New Court Shoe: Mizuno now at Racquetball Warehouse

August 23rd, 2011 by Jackson

Mizuno Tornado 6 Shoes
Playtest

When I first saw these shoes I wondered how much support the shoe could have with the gap between the bottom of the shoe and the rubber sole.  I have a weak ankle, and support is key to me when it comes to racquetball shoes.  I thought I would give these a try.  Most recently, I have been wearing the Asics Gel Volley Lyte and the Adidas 6-3-1 CC shoes.  Both of those shoes have been performing well for me, so I was reluctant to try another shoe, but went for it.

I have a narrow foot, and these shoes are ideal for individuals who have a hard time with the fit of the typical wide racquetball shoe.  When I put the shoe on, it fit great.  Was a little snug initially, but after about 10 minutes, was as comfortable as any shoe I have worn in a while.  The look of this shoe caught my attention right away.  It is sharp, classy and not overdone with colors.  The material is breathable and so far, rugged.

I have now worn this shoe approximately 16 hours playing both indoor and outdoor racquetball.  In both locations, the shoe performed well beyond my expectations.  The shoe is light enough to allow quick movements on the court, but sturdy enough to give the support on quick cuts and change in direction.  I have even slipped on a wet spot on the court and these shoes held up great.

Breathability is good.  I didn’t notice an issue good or bad on these shoes in that area, which tells me that they breathe good enough.  Even after several games on an outdoor court in 85 degree weather, my feet were not hot.

Overall, this is a great shoe.  As I mentioned earlier, I have been wearing the Adidas and Asics shoes over the past 6 months.  This shoe provides better traction and support than the Asics shoe, and is more comfortable than the Adidas.  Again, this shoe is not for individuals with a wide foot.  It has a narrow fit and will fit tight to your feet.

Tornado 6 Shoe

Posted in Product Reviews, The Collegiate Corner | 224 Comments »

Keeping Fit During the Off-Season

July 28th, 2011 by Jackson

Jesse Serna

By Jesse Serna

Physical Trainer & Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Summertime in Stockton is a busy time of the year for racquetball even though there are no tournaments, shootouts, leagues won’t start until the fall, and the IRT’s first Grand Slam of the year is still little over a month away. It is the off season and in Stockton that means up and coming professionals Jose Rojas, David Horn, Jose Diaz, and Jose Serrano are in the midst of serious training to prepare for the 2011-2012 season. The guys are using this time to improve their games through sessions of hard work both on and off the court. During the competitive season it is difficult to make changes to their games and their bodies, so the extra time offered by the off season really needs to be taken advantage of if they are to get better. For players of all abilities, this is the opportunity to improve your game. It takes planning, work and more than a little sacrifice, but when it gets you that one win that you REALLY want (and as racquetball players we all have at least one) it will be worth it!

Make a plan

As the Speed and Strength Coach for the Stockton Pros, I sat down with Coach Dave Ellis and we put together a program for our player’s off season training. Planning is the first part of an off season routine, and this step cannot be underestimated. Sometimes it takes a little assistance during this initial phase. Consulting with your club pro and/or a personal trainer familiar with movement analysis can get this process started. This plan needs to cover how long the program will run, how many hours each week the player has to train and practice, an analysis of what the player needs to improve upon, and how this work will make the player better.

Focus on Weaknesses

What areas on the court are your greatest liabilities? Identify what limits success, and focus on improvement in these areas. If fatigue is a factor, strength and conditioning need to be addressed. Mobility, flexibility, balance and coordination all affect the ability to execute proper foot work and stroke mechanics. Training weaknesses requires letting egos go and being uncomfortable. Working through this discomfort not only improves weaknesses, but trains the mind to be strong in times of struggle (an invaluable racquetball skill)

Play Less

Here is that part where you have to sacrifice. Exchange time that is normally spent playing racquetball, for time spent getting better at racquetball. This is not to say eliminate playing, but don’t play as much. If the temptation is too much, leave all racquets and gear at home. If it is a day you are supposed to drill, get to the club a little earlier than normal. Make getting better, not just playing, the priority.

