Racquetball FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)


This is a part of Tom Arneberg's racquetball info page
Subject: Racquetball FAQ

####################### FAQ -- General Questions & Answers
### SCCS version:   @(#)rqb.faq	1.47
### Last modified:  5/14/97 at 12:47:04
### Maintained by:  Thomas R. Arneberg, toma@arneberg.com

   alt.sport.racquetball FAQ

This file is the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) for the usenet
newsgroup alt.sport.racquetball.  Please send email to toma@arneberg.com if 
you have corrections or additions.

This file and other racquetball info is available on the World Wide Web
from a racquetball information page at this URL address:


As with all usenet newsgroups, proper "netiquette" would have you read 
the FAQ files before posting questions to the newsgroup.

Happy killing,
  - Tom A.  
;-) I'd rather be ____  Thomas R. Arneberg   | email: toma@arneberg.com  
:-) singing in a |____| IC Design Group      | web: http://arneberg.com
:-) Barbershop  _|   _| SGI (former Cray)    | MADD Member (Mathematicians 
:-) Quartet!   (_)  (_) Chippewa Falls, Wisc.|   Against Drunk Deriving)

Note: there are many references in this file to the "rules".  Whenever
these are mentioned, they refer to the OFFICIAL RULES OF RACQUETBALL
published by the American Amateur Racquetball Association (AARA).
There is a link to these rules on the above web page.

Another note: Both males and females can play racquetball.  But I detest
having to read text with "him or her," "he or she," "his or hers," etc. 
all over the place.  So when I say the words "him," "his," "guy," and "he," 
I am referring to any generic human being.  I guess that makes me 
politically incorrect... so sue me!  :-)

QUESTIONS      ! means new or changed since last posting
  QG01: What is racquetball?
  QG02: What racquetball organizations can I join? (AARA, USPRA, PARI/AmPRO)
  QG03: What magazines are available that cover racquetball?
  QG04: What books can I buy about racquetball?
  QG05: What videotapes can I buy to learn more about racquetball?
  QG06: Are there any good mail order places to order racquetball supplies?
  QG07: What can I do to help stop my strings from breaking?
  QG08: What's the relationship between string tension and power/control?
  QG09: How can I find out more about racquet stringing?
  QG10: My glove wears out too fast!  What should I do? 
  QG11: How can I estimate what rank I am (A/B/C/D)?
  QG12: How can I contact manufacturers of racquetball equipment?
  QG13: How can I keep my goggles from fogging up?
  QG14: What's with these green racquetballs I'm starting to see?

  QT01: What are some good serving techniques?
  QT02: If my opponent is behind me, should I watch him take his shot?
  QT03: How can I hit the ball harder?
  QT04: What is a "splat" shot?
  QT05: What is a "pinch" shot?
  QT06: What is a "jam" serve?

  QR01: If a served ball bounces ON the short line, is it short or good?
  QR02: Do you have to win by two points?
  QR03: Do I have to allow my opponent a clear shot to the entire front wall?
  QR04: What's that broken line behind the short line for?
  QR05: Do I get two serves after a hinder if I already have a fault?
  QR06: Can I let the ball hit the front wall TWICE before I hit it?

Thanks to the following people, who have supplied information directly
or indirectly to this FAQ:

   ejubin@chigger.occ.uc.edu         (Eric Jubin)
   glenns@microsoft.com              (Glenn Slayden)
   HOSTETLR@bucknell.edu             (Jim Hostetler)
   montulli@stat1.cc.ukans.edu       (Lou Montulli)
   toma@arneberg.com                 (Tom Arneberg)
   kenk@microsoft.com                (Ken Kiesow)
   disser@engin.umich.edu            (Dave Disser)
   mwilson@convex.csd.uwm.edu        (Michael Wilson)
   berdley@bucknell.edu              (Bill Erdley)
   jared.macdonald@channel1.com      (Jared Macdonald)
   aaronson@cis.ohio-state.edu       (David Aaronson)
   shafer@CS.ColoState.EDU           (Spencer Shafer)
   rchabot@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu (Robert Chabot)
   changed@nima.eecs.berkeley.edu    (Ed Chang)
   brokowski@nwu.edu                 (Mike Brokowski)
   mevans@uclink.berkeley.edu        (Mark Jacob Evans)
   ZEKER@aol.com                     (Ken Zwyers)
   fredm@gate.net                    (Fred Murray)
   fsdudek@icomp01.lerc.nasa.gov     (Scott Dudek)
   cyberkid@pipeline.com             (Glenn Carlson)
   Bfeeney761@aol.com                (Brian Feeney)
   wgargan@mailgw.sanders.lockheed.com (Bill Gargan)
   rollout@seldon.terminus.com       (Ed Roffey)
   amarcou@bgnet.bgsu.edu            (Alexei Marcoux)
   preo@bnr.ca                       (David Preo)
   j.m.alvarez@larc.nasa.gov         (Jose Alvarez)

############# GENERAL #############

 QG01: What is racquetball?
    A: Racquetball is a game played by two or four players in a court
       with four walls, a floor, and a ceiling.  Each player has a
       strung racquet used to hit a bouncy blue ball against the front
       wall (and any other combination of walls and ceiling before or
       after the front wall).  See AARA Rule 1 for a more complete
       description of the game.

