Racquetball is one of those sports where you either love it or have no idea how to play it.
Originally called “paddle rackets,” the sport was created in 1949 when American inventor Joseph Sobek got sick and tired of bruising his hands in a game of handball. So he decided to combine the rules of his favorite game and squash, founding the National Paddle Rackets Association, which later evolved into USA Racquetball.
The sport requires lightning-quick reflexes and a deep understanding of angles. “It’s a game of opposites,” says former national team coach Jim Winterton. “If you think the ball is going right, it’s probably going left. If it goes over your head, it’s coming back.”
Winterton suggests working on technique before learning game theory if you want to succeed. “There are two kinds of instructors: those that tell you how, and those that tell you why,” he says. “How is more important than why. Learn how to hit the ball correctly and you’re going to be a better player.”
Got it? Good. Let’s begin.
1. Drop-and-Hit: Stand at the receiving line, approximately two and a half steps from the sidewall. Execute 10 drop-and-hit forehands. Repeat with your backhand.
2. Toss-and-Cross: From just behind the center of the receiving line, toss the ball forward and to the right. Step into a forehand 10 times. Repeat the drill with your backhand.
3. Corner Drill: Toss the ball into the corner so it rebounds onto the sidewall, then whack it down the line. Complete 10 reps with your forehand and backhand.
4. Wall-Ceiling Drill: Drop the ball and strike it so it rebounds off the back wall and then the ceiling. Complete 10 reps with both your forehand and backhand.
5. Put It All Together: Start at center court. Run to the left front corner and whack a shot. Backpedal to center court, then sprint to the right front corner. Backpedal to center court, then to the right backcorner. Hit a shot, return to center court, then head for the left back corner. Return to center court, then shuffle left and slam it. Repeat to the right and you’re done.