Work at game speed

To get the most transfer effect from all training and drilling, the work must be done at game speed. Racquetball requires maximal exertion and focus, and training intensity should reflect that reality. That does not mean simply going hard or fast, but producing maximal effort without sacrifice to quality of execution. Relate what you are training specifically to racquetball, while understanding how it improves play to maintain focus and purpose in off season training.

Train Like a Stockton Pro

With so many up and coming players training in Stockton, the local clubs take on a camp feel. These young men identified the value in training together, pushing each other to become better every training session. Two times a week they work together doing plyometrics, agility drills, playing medicine ball tennis, spinning, doing resistance and core training, and at least another two days individually dedicated to strength and conditioning. Three weekly practices conducted by Coach Dave Ellis focus on specific racquetball skill improvement. Not typical summer vacations for a group of college students, but these young men understand that all the off season sweat and effort will pay off all season long. Check in with these pros on the Official Ektelon Facebook page all summer long, and get ideas for your off season program.

Free Training from Home

Visit the Racquetball Warehouse Media Center for free instructional videos covering all of the fundamentals with strength and conditioning coach Jesse Serna, top pro Jose Rojas, and retired top 5 pro John Ellis. You can find videos that cover just about every aspect of the game so you can fine-tune the aspects that will make the biggest difference for you!

Posted in Racquetball Tips | 147 Comments »

The Evolution of Racquetball Technology

May 17th, 2011 by Ben

Just about every year, each racquet company releases a new ‘technology,’ whether an improvement on a past design, a supplemental technology for combined performance, or a revolutionary introduction that completely changes racquet feel and playability. We haven’t seen the latter for a few years but revolutionizing racquet technology is no easy feat. As we are quickly approaching the new product season, you will begin to hear the buzz and see the sneak peaks of new racquets on the horizon but before that happens, let’s take a look at the recent evolutions.

Ektelon – O3 to EXO3 Technology

Ektelon first introduced the O3 Technology in 2005, a truly revolutionary approach to racquet design. The O3 technology consists of large holes in the frame of the racquet, rather than traditional grommet holes, increasing string movement by eliminating the friction between strings and grommets. The end result: a larger sweet spot and more lively string bed for more power and improved playability.

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These round ports next evolved into the Speedport Technology, changing into rectangular holes for further increased string movement and improved airflow through the frame for a faster swing and improved maneuverability. Ektelon further changed the frames in 2009 to incorporate the EXO3 Technology. This technology removed more graphite from the frame and now suspended the strings from “Energy Bridge Inserts,” further increasing the sweet spot, string bed movement, and added power to the frame. Ektelon continues to fine tune and improve this technology to maximize power and string bed response so stay tuned for the new line.

Head – Liquidmetal to d3o

Head has been all about material technology, introducing revolutionary materials into their graphite racquets to get the perfect balance of power and performance. They introduced Liquidmetal in 2004, a unique composite with a liquid atomic structure located in key areas on the frame to minimize energy lost in ball impact, transferring the maximum power possible back to the ball.

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Head next introduced Microgel in 2007, a super low-density material with high stiffness to lower weight and again maximize energy return and power while dispersing any negative energy throughout the frame. Most recently in 2010, Head took it one step further with d3o, a smart material that changes behavior under dynamic loading to stiffen when you swing your hardest and stay flexible when you want to make those touch shots. Combined with these space age materials, Head has added proprietary technologies – the Inner Grommet System for maximum string bed movement and Corrugated Technology at the throat to increase stiffness and energy return. Head has focused on creating racquets that cater to individual player’s strengths; keep your eyes open for what is new in 2011.

E-Force – Longstrings to Heatseeker

E-Force has more technology in their frames than any other company and is very proud of this heritage. The most notable technology unique to E-Force racquets is the hollow handle with vertical strings that extend the entire length from butt cap to head. This technology has continued to evolve over the years, now incorporating all mains, a unique string pattern and dampened Zero Richter Tubes to create the largest, most powerful string bed in the market, so they say. Combined with the unique Dual Cylinder profile of their frames, E-Force has constantly pushed the envelope of frame technology to maximize power.

