keeping the balls off the back wall I couldn’t do it anymore.
So I stress again…don’t think out there.
I got it figured out though. There are two components to good ceiling balls off drive
serves that go hand in hand. If
you screw up one you can correct with the other or vice versa. The first component is your angle up to the ceiling.
This angle controls how far back from the front wall you hit the
ceiling ball and thus how high or low the ball hits the front wall and thus
bounces on the floor towards the back wall.
The harder the drive serve the farther from the front wall your shot
should hit the ceiling…this will cause the ball to bounce closer to the
front wall and not carry as deep into the back court.
Don’t go overboard and skip your ceiling balls by hitting too far
away from the front wall…skipping is worse than coming off the back wall.
The second component is the tricky one…it’s how
tight you grip your racquet when the drive serve hits your string bed.
A looser grip can absorb some of that power by letting your racquet
give a little at impact…this allows you to slow the ball slightly and take
a little steam off the resulting ceiling ball keeping if off the back wall.
This is an advanced technique and requires eons of practice.
You have to remember that you are not loosening your
handle grip really…you are limping your wrist to give a little as you feel
initial ball impact…if you loosen your hand grip, you wouldn’t be able to
consistently hit the perfect angle upward.
It requires both these components to hit great ceiling balls off power
While we’re talking about “soft paws” I would say
the only other time I use something close to this technique is with lob
serves. Many of you are serving
your lob serves off the back wall for an easy setup.
By allow your wrist or arm to “give” ever so slightly at impact
you can take the “pop” out of your racquet and really slow down the ball
speed and resulting ball bounce. Try
this along with throwing the ball high up on the front wall so it comes down
and bounces inside the safety zone by at least a foot.
It also helps to change how you hold your handle grip for a good lob
serve. It’s not really a true
forehand grip but that was already written about in a previous article.