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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

News from Canada- B.C. gears itself up for re-birth of racquetball

Pedro Castro dives and takes a shot off the back wall playing Kevin Caouette as the Canadian Racquetball Championships singles category got underway today, in Burnaby, B.C. on May 26, 2010. Young players Pedro Castro (white shoes) and Kevin Caouette played in the 'men's open', with Castro taking two straight games out of three, 15-4,15-4.

Ask most people about racquetball and one of the first images that comes to mind is a classic scene from Tom Hanks' breakout 1984 flick Splash.

A velour track suit-clad John Candy, a headband around his unruly mop of hair and a cigarette dangling from his mouth, lumbers after a few shots before panting that his "heart is beating like a rabbit" and slumps onto a cooler from which he's pulled a beer.

After a few seconds of rest, he stands up, hands Hanks the beer — "I'll serve, you hold the beer. That will be your handicap" — and is nailed in the forehead by the ball rebounding off the back wall.

It's a characterization that even devoted racquetball players can laugh at, particularly when the sport is compared to its 'blue-blood' cousin, squash.

"We're blue collar," says Cheryl McKeeman, president of the B.C. Racquetball Association. "I mean, I'm a college professor and we've got doctors and lawyers and dentists playing, but traditionally it's a blue-collar sport. We're the beer drinkers, not the white wine drinkers. I guess you could put it that way."

It's also a sport fighting to attract attention at the elite high-performance level and trying to reverse declining participation numbers, particularly in B.C. where one of the biggest challenges is simply keeping facilities open.

B.C. is hosting the Canadian championships this week at REVS Fitness Centre in Burnaby, but even with under-45 to under-70 divisions in addition to the men's and women's open competitions there were only 167 athletes registered. That's down from 400 the last time the nationals were held in Burnaby in 1998.

"The sport kind of reached it's hey-day 30 years ago," says McKeeman. "Courts sprung up like crazy all over the place. And then as facilities moved to a useage per square foot or cost per square foot [model], that became an issue for both racquetball and squash because [the courts require] two storeys. So you double the square footage and it's such a tough sell.

"And then we saw the whole transition to fitness and clubs moved in fitness equipment."

McKeeman said there are only about 80 racquetball courts in the province, a four-fold decrease from the 1980s.

When REVS was first built, there were 10 racquetball courts. Now, there are just five, with the others having been turned over to weight lifting equipment and a boxing club.

Despite the facility issues, McKeeman says the sport is starting to see a re-birth, largely because provincial associations are focussing efforts on junior development programs.

The sport, which has never had the significant benefit of Olympic schedule exposure, should get a huge lift, however, from the 2015 Pan Am Games being held in Toronto.

Racquetball, which stages bi-annual world championships, has been a full medal sport in the Pan Am Games since 1995 and Canada has been among the top three nations. Most of the country's top players come from Quebec and Ontario , but there is also a strong program in Saskatchewan, which is the home of Canada's top-ranked men's player Kris Odegaard.

One of those anxiously looking forward to 2015, however, is 18-year-old Pedro Castro of Brossard, Que. He's the reigning under-18 national champion and is competing in his third senior nationals this week. He easily beat another top Canadian junior, Kevin Caouette 15-4, 15-4 in an opening-round match Wednesday.

"Last year, I finished 13th and I was in a tie-breaker with [Quebecer] Vincent Gagnon, who was third last year . . . so my goal is to be in the quarter-finals," said the personable Grade 12 student who would eventually like to become a policeman.

"Today, Kevin play hard. He's an awesome player, never quits, but I think if I play well it was because I was more focused than him. He makes lot of mistakes and I take the shot."

Castro, who first started playing the game at 11 and who plays shortstop in baseball, showed incredible quickness and was fearless in diving for balls to keep rallies alive.

"I love the speed of the game. It's a fast game and I like to move quick. And to hit the ball hard. In some sports, like squash, you have to like push the ball. For me, it's not my type. I like to go hard at the ball."

He will compete in a final world juniors in Los Angeles in November, where his goal is to make the final, and the Pan Am team in 2015 is his long-term goal.

"I would like, and I will train hard, to be there on the team. It's a long time away, but I've got a good support with Rino, my coach. He's a very good coach and he train me hard."

