I stumbled into racquetball randomly in my early 30s. I moved to a new area and the gym closest to me happened to have a bunch of racquetball courts. The game looked both really fun and kind of intimidating. A lot of players at that particular gym played in tournaments so some of their rallies were pretty intense. But it took me almost 2 years of passively watching these guys play while I was doing weights or jogging on a treadmill to actually consider starting playing myself. Finally, I started getting bored of my workout routines and needed something new and fun to motivate myself going to the gym. So I as one of my New Year resolutions one year I vowed to learn to play racquetball.
I went to my local sport store that had a whopping 8 racquets to chose from and picked up a cheap Ektelon racquet that “felt” good in my hand (obviously, very scientific and based on lots of research). I also picked up a can of black balls because I thought all racquetball balls were the same and I just liked the color black. Armed with this newly acquired gear, I reserved a court and started hitting the ball around. “Hey, this is not so hard”, I thought. “You just hit the ball as hard as you can and it bounces off walls and you just keep hitting”. But I guess I still looked awkward enough doing it, with an incorrect grip and ridiculous swing mechanics, that some good soul named Bob stopped by my court and gave me a few pointers. I asked if we could play a quick game. And even though this person probably played at 1/20th of their ability, I was still shocked by how little I could do. I kept getting stuck in corners after trying to react to lob serves or ceiling balls and just couldn’t figure out how to return the ball without hitting the walls. I kept chasing the balls like a small puppy, while my opponent seemed to be casually walking around and returning my shots. Maybe there’s a lot more to this game than I initially thought.
The after the game, to add just little bit something extra to my crappy mood after feeling so helpless on the court, Bob also told me that my black balls were “dead” and I should get some new ones. I was pissed, as I bought a bucket of these online, and now it seemed like I got sold defective balls. I guess Bob didn’t know that different colored balls actually have different properties and vary in bounciness, so those black balls weren’t “dead”, they are just least bouncy ones out of them all by design.
But that’s something I didn’t learn until much later. That’s because I was having a hard time finding information on the internet that would break down everything I need to know for a newbie like me. I mean, there were some YouTube videos that I definitely found invaluable. And there were some blogs that were pretty useful too, but a lot of that information was aimed at more experienced players, so even though it gave me some idea of how deep this rabbit hole can go, it was all way over my head. It was pretty frustrating. It wasn’t until I turned to that old-fashioned source of information – books – that I actually found something that was laid out in some kind of logical fashion that I could follow and start connecting all the pieces of the puzzle I need to figure out how to play this game properly.
So that was my humble beginning. In the years that followed, I did a whole lot of studying, drilling, and playing. Which brings us to the present and the selfish and not so selfish reasons for starting this website:
- By trying to teach others, I need to revisit the familiar topics and think of them in more depth, which activates different parts of the brain from those used when simply learning, so that solidifies my own knowledge on the subject.
- I get to practice and improve my writing skills
- I get to geek out on all the technical stuff of running a website
- Hopefully, I can create a novel way of presenting this information so that people who are just getting into the sport can have an easy to consume collection of resources that I did not have when I was getting into this.
About that last point, I was pretty bummed out when I learned how much popularity of racquetball has declined in the past couple of decades. It’s an incredible sport, but it doesn’t seem to attract new players to it. So that’s another wish that I can make a small contribution to reversing this trend and helping to grow the sport again by compiling a comprehensive source of information in a visually pleasing and easy to consume way that anybody interested in the game can be referred to.
Help to spread the word!