Racquet Sports: Most Popular Articles
A good squash serve is a valuable weapon to get you into each point, and give you control of the initial exchange. Here's how to hit a good serve in squash every time. (Demonstration by squash professional Jonathan Lam.)
Here's how you can remain a good competitor by avoiding these examples of misbehavior in squash and by following good squash etiquette.
If you're building a badminton court at home, that doesn't mean it can't be a regulation one built to proper specifications. This method will accomplish that.
Here is an overview of the easy-to-learn sport of pickleball. This short profile gives you a sense of the appeal of pickleball, its appropriateness for players of all ages, and the ease of starting to play this fun sport.
The bane of many racquet sports players, plantar fasciitis can bring great pain and take pleasure from your game. Here's how to address the diagnosis and get back on court.
Step by step, here's all you need to know to hit a great serve return, deal with your opponent's toughest serves, and quickly put him or her on the defensive. At the very least, you'll be back in the point, and on an even footing. You'll probably even be on the 'T', ready to dominate the point! Page 2.
You want to improve, don't you? Here are the key squash tips for how to improve your squash game most rapidly, whether you are a beginner or an intermediate player.
This squash glossary explains common terms that you may hear your squash coach use. It can help you learn the language of the sport of squash, and speed your learning.
There are several key steps to starting your child in squash. And a few steps to avoid. Here's a parents' guide to starting your child the right way.
Sometimes in a long, hard squash match, you just need to get one more point on the score board to break your opponent's spirit and start a series of several winning points. Here's how you can score that one quick point, by varying your serve.
You'll play better if you know all the rules of regulation racquetball. Begin with a sound understanding of the definitive rules of the game!
With this advice from an instructor and these ideas from a world-class player, here's how you can get on the Olympic track as a badminton player.
Holding the racquet correctly is the beginning of effective hitting in racquetball. Learn the correct racquetball grip to hit with pace and precision.
There is a right way to hold your squash racquet, and several wrong ways. Here are some of the more common wrong ways to hold your squash racquet. These squash grips lead to loss of control and precision.
Here are the fundamentals of learning to play badminton; all the key shots and techniques that can transform an amateur into a competitor.
Here's a great way to avoid tennis elbow!
In squash, the serve can determine the likely outcome for a point, so it's important to hit a good one. Here are tips for making the most of your opportunity to serve.
Simply let the ball drop, at a comfortable hitting distance away from your front foot. There is no need to throw the ball toward the ground. Just let gravity do its work. Your racquet head should be above your wrist. Page 2.
Beginner squash starts with getting control of the racquet and the ball. This simple ball control drill is a great starting point for the squash beginner.
Here's how to bring seasonal cheer to your squash player! Eight great squash gift ideas sure to make your squash player happy to celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, or the New Year.
A good squash practice session is of great value in improving the level of your squash play. Practice sessions can be even more valuable than playing competitive matches. Here is how to design, and then enjoy a good squash practice session, every time.
Simply wrap your fingers loosely around the grip. Page 2.
Your serve is the only shot that you control entirely. In fact, every racquetball point begins with a serve. Learn how to hit it well.
When you're under pressure, the ceiling ball is the best racquetball defense. It gives you time to safely get back into position. Here are three quick tips for how to employ this racquetball defense.
This squash tip explains the perils of overhitting, what overhitting is, what problems it causes, why it is so frequent, and how to avoid it. This squash tip comes from hard-earned experience, and if you take it to heart, you won't have to make the common mistake of overhitting.
Being able to retrieve the ball when your opponent hits it short is very important in squash. Here's how to cover that boast, and punish your opponent for hitting short.
Court tennis is so complex that what you need to do when receiving serve is entirely different than what you need to do when you're serving. Here are essential court tennis tips for the receiver, in a summary form that you can put in your racquet case for handy reference whenever you change sides of the court tennis court.
Racquet sports fall into two main categories: direct games and indirect games. Racquet sports in both categories are fun, fast, physically demanding, and mentally demanding. Here are some features of racquet sports in each category.