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In 2009 E-Force introduced the Powerhouse Shaft, which visually increased handle length at the throat. This strategically placed graphite stiffens the throat, moves the flex point of the racquet closer to the sweet spot and increases whip and snap in your swing. In 2010, they introduced the Heatseeker, which combined existing tech with a new grommet technology and an improved graphite lay up to make the most stable E-Force racquet ever. Can they keep reinventing the racquet? We will see this year..

Pro Kennex – Kinetic Technology

ProKennex has been a quiet force in racquet technology, though Kane has loudly brought PK to the forefront in recent years. ProKennex invented the revolutionary Kinetic Technology, which has been featured in publications such as Popular Science, ESPN, and Time, and was proven in tests by MIT. The Kinetic Technology utilizes free-floating micro bearings that ‘load’ on ball impact and explode foreword unleashing kinetic energy to increase power while simultaneously absorbing shock and vibration from ball impact, producing some of the most arm-friendly racquets available.

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ProKennex further advanced the Kinetic technology with an ionic coating that reduces friction to maximize the effectiveness of the micro bearings. Their other proprietary technologies of note are the Quad Technology that focuses weight in key locations around the sweet spot to increase stability, and the String Suspension Technology, which reduces string-grommet friction to increase string bed movement. What new technology will the #1 player in the world be using in the 2011 season?

What does it all mean?

Why should you care about any of these technologies and marketing stories? Because they are real, and they change how the racquets play. You cannot find the right racquet for your game if you do not know what options you have, and as new products are released this year it will only get more confusing. At Racquetball Warehouse we do our best to simplify racquets and to educate the players about what products they are using. We are really excited about new racquets coming out this year and we want you to share our excitement! Check the website often for sneak peaks, pre-sales, and exclusive offers and follow us on facebook for all of the latest racquetball news!

Homepage: www.racquetballwarehouse.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Racquetball-Warehouse/151007447801?ref=ts

Posted in General | 162 Comments »

In-Shape WPRO Championships presented by Ektelon

April 25th, 2011 by John Ellis

Hey Racquetballers, I hope you all had a Happy Easter Sunday and a nice weekend off from tournament play.  I’m not sure how many tournaments were taking place this past weekend with the exception of the IRF Pan Am Champs in Nicaragua, but that one event had a huge upset victor in Mexico’s Daniel De La Rosa.  De La Rosa was able to win the Men’s Singles with a victory over both US and Canada’s top players en route.  His victory over Crowther in the finals is probably the biggest finals upset that event has ever witnessed.  De La Rosa will certainly be a threat to win the 18 & Under World Champs this summer and will be an outstanding professional during his career.  He plays with poise, smart game plans and a little chip, which is exactly what you need to succeed in professional racquetball.  I look forward to watching my dudes from Stockton play Daniel a bunch over the next 15 years!!

But now on to what I really meant to write about and that’s the upcoming In-Shape WPRO Championships this coming weekend here at our home club in Stockton, CA.  This is the third year in a row and fifth out of six years that we’ve hosted a Tier One WPRO Stop either in Stockton or Sacramento.  We’ve been fortunate enough to have nice support from a few local business owners and a few “friends of racquetball” when it comes to raising the $10K to host the WPRO.  This area loves professional racquetball whether its the men or the women and I know we’ll have great crowds throughout the weekend.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care who made the finals as we’re no different from other WPRO cities in that we want to see the big rivalry between Paola and Rhonda go down here in the 209.  It was an awesome final last year with Paola outlasting Rhonda in a tough fought five game battle.  But, I do know that there are a few other gals on the WPRO that are capable of taking one or both of them down so whomever reaches the final, we know we’ll be in for a great match.

