Including racquetball to your routine can be an overwhelming experience. It is a great way to shake up your cardio exercise, make your heart pump and lift your spirits sky-high. Yet, the harsh truth is that no one can really prepare you for what is waiting for you if you decide to grab a racquet. The game is often more psychological than physical—you may be quick and agile, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a natural racquetball talent. The only way to get a feel for the game is to dive in with both feet and just start playing. Before you grab your racquet and your shoes, read these tips to help prepare you for the best game you’ll ever play.
The Right Racquetball Equipment Matters
Let’s start with the basic racquetball equipment you will need for your journey into the world of racquetball. When most people start playing, they will rent their equipment at their gym. That’s fine for a beginner, but once your strength has improved and your form has changed you’ll definitely want to pick up the gear of your own. You can find what you’ll need at your local sporting goods store, including a bag designed to carry all your gear—including the racquet.
Basic racquetball equipment includes:
A racquetball racquet is a bit different than the one you use for tennis. Racquetball is more dynamic so while the shape of the head is similar to a tennis racquet, the length is shorter. This is for a number of reasons including the smaller, indoor court and to help reduce reaction time. Your new racquet will likely be made of light-weight titanium or graphite. Choosing your racquet depends on your style of play and weight distribution. Stronger players often choose racquets that are bottom-heavy. Since you are a beginner, choose one with a heavy head to start. Once you become a more savvy player you may want to find something that will give extra strength to your strike. Take your time and give yourself room to grow.
Rubber balls are the next essential you will need. Racquetballs come in lots of different colors, but traditionally, blue balls are most closely associated with a racquetball. Racquetballs are hollow, are about 2.5 inches around and, unlike tennis balls, are not covered in fabric.
Racquetball gloves are important for safety and to help your game. Gloves provide a tighter grip. That’s important because if your hands get sweaty, your racquet might rotate, throwing off your shot—or you may lose your grip entirely, putting yourself and your opponent at risk of injury.
Never enter the court without eye protection. Racquetballs can zip around the court at speeds exceeding 80 mph with the best players hitting the ball as fast as 190 mph. So wear safety glasses that have a wide field of view but are strong enough to remain on your head as the dynamics of the game are changing. It is not about looking fancy—though there are stylish and effective safety goggles on the market—it’s about protecting your sight.
Racquetball is fast and highly unpredictable so you need to have a secure step. The court can get slippery and you’ll be changing directions very suddenly. The ideal indoor court shoes need to have a rubber sole so you can run, change directions, and even jump or dive sometimes. Find a model that is very durable, and avoid dark-colored soles. You don’t want to leave marks all over the floor!
Starting with Basics
Know your opponent but, more importantly, know your weaknesses. Read the racquetball rules, watch tutorials, and try to understand the game dynamics. You are playing the game with your mind first and against your opponent second.
It is okay at the start to play with your friends to get into the game. But the beauty of playing racquetball is putting yourself into new situations. Don’t be afraid to challenge more experienced players. You may not beat them for a while, but the lessons you can learn from them will help improve your skills immeasurably—and it can be a great way to make new friends. Racquetball is a great sport. It helps your cardio training, improves your strength, tests your reflexes, and sharpens your wits.
So stop waiting and get yourself to a racquetball court today!