RacquetWorld's Newsletter Racquetball Tip of the Month


Lose Some Battles to Win the War


Every point is a battle in racquetball.  Every game is a war.  A good general may not win every battle, but he will win most wars.  It’s really a matter of keeping your enemy off guard and not to become predictable.  Predictability is a death sentence during any engagement.

The question for this month comes from A. Parker.  “I love to hit a backhand pinch.  It’s usually only 2-3 inches high but my opponents continually retrieve my shot.  How much and what kind of practice do you think it will take for me to hit it 1 inch high”?

A consistent 2-3 inch pinch is really all you need.  My guess is you are very predictable.  You are trying to win each battle with the same maneuver and your enemy is countering each time.  The tactic in this case is to keep your enemy back, out of position and guessing.

This tactic can only be achieved if you give up hitting your favorite shot every time it’s available.  You have to mix up your shots to make your near perfect pinch better.  If you mix in pass shots and down the line shots when your favorite pinch shot becomes available, your enemy won’t be able to continual flank that pinch.  This new non-predictable war plan will result in more less-perfect battles being won.  Your 5-6 inch pinches will be winners if your enemy worries about and guesses your hitting a pass shot.
Perfect, consistent, 1-inch play is nearly impossible to achieve.  By using your head, you can easily make your current arsenal much more effective.

As a corollary, Bob H. asked me if there was ever a time I just didn’t try and put the shot away on a setup.  Obviously, I answer yes to that.  While I would like to take the setup opportunity roughly 2 out of every 3 times and put it away…that third time is often better served by forcing your opponent back (or forward) so he has to respect all your potential shots.  Better players can easily key in on your most likely shot when you have a setup…you have to fight your natural tendency to just hit your most comfortable and likely favorite shot on every setup.

As stated upfront, it’s better to keep some rallies going a couple hits longer than necessary so that you are more unpredictable.  In the long run, this will make you a better, rounded player. 

Short but sweet this month…get out there and make your summer racquetball move…take a lesson or attend a camp and practice, practice, practice.