Have a Game Plan, On and Off the Court
A game plan is a plan of action based on your strengths and weaknesses as well as your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, most people don’t plan in everyday life let alone on the racquetball court. When you plan, you are being proactive, which is taking control of the match. You are in a much better position to win when creating the situation right from the beginning of the match.
If you just step out on a court without a plan, you will be doomed from the start. You will always be reacting to the situation rather than creating the situation.
People do not realize that in order to be successful on and off the court, in anything you do, you need to be proactive and therefore be proficient in game planning.
Here are the 8 key areas needed to develop an effective Game Plan:
- Stroke Mechanics: Does (do) your opponent(s) have a stronger forehand or backhand? Which side are they stronger from?
- Court Position: Are they too far up? What court coverage do they use…side by side, modified side by side or the “I” formation?
- Shot Selection: Do they go cross-court too much or kill more than pass? Are they splat happy? What are their tendencies?
- Serves: Are they predictable or do they have good variety? Can they hit an effective Z serve? Can they handle your power? Can they return a lob to their backhand?
- Return of Serve: Are they aggressive on the return of serve and attack? Can they hit an effective ceiling return? Do they try to kill off the back wall? Does their partner move up?
- Footwork: Do they square up to the sidewall or hit open stance a lot? Are they quick on their feet?
- Emotional State: Are they calm or do they get upset easily with themselves or their partner? Are they easily distracted? Do they get rattled when you slow them down?
- Type of Player: Power or Control? Rabbit or Turtle? Righties or Lefties?
Use the techniques in my book “Championship Racquetball”, Chapter 7, Page 184-194.
Here’s how my Championship Team utilizes these techniques:
Rocky Carson versus whomever
We have watched video on every top player so before every match Rocky and I talk either in person or on the phone. We discuss the game plan for that match starting with what serves Rocky will use; the serves Rocky’s opponent is going to most likely hit; Rocky’s return of the serve, and where is Rocky’s opponent positioned on the court. Combined, this information let’s Rocky know what shots he needs to hit so his shot selection is impeccable. I remind Rocky to control the pace of the match and to let bad calls go so they don’t adversely affect him.
If Rocky happens to play a local player that he’s never seen on the court, Rocky plays his game and makes adjustments as based on how his opponent handles himself and his opponent’s tendencies.
Paola Longoria versus whomever
I talk to Paola about the exact same things I discussed with Rocky tournament after tournament.
Game Planning is yet another required skill on the road to championship racquetball. ALL of the players I coach, from the professionals led by Rocky and Paola to the amateurs, know just how important it is to “Develop a Game Plan”. It’s sometimes not easy, but it is a MUST. There is an old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Their records speak for themselves…Rocky and Paola are BOTH 2 of the most decorated athletes in racquetball. Paola finished the 2013/2014 season ranked #1 on the LPRT for the 3rd consecutive season, only dropping one match since May 2011 and was crowned BOTH the 2014 World Champion and the Central American Champion. Rocky finished the 2013/2014 season ranked #2 on the IRT and was crowned the 2014 World Champion.
In the next issue, I will continue to build your Championship Racquetball Game one level at a time so you too can be ready to become the champion you always dreamed of becoming, by giving you the tools to make it a reality. Rocky and all my athletes “Championship Racquetball Games” stem from their focus on ALL 3 sides of the triangle working together so they can develop into top competitors. Without a shadow of a doubt, they KNOW just how important it is to do the work. They are living proof it works and their titles substantiate it.
For details on more personalized instruction, a weekend camp, instructional DVD’s, our book, Championship Racquetball, and our APP (coming soon), ALL which covers all aspects of the Sports Racquetball Triangle and more, please visit www.FranDavisRacquetball.com. Fran Davis is a 2004 racquetball Hall of Fame inductee; Racquetball Woman of the Year in 2009; Coach of #2 men’s professional International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Player / 1X US Open Champion / 4X and present World Champion, Rocky Carson; Coach of #1 Women’s LPRT Pro Player / 5X and present US Open Champion & World Champion, Paola Longoria; Coach of Jr. World & National Champion, Intercollegiate Champion, & IRT Pro Player, Taylor Knoth; Coach of Intercollegiate Champion & LPRT Pro Player, Sharon Jackson; Master Professional Instructor/Coach USAR-IP.