 QG02: What racquetball organizations can I join? (AARA, USPRA, PARI/AmPRO)
    A: The premier organization for players is the American Amateur 
       Racquetball Association (AARA):
              1685 W. Uintah St.
              Colorado Springs, CO 80904
              Telephone: (719) 635-5396
              FAX: (719) 635-0685.
         Membership costs $20 per year.
         Benefits of membership:
	   - you get to participate in AARA sanctioned tournaments
	   - you receive the AARA magazine _Racquetball_ six times per year
	   - you're automatically enrolled in your state association,
	     which may or may not have its own magazine (Texas has a
	     decent newsletter, Ohio has an excellent magazine).
         Trivia: California has the most AARA members by far; Ohio is #2.

       Another organization, more for club owners and professionals, is 
       the United States Professional Racquetball Association (USPRA).
       Here is a blurb posted to the newsgroup by the organization:
         What can the U.S.P.R.A. do for your club?  
         The USPRA was founded to help promote the sport of racquetball
         and the racquetball teaching profession.  
         We serve as a forum for the exchange of information, ideas
         and experiences among its members.  
         Our goal is to help educate your staff on how to run
         successful racquetball programs. These programs will have a 
         direct effect on your bottom line through increased racquetball 
         participation and increased member retention.
       For more info:
         P.O. Box 406
         Brooklyn, NY  11209
         Glenn J. Carlson, USPRA President: Cyberkid@pipeline.com 
       [DISCLAIMER: I know nothing about this organization other than
       that which was posted to the newsgroup by its president.  If 
       any unbiased source cares to comment on the usefulness of USPRA, 
       let me know!  - Tom A.]

       There is also an organization for racquetball instructors, called
       AmPRO (American Professional Racquetball Organization).  They
       were formerly known as PARI (Professional Association of Racquetball
       Instructors).  Contact: Wayne Barrow, (603) 673-4172

 QG03: What magazines are available that cover racquetball?
    A: Here are all the magazines I know of:

       _Killshot_  "The Magazine of Professional Racquetball"
         Killshot magazine is published by Quertermous & Quertermous Inc.
         The magazine is published 5 times per year and the subscription
	 cost is $18.95 per year.

	      P.O. Box 8036
	      Paducah, KY  42002-8036

	 This is the official publication of the American Amateur 
	 Racquetball Association (AARA). (See QG02.)

 QG04: What books can I buy about racquetball?
    A: I'm sure there are many, but I only have data on two. (Please
       send me info at toma@arneberg.com if you details on more of them!)

       _High-Performance Racquetball_  (hardcover)
         by Marty Hogan with Ken Wong (foreword by Steve Garvey)
         Publisher: The Body Press, a division of HPBooks, Inc.
         First Printing Copyright: 1985
         ISBN: 0-89586-356-1
         Library of Congress Catalog No. 85-80115
	 (Note: this book is currently out of print as of 12/8/94)

         Mini-review by Eric Jubin (ejubin@chigger.occ.uc.edu):
         Overall, a pretty good book with lots of little informative 
	 tips.  The most annoying part is every 10 pages or so Steve Garvey 
	 writes a paragraph on how he uses this particular skill or telling 
	 you that the ceiling shot was the most revolutionary shot for him...
	 like I care what Steve "racquetball expert" Garvey has to say.
         Anyway I'd recommend picking it up if you can find it; Marty has 
	 a lot of good information to pass on.  (Cover price on mine is $8.95 
	 but I got it at a used bookstore for $6.)

         There is a good chapter on "How matches are lost".  It's 
	 interesting to read that six weeks before nationals he would start 
	 playing 6 hours a day for three weeks....

       _Racquetball Today_  (reviewed by ZEKER@aol.com)
         by Lynn Adams and Dr. Erwin Goldbloom
         West Publishing Company
         Copyright 1991
         ISBN: 0-314-76958-7

	 You can order from the author --
	   Send $18 check payable to Lynn Adams:
	   3401 N. Kedzie
	   Chicago, IL  60618

         I've found an excellent racquetball book by Lynn Adams and Dr. 
	 Erwin Goldbloom.  Lynn is a former National Champion and 
	 professional, and Dr. Goldbloom works in Physical Education.

         The book covers equipment, rules, court characteristics, etc, 
	 as well as positioning, drills, and mental aspects of the game.  

         The following are the chapters included in the book:

           Ch. 1 - Equipment
           Ch. 2 - Let's Play (Rules, Safety Tips, etc.)
           Ch. 3 - The Forehand
           Ch. 4 - The Backhand
           Ch. 5 - Court Coverage and Doubles Play
           Ch. 6 - Defensive Shots
           Ch. 7 - Offensive Shots
           Ch. 8 - Backwall Play
           Ch. 9 - The Service Game
           Ch. 10 - Service Returns
           Ch. 11 - Developing a Winning Strategy
           Ch. 12 - The Three-Wall Game
           Ch. 13 - Drills
           Ch. 14 - The Mental Side of Becoming a Better Player
           Ch. 15 - Fitness for Racquetball
           Ch. 16 - Strength and Flexibility for Racquetball

         The complete AARA rules are included in an appendix.  This book 
	 far and away is the best racquetball book I've ever seen.

