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How to learn from a video of a pro racquetball match

 

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I noticed that a good method to teach or learn racquetball is to watch the pros on video and select only one element of the game to study. This really makes it easier to study, than watching all dimensions of a match at once, especially for beginners. But beginners don't know what to watch for!

Your first video should be one that has a commentator(s) on it, so you can hear their analysis between rallies. These are videos of the US Open which can be purchased from the USRA.

Some concepts lend themselves to this type of study, while others don't. These were the easiest to me see; study them one at a time throughout a whole match, then move to the next concept:

  • How the receiver watches the swinger while he's hitting (he's not staring at the front wall while his opponent is chasing the ball behind him!)
  • How receiver gets out of hitter's way
  • Hitter gets square to the side wall when swinging
  • How fast players get in the ready position after swinging
  • How fast they get out of service box after serving
  • During rally, how receiver stands on dotted safety line no matter where the ball is or what shot the offensive player is hitting (court position)
  • Footwork - how fast they shuffle, cross step or hop to get to the ball so that the ball is in their power zone. They don't reach for the ball.
  • Swing: I thought that the swing components were tough to see; especially on video, e.g., how the hips whip the trunk/shoulders around. Everything happens too fast. Here's a couple things that were lent themselves to being more visually evident: bringing shoulders back early/early racquet preparation, staying low after ball contact, bending knees. If your VCR has a slow motion feature, this should be very useful.
  • Shot selection: I thought this didn't work. Things happen too fast. Maybe still diagrams, or having a commentator analyze during a match work better.

It was also suggested that you watch the Women's Open in the Age 30's to 40's divisions. These ladies typically don't try to overpower the ball, but use good court coverage, good shot selection, smart percentages, etc. - all the things a person in ANY skill level could learn from. Watching the top Men's Open or Pros is likely to have someone new trying to learn the back-hand chest high splat return in lieu of smart strategic play.

Alex Glaros

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