I get asked a lot why I host a WPRO Stop and not an IRT Stop.  There are a few key answers, but it should be clear that I would love to host an IRT Stop and believe that we will eventually bring back the Stockton Pro-Am, which used to be the longest running pro stop in the game.  But for now, my ties are connected to the women’s game and the WPRO.  The fact that racquetball has become even more of a man’s game over the past 10 years is really a sad situation and one that I want to help drastically change.  I grew up at a club where we had almost as many women playing racquetball as men and the atmosphere at the club was awesome because of this.  The social aspect of racquetball is one major factor that drew me and my parents to the game of racquetball and that social atmosphere is barely alive, even at the national level.  I believe that this mostly has to do with the lack of women at events.  It’s just not that much fun to have a tournament with 95% of the players being men.  Our WPRO Stop takes on a different vibe because of having so many women in the club at the same time.  I can’t explain it in detail other than it’s just that natural feeling of men and women being involved in the same thing, making most everyone feel like they’re apart of something special.  Of course my dad has held the position over the past two years as Deputy Commissioner for the WPRO and that certainly influences my decision to host a WPRO Stop.  And, yes I’m apart of the Ektelon Management Staff so it makes sense to have a WPRO Stop with Ektelon being the Official Ball of the WPRO.  But, I’m very pro IRT and look forward to the year that we get back to hosting the guys here in Stockton.  I believe the IRT is heading in a good direction and their schedule looks solid for next season, plus we have plenty of players here in Stockton that would love to play a pro stop at their home club.  It will eventually happen…….

But for now, let’s embrace women’s racquetball here in Stockton and prepare to enjoy a great weekend event.  We need it around here as the Shootouts have taken over the tournament scene and the nature of shootouts is not very social at all.  Having said that, we need the women of Nor Cal to sign up and support this tournament.  The numbers are not great for this event as we’re at about 120 players today, which happens to be the deadline date.  Hopefully we’ll see a spike in the number of entrants today, especially with the amateur women.  Come on ladies, what better way to get motivated about your racquetball game then to watch the best females in the game at the same event you’re playing??

Lastly, I’m very thankful to Racquetball Warehouse for being apart of our sponsorship team.  As the Official Retailer of the In-Shape WPRO Championships presented by Ektelon, they provide a ton of stability for this event and a service that most tournaments don’t have anymore.  RW has been a great partner for me over the past seven years and to be honest, without them in my life, I might be out of RB at this point and doing something else for my living.  I can’t thank them enough!!  Please support RW whenever possible and feel free to use my referral code of RWEllis whenever you order online.  This code does not make me any income, it’s there for you!!

If you’ve read this far down my blog today then I want to thank you for taking the time to read my rant!!  Best wishes to all of the RBers and remember to Keep Em Rollin…………………….

John Ellis

Posted in Racquetball Reality | 90 Comments »

Racquetball Warehouse Signs as Official Retailer of USA Racquetball

March 24th, 2011 by Ben

[San Luis Obispo, CA] – Racquetball Warehouse and USA Racquetball announced their agreement to make Racquetball Warehouse the Official Retailer of USA Racquetball and the USAR Instructor Program, bringing new content to the USAR website for a more rewarding experience for all members and visitors.

The agreement comes as no surprise as Racquetball Warehouse continues to grow their national presence, according to Manager Ben LoBue. “We are very excited to be partnered with the sport’s governing body and national instructor program. In combination with current partnerships with the IRT and IRTNetwork, we feel we have the necessary resources to really help grow participation in racquetball both internationally and at a grassroots level while providing a complete and satisfying experience for all of our customers.”

Be sure to support your national organization if you do not already and check the USAR website often for racquetball news and updated links and content from Racquetball Warehouse.

Posted in General | 147 Comments »

Product Comparison – Python Gloves

March 22nd, 2011 by Ben

Racquetball warehouse has given me another opportunity to give feedback on a few gloves. The difference in this review versus the previous one I did is this is a brand new product that I had no history or opinion on prior to use. I have used python products for the past couple of years, and have a general positive opinion about them as a company.