 QG05: What videotapes can I buy to learn more about racquetball?
    A: Here are reviews of several.  Please send me info at toma@arneberg.com 
       if you have details on more of them, if they are easily available.

       _Play Like the Pros_
           Cost..........$19.95 + $4.95 shipping
         Comments by Ed Chang (changed@eecs.berkeley.edu):
           This tape has slick production values and a lot of flash.  The 
	   appeal to the beginning player will mostly be the glitz, but the 
	   intermediate and advanced player will find a lot of helpful tips 
	   often not covered by PARI instructors.  
	   For example, Jack Neumann advocates covering a little to the 
	   _opposite_ side when your opponent is in the back corner.  The 
	   reasoning is that 85% of your opponent's shots will go to the 
	   opposite side, since it's so tough to hit a perfect down-the-line.  
	   Other instructors have told me to cover the down-the-line by 
	   leaning towards the _same_ side.

           It's good to have different viewpoints -- find what works best for 
	   you.  The tape features Jack Neumann and Andy Roberts and is 
	   produced by the same people who did the 1993 and 1994 VCI 
	   Challenge Cup Pro Racquetball series on ESPN.

       _Playing Smart_
           Producer.... Ektelon
           Cost.........$19.95 + shipping, or $4.95 + shipping with purchase 
	                                           of a pair of Ektelon shoes
         Comments by Ed Chang (changed@eecs.berkeley.edu):
           As Mike Yellen and Lynn Adams say near the beginning, this tape 
	   goes beyond how to hit a forehand or backhand.  In fact, they 
	   don't cover stroke mechanics at all; the tape has just three 
	   sections: serve, serve return, and rally.  Some of the tips are 
	   good (try jam serves, be aggressive on the serve return), some are 
	   obvious (dominate center court), and some are just plain bad 
	   ("when serving, chip away at their strengths and attack their 
	   weaknesses when you need the points").  
	   Overall, this tape seems like a grab bag of the players' favorite 
	   tips without a strong framework to tie it all together.  The 
	   players themselves are the Team Ektelon players who dominated 
	   during the late 80's to early 90's (Yellen, Adams, Sweeney, 
	   Gonzales, etc...).  After the three main sections, the tape 
	   abandons any organization at all, going into a "Pro Tips" section 
	   in which each player is given a minute or so to get on a soapbox 
	   and say whatever they want.  I personally prefer a more organized 
	   presentation, but the intermediate player who is looking for new 
	   things to try out might well find them in this tape.

       _Learn Your Lessons I_
           Producer.... AARA Sportswear (719/635-5396)
         from Racquetball Magazine:
           A step by step approach outlining the fundamentals of 
	   racquetball.  Learn the basics of stroke mechanics, court 
	   positioning, and strategy.  Great for the beginner interested 
	   in improving their racquetball skills.

         Comments by Ed Chang (changed@eecs.berkeley.edu):
           This tape features Fran Davis and Stu Hastings, former U.S. 
	   National Team Coaches.  There are 6 sections: Forehand, Backhand, 
	   Shots, Court Coverage, Serve, and Serve Return.  The tape is a 
	   good starting point for people who have never had PARI-certified 
	   instruction and is a good overview of the main concepts endorsed 
	   by PARI.  
	   The first two sections on stroke mechanics are excellent, and the 
	   other sections will be very informative to casual club players.  
	   Advanced players will probably find they've heard it all before, 
	   as the 30-minute tape does not go into great details of the finer 
	   aspects of the game.

       _Learn Your Lessons II_
           Producer.... AARA Sportswear (719/635-5396)
         from Racquetball Magazine:
           PARI Practice drills help you improve every aspect of your game 
	   with individual, paired, and group examples.  Great for the 
	   teacher or instructor who wants new ideas, or for intermediate 
	   players who want more out of their practice sessions.

         Comments by Ed Chang (changed@eecs.berkeley.edu):
           This tape features Connie Martin and Jim Hiser.  There are 7 
	   sections: Conditioning, Racquet Control, Basic Hitting, 
	   Offensive, Defensive, Serve & Return, and Practice Games.  
	   The tape is basically a compilation of drills designed to 
	   improve the various aspects of your game.  
	   I found most of the material to be somewhat obvious.  For 
	   example, the drills they suggest for offensive shots are: drop 
	   and hit, fly-kill, set up off the back wall, and set up off the 
	   front wall (straight and angled).  This is not terribly 
	   imaginative stuff.  Also, the tape does not emphasize which 
	   drills are the most important, or how to decide which drills are 
	   best for you.  The best part about the tape is probably watching 
	   the A/Open players go through footwork and stroke mechanics as 
	   they execute the drills.