Here are three key ideas that can help you return serve effectively in squash. Implement these ideas and you'll be ready to battle for control of the squash court.
Everything you need to know about Olympic badminton: past Olympic medal winners in badminton, rules for qualifying and playing Olympic badminton, Olympic badminton controversies, badminton photos, Beijing badminton prospects, and much more.
As the ball passes behind you, across the center of the court, begin your recovery to a better court position. The receiver will not be allowed to strike the ball until it passes the interference line, five feet behind the back edge of the service area. By that time, you should be moving back to a better court position. Page 9.
Here are the key attributes of the sport of racquetball. This short profile quickly gives you a sense of the excitement and accessibility of racquetball, as well as its broad appeal to players throughout North America.
During a hard-fought squash match, there’s really no time to analyze or reflect. You need simple, positive thoughts that you can remember even when you’re “brain-dead” and gasping for air. Here's how to focus on ten key ideas that can help you play your best.
Here are the key attributes of the sport of badminton. This short profile quickly gives you a sense of the sport of badminton, its worldwide popularity, and its great physical demands.
Even when the forehand stroke is complete, as in this picture, your knees should remain partially bent. The best stance in squash is one in which you are ready to move again, and in any direction. That usually means a stance in which your knees remain somewhat bent and in which you are well-balanced. Squash is such a fast-moving sport, that you can't straighten your legs, lock your knees, put your weight on your heels, and expect to have much chance of reaching your opponent's shot. Page 8.
Backhand Squash Serve - Take Racquet Arm Back. Page 2.
Popped toenails can be avoided even if you play racquet sports all the time. With proper attention to your footwear and toenail maintenance, you can avoid experiencing the pain and discomfort of popped toenails.
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In Beijing, the US has fully entered the world stage for Olympic badminton. For the first time ever, the US has badminton players qualified and competing in all five events. Here are our top US Olympic badminton players.
Here are the key attributes of the sport of squash. This short profile quickly gives you a sense of the sport of squash, its prevalence around the world, and its complexity and history.
Follow through towards the front wall. Your drive serve should hit the front wall about two feet above the floor and slightly to your right, so that it ends up in the back right corner of the court. Page 7.
Point-a-Rally (PAR) scoring has its advocates and detractors in the squash community. Here are the pros and cons of the PAR scoring system in squash.
This squash grip can actually be useful in particular situations. There are times when you might need to 'choke up' on the racquet - such as when you are caught with a ball that hugs the back wall very closely. For most situations, however, this grip is way too high up the racquet. The player will lose power, and the parts of the hand extending above the leather grip will not feel very comfortable. Page 3.
Refereeing a squash match can be a real challenge. Here's how to learn the rules, become the best referee you can be, and get certified as an official referee by US Squash.
Continue watching as you take the racquet all the way back. Note that the striker's torso is facing the side wall even though his feet are angled toward the front corner of the court. It is valuable to turn your torso fully sideways (facing the side wall), or further back, before you hit your volley. This full preparation and good upper body position will enable you to hit your volley with more power and control. Page 5.
Jai alai is an incredibly fast ball game, usually played by teams, and usually the subject of intense spectator interest and gambling. Here's a short description of this fascinating racquet (okay, basket) sport.
Here are nine easy steps to hitting a good crosscourt drive serve in racquetball. When you mix the racquetball crosscourt drive serve with your straight drive, lob, and z serves, you will have your opponent guessing and frustrated.
This article explores the unique characteristics of racquet sports that make them so appealing. It explains why and how they are better than other sports, for so many people.
Here's what court tennis is all about. This short profile gives you a sense of the sport of court tennis, its unique features, complexity, and rich history.
This grip is too low on the handle. Note how the heel of the palm extends into thin air below the end of the racquet handle. While racquetball players might use a grip similar to this, with respect to position on the handle, it is not particularly helpful in squash. The squash racquet is long enough for you to generate adequate pace without artificially lengthening the racquet by holding it at the very end of the grip. This grip position will lead to loss of control. Page 4.