Rosemont Ridge sixth-grader places first in age group at Oregon Junior Racquetball Association state championships

Daryl Wainwright, a sixth-grader at Rosemont Ridge Middle School, won first place in the 12-and-under singles group at the Oregon Junior Racquetball Association state championships last month at the Eastside Athletic Club in Milwaukie. He also finished second in boys beginner doubles.

Daryl, 12, started playing when he was 6, practicing two to three times a week at the Multnomah Athletic Club. His parents, Bill and Liz Wainwright, met through racquetball -- Bill played racquetball and Liz played squash at the same club in Vancouver, B.C., said Liz Wainwright. Brother Billy, 20, started racquetball when he was 8 and was playing in adult leagues by age 12.

Daryl's past honors include first place in the 2009 mixed beginner doubles and two first-place finishes in the 2007 state championships.

Says Daryl about this year's win: "I was happy that I won. It's fun to play. I love racquetball. I don't care if I win or lose but it's fun to win."
Congratulations Daryl !!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Kane Waselenchuk vs Andy Hawthorne

So many amazing things going on on that clip. First I believe that Andy is one of the best ball retrievers I have ever seen out there. Look at some of these dives. Second, how about diving to retrieve a serve? have you seen that before? Look at some of the drive serves from Kane. They are just amazing and how Andy actually gets to them is even more amazing. The ability of diving for any shot and actually making a great kill sometimes from Andy and the agility from Kane to hit almost rollout shots every time is really impressive. That is some great racquetball here.

Ben Croft playing at the 2008 Motorola IRT Pro National Quarterfinal #3

Ben Croft is one of the best players I have seen out there. He is part of the new generation of Pro players that keep improving their game every season. He has great stroke mechanics, a great variety of serves and hits the ball extremely hard. He is also a great doubles player making a strong Team USA when he plays with Mitch Williams. Look how he keeps up with Jack on this video and how good his shot selection is. Do not miss Ben's matches in your next tournament.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Results for Nationals in Bolivia

Ricardo Monroy from Santa Cruz and Yazmine Sabja from Cochabamba are the national champions in the open division in a tournament that took place in city of Santa Cruz. The event was also a qualifier for the World Championships to be played in South Korea in August this year.

Monroy defeated in the final his compatriot Carlos Keller by two sets to zero, but the game was pretty even and the scores were 15-11 and 15-9.

The women's final was a great dispute, as it was defined in three sets, Sabja faced in a decisive game Jenny Daza from Santa Cruz , who had to settle for runner. The local player was the one who won the first set, the score was 15-13, tied the game Sabja the second set by winning 15-11, while in the third set Yazmine clinched victory with a score of 11-8.

The doubles champions were Ricardo Monroy and Carlos Keller, winning the finals against Felipe Mercado from Cochabamba and Nelson Aguilar from La Paz, the score for the win was 15-12 and 15 -6.
Congratulations Ricardo and Yazmine !!!!

Racket sports: Racquetball tries to bounce back

Twenty-five years ago the game of racquetball was one of the fastest growing sports in the United States and was booming in Western New York. The Orchard Hills Racquetball Club had 17 courts, McKinley Racquetball Club 15 courts, Buffalo Tennis & Racquetball Center 12 courts, Waterfront Racquetball Club 10 courts, BAC Eastern Hills 10 courts, BAC Boulevard Club eight courts, Four Walls Racquetball Club eight courts, Bally Matrix 10 courts.

This doesn't include 30 more courts at other facilities at that time. Today, most of these facilities are extinct or the courts have been removed for other venues. What happened?

Bob Miller is the general manager of the BAC Fitness Center on Union Road. Twenty-five years ago he was district manager for Bally Matrix in Buffalo and Rochester.

"You have to realize that a racquetball court is 40 by 20 feet; a total of 800 square feet," Miller said. "At the most, four people can play at one time. We put 10 Nautilus machines in one of the courts and we can get 100 people involved in fitness in an hour, versus four in a racquetball game."

Miller stressed that the same players were always playing either in league play or for recreation. In the summer the game basically died due to many players playing tennis or golf.

"Younger players weren't in abundance," Miller said. "As soon as lacrosse and soccer came into play, the amount of younger players diminished even more.