I have had the opportunity to use these gloves for about a month, so I have had ample opportunity to develop an opinion on the product. I used these gloves with a racquet fitted with a python rubber grip.

Python Deluxe – View at RW

My first impression was this was the best looking glove out of the group. Turned out, it was the best glove out of the three. The fit initially was very good. It was snug and tight. I have not been a fan of gloves that have a strip through the palm, so I was hesitant on this glove from the beginning. This glove has played very well. The strip in the palm gives a bit of extra grip without being intrusive. This glove stretched out a bit and became softer after several uses. It was not to the point of making it difficult to play with, but it was noticeable. Overall, a very good glove, and I would not hesitate to add this to my collection of gloves to use for a tournament.

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Python Copperhead - View at RW

Based on price, this would be considered the middle glove of the group. Right out of the package this glove fit well, and played well. The grip was very good and the mesh backing allowed the glove to breathe well when playing. After a couple of games I found that the glove stretched and I had several issues with gripping the racquet with this glove. I tend to sweat quite a bit and this glove did not hold up well when dampness. The dampness is balanced out with the fact that my hands did not sweat as much due to the breathability of the glove.

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Python Super Tack - View at RW

Initially I looked at this glove and thought “this looks good.” I really like the looks of this glove. At the low end of price, I did not have high expectations when I used this glove. The fit was good and tight right out of the package. I was not initially pleased on how the glove played as I was having slippage of the grip. This glove was the rare exception that started to play better after a few usages. The more I played with the glove, the better it became. The durability is great and it didn’t seem to lose anything after a few uses. It actually got better. For a low price glove, you can’t go wrong with the Super Tack.

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Written by Jeff Kettering

Elite level player

Representative of the pros

Friend of Racquetball Warehouse

Posted in Product Reviews | 206 Comments »

His Name is David Bobby Horn – The Other Stockton Baller

March 11th, 2011 by John Ellis

I realize there are many good young players around the states and definitely in Mexico and I’m not trying to claim Stockton, CA as the best of the young guns.  BUT, we do have solid representation in the age range of 17-21.  It all begins with Jose Rojas of course.  He’s earned that recognition so far with his countless Junior National and World Titles, two Collegiate National Titles and his solid start to an IRT career with a #8 ranking and his upset wins over Jack Huczek, Ben Croft, Shane Vanderson and the Commish, Jason Mannino.  Jose has lost a few matches to players that will not have the career he’ll have, but let’s not forget that he’s only 20 years old, a full time college student, a kid from the East Side of Stockton who’s parents have kept a close blanket over him so that he stays alive and involved in a serious relationship, which always takes one’s attention.  Now, I’m not saying Jose is a sure thing future #1 player, that’s yet to be determined.  He hasn’t had the start that the greatest of all times have had, meaning he’s not Hogan, Swain, Monchik, Waselenchuck or Huczek.  Those guys won stops early, before their 20’s, but he’s also in the era of the greatest of all time in Kid Kane. BTW, Yellen is apart of the greatest of all time list, but I believe he did his first winning after the age of 20, but I’m also not 100% sure of that. The point is that Rojas will be a top 5 player in due time and he will win stops.  He’s in this game for the long haul and those that think he won’t be a major force by the time he’s 27-28 are crazy.  He’s only 20, he’ll peak in eight years!!

