Racquet Sports: Most Popular Articles
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.
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.)
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. Communication can be a challenge in a sport as international as squash, so a glossary is valuable.
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.
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 in squash the right way, without pressure, and with maximum fun.
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.
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.
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!
Here are the fundamentals of learning to play badminton; all the key shots and techniques that can transform an amateur into a competitor.
Squash is a very fast game, and it demands precision and power in your shot-making. Here's your most effective squash grip for meeting those demands of the 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.
Squash offers a lot of scope for bad behavior of all kinds. Here's how you can remain a good sport and a good competitor, by avoiding these examples of misbehavior in squash and by following good squash etiquette.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here's a great way to avoid tennis elbow!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Holding the racquet correctly is the beginning of effective hitting in racquetball. Learn the correct racquetball grip to hit with pace and precision.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
It sure is fun to jump right on court and play, but that may not be the healthiest approach. You'll play better, and more safely, if you warm up first, and stretch afterwards.
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!
These six steps show you how to hit a good racquetball lob serve every time. A well-hit racquetball lob serve is effective, and gives you time to prepare for the return.
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.
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.
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.
Watch the ball as it returns from the front wall and heads to the back corner. Only by watching can you see what your opponent will do in a real match, so practice watching even though this is only a drill. Page 8.
Here are ten easy steps to hitting the Z serve in racquetball. Being able to hit the Z serve, using the same service preparation as for the straight and cross-court drive serves, gives you a great way to keep your opponent guessing.
The backhand squash serve has some advantages over the regular forehand serve, at least from one side of the court. Here's how to hit a backhand squash serve to best effect.
Follow-through fully after your backhand volley and you will be ready to begin your backswing for your next volley, which will be a forehand. Watch the ball as it rebounds from the side wall and begins to travel back toward you. Move your feet so that you can hit your forehand volley from a good position. Page 8.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Watching the ball is of paramount importance. A key point to remember is that the ball is moving all the time; so you need to watch it closely. If you are tempted to look at the walls, and watch where you think the ball is going, you should remember that the walls don't move. They are always right there. The ball, however, is moving, so be sure to watch it all the way onto the strings of your racquet. Learning how to watch the ball is a big part of success in squash. Page 9.
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.
Your serve is only shot that you control entirely. You have time, you have placement, you have opportunity. In fact, every racquetball point begins with a serve. Learn how to hit it well, and you will be starting on a great path forward.
China's Chunlai Bao stretches for a precision forehand in competition in England. Page 3.
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.
This shows the racquetball drive serve in step-by-step fashion, as viewed from behind the server. Eight easy steps to a perfect racquetball drive serve, as demonstrated by T. J. Baumbaugh.
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.
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.
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.
The best solo practice for racquetball includes the forehand drop and hit drill. Here's how to perform the drill so you improve your forehand as quickly as possible.
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.
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.
Hit the ball hard and straight, aiming high on the front wall. Try to get the ball to rebound so deep in the court that it will hit the floor, then immediately bounce off the back wall so that you can hit it after it bounces off of the back wall. Page 5.
Here are some tested suggestions for cross-training that can help a racquet sports player stay fit and healthy.
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.
Here's how you can find a racquetball partner, in only eight easy steps!
Tips for getting your first racquet
Chen Wang of Hong Kong confounds her opponent during badminton competition at the 15th Asian Games in Doha. Page 5.
Here is a drill to help you perfect your backhand short rail shot in squash. This solo drill will help you learn to hit the ball along the side wall, using a well-controlled backhand stroke.
Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir in mixed doubles badminton competition at the Yonex All England Open.
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.
These are the top ten ways for you to stay healthy and injury-free as a racquet sports player.
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.
Bo Zheng and Ling Gao in mixed doubles competition at the Yonex All England Open. Page 2.
Gently toss the ball upwards as you finish taking your racquet all the way back. You should be watching the ball closely at this point, and for the rest of the drill. Page 2.
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.
Kenneth Jonassen of Denmark executes a badminton smash during play at the Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open. Page 5.