This version of the squash 'hammer grip' isn't quite as extreme as some. The thumb is not overlapping the fingers, and there's not obvious tension in the grip. However, it fails to give the racquet holder much control over the head of the racquet. A player using this hammer grip will never reach his or her full potential in squash. Page 2.
Platform tennis, or 'paddle', is a great game for year-round fun. This short profile gives the highlights and introduces you to one racquet sport that doesn't even require strings on the racquet.
Moat Man (or Alligator) is a great squash game for juniors, designed to help girls and boys learn to volley the ball in the air. And, it's fun!
Perfecting your backhand straight drive is very important in squash. Here is the best way to practice this shot. This backhand rail drill can teach you to hit a perfect backhand every time, and help you groove it into your muscles so that it is instinctive.
Here's how you can find a racquetball partner, in only eight easy steps!
You should never give up in a squash match because the tide may turn in your favor. Here are the top ten reasons you should never give up until the very last bounce of the squash ball.
Intermediate squash players need to learn quite a few shots. A good one to use on occasion is the roll corner. This roll corner drill can work for squash beginners, but it is best for intermediate squash players who want to practice quick racquet preparation and learn how to put spin on the ball for maximum effectiveness.
You'll play better, and more safely, if you warm up first, and stretch afterwards. Here's why that matters.
Follow through with your weight transferring forward, and the racquet head coming up and around your body. Page 7.
Most racquet sports require exceptional strength in the player's lower arm in order for them to fully control the racquet, and control their shot. Here's a great way to increase your lower arm strength.
Ten easy steps to learning how to hit a good backhand volley in squash. You don't even need a partner to practice your backhand volley.
Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir in mixed doubles badminton competition at the Yonex All England Open.
If you can't watch every tournament live, it's still possible to watch the best professional tournaments,
As you complete your forehand follow-through, you can watch the ball travel cross-court. In this picture, it's above the striker's head, traveling left to right. Note how the forehand follow-through easily becomes the start of the backhand backswing. Page 4.
Sticke Tennis is a game that used to be more popular than it is today. Here is a brief description of the game to give you a flavor for this historic sport.
Toss the ball to start your solo squash lesson. Since you will be hitting the ball crosscourt, it is best to toss the ball a bit forward, toward the front wall. Watch the ball closely. For best results, alternate your squash lessons with your local pro with repetitive hitting drills like this one. Page 3.
Power Zone is a great squash game for juniors, designed to help girls and boys learn to control the center of the court. And, it's fun!
Here are some tested suggestions for cross-training that can help a racquet sports player stay fit and healthy.
Howard Bach will compete in badminton for the USA at the Beijing Olympics in mens doubles and mixed doubles. Bach is already a world champion badminton player, and now looks to add Olympic medals to his collection.
The hammer grip works fine for driving nails, but not for driving squash balls. When you wrap your hand tightly around the squash grip like this, you lose control over both the location and direction of the head of your racquet. If your arm is completely perpendicular to the shaft of your racquet and all four of your fingers are touching their nearest neighbor, you are probably using the hammer grip.
You want to get the best help for improving your badminton game, don't you? Here's how you can find a coach who's right for you.
If you're just starting squash and need some equipment, here are some company names you'll come across. All of these companies make good squash gear, and can help you get started with good equipment.
This squash practice drill can help you groove in your forehand and backhand groundstrokes. Solo squash practice like this is essential if you want to play your best during competition. Here's the sequence for productive squash practice, as viewed from the front of the court.
Tips for getting your first racquet
Every squash player experiences it: the tough loss. It's either a lopsided match that you lose 3-0, very quickly, while the other player dominates, or it's the even more heartbreaking defeat where you lose 8-10 in the fifth game after more than an hour of hard squash competition. In either case, the loss hurts a lot. Here's how to deal with it, rise above it, and learn to play better squash.
After hitting the backhand, turn your racquet over again for another forehand. This ball control drill can last a long time for an intermediate squash player. The challenge is to perform the drill without needing to move your feet, and with all ball contact made solidly in the center of your strings each time. Page 6.
