Originally Posted by sfdean
After a two month break from EpicSki I finally get back to this thread. Sorry about the delay. Years ago, TheRusty, I used to play racquetball, but I had three problems: (1) IMHO racquetball is a sport where skill differences tend to get magnified, so it's a tough sport to do if you don't have a partner at your skill level; (2) I'm a pretty gonzo competitor, and I ended up doing a lot of backward somersaults after diving backward for shots, rolling up onto my neck, with all my 176 lb. weight supported just by my neck at about C4, thinking "Oops. Is this thing going to break now, leaving me paralyzed?" and (3) the thing I really like about ski racing is that I can be as aggressive and enthusiastic as possible, and I never hurt anyone else. With racquetball, if you have a lot more enthusiasm than skill, you end up leaving racquetball-sized welts all over your opponent's back.
Racquetball would be good for changes of direction, but then so are lateral bounds.
That's too bad. We have challenge courts at our club that are fairly active. It's fairly easy to pick up a game somewhere close to your skill level. One of the things that I discovered as I was working my way up through the ranks was that the better players appreciated it when you hustled and made them work a little bit even though you had no chance at beating them. So you got a great work out and a chance to "lift yourself" up to their level. Putting a little effort into learning basic strategy (choosing the right shot to hit, controlling the pace of the game) and attitude control (not letting emotion control the game) also helped me play competitively against opponents above my level. We also have enough good players who are willing to dumb down their game to be social to newbies and enough newbies who are brave enough to "get a lesson" the hard way occasionally.
I had to give up volleyball because I could not stop myself from diving for the ball and hurting my back. I know where you're coming from on this. No solution to that except maybe you have to go through a few sports to solve it? Actually, good racquetball technique should only have you diving flat on your belly and low to the floor. It shouldn't be too bad to control, but for some people ... (sigh).
Racquetball is a great game for working out your frustrations. But you do have to learn some limits. Tatoos above the waist are a definite nono. Without some tips from better players, it can be hard for novices to learn how to play safely. I found that conquering this mental aspect of the game was most helpful for helping me to control my fiery personality off the court (but I've found golf to be even better training for this) as opposed to needing to give the sport up because of the inability to play safely. As instructors, we often see novice skiers have the same problem on the slopes that you experienced on the court: they ski too fast and out of control presenting a danger to themselves and others on the slopes. The solution is the same: skill growth, peer pressure or an accident.
The biggest problem with racquetball is critical mass. In many areas there are not enough players/facilities to make playing the game convenient and to facilitate skill growth. Without critical mass, it's easy to go through what you experienced.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but lateral bounds are extremelyBORING!!!