       _Cliff Swain's Racquetball Tape_
           Producer.... ?
         Comments by Ed Chang (changed@eecs.berkeley.edu) 1/14/96:
           I ordered Cliff Swain's new racquetball tape (the $25 tape, not 
           the $170 package) through the number listed in AARA Racquetball 
           magazine.  The tape came promptly with the added bonus of a flyer 
           signed by Cliff.
           Overall, the tape is flashy, like the ESPN programs and the 
           "Playing Like the Pros" tape.  I found my attention drifting in 
           and out during the tape, but he did have some interesting advice.  
           First of all, he recommends that the point of contact for both 
           the forehand and the backhand be off the front foot.  (Contrast 
           to the AARA tape #1, in which Fran and Stu recommend hitting 
           the forehand with the point of contact at the middle of the body.) 
           Also, he recommends hitting ceiling balls with backspin so they 
           come back farther and drop deeper in back court.
           Some other advice I really found useful: your down-the-line is 
           your main shot.  It's been heard before, but too many of us get 
           caught up in discussions of splats and 3-wall pinches.  We should 
           remember how many points are scored by a straight in kill or 
           clean pass.  Cliff also had an excellent section devoted to 
           choosing shots based on your position and your opponent's position.
           Finally, I thought the best part of the tape was the clips of 
           Cliff's tournament matches in which he made these incredible gets 
           off near-kill shots.  They really showed how many near-kills you 
           can get if you stay in good position (center court, on your toes, 
           knees bent) and believe you can get every shot.  My friend and I 
           played some great racquetball that night after watching the tape.
           Summary: somewhat flashy and disjointed, but good advice and very 

 QG06: Are there any good mail order places to order racquetball supplies?
    A: Here are the ones I know of:

       _Michael's Tennis & Ski Shop_  ("Ripit Club")
         They have great prices.  Ordering from them requires a $10/year
         membership fee; shipping is $3.95 for any size order.

           Michael's Tennis & Ski Shop
           2368 Dixie Highway
           Ft. Mitchell, KY 41017

       _Court Sports_
         Their prices are just OK.  No demos via mail.
           104 E. Porter St.
           Malvern, OH  44644

       _Holabird Sports Discounters_
           9220 Pulaski Highway
           Baltimore, MD 21220
	   phone: 410/687-6400
	   FAX:   410/687-7311
	   Hours: M-F 9am-5pm; Sat 9am-3pm
	   Also available on Prodigy ("Jump: Holabird" or something)

       _Courtesy Sports_
         Nice color catalog, great selection of the newest equipment, 
	 always in stock.  Also, a "+5 guarantee" in which they will 
	 beat any competitor's price by an additional 5% after calling 
	 to make sure the item is in stock.  Finally, they have a demo 
	 program which costs $10 to try a racquet for two days, and all 
	 demo costs will be applied towards the purchase of your next 
	 racquet.  (Some say Courtesy prices are higher than others.)

           Courtesy Sports
           4856 El Camino Real
           Los Altos, CA 94022

           Catalog Phone Order Hours: M-F 8-7 PST, S-S 10-6 PST.
           24-hour FAX: 415-968-4609

       _Midwest Sporting Goods
 	 They don't sell to individuals, but will send a catalog to 
 	 your club upon request:

       (following contributed by Mark Evans:)

       _Samuel's Tennis Sport_
         Located in Cincinatti.  Thin catalog.

       _Performance Racquet Sports_
         This place is in Colorado, and reportedly has excellent prices.
         The catalog is small print on a couple of sheets of paper.
           800/358-2294 (1/3/96 -- this phone number doesn't work...)

       _Frontier Pro Shop_  
 	 On the left coast...does not sell to individuals; call Pacific
 	 Sports Warehouse for their retail catalog.
	   phone: 800/854-2644
	   FAX:   619/596-2131

       _Pacific Sports Warehouse_ 
         Located in California, the headquarters must overlook the ocean 
	 or something.  Pricey!  It has a nice catalog, though.  

       _NRC Sports_

         This isn't a mail order number, but you can get a nice catalog 
         featuring all of Ektelon's equipment.

 QG07: What can I do to help stop my strings from breaking?
    A: This advice is from  montulli@stat1.cc.ukans.edu (Lou Montulli):
       * Replace your grommets often.  The plastic in those little holes 
	 gets well worn and if it wears down to the graphite, your 
	 strings won't last long.
       * Use teflon string sleeves.  They are little tubes that are
         put around the string where it goes into the grommets.
       * Have the raquet strung tighter.  Tighter stings will reduce
         your overall power (should also increase accuracy) and prevent
         the strings from shifting around and notching the surrounding
       * If you notice your strings notching, move them around while 
         you play.  This is also a good way to relieve stress and calm
         yourself. :-)
       * Buy more expensive string.  This may or may not be a good idea:
         I string for myself so it's cheaper for me to buy mid level string
         and string more often. If you have someone else string you will
         probably save money by getting top-of-the-line string.

 QG08: What's the relationship between string tension and power/control?

