Rocky's 5 Tips to Control Center Court

Rocky Carson in the Quarterfinals of the 2011 Cactus Salon NYC IRT ProAm

Rocky's 5 Tips to Control Center Court

alt
Rocky Carson dives for the ball at the 2012 US OPEN Racquetball Championships by restrungmag.com

You’ve heard about “control players” and “power players” on the men’s professional International Racquetball Tour (IRT), but what exactly does that mean?  To find out, we asked one of the top players, Rocky Carson. “A control player is more of a physical and dominating player.”  But how does he manage to control prime real estate and therefore a match?

1. Quick feet: getting to the ball faster means you can hit your shots with more power, better accuracy, and deception.
2. Shot selection: Slow the game with lob serves and ceiling balls or hit power shots down the line, cross court, and pinches.  In order to do that you have to…
3. Master the shots: You have to execute the little things to accomplish the big things.  Be able to make all the shots (kills, pinches, down the lines, passes, etc.) or your opponent knows he doesn’t have to worry about covering the ones you can’t hit, taking pressure off of him.  At any level of the game, if he knows what you can’t consistently hit, then he only has to worry about what you can.
Rocky takes the center at the 2011 Cactus Salon NYC ProAm

4. Game Plan: Know your opponent’s game – weaknesses and strengths to play to  the flaws and against the strong points.  But, the best game plan in the world won’t work if you can’t execute your shots.
5. Repetition:  If you can’t make the shots in practice, you won’t make them during a match.  Start with dropping and hitting, then move to shots off the front and back walls before setting yourself up to move and hit.  Repeat the drills from the right, center, and left sides of the court from behind the safety zone to the back wall –  nine different spots.
With a solid idea of what you want to hit and the ability to execute, you can take control of center court and the match – because if you’re parked on prime real estate, you have more of an opportunity to hit your shots while putting opponents on the defensive.