2010 – What is your gameplan?

January 20th, 2010 by Ben

What does 2010 hold for you???

I am one of those annoying people who starts their New Year’s Resolutions early, one month early to be exact. I always have planned, written out, and started my plan for next year by December 1st. I know, I know…its irritating, but since my Christmas shopping was also done in advance, why wouldn’t I start my plan for next year right now? No time like the present.

For me, I am in the midst of a heavy lifting program to add some size to my frame before switching over to the stamina and cardio training that I will do soon. I am a big believer in leading by example, so I still do all the workouts with the ASU Racquetball team. I warned everyone on the ASU Racquetball Team before Holiday break that we will begin the workouts starting the first week of practice when returning in January. For those who have been through it before, they know what to expect; for the newbies…it’ll be a surprise to watch a guy twice their age outwork them. A point of pride for me is reminding them that I am in fact twice their age when they are falling behind. In addition to continuing to refine their swings and their strategies on the court, we will be training like animals off the court.

So what am I getting at with all this? HAVE A PLAN. I believe Peter Drucker is quoted as saying “That which gets measured gets done.” He is exactly right; if you come into this year without a plan, or going with the status quo, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. What does your game need?

- Better fitness

- Solid Strategy

- A more consistent backhand

- Efficient Shot Selection

- All of the Above??

If only there were a book that gave some direct examples and a proven game plan for accomplishing this. Oh wait…there is! If Santa did not bring you a copy of Percentage Racquetball or Racquetball 101 for Christmas, get online and order a copy from Racquetball Warehouse. Do it today!

Map out a plan for improvement for 2010; it is the only way you will gain some ground. Your competition is probably doing the same thing, so if you do not get moving you will be left behind. Having forehand issues? It is one of two things: either you are not using correct form, or you are taking high-risk shots that are leading to too many errors. Fix it. You will be making your own life easier if you follow the drills laid out in the book, and saving wear and tear on your arm and the rest of your body as well. Backhand still not where it should be? Get to work. Don’t have a defined game plan for every opponent you face? Study up! Buy the book, read it, learn it, practice it, and start being the person that people dread playing in the next tournament.

I did not achieve the things I did by sitting back and waiting for them to come to me, I went after them. I sought help, practiced, and worked diligently to streamline my game and increase my fitness so that I could be the best competitor I could be. All it takes is the right plan and hard work…GET TO IT!!!

Darrin Schenck

ASU Head Racquetball Coach

Author—Percentage Racquetball and Racquetball 101

Posted in Racquetball Tips | 131 Comments »

Ashaway, a renewed force in string technology

January 19th, 2010 by Ben

If you are an avid player and fan of racquetball, you may have seen some professional matches last season, and if you really know your sport, you might have noticed the Bright Green string in the racquet of Jack Huczeck. As I write this article, Jack is currently ranked #2 in the world and a force to be reckoned with. This article however, is not about Jack, but about his Bright Green string – the newly released Ashaway UltraKill, to come in both 17 and 18 gauge.

Ashaway is the only United States manufacturer of racquet strings and produces strings for badminton, tennis, squash and racquetball. Why do you care? I will tell you right now. Up until recently, Ashaway produced mainly durability strings for racquetball, consisting of either kevlar, nylon or the patented Zyex material. This Zyex is no ordinary fiber, but provides previously unmatched lows in dynamic stiffness, thin durable gauging, and minimal tension loss. Still, Zyex has been a durability string, and unknown to many soft string users. This is all about to change with the  development of Zyex Multifilament the new optimal balance of power, control and durability.

Here is how one of our external playtesters, John Rack, an experienced stringer, rated the new Ashaway UltraKill 18:

I am so impressed with this string. It has incredible power with great control. Touch shots up front are a breeze and the string has great feel. After 3 weeks, there is no sign of wear whatsoever and I consider myself more of a power player. There is little to no vibration, but I am using the GB 250 170 that minimizes vibration anyway. The string is ultra thin; thinner than other 18G strings I’ve used and I can really feel the ball pull back on the strings. The string really holds its tension well and it was not pre-stretched. I strung it 2 lbs less than the GB multi 18 that I was using and the thinner diameter Ashaway string reduced the racquet weight by 3 grams even though they’re both 18G strings.  Needless to say, I highly recommend this string.

I have now concluded my test of the Ashaway 18G string and I wanted to give my final thoughts on this string. This string got better and better over time and after a month of playing 4X a week I saw very little wear.  I thought that this string was one of the best strings I’ve ever used but I started to get some arm soreness after the 4th week. Since I’ve had tendonitis before, I had to stop using this string. I’ve never  experienced any soreness when I used the GB 18G or the Prince Premier with Softflex. I didn’t think that the Ashaway was particularly stiff, but definitely not as soft as the previous strings I mentioned.  If you’re not bothered by arm soreness, I would highly recommend this string and it would be well suited to the majority of players out there.

Finally, here is the Ashaway UltraKill rated side-by-side with my previous favorite strings (out of 10):

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Posted in Product Reviews | 212 Comments »

Review: Asics Gel Sensei 3 Racquetball Shoe

January 6th, 2010 by Kyle

I’ve been playing racquetball for over 40 years and without a doubt the court shoes today are an amazing improvement from even 10 or 15 years ago. When I began playing as a teenager in the late 1960’s we all wore Converse Chuck Taylors. It might be cool to wear this retro shoe for some things, but definitely not for a tough racquetball match.

When you’ve played as many practice and tournament matches as I have, you look for a shoe that offers great shock absorption, support, grip and if they look great, that’s an added bonus. Working with Racquetball Warehouse I tried the top shoes from seven different companies. To say I’m picky is an understatement. I selected the Asics Gel-Sensei 3 Asics Gel Sensei 3 and have been extremely pleased. For years I’ve used the flat 1/8” Spenco neoprene insole under the stock insole in my shoes to give me a little more cushioning. After over 25 hours on the court with the ASICS Forefoot and Rearfoot GEL Cushioning System I haven’t had to add the extra cushioning and my knees and legs feel great after a tough match. The ASICS system strategically adds a silicone based gel at high impact areas for shock absorption. It works.

I found my normal 11.5 shoe size was what fit with the Gel-Sensei 3. Wearing two pairs of socks I want the fit to be snug so that I’m not experiencing lateral movement within the shoe. This shoe offers outstanding fit with tremendous support. I don’t normally pay much attention to why a shoe fits so well, but ASICS takes this very seriously. PHR (Personal Heel Fit) is a memory foam lined heel collar that molds to your foot, creating a personal fit. Also, the Biomorphic Fit Upper provides superior fit and function. Add this to the Solytec Midsole Material which is lighter than ASICS standard material for improved cushioning and durability, and you now have the best racquetball shoe that I’ve ever worn. This shoe was actually designed for volleyball, so you can understand why it works so well on the racquetball court.

Another feature you might be interested in is the Impact Guidance System. This enhances the foot’s natural gait from heal strike to toe-off. Also, you players who are tough on your shoes, you’ll like the PGuard that enhances toe durability. As I noted earlier looking great is a bonus and, in my opinion, the Gel-Sensei 3 look great!

Racquetball Warehouse has a rating system on a 1-5 scale to compare shoes in a few different categories. Here’s my rating for the ASICS Gel-Sensei 3:

Comfort – 5

Arch Support – 4.5

Foot Support/Stability – 5

Traction – 5

Looks – 5

Overal Rating – 4.9

Bill Schultz
E-Force Wisconsin Team Leader
Member – Wisconsin Racquetball Hall-of-Fame

Posted in Product Reviews | 274 Comments »