RacquetWorld's Newsletter Racquetball Tip of the Month

 

SoftPaws

 

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 serves.

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.

Good luck….No Back Wall…Live it!