    A: By having your racquet strung with a lower tension, you
       increase the amount of time that the ball is on the strings (the
       "impulse"). By increasing the impulse, more energy is transferred
       from the racquet to ball, and less is obsorbed in the racquet
       (this theory is applied to automobiles, etc.).

       With a higher tension racquet, you achieve greater control but
       less power. It's like hitting the ball with a wooden board, which,
       as you can imagine, would not hit the ball very hard. The strings,
       like a board, do not move back--more power is absorbed in the
       racquet, which can be transferred to your arm, and there is more
       reverberation.   (from jared.macdonald@channel1.com, 3/31/94)

    Here is another answer, from Brian Feeney (Bfeeney761@aol.com), the
    designer of Spalding's racquetball racquets, 6/28/95:

       At what tension should you string your racquet for maximum power, 
       or maximum control?  In tennis, it's generally accepted that you
       string your racquet tighter for more control and looser for more 
       power.  No one seems to be certain if the same is true for 
       racquetball racquets.  If you want more power should you string 
       your racquet tighter or looser?  My extremely technical answer 
       is "It depends".  
       For every particular racquet, string, and player combination there 
       is an optimal string tension for maximum power.  Typically that 
       optimum tension falls nearer the bottom of manufacturer's 
       recommended string tension, but not always. 
       Sometimes you will need to increase your tension to increase your 
       power, other times you'll want to decrease your tension.  It all 
       really depends on your starting point.  If you loosen your strings 
       too much, they will start to slide and move out of position during 
       impact causing friction and a loss power.  If your string tensions 
       are too low and moving around excessively during play, then 
       increasing your tensions a few pounds will likely increase your 
       power.  As string tensions are continuously increased, they reach 
       a point at which energy can be lost in permanently stretching 
       your strings during impact with the ball.   Strings can only 
       stretch so much elastically (where they return to their original 
       length), once you pass this limit they will stretch inelastically.   
       This inelastic stretching during impact means a loss of power.   
       This is why someone who strings his racquet tighter will need to 
       have his racquet re-strung more frequently and also break more 
       strings.   If you're breaking your strings frequently you may get 
       more power and longer string life by reducing your tension.

       For each player, string type, and racquet combination there is 
       a particular tension that will optimize power for that player.  
       A different player with the same racquet but different swing 
       speeds may have a decidedly different string tension that will 
       optimize his power.  As you move away from the tension level 
       that will optimize your power, you will lose power by either 
       tightening or loosening your string tensions.  As a player, you 
       need to try as many string tensions as possible in your racquet 
       and find out what tension works best for you.  Preferably, you 
       should have 2 or more of the same model racquet and test different 
       tensions during the same match or practice round.  Be careful to 
       use the same model and gauge string in your racquets when trying 
       to find your optimum tension or you will introduce another 
       variable that will make it impossible to determine the effect of 
       differing string tensions.

 QG09: How can I find out more about racquet stringing?
    A: Contact this organization:
         United States Racquet Stringers Association

 QG10: My glove wears out too fast!  What should I do? (Buy Saranac.)
    A: Some racquetball players are disappointed that their gloves wear
       out too quickly.  Here are three options to help you out:
       Option 1: There is a company called Saranac Glove Co.  that 
       guarantees the leather in their racquetball gloves for the
       life of the glove.  Some players may not like these, because the
       leather is thicker, but it's definitely more economical.

	      Saranac Glove Co.
	      1201 Main St.
	      P.O. Box 1477
	      Green Bay, WI  54305-1477

              Info:  (800) 727-2622 (ask for customer service for catalog)
              Order: (800) 236-0042 
	      Fax:   (414) 435-7618

       Option 2 (Jose Alvarez):  The main reason that racquetball gloves 
       wear out is that repeated absorption of sweat with subsequent 
       evaporation of the water leaves behind salt.  This process 
       eventually builds up salt crystals which act as tiny knives on the
       leather fibers.  So, the way to get max wear is to wash your glove 
       with mild soap, then apply neatsfoot oil to it when it dries.  
       The neatsfoot oil replaces the natural oils in the leather lost to 
       the soap.  Be careful not to apply too much neatsfoot oil as it 
       will soak the glove and make the racquet handle slippery.  If 
       you're lazy, like me, just soak the glove every now and then in 
       clear water and let dry.  You'll find either method very 
       significantly increases the life of the glove.  

       Option 3: just don't use one!  Cut terry cloth towels about 4" by 12".
       Wear one tucked in your shorts.  Before each serve, wrap it around 
       the handle, and give your hand and handle a good twist.  When 
       you're accustomed to this mini-towel, it becomes second nature 
       to wipe things dry, sometimes even during a rally.  Brunsfeld used 
       this advantageously.  This saves the recurring cost of glove 
       replacement, gives a good grip and a better "feel" for the 
       rotation & vibration of the racquet.

 QG11: How can I estimate what rank I am (A/B/C/D)?
    A: The best way is to simply play others who know their ranking, or
       better yet, enter a few tournaments.  In the meantime, here are
       some standards approved by PARI to help determine an accurate skill
       level.  This is taken directly from _Racquetball_ Magazine of 
       March/April, 1994 (see QG02 for more info on the magazine).