"Twenty-five years ago when fitness really started to take off, racquetball really took a big hit. Members didn't have to book time for fitness as they did in racquetball and could work out pretty much whenever they wanted to."

Phil Primerano Jr. is one of the area's finest racquetball players and is general manager of JB's Tennis Shop. He said, "Personally, I feel that one of the main reasons racquetball is suffering is due to poor television coverage. If you watch some of the matches on television, the points are over quickly due to the powerful racquets and high bouncing racquetballs. This results in viewers losing interest. ... In tennis it is just the opposite. Lengthy points allow viewers to get into the matches and really enjoy the game."

Primerano also feels that the game isn't promoted as well as it should be at the local, state, and national level. For instance, not many racquetball players are even aware that there is a burgeoning pro tour with up to 15 tournaments a year. And, when it comes to knowing who the top players are, most racquetballers don't even have a clue.

Dan Daddario is president of the Western New York Racquetball Association. He estimates there are more than 500 racquetball players playing in local leagues or recreationally.

"Presently, we are looking for a site or an existing health club to partner with to put in four or five racquetball courts," Daddario said. "If we can get 100 members to sign up for $500 a year for five years that would give us a total of $250,000.

Each player would be an integral part of the club, not just a player. In essence it would be a great start for us. We could build from there by gradually adding cardio equipment and machines."

Daddario notes that WNY racquetball has a highly popular program at the University at Buffalo's North Campus for adults and youngsters. He stresses that it is the parents' responsibility to get their children to the clinics and practices.

"We have a hardcore group of players that still love the game and who do everything that they can to promote it," Daddario said. "Believe me, it hasn't been easy. However, we firmly believe that we have made some inroads with our clinics, leagues, promotions, and tournaments."

To find out more information about WNY racquetball, go to

Although racquetball is struggling somewhat locally there are some bright spots nationally.

Terri Graham is in charge of player promotions for Wilson Racquetball.

"The year 2005 was a disaster for racquetball nationally," she said. "There were only about 3.6 million players nationally. Today, there are over 5.2 million players. Most of this growth has to be attributed to LA Fitness and Lifetime Fitness Clubs. They have been opening many racquetball and fitness clubs throughout the country, mostly in the Far West and Southwestern states.

"Each club that they open has five beautiful racquetball courts with full back wall glass. We are hoping that they will start to become a big factor back East. As for the state of racquetball today, it is the best it has been in the past 10 years. From a marketing standpoint, I can't be more thrilled."

Presently, there are three LA Fitness & Racquetball Clubs in the New York City area.

Hopefully, they will be expanding into the Western New York area in the near future

article By Charlie Garfinkel

Next on European Racquetball Tour: French Open in Paris

The last tournament of the European Racquetball Tour season 2009/2010 will be held in Paris this year. The French Open on 12th and 13th of June will once again attract players from all over Europe as well as from abroad. Players can sign in online by goining to the offical Franch Open 2010 website at The French Open will offer the great French hospitality: Fruits, cookies and water will be available on saturday morning and sunday morning for all players and for free. Hot meals and drinks can also be purchased at the bar of the club. And on top of this: For soccer fans, matches from the FIFA World Soccer Cup will be shown on the big screen television of the club throughout the weed-end. What else can you expect?

With the 2010 French Ope, the ERT season concludes on a high note. With 13 events this year, the ERT Tour has seen more venues, more players and more competition this year than ever before. There will be some changes to the ERT guidelines and statutes in the near future though to strenghten some forces and to make sure that our events remain to be attractive and competitve. Stay tuned for this.

Big thanks to our offical ball sponsor EKTELON. There has been only positive feedback from the players and the ERF/ERT is looking forward working with Ektelon in the years ahead.

Lecomte wins French Nationals 2010

Philippe Lecomte is the winner of the French National Championships 2010 that were held in Paris last weekend. He defeated Bruno Bouilliac in the Singles Final. This years' National Championships were the first after 15 years of no real National competition. 38 players competed in this event this year.

Finals and finishers:
Mens Open : Philippe Lecomte def. Bruno Bouillac
Ladies Open : Caroline Parola def. Nathalie Domagala
Mens B : Farid Kaid def. Guillaume Gazeau
Mens C : Maxime Bizeau def. Guillaume Gazeau
Mens D : Frédéric Mangin def. Sébastien Dubat
Congratulations Philippe!!!!!