Enough about Rojas, someday he’ll be happy with just being the best player in his own family with brother Markie already taking a tournament match from him…… I’m writing today to talk about this Horn kid from Stockton.  David “Bobby” Horn is now 21 years old and I speak from experience when I say that he is already one of the fastest humans on the court that I’ve ever scene.  It’s raw speed and he doesn’t know how to handle it just yet, but he’s super fast.  He’s 6’0, 170 lbs of pure muscle and has an attitude of “I don’t give a s__t about any of the top players.  He’s respectful and fun to be around off the court, but on the court, he brings an attitude that can get under one’s skin.  His diving ability personally makes me nervous as I always fear that one of his flying gets will end right in the middle of my 38 year old knees, finally putting me down for the count.  But, it’s on my mind and it will be on the mind’s of IRT players over the next decade and a half.  What most don’t realize about Bobby is that he didn’t begin playing until he was 14 years old.  He was the kid hanging around the club, playing hoops and generally just looking for something to do.  He and Jose Diaz first struck up a relationship playing hoops at the club, which of course was a schooling for Diaz as Bobby was a starting point guard for his high school team.  This led to Horn trying racquetball, and from that first moment, he had natural abilities.  He’s only been playing serious for six years while all the other Stocktonians having been racquetballing since they were 5 years old.  Like any young player, Bobby will not peak for another seven or eight years, but the experience he’ll gain over that time will be his racquetball experience and I’m telling you all, he’ll be a solid pro that will threaten to win a stop at some point in his career.  He has a team of friends around him that want the same thing for themselves, but will also do whatever it takes to help him accomplish his goals.  That’s the bonus Bobby has with being from Stockton.

Bobby plays Kane today at 11:30am and it’s likely that the match will be a three game win for the #1 player.  It might even be a rout, but this experience will go along way to what will be a successful racquetball career.  If you haven’t watched Bobby Horn play yet, then today is a great opportunity to get your first look at this talented, but extremely raw player.  You’ll enjoy his speed and his ability to shotmake, although the latter might not be as available today with Kane being his opponent.  You’ll also get a kick out of his little “Stockton mustache” too!!  They all seem to think that is the cool style now adays.  I don’t get it……. Enjoy the matches from Tampa, especially my boy Bobby Horn.

Posted in Racquetball Reality | 328 Comments »

Women’s Racquetball Day – It’s a Necessity!!

March 3rd, 2011 by John Ellis

If you’re a racquetball manager for a health club or you’re prominent enough of a racquetball player in your area that you have permission to host racquetball events, then one event you most try is what I’ve entitled Women’s Racquetball Day.  Now, I’m definitely not trying to claim this title as mine, since I’m sure others have hosted this type of event with this name in the past, but here in Northern California, we’re committed to hosting Women’s Racquetball Days at the In-Shape Sport Clubs.

What are Women’s Racquetball Days?  Well, they could be whatever you want them to be with the obvious focus on getting many women together in the club from your region to enjoy a day of racquetball.  Women really do want to play racquetball with each other more so than only be forced to play singles with men or mixed doubles.  The problem is that most clubs no longer have a strong contingency of women racquetball players, so women that enjoy playing with other women are forced to play with only one or two other women from their club.  That will eventually get stale and a bit boring.  The In-Shape Women’s Racquetball Days will all be five hour events, making it well worth the effort for women to drive longer distances since they’ll have the club’s courts for an extended period of times.  The commraderie that’s built with these events is awesome to be apart of and very motivating for the players.  It is to be hoped that our Women’s Racquetball Days will lead to more women deciding to play our In-Shape Shootouts and Tournaments so that I can again begin offering women’s divisions in all events.  With my position as Racquetball Director with In-Shape, these Women’s Racquetball Days also provide me a great venue to promote our In-Shape WPRO Championships presented by Ektelon, which is naturally all about women’s racquetball with the best female players in the world attending the tournament.  NOTE, always welcome beginning players to this event and have a separate plan for how to make the day fun for them as well………… Here’s two separate itineraries for how to host a Women’s Racquetball Day.  If you do decide to try an event like this, make it your own in some way by adding a unique feature to the day’s events.

Women’s RB Day Itinerary One (9 courts)

9AM-9:15AM: Opening Discussion & Introduction of Instructional Staff

- Ten instructors will be on hand to assist.

9:15AM-9:25AM: Walk Through of Interval Drills & Contests

9:25AM-9:40AM: Warm-up

- Three to four players per court. Basic warm up.

