Joe's New Jersey Racquetball: Article: How to Play...General Safety?
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How to play Racquetball Series: General Safety
By Joseph Delgado, Team Head

There's a lot to racquetball I want to cover and I'm not looking to reinvent the wheel or supersede any professional association rule books or materials. My goal is to get more people playing racquetball and playing it safely.

  1. Wear Goggles every single time you play or practice.
  2. Stay a swing and a step away.
  3. Wear court shoes.
  4. Don't take a shot that endangers your opponent.
  5. Don't stand in the way of your opponent's shots.

1) Wear Goggles
A lot of people play without goggles because they don't like how their vision changes, how they look, or whatever reason they make up. It's a serious risk for injury that can be significantly reduced by wearing goggles.

Players should always wear goggles especially with newcomers. Most of them want to hit the ball hard without proper footwork or mechanics. They also swing at the ball at the wrong time and probably have no real sense where their opponent is. Can it be any more dangerous?

2) Stay a swing and step away
Fran Davis mentioned this at her camp and it stuck with me. I've hit people with my racquet by accident and I've been hit. There's a choice, you can either focus on the ball or focus on your opponent. Most players are going to focus on the ball. Give your opponent room to swing and follow-through the game will be a lot more fun and safe.

If you think you're going to hit someone stop and say "I held up." It's ok and in the official rule book.

3) Wear Court Shoes
I've been using Tennis Court Shoes for a while and I think I've worn them outside maybe once. Running, walking, and other kinds of sneakers are not made for the lateral and sudden stops in racquetball. They don't support your feet and breakup pretty quick. Also bringing "outside" shoes on the court brings dirt and other slippery stuff that can cause accidents.

4) Don't take shots that endanger your opponent or partner
Sometimes people end up in the wrong place during a rally and others they are taking away an offensive shot. I recommend holding up and saying I was going to hit you. At tournaments, well the line gets a little blurred, but it's always better to be safe.

5) Don't stand in the way of your opponent's shots
There are two shots you need to give your opponent, they are illustrated in the flash doc to the left. A shot directly to the front wall (Down the Line) and a shot that can hit the front wall at an angle so it winds up in the opposite back corner (cross-court).

Summary
Using the right equipment (goggles and court shoes) can help reduce your risk for getting hurt. Staying a swing and step away from your opponent and giving space for his or her allowable shots makes racquetball a lot of fun and safer for everyone.

Additional Resources
Fran Davis Racquetball Camp
Racquetball Instruction from Carl Moody, AmPRO Advanced Instructor
Jordan Kahn's Web Racquetball
USA Racquetball Official Rulebook




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