Racquetball in Squash Courts

This is a differnt kind of racquetball that is played in England and Australia. They play inside a regular squash court with regular racquetball racquets. The ball is similar to the racquetball ball but is softer and heavier. The game is a lot of fun and a good option for racquetball players where only squash courts are available.

How to stay out of your opponent's way

Racquetball rules require you to get out of the way of your opponent's shots. There's no exceptions.

You cannot stand in the way of your opponent's shots.

This is a big deal, it's very important, and the game simply does not work when a player's shot is blocked. When you stand in the way of your opponent's shot, it's a form of cheating.

When the rule is observed, then the game runs very smoothly and is completely fair.

If you don't give your opponent enough room to swing, or stand in the way of his shot, the rules state that you lose the rally. Your opponent doesn't even have to swing and hit the ball, if you're in his way, then a referee can award the rally to your opponent. The reason the rule prescribes such strong punishment for infractions is that there is no level playing field when a player blocks his opponent's shot. The actual rule is displayed at the bottom of this page.

This is not some vague rule that only pros have to know about. Every player should observe this rule and all beginners should be taught this as the first rule they learn. The purpose of this rule is to make the game fair.

How much room must you give your opponent?
A. You must let the opponent swing (including his backswing) so that his racquet doesn't hit you.

B. You must stand at a place where your opponent can hit the ball (1) straight to the front wall and (2) hit a cross court shot. A cross court shot is one that hits the front wall and makes it to either corner on the back wall.

You don't have to move so far over that your opponent can hit any corner of the front wall. (But sometimes, because you get trapped in a spot where you have to leave your opponent enough room to swing his racquet, you by default, have to let him shoot at one of the front wall corners.)

Why are you standing in the way of your opponent's shots?
You don't look behind you to see where the ball is, and when it wraps around directly behind you, you don't see it. Then your opponent can't take the shot that he is legally entitled to since you are blocking his shot.

Let's examine a common situation. Often you will hit the ball in a manner that has it bounce against a side wall, while you are backing up staring at the front wall, not looking behind you. Your opponent is trying to chase down the ball. The ball then angles towards the middle of the back wall, comes out to where you are standing, one inch from your behind. Your opponent, having chased the ball from the side wall, whirls around from the back wall to face the front wall so he can finally reach the ball before it bounces twice. At the very last second, he suddenly sees you backing your butt into the ball, while you are oblivious of the fact that you've hit the ball so that it's about to hit your butt. He must then arrest his instinct to follow through with his swing, or else his racquet will plow into your back. You obliviously keep backing up, not aware of the scene that is unfolding behind you, and the ball bounces off your butt. You then turn around and ask "oh, was I in your way?"

This is absolutely wrong. Your opponent has the right to expect the path in front of the ball to be clear.

Why don't you turn around to see where the ball is going, so that you can intelligently move out of the way? Ah, here is where many people make their mistake.

Either someone told you to face forward so as not to get hit in the face with the ball, or you instinctively started doing this on your own. Getting hit is an extremely important consideration, but turning your back to the hitter does not work to solve this problem. If you don't look to see where the ball is going, there is actually a bigger chance that you will get hit by the ball or worse, the opponent's racquet. Not watching the ball is the most common mistake people make.

Fear of getting hit by an errant ball is a very powerful obstacle to overcome, especially if you have been hit. The rest of this article will show you how to avoid getting hit, but you will not have to perform any brave act or take any risks.

First things first: make sure that you wear approved racquetball safety glasses. Don't play without them.

After you (or if playing doubles, your doubles partner) hit the ball, hold the racquet so that it covers your face (roughly 9 inches from your face), and watch the ball through the strings of your racquet. Watch the ball throughout its whole path from your racquet to the front wall, then when it contacts your opponent's racquet, then to the front wall (where it's your turn to hit the ball again.) You can bring your racquet down after your opponent has hit the ball, and the ball has already gone past you.

To watch your opponent hit the ball when he's behind you, don't turn around so completely that your toes are pointing towards the back wall. Your toes should be pointing towards the front wall corner closest to the side of the court that the ball is on. Your body is kind of facing the front wall diagonally while your head is turned around, looking over your shoulder.

