Preparing for a new season and competition

Have you been using your off season wisely? Stockton, CA is a hotbed of competitive racquetball built by the Ellis family, with the reins now being handed off to top-10 pro Jose Rojas and the young group of promising Ektelon players – Team Adrenaline. With the help of personal trainer now turned write, Jesse Serna, these guys have been using this time to improve their games through sessions of hard work both on and off the court. For players of all abilities, this is the best opportunity to improve your game. While the competitive season is fast approaching, it is not too late.

With a little planning, work and more than a little sacrifice, you can train to get that one win that you REALLY want (and as racquetball players we all have at least one). Jesse will tell you how:

Make a plan

 As the Speed and Strength Coach for the Stockton Pros, I sat down with Coach Dave Ellis and we put together a program for our player’s pre-season training. Planning is the first part of a pre-season routine, and this step cannot be underestimated. Consulting with your club pro and/or a personal trainer familiar with movement analysis can get this process started. This plan needs to cover how long the program will run, how many hours each week you will train and practice, an analysis of what you need to improve upon, and how this work will make you better.

Focus on Weaknesses

What areas on the court are your greatest liabilities? Identify what limits success, and focus on improvement in these areas. If fatigue is a factor, strength and conditioning need to be addressed. Mobility, flexibility, balance and coordination all affect the ability to execute proper footwork and stroke mechanics. Training weaknesses requires letting egos go and being uncomfortable. Working through this discomfort not only improves weaknesses, but trains the mind to be strong in times of struggle (an invaluable racquetball skill)

Play Less and Drill

Here is that part where you have to sacrifice. Exchange time that is normally spent playing racquetball, for time spent getting better at racquetball. This is not to say eliminate playing, but don’t play as much. If it is a day you are supposed to drill, get to the club a little earlier than normal. Make getting better the priority, not just playing.

Work at game speed

To get the most transfer effect from all training and drilling, the work must be done at game speed. Racquetball requires maximal exertion and focus, and training intensity should reflect that reality. That does not mean simply going hard or fast, but producing maximal effort without sacrifice to quality of execution. Relate what you are training specifically to racquetball, while understanding how it improves play to maintain focus and purpose in pre-season training.

Free Training from Home

Visit the Racquetball Warehouse Media Centerfor free instructional videos covering all of the fundamentals with top 10 pro Jose Rojas, retired top 5 pro John Ellis, and strength and conditioning coach Jesse Serna. You can find videos that cover just about every aspect of the game so you can fine-tune the aspects that will make the biggest difference for you!

Dial in your Equipment

With just about all of the new 2011 products now on the market, take this time to try something new. You will want to have your equipment setup dialed in once competition starts so you are not changing mid season and having to adjust your game. New innovations from the manufacturers are making racquets more powerful, eyewear less foggy, gloves more breathable and shoes lighter and tackier. Use the Racquetball Warehouse Learning Center to narrow down the vast equipment selection to the ideal gear for your game and playing style.

IRT.  International Racquetball Tour.