Crosstrain for Racquetball with Racquetball
We invented all kinds of games to cross train for pure racquetball. Some were as banal as two-on one, like cut-throat except two players vs. a stronger one for an entire match. There were ceiling games where after the serve only that shot was allowed, and the same for kill shot games. One of the best control tools is marking a ´squash ´tin´ with masking tape 3´ high across the front wall and all shots must hit above it without using the ceiling. Another is one wall four-wall racquetball in which if the ball touches the side walls it´s an out. There were three doubles teams on the court simultaneously that got dangerous with the arrival of the superball. A great conditioner is touching the short line after each shot and trying with a partner just to keep the ball in play.
How about ´Chinese racquetball´ in which the ball strikes the floor twice before the return. Serve and Kill games improve the drive serve and kill return- the Big Game- in which only the serve and return is allowed, and if the receiver doesn´t put the first shot away it´s a point. One of the best conditioners is Moving racquetball in which the players must keep in motion even if it´s just a shuffle at all times in the service box, waiting to receive, and between points. You may play singles or doubles with two or more balls at once making it possible to score more than one point per rally. If ambidextrous you may play yourself, and once at an Open tournament I made lefty to the semi´s and righty to the finals hoping to meet myself in the finals, but lost lefty before it happened.
Not to sound ridiculous but the early pros to the precursor to the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) also played boxcar racquetball in which a ball and racquets were taken into the moving boxcar of a freight- half the size of a regular court- and hit until the ball flew out the door. We played scuba racquetball in which the ball was injected with a correct amount of water as ballast, and knocked it about underwater with scuba gear in a swimming pool. There were all sorts of handicaps in the early days that still may be used today to even out games. I played with swim flippers, or more difficult with three gallons of water sloshing in a jug in a backpack. Backward running during rallies by one opponent evens out games with kids.
Ankle weights limits the faster competitor, or shortening the court with a taped rectangle for just one hitter. One player can hit with a wood paddle or squash racquet as a handicap against the big head racquet. Kids can use a sawed-off tennis racquet. We played soccer racquetball in which a soccer ball was used striking with the feet and hands using racquetball rules, which may have been the predecessor of indoor 4-wall volleyball. Alaska doubles is each team has one player mounted on his partner´s shoulders, so the teams run around like totem poles with both the tops and bottoms swinging but only the lower half running. You can also put on cardboard blinders like a horse to limit peripheral vision to increase focus, or invent other ways to play and handicap the regular old game.
This article was written by Bo Keeley the author of the Complete Book of Racquetball and a 1970’s top pro. Bo collaborated with Randy Stafford, a past president of USA racquetball and founder of the Court Company and www.RacquetballMuseum.com and Brett Elkins who is the Chairman of the World Outdoor Racquetball Hall of Fame (WORHOF), founder of SportsChampionship.com and co-author of the newly-released book “Teach Your Teen to Drive…and stay alive (#3 best-selling book in its class on Amazon).