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Court position
Where to stand when receivng


Racquetball dictionary



Subject: Re: court position question
Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2000 01:15:58 -0800
From: Alex Glaros

Hi Jason,

In singles, the best place to stand, when not in your opponent's way, is right on the dotted safety line.

Buy any video of the pro tournaments and only watch the receivers. They'll be right on the dotted line, or only 1 step in front of it.

I learned this from watching one of the best pro receivers, Jason Mannino, who stands right on the dotted line, every time. He can get anything.

The dotted line is the place to be because you cannot easily get passed from back there and can still get any kill shot attempt that stays up a little bit.

Why not get closer to the front wall to get more kill shot attempts? Because if the opponent kills the shot, it's still ungettable and getting closer to the front wall won't help at all. The ball is down. Once you do get closer to the front wall, it becomes very easy to pass you. A smart opponent will prefer an easy pass than a kill shot because a passing shot is a much higher percentage shot.

If your opponent is in front of you, stand in the center of the dotted safety line.

If your opponent is behind you, get out of the way of his straight in, and cross court shots but still try and get as close as you can to the center of the dotted safety line.

"where should I be standing when I turn around to look?" Don't take your eyes off the ball so that you find a spot to stand at, then turn around to find the ball! Always know where the ball is, because your opponent will be going for it. Face your feet and body towards the front wall corner and look behind you over your shoulder through the strings of your racquet. Now you can intelligently move out of his way. Don't make him hit around or over you. Always wear safety glasses.

Don't stand there staring at the front wall after you hit the ball because you will be missing out on what your opponent is doing behind you, and you will increase the chances of getting hit by the ball or his racquet. (The only time not to look back is when you accidentally hit the ball so that it passes very close to your head so that an opponent who wants to take the ball early, on the fly, might hit your head with his racquet.)

If the ball is wrapping around behind you, anticipate at what points the opponent might hit the ball so you can stay out of his way.

It doesn't matter where the ball is, you should generally stand on the center on the dotted safety line, because your opponent always has the same options of pinching/killshot or passing/lobing/jamming regardless of where he's hitting from, front or back court. It's the distance relationship from the front wall (where the ball will always bounce from) to you that remains constant and is relevant, not where the ball is when the opponent is hitting it.

I think that this is the single most effective way to improve your defensive game, and it's also the easiest to learn.

Good luck!


Jason wrote:

> Hello, newsgroup. I'm a recreational rball player, but I'm slowing
> trying to improve my game, and part of my training has involved
> unlearning things that I was originally taught.
> I learned that the best place in the court is the center and that after
> each shot one should go there (without hindering, of course). However,
> reading info on this newsgroup, I see that this advice is for the most
> part wrong or at least ill-considered as a general strategy. The
> problem for a newer player like me, though, is that going to the center
> makes strategic sense. From the center you have the same amount of
> distance to cover no matter where the ball is hit. So really I have two
> questions
> 1) Could someone articulate - what are the perils of center court
> position as a general strategy and..
> 2) What is the optimal general court position?
> The obvious answer to the second question is to turn around and look at
> the ball, but where should I be standing when I turn around to look?
> Thanks,
> Jason
> Sent via

Subject: Re: court position question
Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2000 17:15:36 GMT
From: "Otto Dietrich"

Hi Jason

I can assure you that Alex gave you as complete an answer to your questions as any I could have imagined!

Just to reiterate two key points he made--after you hit the ball, (1) make staying out of your opponent's way a priority and, (2) always maintain awareness of both the ball (by watching it nearly always) and your opponent.

Enjoy this great sport!


President, United States Racquetball Association 1998-Present
National Rules Commissioner 1988-1998
Member of National Rules Committee 1982-Present

Subject: Re: court position question
Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2000 20:29:53 GMT
From: "Pat

Nicely explained Alex.

One thing I would add. As your understanding of the game and your skill
level increases, the level of the competition will increase as well. You
are going to want to play better and better players. As this happens, you
will find that you should add the ability to "jump" to your repertoire.

If I leave my opponent a wide open down the line and a wide open cross court
(which is what I am required to do) by completely clearing those two lanes,
a better player stands a very good chance of eating my lunch if I leave a
ball even slightly up. I am going to crowd (not really the right word) one
of those two shots just a little bit, and then make sure that I am off the
ground when he shoots the ball. I am going to expect him to play the shot.
If I get in the way, I am going to get hit. That is my fault, not his. So,
I have 2 options. Completely clear out and let him kill it, or crowd in
just a bit and then get off the ground so he still has the chance to shoot
his shot.

my .02. ymmv.


Subject: Re: court position question
Date: 30 Dec 2000 18:29:09 GMT
From: Jordan Kahn

Best advice I ever got? Wait in center court.

Worst advice I ever got? Wait in center court.


Well, it may be difficult to explain (easier to show on court), but I will try.

Many players (like me) were told to wait in center court (if possible) for the next shot.

But, I was also told to never stand still, or flatfooted while waiting for a shot.

Standing in one place, even on balls of feet, does not allow a player the momentum to return simple shots within reach.

This is similar to a car stopping at a stop sign and a car "creeping" through a stop sign.

The car "creeping" will have an easier time accelerating with control.

The secret to "creeping" on a racquetball court is timing.

Sure you want to go to the receiving line when waiting for a shot, but, if given time, "creep" up carefully so you can use your motion to either move forward, sideways or pivot backwards.

Another advantage to using this method, also called "shadowing" your opponent, the opponent may not sense where you are and must "think" of where to hit the return.

Many players mess-up their returns when they have to "think" during a rally of where to hit.

If you telegraph where you are waiting for a shot, your opponent will select the proper shot without thinking.

Three advantages for "creeping" to center:

1) You never "lose" a side you moved from, since you are slowly moving.

1a) Many players, when hitting from a side wall, run to center court, then lose coverage on the side they left because the momentum won't allow the body to move backwards while moving forwards at such speeds.

2) Staying in deep court and "creeping" up, even behind the receiving line, will allow you to move faster and cover more area by the front wall, since your body is "creeping" in that direction and has the momentum to accelerate.

3) Lastly, if you don't have time to "creep" to center court (receiving line), you need to move towards the CENTER OF THE FRONT WALL, not to center court.

3a) This is because you don't have time to move sideways AND then react for the ball; you only have time to react for the shot. You can never cover the whole court; so cover only what you are able at the time the ball is hit

Good luck!