The walled-confines of the racquetball court help players line up their feet. Their optimal ready stance is ‘closed’; this refers to the position of their feet relative to the walls. Both feet square up to the side walls with the front foot slightly ahead. Once the ball is in play with a serve against the front wall, all the court’s surfaces are strategically alive. Players are speedy but not reckless, they move into their closed stance before they hit the ball. This footwork (to and into ready position) sets up offensive and defensive shots. On offence, a good player tries to hit the ball at her opponent’s feet, forcing her to hit ‘wrong-footed’ in an ‘open stance’. A forced error in footwork.
Agility is on display on racquetball courts: hitting the ball behind the back or between the legs, diving to reach a far-off shot or taking it on the fly. From serves to returns and the rallies in between, racquetball players’ footwork is a blur of fast feet.
The ball never comes to the player; she must move to it. After every shot she hits, she pushes off her front foot and hustles back to centre court. Ball placement is unpredictable and she can’t dawdle near a wall for a second. When her opponent begins to swing, she might hop into a crouch with her feet shoulder-width or more apart. As the ball is struck, she moves to it however she can – pivoting, walking, running or shuffling… forwards, backwards and sideways – to hit her next shot from a closed stance. When the ball is at or below her knee, she takes a last step with her front foot and swings. She must keep the ball in play. If it touches the floor twice, the rally is over.
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Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)
TRAINING – COMPETITION – PODIUM