By Sarah Tuff Dunn |
The squeak of court shoes, the fast-paced action, the thwack of a rubber ball hitting the wall at high velocity: Racquetball can be a satisfying and fun social activity. And while getting started requires only the ability to swing a racquet, mastering the sport is a unique challenge.
“Racquetball offers astronomical health benefits,” says Sudsy Monchik, a professional racquetball player and coach who began playing at age 7 and went on to become a five-time world champion.
The sport engages both body and mind, improving cardiovascular fitness, agility, mobility, coordination, and reaction time. “Racquetball is a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise — and you’re not looking at the clock like you are on a treadmill,” explains fellow pro and coach Cliff Swain, who along with Monchik leads racquetball clinics across the country.
“People who have barely played can get a much better workout than in other sports because it is full of multidirectional demands.”
Racquetball is relatively safe, making it a lifelong sport. “Many people are still playing into their 80s, unlike other sports,” says Monchik.
Racquetball differs from tennis in several ways. “In tennis, it’s extremely difficult to get the ball over the net and in the inbox, and a lot of the time is spent picking up balls around the court,” he says. “The racquetball mostly comes back to the middle. The rules are simpler and the rallies are longer.”
To up your racquetball game, there are several strategic points to consider, says John Wilinski, Life Time’s national racquetball, squash, and pickleball manager. For example, many players position themselves too far forward in the court.
“Aim to stay back behind the safety line after you hit. This does two things: It gives you more time to hit the next shot and allows you to cover more of the court defensively.”
Another common mistake is aiming too low on the front wall. “It may cause the ball to hit the floor before it hits the front wall, costing you the point,” Wilinski explains. “Aim higher to keep the ball in play.”
Practice the drills here to improve your performance and enjoyment while getting a great workout.
Racquetball success depends on a strong and consistent swing, which requires a stable, mobile trunk and upper body, says Monchik.are an excellent way to build strength through the middle and upper back, lats, and shoulders. Rowing also enhances mobility through the scapulae and improves stability in theand deep abdominals. He recommends the following move for its ease and minimal equipment.For developing explosive power, Swain recommends . Burpees will build your quickness as well as the cardio capacity you need to keep up on the court. Eliminate the pushup at the bottom and focus on powering the descent, ascent, and jump through your hips. and lower body will build power and explosiveness to help you pivot quickly on the court. Monchik recommends this drill:Shot accuracy is essential for a strong racquetball game, and Wilinski loves this exercise for the way it develops your consistency.Quick directional changes are a key aspect of racquetball: Players shift, reach, slide, and pivot to hit the ball. This requires a combination of strength, power, and agility on a lateral (side-to-side) plane. The lateral shuffle challenges the entire lower body, firing up the glutes — particularly thethat initiate and control side-to-side motion — as well as the quads and calves. Try this drill as part of your pregame warm-up. Experience Life.