Offensive versus defensive shotmaking is a great topic as many players are confused which shot to hit. Knowing when to take an offensive shot versus a defensive shot is a VERY important part of shot selection and can win or lose the match. Too often I see players do the complete opposite of what they should do.
1-They take an offensive shot when they should hit a defensive shot:
“When you are off-balance and out of position, even if the shot is up in the front court DO NOT try and kill or pinch the ball as you will most likely skip it. Play it smarter and go up to the ceiling or hit a Z-shot to bide yourself time to get back to the middle.”
2-They take a defensive shot when they should hit an offensive shot:
“When you are in front of your opponent with a set up you should kill or pinch the ball as you will most likely hit a winner or put your opponent on the defense. You do not want to hit a ceiling ball or a Z-shot because you are just keeping the ball in play.”
Let’s define an Offensive Shot and a Defensive Shot:
1-Offensive Shot – ends the rally and/or scores a point and/or puts your opponent on the defense.
2-Defensive Shot – draws your opponent out of center court and/or bids you time.
I’ve made it easy for you to see when you should go for what shot……see the “Zone Diagram” below with the court divided into 3 Zones, clearly marked:
1-Zone 1 0-25 feet 95% offensive/5% defensive
2-Zone 2 25-35 feet 80% offensive/20% defensive
3-Zone 3 35-40 feet 10% offensive/90% defensive
This holds pretty true when you are playing and have set ups, but when you are off-balance or out of position you should be thinking defensive and use the ceiling or Z-shot. Also, when you look at Zone 3 the back of the court, you are predominantly going defensive unless you get a shot off the back wall, then it’s offensive.
I am confident by studying this diagram it will take the confusion out of what to hit when…offensive vs. defensive. If you understand this principle off the court you will have more success on the court when the ball is traveling at different speeds and coming off at different angles and spins. This concept will help you play smarter and take the right shot at the right time leading to a more consistent game.
Use the Offensive versus Defensive tips detailed in my book, Championship Racquetball to understand “what shot to take when” in any given situation. This will lead to putting more pressure on your opponents you are playing. Check out Chapter 4, as well as Chapter 6 (pages 164-165).
I use the “Zone Diagram” with my “Championship Team,” Rocky, Paola, Jason, Sudsy, Jordan, Wayne and Mitchell. I encourage each and every one of them to use solid “offensive and defensive shots”, to play at their highest levels of play. Their records speak for themselves.
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 ‘s 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.
By Fran Davis — HEAD/Penn
For details on more personalized instruction/video lessons, a weekend camp, instructional DVD’s and our book, Championship Racquetball) 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 2009; Coaches #2 men’s professional International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Player / 1X US Open Champion / 5X and present World Champion, 2X and present Pan American Champion, Rocky Carson; Coaches #1 Women’s LPRT Pro Player for 7 seasons / 7X and present US Open Champion & 5X and present World Champion, 2X and present Pan American Champion, Paola Longoria; Coaches Jr. World & National Champions, Jordan Cooperrider, Wayne Antone, Mitchell Turner and Ingrid Robledo; Master Professional Instructor/Coach USAR-IP.