As you prepare to drop the racquetball to the floor from waist height, shift your weight onto your back foot so that you will be able to more easily transfer it forward when you hit your shot. Begin to rotate your shoulders towards the back wall so that you will be able to rotate your torso into the shot as well. Raise the racquet head and begin to look closely at the ball. Page 2.
Toss the ball gently towards the side wall so that it will hit the wall about shoulder height. Page 2.
Squash can be a hard sport to begin, and a confusing one to understand. You should know that there is an excellent guide provided by US Squash that introduces juniors (and their parents) to everything they need to understand to succeed in competitive squash.
Court Tennis is a demanding game, and its unique features make it the most complex racquet sport. These four major complexities are found in no other racquet sports.
Squash can actually be very dangerous, since there are two players running at full speed in a confined space, swinging racquets around while chasing a moving ball. Protective eyewear can help, but it's not the full solution. Knowing the rules is also essential. Here's where to go to learn the rules and stay safe.
Here's how you can find a squash partner, in only eight easy steps!
You want to improve rapidly and play better racquetball, don't you? Here's how you can find a coach who's right for you.
Squash Rail Drill - Prepare to Toss the Ball Onto the Side Wall. Page 2.
The back wall drive drill is a great racquetball practice session. It teaches you how to hit good forehand drives off of your opponent's shot coming off the back wall. Here's how to perform the racquetball back wall drive drill to best effect.
Lin Zhu of China leaps and smashes during play at the Yonex Korea Open badminton championship. Page 4.
Here's how you can find a fellow badminton player, in only seven easy steps!
Bo Zheng and Ling Gao in mixed doubles competition at the Yonex All England Open. Page 2.
Get a real boost for your racquetball game. Attend a weekend or week-long camp, and take your game to the next level! Here are a few things you should know in advance, as well.
Here's the rest of the squash rail drill - a sequence of forehand rails that can last a few shots or a few hundred. Practice this drill by yourself until you can hit a perfect forehand every time, with pace and with control.
This is the crest above the entrance at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia. These aren't squash racquets or tennis racquets, they are racquets racquets! It's a fast game, and very exciting. Page 3.
Court tennis is so complex that what you need to do when serving is entirely different than what you need to do when you're receiving serve. Here are essential court tennis tips for the server, in a summary form that you can put in your racquet case for handy reference whenever you change to the serving side of the court tennis court.
These are the top ten ways for you to stay healthy and injury-free as a racquet sports player.
You want to get the best help for improving your squash game, don't you? Here's how you can find a coach who's right for you.
The historic game of Racquets, Rackets, or Hard Racquets is still played today, though at a small number of clubs in the United States. This short profile gives you a sense of why enthusiasts at seven clubs in the US are striving to keep this wonderful game alive.
You can watch racquet sports professionals on the Tennis Channel even if you don't care much about tennis.
Follow through and watch your shot hit the front wall, about halfway between the top of the tin and the red line. In this example, the ball is hitting the front wall about one foot away from the junction with the left side wall. Your next shot will be a backhand. Page 3.
Bob Malaythong will compete in badminton for the USA at the Beijing Olympics in mens doubles. Malaythong, from Rockville, MD and Orange , CA, will pair with Howard Bach.
Badminton equipment for competitive play includes the right shoes, racquets, strings and shuttlecocks. These online resources will help you be properly prepared.
Yang Yu (China) hits a backhand in women's doubles play at the Yonex All England Open championship. Her mixed doubles partner Hanbin He is not pictured. Page 4.
Eva Lee will compete in badminton for the USA at the Beijing Olympics in women's singles and doubles, and in mixed doubles. Eva Lee is already a three-event gold medalist at the 2007 Pan American Games, and is looking to add to her medal collection.
Here are images of top-ranked Olympic badminton competitors, reflecting Badminton World Federation rankings as of April, 2008. These are the top men's singles Olympic badminton competitors to watch in Beijing! Page 2.
Ning Zhang of China sends the shuttle on its way in competition at the Yonex Japan Open badminton championship. Page 2.