9:40AM-11AM: (10 minute intervals)

Court 1 – FH & BH Down the Line Target Contest (15 shots from each side, behind the encroachment line)

Court 2 – Racquetball Aerobic Games (1min 30 sec)

Court 3 – Drive Serve Target Contest (15 serves to each side)

Court 4 – Pinch Drill (30 sec, 1 min, 1 min 30 sec intervals)

Court 5 – Lob Serve Contest (15 serves DTL from both sides)

Court 6 – Center Court Cross over ball toss hitting drill

Court 7 – Wide Angle Contest (15 shots from both sides, behind the encroachment line)

Court 8 – Splat/Down the Line Drill

Court 9 – Ceiling Ball Contest (Most cosecutive from each side, 2 attempts per player)

11:00AM-12:30PM: Organized Doubles Play (8 min intervals, King Court Style)

11:30PM-1:00PM: Lunch Throughout

1PM-2PM: Singles or Mixed Doubles Play

2PM-2:30: Closing Remarks & Free Play

Women’s RB Day Itinerary Two

10AM-10:30AM: Check In, Partner Pairing, Court Assignment & Introduction of Intructional Staff

- Partners will be assigned by a drawing. All players will put their name in an intermediate or advanced box for selection. Beginners will be kept seperate for doubles play….. Ten instructors will be on hand to assist.

10:30AM-10:45AM: Warm Up

10:45AM-12:30PM: Doubles Queen’s Court (intermediate and advanced)

12:30PM-1PM: Lunch

1PM-3PM: Mini clinics (4 courts, 30 minute sessions)

Court 6 – Serve & Serve Return

Court 7 – Various Hitting Drills

Court 8 – On Court Speed & Agility Drills

Court 9 – Basic Forehand & Backhand Mechanics

1PM-3PM: Singles Challenge Courts (4 courts)

Court 1 – Advanced

Court 2 – Intermediate/Advanced

Court 3 – Intermediate

Court 4 – Beginner/Intermediate

1PM-3PM: Hard Hit Contest (court 5)

3PM-4PM: Closing remarks & Mixed Doubles

Best of luck to all of you out there that decide to host your own Women’s RB Day.  Make it an In-Shape Day!!

John Ellis

Posted in Racquetball Reality | 123 Comments »

Why a Tournament Director Should Sanction

February 19th, 2011 by John Ellis

As a tournament director that hosts 20+ racquetball tournaments/shootouts per year, I get asked why I sanction my tournaments quite a bit.  Naturally the club players that are not diehard tournament players question why they have to join a state organization for $50 Annual Membership when they’re only going to play one or two events per year.  Even the $20 One Event Fee annoys these players and definitely forces them to question their participation.  So, I prefer to have the conversation with these players so they can get a true understanding of why I sanction 99% of my In-Shape events.  Generally, my explanation will give them the understanding they need and often lead to a new yearly member of the California State Racquetball Association (CSRA).  Here’s my list of reasons why I sanction my In-Shape Racquetball events.

Liability is by far the number one reason I sanction events.  With the insurance coverage that the USAR has in place for it’s state affiliates, I believe it’s my duty to make sure that my tournament players have coverage if something happens to them at the club or on the court.  I would never assume that all the event players would have their own personal insurance to cover any accidents that may occur and I want to make sure that if something does happen to a player, their first concern isn’t about how they’re going to pay for that initial visit to the doctor or hospital.  One might ask, doesn’t In-Shape cover the liability for people in their clubs?  Of course, but I’m an outside entity hosting events using their courts, and even though waivers are signed for non In-Shape members on both my end and In-Shape’s, I do not believe that In-Shape should have to worry about injuries that happen due to my racquetball events.

The R2 site is a close second to the insurance coverage when it comes to sanctioning.  Ryan and Tish Rodgers have created a program that has revolutionized the tournament directing industry and the accessability that directors have with the racquetball tournament playing public is a powerful source.  I was with Ryan and Tish from the beginning when it came to R2 and in the early years, I kind of felt like their test dummy!  There were some late nights with the program when they first had it up and running due to the kinks that existed, but over time, they’ve hammered out a program that works nearly flawlessly for every event.  If I do have an issue then I send out a quick email to Ryan and he gives me the answer in minutes.  Usually it’s an answer that I should have thought of myself, but regardless, they’re customer service is awesome.  The truth is, I can send an email to thousands of racquetball players promoting my upcoming event in a matter of minutes.  There is no substitution for that type of advertising.  The ease of creating the draws and times are the bonus to the whole situation.  Of course, the players themselves are now able to follow the event throughout the process.  I really does not get much cooler than that!