       Thanks to David Aaronson for taking the time to enter the following.

         What is a "D" Player?
           A player who is just beginning to receive instructions.  Lacks 
	   playing experience.  Is in the process of learning safety, 
	   rules, forehand and backhand strokes, Z serves, back wall shots, 
	   angles, passing shots and is ready to start participating in 
	   club leagues and friendly competition.

         What is a "C" Player?
           A player who has played over 6 months, plays frequently, and 
	   is developing strengths in the basics listed above for a "D" 
	   player.  Level of knowledge is rising and can execute most shots 
	   with some precision, like ceiling , pinches, pass shots and an 
	   occasional kill shot.  Has taken an occasional lesson and has 
	   attended a racquetball clinic.  Has started entering tournaments 
	   and has an extra racquet.

         What is a "B" Player?
           Players who play regularly and have found time to practice on 
	   their own to perfect their shots.  Has good knowledge of court 
	   strategy and positioning.  Has good knowledge of offense and 
	   defense situations.  Is able to select the proper shot most of 
	   the time.  Probably is still inconsistent but improving.  Is 
	   developing patience and is able to accept tips from better 
	   players.  Shows interest in private racquetball lessons and 
	   instructional camps. Participates in most club events.

         What is an "A" Player?
           A player who plays regularly.  Is a top player in the club.  
	   Trains for racquetball and both backhand and forehand shots are 
	   near equal.  Has high level of knowledge.  High percentage of 
	   executing most shots and no apparent weaknesses.  Perfected the 
	   kill shot and now re-kills opponents' attempted kill shots.  
	   Can and probably does compete in sanctioned tournaments.  May 
	   seek to participate in AARA Elite Camp and either has a coach 
	   or is seeking a coach.

       Ed Chang has a dissenting opinion on the above descriptions: 
         "As a California tournament player, I must warn you that you will 
         be blown out if you play a tournament using these guidelines to 
         determine your rank.  The best advice is to play someone who has 
         played tournaments (IN YOUR AREA)."

 QG12: How can I contact manufacturers of racquetball equipment?
    A: Here is all I know.  Please send email to toma@arneberg.com if you
       know of more.  Some of these may not sell to individuals, but can
       send catalogs and answer questions and point you to dealers.

         E Force.............800/433-6723
         Pro Kennex..........800/854-1908

 QG13: How can I keep my goggles from fogging up?
    A: These techniques have been posted to the newsgroup by various 

         * Get goggles that fit right and leave enough space for air 
	   to circulate.
         * Try goggles that look like eyeglasses (Action Eyes, 
	   Ektelon Olympus, Pro Kennex Pro Kleer).
         * Apply anti-fog stuff to your goggles.  Some people use Kleer-Vu,
           others just use spit (like divers do on their masks).
         * Wear a headband to keep sweat from running down into eyes.
         * You may be tempted to wear lensless goggles.  While these will 
	   not fog, they are dangerous, as a racquetball or racquet might 
	   get through the opening.  Also, they are _NOT_ approved for 
	   tournament play.  Finally, you will find it difficult to find 
	   a pair since all of the major manufacturers have discontinued them.

 QG14: What's with these green racquetballs I'm starting to see?
    A: Penn has come out with a new green ball that some people are
       starting to use. They are more expensive than the blue ones, and
       are reportedly more lively on the court.  One reader here dropped
       a Penn blue and a Penn green from seven feet and noticed that the
       green ball bounced about 3"-4" higher. (Some readers say that the
       Penn greens are about equivalent to Ektelon blue balls.)

       According to Glenn Carlson, the green ball was developed for the
       Men's Pro Tour because it has the ability to televise better than 
       the blue ball.  He also says it tends to grab the walls a little

       However, others report that the green balls also break more
       easily. Fred Murray called Penn in November '94, and they told
       him that their green balls were made with a different compound
       for livelier play, but the first batch didn't have the endurance
       of the blue balls, so maybe they'll get better.

############# TECHNIQUES #############

 QT01: What are some good serving techniques?
    A: Here are some various posts about how to serve:

       DRIVE serve, from disser@engin.umich.edu (Dave Disser):
         I bend mostly at the waist, and let my arm and racquet hang down 
	 so that the tip of the racquet is 2-4 inches from the floor.  
	 I only grasp the bottom four inches of the racquet's handle.  
	 From there, I try to mimic a golf swing--long backswing, cocking 
	 my wrist at the top, and swinging down which pushing my wrist 
	 forward in the path of the swing.  It seems to give me excellent 
	 power and spin without a whole lot of effort.

