December 30th, 2010 by John Ellis
Lately I’ve been getting a lot of questions by email about situations that are coming up during club play for the players emailing me. Most of the questioning has to do with how to handle situations that involve hinders or other interpretations of the rules. So I thought I’d take a moment and address a few of these issues on the Racquetball Warehouse Blog……. First, let me start with the good ol “PENALTY HINDER”. When should this type of hinder be called while playing non tournament or league matches at your local club? Good question and one that will have a few different answers for different types of people. For me, club play is just practice and meant to be a lot of fun. I’ve been playing racquetball matches since I was five years old, so thirty-three years later, winning a club match for me doesn’t matter a lot and shouldn’t depend on a penalty hinder call. Needless to say, I never call them on my opponent unless my opponent simply can’t live with themselves knowing they definitely were in a penalty hinder position or if they were lying on the ground right in front of me and couldn’t go anywhere. I don’t really care about forcing a player to give me a point during practice, although I will take that same call in a tournament. Why do I do this since you’re suppose to practice like you play? Because it’s just practice to me and I’m not looking for freebies or static between me and my opponent if they don’t agree with the penalty hinder call. Now, I’m not saying you should all be like me in this situation, but it’s an option. If you can’t play that way, then take the call and get ready for the banter that could come with it. And oh yeah, don’t get caught in a penalty hinder position yourself or one that’s even close or you’ll be giving up the call!! A penalty hinder occurs when a player takes away an offensive opportunity for their opponent, regardless if they were trying to get out of the way or not. Obviously without a ref, this situation will most likely be debatable………….. The next most popular topic players are reaching out to me about is the “HOLDING UP A LITTLE, BUT STILL TAKING THE SHOT”. This one cracks me up when I see it at the club because it happens all the time, mostly at the A level and lower and it always produces some arguing on the court. I love it when a player kind of holds up, yet still takes the shot and makes it. They always walk up like they meant to do that and their opponent just stands there and looks at them like they’re scum for taking the shot. OR, they miss the shot and then immediately call the hinder, which of course is really the conversation I’m wanting to see. BOTTOM LINE IS THAT IF YOU TAKE THE SHOT THEN YOU LIVE WITH THE SHOT!! If you don’t take the shot and you hold up for safety then your opponent should understand and oblige you with a hinder. If they give you static because you held up for the hinder in that situation then you know what to do the next time that moment occurs, RIP THEM IN THE ASS. Or the back of the leg, maybe the back fat just above the bum!!!…………. Last example for today is the “CALL FROM OUTSIDE THE COURT”. This happens all of the time too and most of the time it’s a C player out there trying to interject. People, if you’re outside the court and they want help from you on a call, forget about it!! If you don’t say anything then you might find yourself watching an awesome conversation. Why ruin that just because you can’t resist being apart of the play that you have nothing to do with? Did you agree to ref the game before it began? Probably not. I can see maybe rolling your eyes a little to kind of tell them what you think, but don’t say a word. Let them handle it on the court as they should be able to do in any practice play situation. If they’re smart and understanding of the concept that racquetball is just a game then they’ll likely just replay the point. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very competitive and don’t like being taken advantage of, but I’m not that crazed about RB that I can’t just replay some points even if I think I’m getting the short end of the call. I never go home thinking I should have won because of a call. RB does not rule my dome like that and it shouldn’t rule yours either……….. If you find yourself reading this post and thinking that I’m that controversial guy or gal then now is your time to make a change. It’s almost 2011 and you can add these concepts to your New Year’s Resolutions!!! BTW, for those of you that read this blog, I’ll be back tomorrow midday for my Ellistyle Top 20 2011 New Year’s Resolutions. All for now, keep em rollin………………..
Posted in Racquetball Reality | 138 Comments »
December 6th, 2010 by Ben
The ASU Racquetball team just wrapped up the annual Splat Classic Racquetball Tournament which we hosted for the third year in a row. The event itself is always fun, bringing old familiar faces and new friends together right before the Holiday. The tournament has sort of become our first semester ending event, and a gauge for where we are at in terms of our preparation for the Intercollegiate Championships in early April, 2011. While the ECRC schools and the WCRC schools are getting their tournament preparation in by playing other colleges, we have to make do with competing against local players in a regular tournament. Although I think it would be better preparation for us to play other schools for practice, this is the next best thing.
