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………………..