Racquetball bags; where style meets function meets $$

August 26th, 2009 by Ben

So, in my opinion, we just received the best racquetball bags ever made into stock. Now, I can’t say for sure that there wasn’t a better bag made 20, or even 10 years ago, but I am going to continue under the assumption that materials, manufacturing processes and style in sports have all improved over time, and are currently at their best.

With that said, I would like to tell a brief story, purely for your entertainment. This story takes place around the time of the WOR Nationals in July of this year. Being a large retailer, we have the privilege of seeing a lot of the product early, and this was the case with Gearbox in early summer. Yes, this post is about Gearbox Bags. The Gearbox crew, a very fun and genuine group of guys,  came to do videos and clinics. When they left, they left their new bags with us for website imaging. Excited about a great product, and in need of a new bag, I decided to use their new Club Bag at the WOR Outdoor Nationals. I stuffed as much equipment as humanly possible into it (10 racquets on the sides and still a main compartment for shoes, apparel, balls etc) and freely threw it around as I traveled about the courts watching matches and warming up for my own. I soon found out, however, from none other than #3 IRT Tour player Alvaro Beltran, that I was using 1 of 3 bags in existence. Not even Alvaro had this bag yet but here I was, a C level player, rocking it proudly… Needless to say I didn’t hear the end of it all weekend.

As a result of my misplaced assumption, I have had plenty of time to beat on this impressive bag and test it to the fullest. Gearbox did not hold back with the features on this bag, there is a reason it is higher priced than all the others. The Gearbox Club Bag features extra thick nylon, reinforced zippers and pockets, an abundance of useable space and, in my opinion, is the best looking racquetball bag on the market. gbbagcb-thumbThe Gearbox Back Pack is just as stylish, has lighter weight nylon (though still durable), lots of pockets and extra padding on the back for comfort. Their back pack could easily double as a school pack and still have enough space for your racquetball gear – I’m thinking 2 racquets, 2 books, 1 binder, gloves, eyewear, pens/pencils and so on – you get the picture.gbbagbp-thumb

Basically, if you want the best bag out there, and you’re willing to spend a little more – Go Gearbox! I hope this was helpful as well as entertaining, as always, feel free to call us at Racquetball Warehouse anytime with questions or comments.

- Ben , 800 824 1101

Posted in Product Reviews | 251 Comments »

SS & XS grip sizes, what to use & how to choose…..

August 18th, 2009 by Kyle

Let me start this post with an interesting background story I heard recently.  Have you ever wondered who the moron is that came up with the super-small (SS) & extra-small (XS) grip sizes for racquetball racquets?  I was told that when racquetball began, racquets were available with large and medium grips which were originally modeled after tennis grips.  After a while, racquetball manufacturers ditched the large grip because it was too big and far less popular.  The medium grip size stayed and a small grip size was added.  Well as you can imagine, the medium grip size was soon too big for players and the Extra Small (XS) was added along with the small grip.  Finally, the small grip was too big and less popular so the Super Small (SS) grip size was added. This is how we have come to the current SS and XS grip sizes today.

And when you finally figure out which grip size is best for you, you then realize that sizing between manufacturers differs.  Some manufacturers have the SS grip as 3 5/8″ and others have it as 3 11/16″.  Ektelon & ProKennex grips are rectangular while Gearbox, Head, Wilson & E-Force all have smaller, rounder grips.  So what are you to make of all this nonsense?  First off, let me start off by giving you a general rule of thumb to decide which grip size is best for you and the logic behind it.  If you fall in the size small-large glove category, you generally will use a SS racquet grip size. If you wear a large-extra large glove, you should consider using the XS racquet grip size.  If you’re wondering why I mention the large glove size twice, it’s because large glove users are kind of on the bubble and should use what feels most comfortable.  I found a great article from Bell Racquet Sports that explains grip sizing perfectly:

Racquetball racquets are typically available in two grip sizes:

Size:               Sometimes Called:

3-5/8                Super Small*
3-7/8                Extra Small or 3-15/16″

*For the 2010 season, Ektelon has added a Super Small Rounded (SSR) grip size. It
is still the smaller grip size, but with a more rounded feel in the hand.

When you hold a racquetball racquet, you want your fingertips to wrap around the grip and be touching your palm.
Remember:
The SMALLEST grip size you can comfortably hold will facilitate the best racquetball wrist snap!

Wrist snap is absolutely necessary to achieve optimum power in your swing and will help you tremendously in your matches.  Another tip to get the best wrist snap is to hold your pinky finger off the end of the handle.  You’ll see baseball players do this when batting sometimes to give their wrists a little extra range as well.  Doing this in combination with a small grip, will generate maximum power.  Of course technique is obviously the main factor but these grip tips will definitely help your game.

-Kyle

Posted in Product Reviews | 162 Comments »

What is your game plan?

August 3rd, 2009 by Darrin Schenck

I wanted to address the subject that I think a lot of people do not spend nearly enough time thinking about.  The game of racquetball is unfortunately riddled with examples of poor shot selection from the top players in the world on down to the league and recreational players at your club.  There is a perfect example of this, one of the top 8 players in the world who has become infamous for one shot from deep in the court, and his repetition with this shot.  I don’t want to name any names, but everyone knows that when this player gets a set up what shot he is going to hit.  This means that his opponents obviously know as well, and are looking to cover that shot in particular.  This puts so much pressure on him to execute that shot PERFECTLY in order to make it work.  The problem is that some tournaments he makes a large majority of those shots, and it reinforces this thought process.  For the rest of us who don’t have Shane Vanderson’s world class athletic ability, it is really a bad idea to try to win with a game plan such as this.

Here is something that will make your life on the court much easier.  Ask yourself the question: ”If I leave this shot up, will I still have a reasonable chance to win the rally.”  There are very few people out there choosing the correct shot in most situations.  I see so few people using the back half of the court for offensive shots like they do the front half.  Yes, it looks cool to roll out a splat in front of someone, but it looks twice as bad when you leave that shot up and you opponent steps over and dinks a winner off of your bad shot choice.  Try winning the easy way for a change.

Next time you are playing a practice match and you can take a quick moment to analyze a rally after its completion, look at what your shot choices netted you.  The problem is that you do make some of those shots…that is what reinforces the bad shot selection.  You make a splat from deep court with your opponent in front of you and you think that it was correct.  WRONG!  If you miss that shot, you are going to lose the rally.  If you had chosen a cross court or a down the line shot, both of these would be:

A.  Easier to execute (Way more margin for error)

B.  If you leave these shots up you still have a good chance of winning the rally.  (remember, your opponent is making the same bad choices you are, so you have reversed the scenario and now they are likely to attempt a low percentage shot from the deep court.)

Basically what I am saying is “Quit doing things the hard way!”  You will NEVER reach the point where you do not make errors and miss shots, so plan accordingly.  It is far easier to execute passes than killshots and splats.  Make your opponent work hard for their points, don’t hand them away with skips and easy front court set ups for your opponent to work with.  Hit passes, ceiling balls, and show a little patience during the rallies.  You will be surprised how much less work you have to do to win if you can switch over to this type of game plan.  It is way more fun making your opponent do a majority of the running.  Work the rally to your favor, and then go for kills and splats; just make sure your opponent is out of position before choosing these more difficult shot.

Find this and much more information in either of my books  Percentage Racquetball or Racquetball 101, both available through www.RacquetballWarehouse.com

Please send me your questions and feedback.

Darrin Schenck

Head Coach ASU Racquetball

Posted in Racquetball Tips | 152 Comments »