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Jason and Fran’s Tips on – Racquetball Skills, Strategies, and Techniques:

September 23rd, 2012 Comments off

Control center court: Being in the center-court box puts you in the best position possible to get a majority of the shots.

Keep your opponent out of center court: If you keep the other player out of your space, they are not in the best position to get to a majority of the shots. You can accomplish this by putting the balls in the corners and hitting lots of down-the-line shots.

Watch the ball at all times: By watching the ball, you gain valuable information and more time so you can better determine your opponent’s shot and react faster to the ball. If your opponent is the offensive player hitting the ball and you are watching it, and you see that he is going to hit the ball behind him, you can probably expect the ball to hit the side wall. If you are the offensive player hitting the ball, you can determine whether to go offensive or defensive and what specific shot to hit based on the ball position and of course your opponent’s position too.

Hit away from your opponent: Your goal is to hit where your opponent is not and make them run the farthest distance to get to the ball by going to the open court. The more you make them move and hit on the run, the more mistakes she will make, giving you more opportunities to take advantage of the situation.

Hit to and exploit your opponent’s weaknesses: By hitting to your opponents  weaknesses, you are forcing him to do something he does not want to do. *Avoid hitting to your opponent’s strengths: This will only build his confidence level and make them feel like king or queen of the hill, able to take and make any shot they wants, thus winning the match.

Keep your opponent deep in the court: This strategy keeps him as far away from the front wall, the target, as possible. Remember that 30 percent of all balls can be killed from the dotted line, and the odds go down the farther back in the court he goes.

Always stay positive: When you are positive, you can think more clearly and good things happen. When you are negative, you cannot think clearly and bad things happen. Remember, negativity breeds negativity.

Do not use your first game as a warm-up: Often players don’t warm up properly, thinking they can warm up by playing. First off, your chances of getting injured increases if you are not warmed up properly. Second, if you use the first game as a warm-up, there is a greater chance of your losing the game, which puts you in a deficit. If you lose the first game, you have to win both of the remaining games in order to win the match.

Carry out your game plan: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. A game plan is just as important as your racquet, shoes, and eye guards—you would never enter the court without any one of these three things, and the same should be true for your game plan.

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Diana’s Tips on Nutrition:

September 22nd, 2012 Comments off

Breakfast means “break the fast”. That is what breakfast is all about, but too many people/players do not eat breakfast at all or do not eat enough breakfast especially if they have a match in the morning.  If you expect your body and mind to perform at its best you must eat. Here is what Diana recommends for breakfast:

Breakfast of Champions consists of whole grain cereals, fruit and juice, or eggs, toast and fruit, or hot oatmeal, yogurt, and fruit. All of these good wholesome foods turn into muscle glycogen. Stay away from white flour, white sugar, chemicals, fats and preservatives.  They stay in your stomach too long which drives up your glucose index too high which makes you feel more fatigued after you eat high fat and high sugar food choices.

Start your day off right and eat, but remember to eat the right foods a key to your championship game

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Diana’s Tips On Mental Toughness:

September 22nd, 2012 Comments off

One must train the mind for “Championship Racquetball.”

The strongest sense we have is our feeling state, what we call our ‘Emotional State”. If it feels great, we continue doing it. If it does not feel good, we stop the pattern. So you have to feel great out on the court all the time. The greatest performances come from a state of enjoyment. We take risks, take chances, and are more creative in this state. If you are not enjoying racquetball, why are you playing?

Your ideal state is always happy, calm, relaxed, and in control. No worries. Your passion and love for the game are nestled in your gut, and your positive muscle memory is ready to act and react. You always want to enjoy the process and play from love and not fear. Remember, this is a game of mistakes, so keep your sense of humor and put it all in perspective. Pretend you are a wild animal before it attacks its prey—totally relaxed, muscles loose, and ready to kill. The animal’s mind is positive and emotionally calm. This is the perfect ready state.

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Dan’s Tips on Conditioning:

September 22nd, 2012 Comments off

CHANGE OF DIRECTION SPEED is an often overlooked element of movement skills, but it is the most important in racquetball. There are four types of change of direction speed that we’ll work on: side to side, forward and backward, turning and running, and jumping.