Important: Don't just hold the racquet up in front of your face, estimating how it will work as a shield; actually watch the ball through the strings of your racquet. Through the strings.

Now, if the ball works its way towards you, you will see it coming ahead of time. All you have to do is move out of the way and let your opponent swing. It's a liberating feeling. Your opponent will appreciate your court awareness and be more inclined to play with you in the future.

Let's see if this works under the most difficult situation. Assume that you serve a lob, and your opponent unexpectedly cuts off the lob by short hopping it. He mis-hits the ball and the ball accidentally goes flying at your face.

Guess what: you are protected. Why? Because you watched the ball through the strings of your racquet from the moment it left you and headed towards the front wall. As it came off the front wall you watched through the strings of your racquet and even though you were not expecting it, your racquet stopped the ball from contacting your face.

The key to good protection is watching the ball through the strings right after you've hit it, not when you think your opponent will hit it. Opponents often materialize out of nowhere and sometimes hit the ball in an illogical manner. Sometimes the ball hits the frame of their racquet and comes at you from a 90 degree angle. So having your racquet shielding your face right after you've hit it covers these unexpected shots.

If you are not comfortable watching the ball like this, practice by having a friend from back court lightly hit the ball around the court for 10 minutes while you just watch from center court (through your racquet strings), and build up your skill level and muscle memory. Make sure to practice moving out of his way if the ball is directly behind you. You can move out of his way now right? Right, because you're now watching the ball through your racquet strings!

If you don't watch the ball, it's as though you put a paper bag over your head immediately after you hit the ball, then wander in front of your opponent's shot. This is immensely frustrating for your opponent and is completely unfair to him.

Is there a time when you should not watch the ball? Yes. There's only one situation where you should not watch the ball. This is when you accidentally hit the ball so that it comes very close to your head. Let's say that you are standing in front court and hit a defensive lob, and the ball, coming down from the ceiling, is very close to your head. In this case, don't turn around at all. Your opponent may lose sight of you and try to short hop it, and if you turn around, he might hit you in the face with his racquet. Do not watch the ball if any part of is flight path goes near your head. In this case, face away from your opponent and move your head quickly far away from the ball. Once it's not near your head, look around and make sure that you are getting out of the way of your opponent's shot. Of course you shouldn't hit the ball back at your own head, especially if your opponent is standing near you, but this occasionally happens unintentionally.

One other defensive trick. If you get trapped, let's say against a back wall corner, and your opponent doesn't see you and is about to hit you. Yell "stop!" very loud. If you watch the ball though, you will greatly decrease the chances of this situation arising.

To watch experts stay out of each other's way, buy a video of a professional game; although they don't hold up their racquets as shields every time, they will do it when they recognize a potential situation for getting hit. They expertly stay of the way so well that I've rarely seen a pro get hit by a ball. Watch where the receiver stands; he will always give the hitter the straight in and cross court shot because he's watching the ball behind him. That's what you want to do.

One other thing about watching the pros on video, don't watch the ball, but rather watch one player (regardless of which one) and see where his eyes are throughout the rallies. You will notice that his eyes are always on the ball.

Once you get this concept down, you will find that your game goes up a level, and more of the higher level players will be willing to play with you.

A benefit of watching the ball is that, because your opponent will be where the ball is, you will be able to see what he is up to, which makes you set up much more intelligently. That's right, you will automatically look smarter. When you watch the ball come off the strings of your opponent's racquet, you will react twice as fast to his shots. This is a powerful new skill.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

More Florida Tournaments Coming Up

Mark your calendar and don't miss the opportunity to play in two great tournaments. Don't forget that the tournaments are just around the corner from one of the best beaches in the United States.

The 2010 Florida Firecracker is June 25-27 at the Sarasota Bath & Racquet.

Don't miss the Florida Open again this year, which will also be in Sarasota September 3-5.

For more infomration on the tournaments mentioned above please contact Chad Bailey

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Junior Programs Coming up in Florida

Florida Junior Regionals 2010
June 5-6, 2010
Harbour Island Athletic Club & Spa -Tampa, FL
Online Registration:

Junior Racquetball Summer Camp
Harbour Island Athletic Club - Tampa, FL

June 14-18

June 21-25

July 26-30

Aug 2-6

Camp hours are Monday-Friday (9:00am-3:30pm)
Email Kim Roy at for a registration form
Discount for forms/payment submitted by May 15.

