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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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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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Dan’s Tips on Conditioning

December 14th, 2011 Comments off

AGILITY for a racquetball athlete can be most clearly defined as the ability to maneuver your way around the court as you are getting into position to hit the ball as it comes off the wall at different angles, heights, and speeds while having a sense of where your opponent is on the court. We can also call this “being light on your feet” or being “on the balls of your feet”, in other words being able to make adjustments “on a dime.”

If you can relate agility to a football player, it would best be described by a running back approaching the line knowing there are guys ready to hit him from all directions. He recognizes an opening and accelerates towards it, but finds a bigger athlete running towards him. In an instant he’s able to maneuver his body and feet to make the quick adjustment to avoid the collision.

By concentrating your efforts on maneuvering your body around the court and around your opponent, you will not only be able to get to more shots, but it will enhance your ability to perform the techniques and shots you’ve learned once you get there because you will have more time. With MORE time your shot selection will also be enhanced because you will be able to think…where am I, where is the ball, what’s the best shot to hit?

There are specific exercises that develop your agility and helps you to be “lighter on your feet” on the court so that when the ball is moving in excess of over 100 mph you can react to the ball in a split second.

Check out the exercises in our book, “Championship Racquetball.”

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Dan’s Tips on Conditioning

June 11th, 2011 Comments off

The techniques and skills of racquetball require five different speed motions:

  1. STARTING SPEED: getting up to the highest rate of speed as quickly as possible so you can get into good center court position or have better return of serves.
  2. FOOT SPEED: to negotiate balls that are hit at different angles and come off the wall at different angles, speeds and trajectories.
  3. HIP SPEED: (or rotation) is often necessary to turn and run as well as used to generate more power which we outlined explicitly in Chapters One and Two, Forehand and Backhand techniques.
  4. BACKPEDAL SPEED: is to relocate back into good center court after the serve or move back to the back court from center court to hit a ceiling ball or move back from the front court to center court after you retrieved a great pinch or kill shot.
  5. CHANGE of DIRECTION SPEED: is an often overlooked element of movement skills, but THE MOST important in racquetball. There are four types of change of direction speed that we’ll work on, side to side, forward backward, turning and running, and jumping.

***Conditioning, five different speed motions, can be found in our book Championship Racquetball.

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