Juniors practicing squash drop shots during a lesson drill at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia. After hitting this drop shot, the boy will next run to the left side of the court to hit a deep backhand drive. Then back again to hit another drop shot. And so forth. In this way, he hits shots in a pattern that mimics the pattern of a real squash match. He also gets a good physical workout! Page 6.
Olympic badminton former stars don't just fade away. They coach, they emigrate, and they remain in the limelight.
Flandy Limpele and Vita Marissa (Indonesia) competing in mixed doubles at the 2008 Yonex Korea Open badminton championship. Page 3.
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - JANUARY 27: Flandy Limpele of Indonesia, returns the shuttlecock against Korea's Lee Yong-Dae and Lee Hyo-Jung during the mixed doubles final at the 2008 Yonex Korea Open Badminton championships on January 27, 2008 in Seoul, South Korea. Korea beat Indonesia 15-21, 21-14, 21-18. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Follow through, and get ready to hit another deep backhand rail once the ball comes back off the front wall. Be sure to move your feet each time so that you practice moving into proper position as the ball bounces on the floor. This is a movement drill as much as it is a hitting drill. Immediately after you hit, move towards the 'T', then move into proper hitting position as the ball rebounds from the front wall. [this drill is not effective if you are standing still]. Page 10.
Jin Chen (China) in play at the Yonex All England Open badminton championship. Page 4.
In the US, squash charity begins at home. Nine cities have their own programs offering academic enrichment and squash training to youths who might otherwise not be introduced to the game.
It's worth taking the time to protect your eyes from damage on the court. The impact of a moment could last a lifetime. Wear eye protection.
This is a racquet-man's paradise. The Racquet Club of Philadelphia provides facilities for squash, doubles squash, racquets, court tennis, and table tennis. Along with the best showers I've ever enjoyed.
Here are images of top-ranked Olympic badminton competitors, reflecting Badminton World Federation rankings as of April, 2008. These are the top Olympic badminton mixed doubles teams to watch in Beijing!
Here are images of top-ranked Olympic badminton competitors, reflecting Badminton World Federation rankings as of April, 2008. These are the top women's singles Olympic badminton competitors to watch in Beijing!
Yawen Zhang (China) enjoys a hard-earned victory in women's doubles at the Yonex All-England Open badminton championship. Her mixed doubles partner, Zhongbo Xie, is not pictured. Page 5.
CHENGDU, CHINA - JULY 15: (CHINA OUT) Marissa Vita (L) and Lilyana Natsir of Indonesia display their awards during a ceremony after defeating Zhao Tingting and Yang Wei of China at women's badminton doubles final of the 2007 AVIVA-COFCO China Masters BWF Super Series on July 15, 2007 in Chengdu of Sichuan Province, China. Page 3.
Here are key predictions for the Olympic badminton medalists at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Mens and womens singles badminton, mens and womens doubles badminton, and mixed doubles are all predicted. China's domination of the Olympic badminton medal hunt is expected, but certainly not assured.
Badminton videos can show you how the professional badminton players move and hit, and execute their strategy. They also highlight badminton's tremendous worldwide popularity, and showcase the athleticism of the players. Here are some sources for great video recordings of professional badminton play.
Doubles squash is a great game, offering physical and strategic challenges for squash players of all
Chen Wang of Hong Kong confounds her opponent during badminton competition at the 15th Asian Games in Doha. Page 5.
While they can't do as much for you as a personal coach, online coaches can help you begin to improve your racquetball play. Here are several coaches offering some free online tips, as well as recorded lessons, that you should definitely check out.
Since 1889, racquets enthusiasts have been playing at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia. Today, the club offers instruction and play in squash, doubles squash, racquets, and court tennis. There are also quite a few amenities, such as fine dining, lodging, swimming, and pro shops to provide court enthusiasts with all the equipment and clothing they might ever need. Page 2.
Win or lose, you will recover from your match after showering in these showers at the men's locker room at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia. You almost need a snorkel to enjoy these showers; they dump so much water on you, that you can barely breathe. It's quite a cleansing experience. Page 4.