Junior Jamboree
~clinic, tournament, and overnight sleepover party~
all skill levels welcome including beginners
~~~for junior players aged 5-18yrs old~~~
July 31-Aug 1(Sat noon-Sun noon)
Online registration:
Contact Kim at 603-491-1494 or

Team HEAD Tops Podium at 2010 USAR Intercollegiate Nationals

Team HEAD’s arsenal of young players showed its muscle once again at the 2010 USA Racquetball Intercollegiate National Championships, held on the campus of Missouri State University.

University of Alabama’s Sharon Jackson won her first National Collegiate Singles Championship. The win adds to Jackson’s (Shelbyville, Ind.) impressive racquetball resume which includes 16 National Titles, one World Title and the 2008 USA Racquetball Female Athlete of the Year award. Prior to matriculating to Tuscaloosa for college, Jackson was a six sport (basketball, volleyball, soccer, track, tennis and racquetball) star at Waldron High School in Indiana.

Jackson teamed up with fellow Team HEAD member and Crimson Tide teammate Kara Mazur (Avon, Conn.) to capture the duo’s second consecutive National Collegiate Doubles Championship. On top of those titles, Mazur won the 2008 USA Racquetball Women’s Singles College National Championship. She also holds a National High School title as well as several national and world junior championships. Jackson and Mazur lead Alabama to a second place finish in the Overall Team competition.

With her win in the Women’s Singles division, Jackson earns a one year appointment to the USA Racquetball Adult National Team pool of players. Players from that pool will represent Team USA at all international and world competitions, including the International Racquetball Federation’s World Championships this August in Seoul, Korea.

Taylor Knoth, a freshman at the University of Oregon, shook up the Men’s Singles bracket en route to a second place finish. Knoth (Milwaukie, Ore.) knocked off the No. 3 and No. 2 seeds on his way to the finals. Taylor’s racquetball career has amassed 15 National Junior Titles, 4 Junior World Titles and 3 National High School Titles. His finish paced the Ducks to a fifth place ranking in the Overall Team competition, the highest ever for the school.

Racquteball Canada-Burgess back to the courts

Michael Burgess has had to endure a chain reaction of injuries and a long healing process, but the former nationally-ranked racquetball player can now think about stepping onto the court again.

Burgess, now a firefighter/emergency services technician with the Wood Buffalo Emergency Services in Fort McMurray, Alta., has been off the courts due to injuries -- first to his knee, then his ankle and eventually his back that put his education at the Brandon-based Manitoba Emergency Services College at risk.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Racquetball to be included in the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games

At the recent Pan American Sports Organization ( PASO ) meeting in Mexico
the Toronto 2015 Organizing Committee recommended that racquetball be
included as a full medal sport on the program.

Racquetball has also been included in the 2010 editions of the Central
American Games--Panama, Central American Caribbean Games-- Mayaguez, Puerto
Rico, and the 2011 Pan American Games--Guadalajara, Mexico.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What happened to the guy in Jeans?

Who doesn't remember the guy with the white ektelon shirt, jeans, new balance running shoes and an old hat from UF? I remember when I played my first racquetball tournament in 2007 seeing a guy playing on jeans. He was playing on the B division. He looked like he just got out of class and just stopped by to play in the tournament. The interesting thing is that as the tournament progressed I kept seeing the guy still on jeans. Two things caught my attention. First that he kept winning all his matches and second he only had one outfit for the tournament. After a few matches and a day of tournament the word around was " Hey Joe how did you do? Well Kenny, I lost to the guy in Jeans" and Kenny would go " really? I thought that guy wasn't even playing". And a few minutes later you would hear the same. It turns out the guy with Jeans won the B's and at that time the B draw was gigantic. A few months later I saw the guy again in a tournament at UF. The outfit did not change and I had to play doubles against him. I remember people trying to kick him out of the court before the match, telling him that he had to leave because a match was starting at that court. He would turn around and say" yes I know I am playing". Turns out the guy was actually a pretty good racquetball player and that would explain his victory on the B's in Orlando.