I would have to say one advantage to this isolation we have here in AZ is that we do not “show our hand” until we walk in the door for the Intercollegiate tournament event itself. It is nice to keep our competition guessing, and maybe have a few surprises that we can bring to the table come tournament time. I would assess our fitness level as adequate, but as my players know we will be doing our real training beginning in January when they return from Winter Break. We will be hitting the ground running in the New Year, gearing up for our big showdown in April.
Hosting the Intercollegiate Championships this year has its pros and cons. I would say that an advantage of traveling to a tournament is that for the most part you are totally focused and there for one reason. The kids all have class work to keep up with, and when not playing everyone is supporting their team mates. We spend 24/7 together; the 7 guys and seven girls who went to Springfield last year crammed into 2 rooms each, and I had a room in the middle. We eat every meal together, commute from the hotel to the club together, etc. for four days straight. It can be trying at times, but for the most part I love every minute of it. When we host the tournament, boyfriends/girlfriends show up, Mom and Dad come to watch, kids try to squeeze in classes between matches, and many other pressures and distractions can arise. But, playing on your home courts and sleeping in your own bed is nice sometimes, so I guess it all evens out. We hope to be adding another decal to the wall of Court 1 after this season’s event, but only time will tell.
Happy Holidays everyone, I hope Santa brings you that better backhand you are wishing for!
ASU Head Coach
Posted in The Collegiate Corner | 145 Comments »
December 1st, 2010 by Ben
With all of the technology and engineering Hi-Tec has put into their designs, they really have shoe making down to a science. The M550 is the newest incarnation from Hi-Tec and our playtesters received it with open arms. This shoe hybrids technology and materials used in previous 4:SYS and H700 models to create the perfect player’s shoe. Unbeatable support and a light breathable upper combined with the locking lace system gives your foot the superior ventilation that is usually cast aside with the stifling materials used to provide support.
Our testers tried this shoe out for an average of 20 hours and gave it an overall rating of 4 out of 5. Though views were slightly varied throughout the categories they all agreed that Hi-Tec has produced a high performance shoe for a wide range of skill levels. Our testers for this playtest ranged from B to Top 10 Pro in skill and from 15 to 55 in age. We have paraphrased our tester’s comments below for easier reading:
Out of the box, the shoes were comfortable to wear and had a minimal break-in period. Comfort and Arch Support both received a 4 out of 5 rating on average. After allowing adaptation to the new materials during court movement, all of the testers agreed that the shoes exhibited aspects of comfort that allowed them to forget that they were even wearing shoes, commenting that, “after the initial break in [they] were very comfortable. It is one of the few shoes I’ve worn that allows you not to think about the shoes while playing.”
Foot Support / Stability- 4.5
Stability is where this shoe really shined. All of our testers agreed that the stability was outstanding, “The most stable low tops I have worn.” Even our testers with ankle troubles found the shoe to be very supportive and reassuring when it came to planting and changing directions. Typically stability is sacrificed at the expense of comfort, as softer materials tend to be more comfortable, but lack the stability of a stiffer structure. This was not the case for the M550 as our testers found that the stability played nicely with the comfort.
Backing up the stability was the traction of the shoe, which was well received by our testers. One of the players mentioned that, “On one occasion I was playing with an individual that was slipping all over the court, and I had no problems while wearing the Hi-Tec shoe.” The Peak Force gum rubber outsole is what can take credit for the great traction our testers experienced on a variety of different surfaces.
The only complaints to come from our testers pertained to the fit of the shoe, commenting that the opening seemed a little small, which caused some discomfort with the positioning of the tongue on the foot. The stiff materials presented a problem for some at first but after a brief break in period they could all agree it was not an issue.
With comfort, traction, and stability highlighting the performance of this shoe, it is easy to see how Hi-Tec hit the mark for those looking for a competitive high performance shoe. The testers spoke on their experience and Hi-Tec has the science to back it up, now it’s your turn to give these shoes a run for your money and see how a well-made shoe can amplify your experience on court.
Posted in Product Reviews | 220 Comments »