       LOB serve, from kenk@microsoft.com (Ken Kiesow):
         In addition to a good drive serve, I've found that lob serves 
	 to either side can be *very* effective, if done well.  Standard 
	 lobs should be served high on the front wall with just enough 
	 power to land in the saftey zone (just past the short line) and 
	 travel as closely to the side wall as possible.  Done right, they 
	 are nearly impossible to return, and tend to frustrate the opponent.
       Z-serve, from toma@arneberg.com (Tom Arneberg):
	 A good Z serve can get you a lot of points from a less
	 experienced player.  Stand close to a wall to serve, and hit the
	 ball hard against the front wall near the opposite side wall. If
	 it crosses the court and hits the floor then hits the near side 
	 wall just before hitting the back wall, it will travel parallel
	 to (and close to) the back wall, making it real hard to return,
	 since there's not a lot of room to get your racquet between the
	 ball and the rear wall. (To return a good Z serve, you should
	 usually hit it hard to the back wall.)  Be forewarned, however,
	 that a poorly served Z (striking the near side wall too far from
	 the back wall) can be an easy setup...

                          /   \  |
                        /       \|
                      /        / |
                    /        /
                  /        /
                /        /   (ASCII picture by Michael Wilson)
             X         /
            |    /
            |  / <--  bounces on floor about here
            |----  <-- goes parallel to back wall

 QT02: If my opponent is behind me, should I watch him take his shot?
    A: YES!  It's actually probably safer, and you'll have a much better 
       chance at a good return.  (It's a good idea to get in the habit of
       holding up your racquet and looking through it, in case the ball 
       comes right at your face.)  Here's a nice posting about this by 
       ejubin@tick.occ.uc.edu (Eric Jubin):

	 > [someone got hit with a racquet]
         > Am I being too sensitive on this issue, or it is good
         > etiquette for players to check their follow-throughs?
         A good rule of thumb is to stay a step-and-a-half away.
         Another thing that most younger (inexperienced) players don't do 
	 when they are in front of their opponent is: watch their opponent 
	 take his shot.  Most younger players are scared of getting hit if 
	 they turn to look.  You are actually safer if you DO watch your 
	 opponent and follow these steps:
         You don't want to turn your whole body around to watch your 
	 opponent, just glance over your shoulder and look for a couple 
           1. See if he's taking an offensive or defensive shot.
              This will help you set up for the return.
           2. See where he is going to hit the ball so you can get out of 
	      the way!
         I have seen hundreds of matches where the defensive player is 
	 staring at the front wall and has no idea where the ball/opponent 
	 is behind him.  Many times this just leads to the player getting hit.
         Then you have the guy who thinks he might get hit so he is always 
	 ducking or crouching.  As soon as this guy plays someone who wants 
	 to kill the ball, he will realize that all he is doing is lowering 
	 his butt for a better target.  Players need to learn to jump if 
	 they are going to risk being in the ball's path.

 QT03: How can I hit the ball harder?  (advice of Ed Chang)
    A: The best way is to take lessons from a pro who will videotape you 
       to show you where you can improve.  Here are some general guidelines:

       * Prepare your arm early.  On the forehand, get your elbow
         high and away from your body.  On the backhand, bring your
         racquet up and rotate your shoulders back.

       * Focus on keeping your entire arm loose, not tight.  A powerful
         racquetball swing is much different from a tennis swing.

       * Use the power of your whole body, not just your arm.  You should
         think about using your hip and shoulder rotation to do most of the
         work while your arm just hangs loose and snaps out to the side.

       * Don't try to put spin on the ball.  Hit through the ball flat,
         making sure your racquet face is square to the front wall.

       * Follow through completely, letting the racquet go all the way across
         your body.  If you don't follow through, that means you must have
         started slowing down your swing _before_ you contacted the ball.

 QT04: What is a "splat" shot?
    A: A splat shot is hit with great velocity and it is hit into the 
       front corner that is on the same side of the court that you are on.  
       The ball contacts the side wall 8 to 15 feet from the front wall.  
       It also makes this cool sound when you crush one, hence the name, 
       splat.   - Ed Roffey, Team Ektelon

  QT05: What is a "pinch" shot?  (by Jose Alvarez, 2/27/96)
     A: A pinch shot is a low, fast shot (a killshot) directed toward 
        either corner where the front wall meets the side wall.  The pinch 
        shot should ideally hit the side wall first, then the front wall, 
        then either roll out or bounce off the front wall very low.  It is 
        a very effective shot, since the player attempting it looks like he 
        is setting up for a drive or a passing shot, and the ball instead 
        goes in the opposite direction anticipated.  Hitting the side wall 
        before the front wall slows the ball down considerably before
        impact with the front wall and makes a more effective shot than a 
        shot directly to the front wall at the same height.  Beware, however, 
        of hitting a pinch shot too high, as the slowing of the ball when 
        it hits the side wall now enables your opponent to run to the ball 
        and make an easy kill.  I guess it's called a pinch shot 'cause 
        you're trying to get the ball to "pinch" in the corner.

  QT06: What is a "jam" serve?
     A: A jam serve is a drive serve that, unlike most drive serves which 
        are directed to one of the back corners, is intended to hit the 
        side wall such that it goes directly at the receiver (thus 
        "jamming" him).  It usually hits the crotch of the side wall and
        floor just past the short line, and comes out sideways right in 
        front of the receiver.
        It is not a serve you should use all the time but is effective 
        when the receiver starts to expect a particular serve (e.g. a drive 
        to the backhand corner).