Should we start a new trend ? why does he play in Jeans? Does racquetball have a dress code for tournaments?

News from 2010 USAR National Collegiate Championships held in Springfield, MO


Jackson and Rojas Win #1 Gold Intercollegiate Titles

The 2010 USA Racquetball 38th National Intercollegiate Racquetball Championships presented by ProPenn and sponsored by Ektelon and Wilson were held on April 7-10 at Missouri State University in Springfield. Hundreds of collegiate athletes representing fifty colleges and universities competed for team and individual titles. Sharon Jackson from the University of Alabama (Birmingham, AL) and Jose Rojas from Delta College (Stockton, CA) captured the #1 Gold titles, wins that also earned them highly-coveted appointments to the US Team. Jackson and Rojas are also former members of the US Junior Team.
Michelle Key (Arizona State University), who was noticeably absent from the 2009 Intercollegiate event, defeated number one seed Sheryl Lotts in a surprising semi-final upset (15-3, 9-15, 11-10). Key couldn’t get past Sharon Jackson in the finals and lost (15-10, 15- 8).
Taylor Knoth from the University
of Oregon emerged victorious in his semi-final match against Alan Crockett from the University of Alabama (15-9, 15-9). Jose Rojas secured the title with a 15-
9, 15-12 win over Knoth in the finals.
The University of Oregon team repeated their 2008 and 2009 performances with their win of the Overall Team Title.
The Women’s Team from the University of Oregon won the title for the second consecutive year. Colorado State University - Pueblo, whose five-year streak was broken last year by Delta College, recaptured the Men’s Team title.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

News from Ireland- O' Callaghan Bounces Back to Win Irish Open

pictured at the presentation to the Mens Doubles at the Irish Open in Arklow are (l-r); Michael Barnes (Tournament Director),Winners Noel O`Callaghan(Fermoy) Adma Neary(Arklow), Runners-up Sean Keane(Fermoy) Jonny O`Keeney(Cork IT) and Sheila Neary(Tournament Director

After being troubled by a knee injury for a greater part of the season, Noel O`Callaghan (Fermoy) bounced back to win the Mens Singles at the 29th Irish Open in Arklow. O`Callaghan defeated Adam Neary of Arklow in the final. Both players combined to win the Mens Doubles defeating Sean Keane and Jonn O`Keeney. Donna Ryder(Newport) kept up her consistent form by winning the Womens Singles defeating Katie Kenny (Castlebar)who was making her first appearance in a Womens Singles Final. Consolation however for Kenny when she partnered Majella Haverty to win the Womens Doubles.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

1994 VCI Pro Racquetball

Note how good the drive serves from Cliff are. The power, the stroke mechanics and the athletic ability of these players are great to watch.

2001 US Open Men's Pro Final - Swain vs Ellis: end of Game 3

This is a great clip between Cliff and Ellis. Watch carefully the first point on the video. The talent of these two players is just amazing.

Beginning Racquetball: Skills and Drills

Racquetball: a game for all ages at Purdue University

Players ages 19 to 64 came out to the Fitness Center on Wednesday, April 28, for the intramural program's annual one-on-one racquetball tournament.

The tournament consisted of players who were relatively new to the sport, to veterans like Dave Nalbone, a PUC faculty member with 30 years of racquetball experience.

The tournament was broken up into three brackets: A, B and C.

Bracket A consisted of the four best players in the tournament while B and C were combined and consisted of the other five players.

The tournament began with each participant playing one game to 15 against every other player in their bracket.

At the end of this round robin style play, the top two players in bracket A and bracket B/C faced off in the championship games.

While the championship games, which were also played to 15, were played in a best of three format, both games were won in just two matches.

"The competition was good," graduate student and champion of the B/C bracket Srikar Beemagouni said.

Beemagouni is currently enrolled in a racquetball class with other beginners for PUC credit. The class, instructed by a racquetball veteran, teaches basic skills.

Nalbone, champion of the A bracket, agreed competition was intense all day. Nalbone has played in this tournament for several years and has taken first multiple times, despite having to settle for second place the last two years.

"All of the games were tight. It was good exercise and a lot of fun," Nalbone said.

The oldest player in the tournament was Ed Vockell, a professor at PUC, who competed in the A bracket where his experience made him a force to be reckoned with.