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New Beginnings

September 28th, 2011 by Ben Croft

As many of you may know in August of this year I accepted an incredible opportunity to work full time as Business Manager for Racquetball Warehouse. I moved to San Luis Obispo, California this past August, and between moving in and starting work, I was ready for this new chapter in my life. Needless to say, my training regimen has taken a backseat and I haven’t been able to do as much on and off court training as I have in the past.

My journey to the first pro stop in Overland Park, Kansas wasn’t ideal. After a seventeen hour traveling debacle, and a 2 a.m. arrival I had finally made it to my hotel room. My first match was scheduled at 1:30 p.m. against Alejandro Herrera, who is always a tough competitor. Being a morning person, I like to have the earliest match possible, so 1:30 wouldn’t be my first choice. But, coming from California, my body’s clock is telling me it’s only 11:30 a.m.

I get to the club about forty-five minutes before I play. That’s my perfect amount of time to prepare mentally and physically. Too much time and I get distracted and too little time and I obviously cannot properly prepare. That day I was extra nervous. There were so many thoughts running through my head. I had doubts of winning, fear of losing, and thoughts about whether or not I could’ve done more to prepare. But one thing I’ve always believed is if you’re not nervous, you’re not ready. I forced myself to push those thoughts aside and focus on the task at hand, advancing through the round of 16’s and into the quarterfinals. As we began playing, it didn’t take long for the butterflies to subside and for me to feel comfortable back in battle! Although noticeably rusty, it felt like any other match on tour. After about an hour, I was able to pull off a four-game win. 6,9,(11),4.

After the round of 16’s now begins my ritual of hydrating, eating, and sleeping. I rarely hang around the club after my first match. I head straight back from the club to get lunch to go then right back to my room. I’ve always been a believer in routine, and I stick to it religiously. Although I’d much rather be around the club to socialize, winning is my main objective.

My next match was at 7:30 p.m. against the number six ranked pro Jose Rojas and I was really motivated to win. Obviously Jose is a top player for a reason, and he is in the prime of his career. I stick to my same routine; I show up around 6:45 p.m. and start to prepare for my match. This time, you never know when you’ll play. With two tough quarterfinal matches in front of me, I go on with the assumption my match will be late. I’m forced to watch the match to see the progress. We try to avoid warming up and cooling down multiple times. The anticipation at this point is brutal! After two rollercoaster games that I was able to pull off, I lost the next game but pulled off the win in four games. 9,9,(7),2. After a long and hard fought match it’s time for a quick late night snack, water, and a good night’s rest. 

Saturday’s are always tough for me. Having made the semifinals numerous times, I’ve only been fortunate enough to advance into the finals once.  I try to prepare as much as I can mentally and physically. But this time, I could feel it wasn’t my day. My body wasn’t in good shape, and I was tired from the late night Friday match. All racquetball players have felt like this before. Knowing that no matter what you do to prepare won’t be enough to win is a helpless feeling. All I could do was go out there and play as hard as I can for as long as I can. Needless to say, there isn’t much to write about my semifinal match against Rocky Carson. It was a lopsided loss for me, and not the outcome I would’ve hoped for. Even when I lose I like to feel like I’ve given it my all, like my opponent knows he had to play his best and work his hardest to beat me. Unfortunately, that Saturday wasn’t my day.

Overall the Novasors Kansas City Pro-Am was an encouraging tournament. Given the circumstances, I walked away with my head held high. For the first time, I went into a tournament with a new perspective. As I continue to work full time and work on my game, I will have to figure out a way to continue to elevate my game with less time. I’m looking forward to the challenge of finding new ways to improve. With the US Open rapidly approaching, I better get off the computer and back to the courts!

Posted in Product Reviews | 132 Comments »

A New Perspective: My Introduction into Racquetball Warehouse

September 7th, 2011 by Jackson


For anyone who plays or has played racquetball, you know, or can at least appreciate, how great of a sport it is.  When the number one player is hitting serves topping out at 193 mph, it’s definitely the fastest of the racquet sports out there.  There’s nothing better than being able to get on a court and blow off some steam from the work week by hitting a little rubber ball as hard as you can.  Between kill shots, splats, ceiling shots, and all the different angles in a modest 40×20 box, your brain is formulating angles and strategy at a speed that puts Superman to shame.  You have to develop the hand-eye coordination to be able to hit balls coming at you from the front wall, as well as having the timing down to hit balls traveling away from you off the back wall, while aiming at a spot just inches above the floor.  Racquetball is also one of the best sports to play for fitness as it gives your body both an aerobic and anaerobic work out – utilizing different fuel sources.  It also has the potential to get your heart-rate up to 85% of its capabilities, burning calories at a relatively astounding rate.  So when you really break it down, racquetball is one of the best sports for your mind, body, and soul; so why does it seem to have the popularity of the Math Club in high school?

There’s a multitude of theories for why racquetball is off the grid.  For one, it’s not easy televising a sport where half the time the ball is traveling so fast you can’t see its path, let alone appreciate what’s going on inside the court; the cost of prime-time television spots doesn’t help either.  Also (and maybe more importantly) its exclusivity, which is a big barrier for many, as most courts tend to reside in members-only sport clubs.  Of course, there’s also the equipment, though there are many cheap options available, equipment can get to be a little pricey.

Now, I feel, is an appropriate time to come clean and confess; I was not born into the world of racquetball – my loyalties rested with its pretty, proper, country-club older brother, tennis.  I resisted against racquetball tooth and nail with the fear that my skills as a tennis player would become muddled with the different techniques and virtually opposite strokes of racquetball.  However after being introduced, playing in tournaments, and harnessing my competitive nature, a new respect for the sport has put down roots, and I feel will soon grow into a love for racquetball.  Being thrown into the racquetball crowd and culture was a bit of a shock, and I have to confess to the nerves I experienced when one starts something completely new.  As my athleticism now starts to translate to this new game I feel a strong urge to make waves in this sport.  My newly founded enthusiasm is one that my predecessors and current co-workers here at Racquetball Warehouse have possessed and have been trying to spread since even before the company’s inception in 2004.

This drive and desire to grow the sport is fueled by an uncorrupted passion, an almost naivety of a sheltered child in a new world.  Working for Racquetball Warehouse gives myself and the rest of the staff here a unique opportunity to reach out and help to make others see all the benefits, and most importantly, the fun this sport provides.  Everyone I’ve met through tournaments and in the clubs have shown how much the love for this sport can blur lines between age, race, and gender and promote friendly competition while keeping yourself healthy and active.  Now that we’re in a time in American history where approximately 3/4′s of our nation’s states have obesity rates of 25% or higher, I think it’s time that everyone picked up a racquet and joined our seemingly underground movement of battling in a sweat box.  It’s our mission at Racquetball Warehouse as racquetball players and fans, to help grow the sport for the benefit of the sport itself, as well as the well-being and health of people all over the world; our goals and desires go beyond the world of business.  Yes, we offer the best customer service in the business and guarantee the lowest prices, but we also put ourselves out there as individuals and are constantly brainstorming and strategizing as to how we can motivate as many people as possible to enjoy all the fruits that this fast, fun, and slightly dangerous sport, has to offer.

-Jackson, RBW.

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