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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Junior racquetball grows at Foothills Recreation and Aquatics Center in Arizona

Offering a summer recreation course can be a hit-or-miss proposition depending on how many people turn out. The junior racquetball course for ages 10 to 15 at Foothills Recreation and Aquatics Center turned out better than expected.

Last year, the program had seven people, while 12 kids came out this year, according to instructor Carl Thompson.

It means doubles on all three courts,” Thompson said. “I would be delighted to have 20 for rotational purposes and teaching.”

Although he would like to get more, 12 is a good number to work with, Thompson said.

Before players take to the court, he likes to refresh their memories as to the safety aspect of the sport.

He tells students the main thing is to have fun, which begins with wearing safety glasses and wearing their wrist strap. The strap, attached to the racquet, will prevent the racquet from away flying and hitting your opponent during a game. Thompson stresses to the players to get out of the way and not hold your ground if your opponent is getting ready to hit the racquetball. Players must duck if they their opponent is getting too close, and to remember the volley ends when the ball hits the floor the second time.

Thompson tells his students there are some basic rules and common sense tactics to help them enjoy the game.

“Do not hit it when the volley is over,” he said. “Because your opponent is not expecting it, and keep your eye on the ball 100 percent of the time.

“If a person is hitting in back and you're in front, cover your face with the racquet. Mentally project where the ball is going to be, move to the ball and keep track of whose turn it is. Get in position, hit the front wall, where I can pass it where my opponent isn't. Lastly, move to the best court position.”

Four Glendale residents are learning racquetball and want to make the most of their game.

Theresa Moore, 10, said the sport affords her the opportunity to meet new people, and also the chance to meet new people who share the same interests.

“He's helped me how to see the ball and to bounce it once (during play),” Theresa said. “I don't have a racquet, so I don't get to play as much, but my friend lets me use hers for practice.”

First-year player Haley McManus, 10, is trying to learn as much as she can.

“I like to hit it hard,” Haley said. “I've learned that if it doesn't pass the (serving) line, it's short.”

Emily Bush, 12, is in her third year of racquetball.

“I've learned how to play and getting out of the way,” Emily said.

Brooke Barnes, 11, said racquetball helps her focus.

“I just kind of work off all the stress and I've got two sisters,” Brooke said. “This is only my second time, so I'm learning how to hit.”

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