Racquetball Strategies

There are five important strategies to help improve your play, regardless of your skill level.

  1. Control Center Court It's the position near or just behind the short line (dotted line). From this position you have a good chance of reaching all portions of the court. This will permit you to have offensive rather than defensive shot selection.

  2. Hit to Your Opponent's Weakness Often this means picking on your opponent's backhand, or perhaps suspect ceiling game. Don't assume this to be the case, however, since at the upper levels of play, the backhand is likely to be the player's better stroke!

  3. Hit Away From Your Opponent Hit pinch shots, kills and drop shots when your opponent is in backcourt. Hit passing shots and ceiling shots when your opponent is in center court. Hit to the right side if your opponent is to your left, and vice versa. Constantly keep your opponent on the run and make his shots more difficult to execute.

  4. Shoot for the Corners Hit most shots into back corners, in particular the backhand corner. This is the farthest back you can pin your opponent. Returns must travel a greater distance, giving your opponent the greatest opportunity for error. Also, the corners make swinging more difficult. Strange angles and rebounds add to the difficulty.

  5. Be Patient and Play the Ball Low Let the ball drop low rather than rushing it and playing it high. The lower you play the ball, the lower it will hit the front wall and the more difficult it will be for your opponent to return.

Now as you advance in your playing skills you should incorporate additional strategies into your game. Knowing your abilities and your opponent's skill level are essential parts of racquetball strategy. These strategies can change from match to match, game to game and even point to point.

  • Aggressive Shot Selection This strategy involves three steps. First, employ the kill, the most offensive shot in the game. If you cannot kill the shot, then go for a good passing shot. If you cannot kill or pass, then hit a ceiling ball and await the next offensive opportunity.

  • Ball Height Strategy If you can contact the ball at knee level or lower, kill it. If it's between your knee and waist, then hit the passing shot. It it's above your waist, go for the ceiling. With this strategy, you are selecting the shot with the least chance of error based on the height of the ball.

  • Two-Shot Strategy With this strategy, you kill EVERYTHING except the chest-high or higher ball. Those you take to the ceiling. You hit no passing shots, drop shots or an other kind of shots. Kill almost every ball unless it is too high. This strategy is only for the most advanced players.

  • Court Positioning Strategy This involves the relative court positions of you & your opponent. If your opponent is between you and the front wall and you have a setup below the waist, you hit a passing shot. If your opponent is behind you and you have a setup, you kill it.

  • Serving Strategy If you are serving, you seek to always be on the offensive and take risks involving offensive shots. Ie, hit kills while serving. However, when you are receiving, hit passes rather than kills, and ceiling shots rather than passes. You don't take risks when receiving.

Larry Peterson