Now that we have addressed moving faster, let’s talk about moving more efficiently. In this sport, if you move quickly, but not efficiently you will often overrun the ball or jam yourself. This is a major problem since you will not be able to develop consistency, accuracy, or power, leading to frustration. The key factor in racquetball is accelerating quickly in order to get to the ball, but when you are getting into position, you need to be able to decelerate. Being able to accelerate and decelerate on demand is the only way you can develop your attacking forehand and penetrating backhand in a game situation where the ball is traveling at speeds of over 100 mph. Dan Obremski, our fitness expert, gives us a great example of this acceleration–deceleration principle. He clearly remembers that when he was competing at the professional level, one of his peers sought the instruction of a speed trainer. He worked hard and returned a much faster athlete. The problem, however, was that he worked on starting speed only, and so he was off balance and overran many of the shots he used to hit with ease.

Jason on the other hand, has the ability to work his way around the court such that no ball is out of reach. He may sprint left, hit the ball, and shuffle back to midcourt. In an instant he lunges or dives forward, picks himself up off the ground, and backpedals into center court. The next shot may be behind him, so he has to make a quick hip turn and sprint back to retrieve the ball, again running to center court after the shot. In just one rally Jason is able to change direction forward and backward, side to side, using a quick hip turn, all while staying light on his feet. The more types of speed you can develop in your training program, the more shots you will get to, thus taking your game to another level, your “championship level.”

 

Check out our book “Championship Racquetball”  Chapter 10,  for specific exercises on ways to improve your “change of direction speed”.

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Jason and Fran’s Tips on – Racquetball Skills, Strategies, and Techniques:

May 19th, 2012 Comments off

Shot selection is defined as taking the right shot at the right time and making your opponent run the farthest distance to get to the ball.

It is the offensive player’s (the one hitting the ball) choice of shots based on himself, the ball, the opponent, and the score. When many of us get into the heat of the battle, we don’t think about our shots—we just bang away and play what we call survival racquetball. You may be guilty of hitting the shot you like or that you feel comfortable with rather than the most effective shot that will win the point. By taking the right shot at the right time and hitting the most effective shot in a given situation, you are playing the percentages.

No matter what level of player you are—pro, advanced, or intermediate—playing the percentages (i.e., playing the odds) is a philosophy we teach, preach, and live by. This basic philosophy will help you reach your goal of moving from the intermediate to advanced level of play, but we advise you take the time to really understand Shot Selection as that is a critical part in developing your “Championship Game”.

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Diana’s Tips on Mental Toughness

May 19th, 2012 Comments off

One must train the mind for “Championship Racquetball”.

Athletes thrive on consistency and routine. We are creatures of habit and perform best when there are no surprises. In order to obtain optimal performance levels, your “Championship Game”, you need a pre-performance routine.

What Is a Routine or Ritual?
1. Behavior: An athlete chooses certain behaviors that enhance her game (e.g., bouncing the ball three times before serving).

2. Habit: A behavior done over and over again (seven times) becomes a habit. If you bounce the ball three times every time you serve, you will eventually do it unconsciously.

3. Routine: A healthy habit soon becomes a routine. As you are preparing for your upcoming match, you choose specific routines that you think will guarantee consistency and success. Bouncing the ball three times has now become a necessary routine since you stop thinking about your serve and go into it automatically.

4. Ritual: A ritual is a specialized routine. If a routine works and improves your accuracy, consistency, and timing, you move it into a specialized category called a ritual. This means it is your own personal behavior that you use to play your personal best because it triggers your muscle memory and puts you into automatic pilot. Professional athletes all have unique rituals that get them deeper into their game, their performance, and their ultimate mind–body state (i.e., the zone), and so can you. Remember to always have a plan B just in case you cannot do exactly the same routine each time. The key is to never get flustered; just create and adjust and stay focused. Winners in sport are always prepared for the unpredictable. So trust yourself that you will know what to do at just the right time. This is called confidence.

 

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Dan’s Tips on Conditioning

May 19th, 2012 Comments off

POWER is another one of the key elements in conditioning you want to develop for your “Championship Game”. Power is represented by speed over time. In other words, how quickly and with what certain force can you move? Or in sports, we think of “explosion” when we think of power. How quickly can you act, react or move with definite force? An example would be an offensive power ‘drive serve” which would be speed with force equaling POWER.
There are specific exercises that develop your power and helps you to become more “explosive” into the ball, thus generating more power so your opponent has less reaction time.

Conditioning Drills that Target Power

A powerful FIRST STEP along with a quick FIRST STEP will get you to center court much more efficiently and ready to defend. Below are just a couple of drills you can do to develop more power:

1-Step Up Drill

2-Lunge Drill

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Diana’s Tips on Nutrition

May 19th, 2012 Comments off

Remember in the last issue in Fall 2011 we discussed racquetball muscles need “glycogen” in order to perform at their optimal level?