############# RULES #############
 QR01: If a served ball bounces ON the short line, is it short or good?
    A: Line shots are short (unlike tennis).  See rule 4.10(b):
        4.10(b) Short Service. A short serve is any served ball that first
            hits the front wall and, on the rebound, hits the floor on
            or in front of the short line either with or without
            touching a side wall.

 QR02: Do you have to win by two points?
    A: Nope. See rule 1.5:
         Rule 1.5 Match Game Tiebreaker
	    A match is won by the first side winning two games. The first
	    two games of a match are played to 15 points. If each
	    side wins one game a tiebreaker game is played to 11 points.

       (Note that many people play all games to 15 in recreational games, 
       and only use the 11-point tiebreaker in tournaments.)

 QR03: Do I have to allow my opponent a clear shot to the entire front wall?
    A: No, but you must allow him a down-the-line shot and a cross-court
       shot. Here's what the rules say:

         Rule 4.16 Avoidable Hinders
           An avoidable hinder results in the loss of the rally. An
           avoidable hinder does not necessarily have to be an intentional
           act and is the result of any of the following:

          4.16(a) Failure to Move. A player does not move sufficiently to
            allow an opponent a shot straight to the front wall as well
            as a cross-court shot which is a shot directly to the front
            wall at an angle that would cause the ball to rebound
            directly to the rear corner farthest from the player hitting
            the ball. Also when a player moves in such a direction that
            it prevents an opponent from taking either of these shots.

       Note that this does NOT require that you give your opponent a clear
       shot to the opposite corner of the front wall; only that you allow 
       a shot to the "middle" of the front wall, where "middle" is defined 
       as the spot that would send the ball to the opposite REAR corner.

       Also note that this is an AVOIDABLE hinder, resulting in loss of 
       the rally!  (Although most recreational players would just call you
       on it and do it over.) [Or else they'd just hit you!]

 QR04: What's that broken line behind the short line for?
    A: That's part of the definition of the safety zone.  It exists to
       protect the server against the receiver "rushing the serve" and
       causing bodily damage. Here are the pertinent rules:

        2.1b(7) Safety Zone. The safety zone is the five-foot area 
            bounded by the back edges of the short line and the 
            receiving line The zone is observed only during the 
            serve. See Rules 4.11(k) and 4.12.

        4.11(k) Safety Zone Violation. If the server, or doubles partner, 
            enters into the safety zone before the served ball passes 
            the short line, it shall result in the loss of serve. 

        4.12(a) Receiving Position 
            4.12a(1) The receiver may not enter the safety zone until the 
                ball bounces or crosses the receiving line. 
            4.12a(2) On the fly return attempt, the receiver may not strike 
                the ball until the ball breaks the plane of the 
                receiving line. The receiver's follow through may carry 
                the receiver or his racquet past the receiving line. 
            4.12a(3) Neither the receiver nor his racquet may break the 
                plane of the short line, except if the ball is struck 
                after rebounding off the back wall. 
            4.12a(4) Any violation by the receiver results in a point for 
                the server. 

 QR05: Do I get two serves after a hinder if I already have a fault?
    A: It depends on when the hinder happens.  If the hinder occurs
       during the serve itself, than you only get your second serve.  
       Here are the pertinet rules:

        4.8(a) Dead-Ball Serve. A dead-ball serve results in no penalty
            and the server is given another serve (without canceling a
            prior fault serve)

        4.9(b) Court Hinders. A serve that takes an irregular bounce
            because it hit a wet spot or an irregular surface on the
            court is a dead-ball serve. Also, any serve that hits any
            surface designated by local rules as an obstruction.
       However, if the hinder occurs during the rally, then you get two
       serves to start the point over again, as this rule states:

         Rule 4.15 Dead-ball Hinders
          A rally is replayed without penalty and the server receives 
	  two serves whenever a dead-ball hinder occurs.
          4.15(a) Situations
            4.15a(1) Court Hinders. The referee should stop play immediately
                whenever the ball hits any part of the court that was
                designated in advance as a court hinder (such as a door
                handle). The referee should also stop play (i) when the
                ball takes an irregular bounce as a result of contacting
                a rough surface (such as court light or vent) after
                striking a wet spot on the floor or wall and (ii) when
                in the referee's opinion the irregular bounce affected
                the rally. 

 QR06: Can I let the ball hit the front wall TWICE before I hit it?
    A: This question comes up often -- your opponent hits the ball
       against the front wall very hard.  It rebounds off the back wall,
       and is going back toward the front wall after bouncing on the
       floor only once.  Can you let it hit the front wall for a second
       time before striking the it, or do you have to lunge for it
       before it hits the front wall?

       Good things come to those who wait!  The general rule is that the 
       ball can hit as many walls or ceilings as it wants to; your only 
       duty is to hit it before it hits the FLOOR for a second time.  So 
       in the above scenario, you could wait until it hits the front wall 
       for a second time, and then kill it or pinch it.  See rule 4.14 
       for more info.

####################### End of FAQ 1 of 2 -- General Questions & Answers