To make this squash drill more challenging, hit the ball a little lower and harder, and you won't have as much time to prepare for each shot. In this example, the ball hit quite low on the side and front walls, and the striker has very quickly taken a backswing to prepare for his next backhand. Practicing rapid preparation (backswing) for each shot is almost as important as practicing the correct footwork and stance for hitting. Page 7.
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.
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.
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.
Watch the ball hit the side wall, after it hits the front wall, and begin to rebound back toward your position on the T. Since this shot comes back to the center of the court, you would rarely use it in a real match. It is great for drilling however, if you want to practice your groundstrokes and your hand-eye coordination. Page 4.
Join up with the online squash community to find kindred spirits who are asking the same questions you are, and who have answers to share.
Jin Chen (China) in play at the Yonex All England Open badminton championship. Page 4.
If you can't watch every tournament live, it's still possible to watch the best professional tournaments,
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.
Here's how you can find a fellow badminton player, in only seven easy steps!
Adding good wrist snap right when you hit the ball will add even more pace to your shot. This combination of good shoulder/trunk rotation, good forward weight transfer as you step, and good wrist snap at contact will give your shot plenty of zip. Page 6.
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.
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.
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.
Your next shot will be your second forehand (out of a hundred!). In this picture, the striker is completing his backhand follow-through and seamlessly transitioning to a forehand backswing. Note that one foot is off the ground as the feet are being repositioned for the next shot. The striker's eyes are on the ball so that he can learn exactly where the ball will go. Page 6.
Lin Zhu of China leaps and smashes during play at the Yonex Korea Open badminton championship. Page 4.
Olympic badminton controversies began even before the sport debuted in Barcelona in 1992. Controversies surround the selection process for the teams, the way funding is allocated to athletes and coaches, and potential conflicts of interest by committee members. And that's even before we look at controversial player behavior or controversial officiating!
Here's how you can find a squash partner, in only eight easy steps!
Doubles squash is a great game, offering physical and strategic challenges for squash players of all
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.
When you play racquetball, the walls, the ball, and your racquet can work together to create just what you want. Or not. Here are a few things to avoid.
Open your hand and release the ball as you continue your cross-step towards the front wall. Begin to take your racquet hand and arm up as part of your backswing. Page 3.
This squash drill features alternating forehand and backhand drives, hit with full power. It's a great drill to practice hitting with power and control. The repetitive nature of the drill can help you improve your backswing and your follow-through, on both sides.
The case for Olympic squash is sound, and squash should be included in the Olympics. Here are the main reasons why squash should be in the Olympics, and some history of the World Squash Federation's campaign for Olympic squash. Page 2.
This ball control drill for the intermediate squash player requires control that is well beyond what most squash beginners can demonstrate. For intermediates, it offers a way to hone your ability to control the squash ball, know where your racquet face, and always watch the ball.
Xingfang Xie exhibits her poise, balance, and focus during competition at the Yonex Japan Open badminton championship.
China will dominate in Olympic badminton when play commences in August 2008 in Beijing. Find out why.
You can watch racquet sports professionals on the Tennis Channel even if you don't care much about tennis.
While they can't do as much for you as a real coach, online coaches can help you improve your squash. Here are two virtual squash coaches you should definitely check out.
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.
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.
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!
You may have partners with whom to play badminton, but still want more badminton conversation. Here's how to connect with the online badminton community and find discussion partners who share your sport.
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.
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.
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!
Indonesia Badminton - Indonesia Olympic Badminton Mixed Doubles Competitors
Bring the racquet head down from its highest vertical point, watch the ball closely, and turn your shoulders into the shot for power and pace. Page 4.
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.
Badminton equipment for competitive play includes the right shoes, racquets, strings and shuttlecocks. These online resources will help you be properly prepared.
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.
As the ball rebounds and descends, lower your tossing arm and take the racquet back toward the back wall. Watch the ball closely. Page 5.
Ning Zhang of China sends the shuttle on its way in competition at the Yonex Japan Open badminton championship. Page 2.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!