Advertising on the CSRA website (www.californiaracquetball.org) is a factor for me when hosting events.  I know there are over a thousand CSRA members and I’m sure a good percentage of those players are checking the state website to see what events are upcoming.  Unlike many states, California does a fantastic job of updating their website when it comes to the schedule plage.  I try to stay about two months ahead on promoting my upcoming In-Shape events so you’ll constantly see In-Shape’s presence on this site.

You can’t host a racquetball tournament without racquetballs.  As a sanctioned CSRA event, you’ll receive the new Ektelon balls needed to successfully host your event.  This will save you at least $75 in expenses and of course, the players appreciate being able to use a new Ektelon ball for their matches.

Although I’ve had a few gripes about the CSRA and certainly the USAR over the years, the fact is I’m pro state/national organization.  I love this game and want to see the sport consistently thriving.  To do that, national organizations, state organizations, event directors and players have to work together to grow racquetball’s numbers so that we can continue to grow as an entity that has value in numbers and organization.  This includes the entire sport of racquetball, the IRT, WPRO, WOR, IRF and every other association out there.  National, regional and local businesses need to see the value in numbers if we’re ever going to receive financial support from outside the industry.

I could go on for a while and probably come up with another 5-10 points about why I sanction all of my In-Shape events, but these are the main reasons.  Support your state association.  If the association is not performing up to par then ask yourself what you can do to help the situation.  If you’re not willing to help then you can’t complain.  I’m not saying being a board member for a state racquetball association is for everyone, I’ve yet to be on the CSRA Board, but not sanctioning your events are not helping anyone in the sport, not even your local members that complain about a small yearly payment.  I know times are tough for people financially, but the insurance coverage alone should end the conversation on why all racquetball players should be USAR members.

Posted in Racquetball Reality | 108 Comments »

The Pro’s Perspective – Vol. 2 Part II

February 16th, 2011 by Ben

Racquetball Warehouse Sponsors 4 players on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) and 1 player on the Women’s Professional Racquetball Tour (WPRO). In this series we let you into a glimpse of their lives, impressions, challenges and victories throughout their careers as professional athletes. Our sponsored players are:

Rocky Carson – IRT #2 – http://www.racquetballwarehouse.com/proplayer2.html?ccode=CARSON
Ben Croft – IRT #3 – http://www.racquetballwarehouse.com/proplayer2.html?ccode=BCROFT
Chris Crowther – IRT #5 – http://www.racquetballwarehouse.com/proplayer2.html?ccode=CROWTHER
Jose Rojas – IRT #9 – http://www.racquetballwarehouse.com/proplayer2.html?ccode=JROJAS
Rhonda Rajsich – WPRO #2 – WPRO Pro Player Gallery coming soon..

In our last Pro’s Perspective Article we were unable to include our phenom Ektelon player – Jose Rojas. Here is his story:

I feel like I ended 2010 on a great note, making almost every quarter  and a semi. I do wish I could have done much better in Colombia, but  even then I felt as my ankle was going to fall off. I really had no  control over that. After the US Open,which I didn’t play at my best, I  felt as if I could do much better than what I have been and proved it  at the next tournament in Chihuahua. That has to be my highlight of  2010  when I made the Semi and came really close to making the first  final in my career, losing in 5 to Alvaro Beltran. I am really looking  forward to the next half of the season in 2011 as I feel stronger and  more confident then ever. Although the month of January has been  pretty much a slump for me losing in the 16′s 2 out of the three  tournaments, I still feel mentally stronger than I did in Chihuahua.

Make sure to check back often for more insight and updates from the Racquetball World!

RW Staff

Posted in The Pro's Perspective | 189 Comments »

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