Glycogen is a muscle energy source that comes from fruits, vegetables and whole grains or complex carbohydrates. Your brain needs glucose or blood sugar and your entire metabolism needs water. Racquetball muscles also need “amino acids” found in protein to repair your tissues and cells.
We introduced the “championship meals” you need to eat in order to develop your championship game, so today I want to give you some “championship match tips” to help you reach your goals as well.
1-DO NOT eat within an hour of your match as you want your stomach almost on empty and all of the glycogen in your muscles.  A full stomach slows down reaction time.
2-DO NOT eat too much as your empty stomach is the size of your fist so a snack is a fistful. Perfect snacks are trail mixes, granola bars, power bars, a piece of fruit for fiber, vegetables, yogurt, bran muffin and a half of sandwich.  Always have your own special food at the tournament as you never know what the club has as food choices.

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Diana’s Tips on Mental Toughness

December 14th, 2011 Comments off

One must train the mind for “Championship Racquetball.”

In Sports Psychology we talk about an athlete having two brains…one in your head and one in your “gut.” You have the Learning Brain (head) and the Sports Brain (gut).

1. Learning Brain – this is the brain in your head where you are auditory and then visual. At first you listen to instructions (auditory)and once you have heard the message your brain tries to see or “visualize” the message. In this way you have heard it and then have seen it and now you are ready to try it.

a.  Auditory Brain – when you first learn a new skill that is taught to you it enters the auditory brain-the left side of your brain, and you understand the concept. For some athletes this is good enough, they hear what you say and then do it.

b.  Visual Brain – most athletes need more than just hearing it, so they need to then add the visual picture of the skill-this happens in the right side of the brain.

2. Sports Brain – once you have performed a skill perfectly at least seven times it then gets imprinted and sent to your “second brain” (kinesthetic/feeling center) which lives an inch and a half around your belly button-this is called your gut or instinct. All mucle memory is stored here and is triggered by sight and sound.

It all sounds so easy. Learn the skill, practice the skill, imprint the skill and go out there and win, but there is a lot more to it. Seeing and believing are two different things. In our book we teach you the latest skills and strategies that Jason and Sudsy use to Maintain Mental Toughness.

Check out the techniques of Mental Toughness in our book, “Championship Racquetball.”

 

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Diana’s Tips on Nutrition

December 14th, 2011 Comments off

Racquetball muscles need ‘glycogen’ in order to perform at their optimal level. Glycogen is a muscle energy source that comes from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains or complex carbohydrates. Your brain needs glucose or blood sugar and your entire metabolism needs water. Racquetball muscles also need ‘amino acids’ found in protein to repair your tissues and cells.

Breakfast of Champions consists of whole grain cereals, fruit, and juice; or eggs, toast, fruit; or hot oatmeal cereal, yogurt, granola and fruit. All of these good wholesome foods turn into muscle glycogen. Stay away from white flour, white sugar, chemicals, fats, and preservatives. They stay in your stomach too long which drives up your glucose index to higher levels, which in turn makes you feel more fatigued after eating these high fat, high sugar food choices.

Protein Lunch consists of a sandwich made of turkey, chicken, tuna, beef, egg or any form of protein with cheese, lettuce, and tomato on whole grain bread; or soup, salad, and a lean hamburger. These are the ideal protein lunches that you need which will contain the amino acids to build and repair muscle tissue and cells that have been broken down by intense play. These amino acids coupled with the glycogen will put energy back into your muscles.

Pasta Dinner consists of whole grain pasta, salad, bread, and lots of water, (throw in some oatmeal cookies for desert) – making this the perfect ‘glycogen’ source. This meal supplies the energy you need for your brain and your muscles.

Protein Dinner is the ideal post-match meal at night as it is filled with amino acids that will build and repair broken down muscle and tissue from your match. Try steak, salad, and steamed vegetables with rice or a potato.

Post Game Nutrition should be 90 minutes after your match. Always eat a protein/carbohydrate meal-the amino acids are used to repair your broken down tissue and cells and the carbohydrates are used to replace your muscle glycogen stores from your match. Do not replace beer and popcorn for a good meal.

*You need to consistently eat like this for 2 days or 48 hours before your competition begins, your body will be perfectly filled with all the nutrients that it needs for a consistent and peak performance!

 

 

 

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