A Day Off the Court with Ben Croft: Pro Racquetball Training

Ben Croft during 2012 Ektelon Nationals by restrungmag.com

A Day Off the Court with Ben Croft: Pro Racquetball Training

Photo of Ben Croft by restrungmag.com

A few months back I wrote about a typical day on the court, revealing some of my on-court secrets. Today, I’m going to share a typical day of training outside the court.

As much as all of us would like to believe bench press and bicep curls are going to benefit our game, legs and core are the two key aspects in improving your agility and strength on the racquetball court. Now I’m not saying to neglect strengthening any one part of your body, because you will be using every muscle to play. There are, however, exercises that will benefit you far more than others.
Since I started playing the tour eight years ago, my off-court training has continued to evolve year by year. Today, I spend more time training off the court than I do practicing on the court. Here’s a typical workout day for me:
Lateral Ladder Drill: Both feet tap in each ladder box once, as you quickly move laterally while keeping your balance and your head up.  This builds cardio, footwork, and agility.

Wood Chop: With a handle or a rope attached to a cable machine, start in a racquetball ready position as if you were going to hit a forehand with your knees bent. Simulating racquetball mechanics, while holding the rope with both hands, explode all the way through until you get to your front knee. It’s important to keep your knees bent, your arms straight, and to release back up slowly to isolate your core and avoid injury.
One Legged Squats: With one foot on the ground, slowly squat down like you would do a normal squat, only with one leg. You won’t need any weight, just your body weight. This builds strength and balance, both of which you’ll need in every rally.
Ball Toss: Standing in the racquetball ready position with a weighted ball, keep your arms straight and twist to release the ball to a workout partner or a sturdy wall. Catch and release the ball away from your body to isolate your core.
Box Jumps: Jumping up onto the box, you want to make sure you’re landing lightly both on top and the way down. As you land back down, you want to explode up as quickly as possible as long as you keep your balance. This will help build cardio and agility.
With every workout I try to ask myself if this is benefitting my racquetball game to the maximum potential; if not I find something else that will. As easy as it is to sit down at a machine and pump out reps, think of how much stronger and faster you could be on the court, whether playing for the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) or at your local club.  Click to check out some more awesome workouts at the Racquetball Warehouse Learning Center