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The Great Stroke Gestalt

Part 1: The Backswing…

Do you know what’s better than all the stroke parts by themselves? It’s all the stroke parts working together. In fact the racquetball stroke is even greater than the sum of the forces produced by its individual parts. When you synch up your stroke parts, their “synergy” compounds the sum of their separate forces developing a truly formidable racquetball stroke.
Stroke Overview = Create and store power in your backswing, while remaining relaxed or not tense. First spiral body and arm very lightly back, as you fully set your feet. Then sequence your downswing properly so you swing hardest near the ball, not hard from the top. Build into it. Retrace the hip turn in the opposite direction, rotate forward after pushing off side to side. At same time, loop racquet down attacking contact. Arc arm down, point racquet racquet back, and windup elbow and wrist into a spring. Then steadily accelerate your arm turning it over as you extend and ultimately roast part of ball you see shaping this shot. Go with familiar, confident racquet flow rolling your arm and wrist over thru your well known contact point; which is spot you constantly move to line up behind and then attack with your arcing swing.
How to do all of the stroke actions is all explained here…first…
—> Grip it = first, get your palm behind the racquet’s handle in your grip. That supports a platform to forcefully stroke thru the ball. Both your handshake forehand grip and your index finger knuckle on top backhand grip provide that very stable, multi-height striking platform. That let’s you really take advantage of the gathering momentum of your prepped and then unleashed stroke. Then you can unload into the ball from chest high on down to ankle bone low.
To reach out and shoot…
—> Set spacing = Get your spacing behind and beside each ball. Initially set your distance about an arm and racquet’s reach away. Start about a 1/2 step behind ball so you must move into ball in downswing…
—>  …To begin stroke, set ball in your attack zone…after tracking down and approaching ball…quickly go thru these key, routine prep steps to attack ball…
1- Get spacing behind and beside ball
2- Set off shoulder contact point = Get behind routine contact point that’s out in front of your racquet arm shoulder as your first point of emphasis for your court moves and stroke actions prior to contact. See that contact point like it’s your home plate…
3- Scale contact…reflecting a wide contact range from ankle bone low ideally up to even chest high…while setting a priority on patiently letting most balls drop as low as you can to fuel a committed, stable, racquet platform swinging low to low thru contact…
5- Narrow down shot options = Select best shot available for THIS bounce pattern…
6- …Get feet solidly under you, as you prep…
7- Windup = when you could just about reach out and snatch ball right out of midair, THEN quickly, fluidly, rhythmically begin backswing, as you prep racquet (and body)…
Always play bounce = The hidden tip here is don’t wind back until you’ve read the bounce of the ball. Be sure on what side of your body you should optimally light up the ball. Know best stroke…and time when to prep because readying too early inserts a big hitch or pause which interrupts your flow…too late and you rush. Set your feet as you loop up. THEN right away swing down and thru…
The Contents = First explained is the backswing, then the downswing. Also there’s extras on the tenets of technique and the power of visualizing in stroking.
Here’s the full stroke…
STROKE GESTALT
Part 1:
The BACKSWING = Start from bottom, while also lifting racquet to top, as you…
—> Turn and face = Face sidewall ball side…
—>  Step back = Start with a little hop step backwards onto back foot. There ideally take a little, light springy step on that deeper foot in the court. That begins the stroke on THAT side of your body where you’ll make contact. Ideally face a sidewall. You’re readying to make contact on that side, as your backhand or forehand. Note that the other foot tags along with step back and how it posts and then will be set will be explained in just a sec, after explaining how your arms loop back, too. And also sometimes you must hit from an open stance…so practice up open stance hitting…
—> …How to back wall save = Prep even when you must wind away from back wall to strike a back wall save intent on extending the rally…
—>  …Loop racquet = For either forehand or backhand stroke, along with starting to set your back foot…begin arcing racquet back in a familiar, smooth, tempo-driven, very repeatable loop (that’s trained up). Complete loop back AFTER getting BOTH feet set under you…
—> …For Speed, QuickDraw = Pick up speed in a faster racquet head loop back…
-> QuickDraw thrust elbow back for forehand…like you’re throwing your elbow back and up behind you in an arc; or
-> QuickDraw upper cut across your chest for backhand = As you punch across chest, move racquet back from body shield position. Lead with racquet head drawing it back to at least non racquet arm shoulder depth and height. There you start with racquet out in front of you body shielding at waist high when defending from center court or when standing, at the ready, to return serve…
—> Raise off arm slightly, too…to wind back fuller making yours a dual shoulders swing -> Don’t glue your off arm to your side. Use off arm for unit swing to help each specific stroke…
–> …for backhand…draw off arm back separately from racquet arm so you also lightly twist back shoulder. That actually connects both shoulders together in unit turn backwards. Then, during downswing, you’ll actually raise front shoulder higher and drop back shoulder in key, connected, dual shoulder de-rotation…
-> …for forehand…load bow spreading arms apart for forehand, as you stretch bent off arm out ahead of you, as if you were stretching back a bow. There, in prep, off arm’s hand faces forward as if you were signaling “STOP” to any traffic that might risk cutting in front of you right when you’re looping back BIG…while you naturally initially raise your back shoulder slightly, as if you were shooting arrow downwards into your target lower on front wall or lower on sidewall. Now you complete the 2-footed base setting…
—> …Post on front foot = This is big. As you step back and begin your looping windup, tag along front foot softly touching it down, balancing or posting on it readying to step up. Here front foot slightly trails back foot away from sidewall, looming in an open stance…
—>  …adjust both feet = Ready to take low gliding, sliding step forward with front foot to set optimal front of striking stance…
—> …Step up = After stepping back, posting and being mid loop back, quickly make second, minor shift onto back foot. That frees and motors soft glide step forward ideally setting front foot’s toes out closer to sidewall than back foot. So it’s bad-dum: ba -> set back foot while posting on front foot, as you loop. Then dum -> optimally step up and land, finishing full loop up. Open front foot placing toes pointing forward which allows optimal both weight to transfer forward AND body to rotate into ball, with leg drive. Hip turn supports your arcing elbow, in your dual bottom and top downswing…
—> Final load back = After step up, right away load back off just set front foot -> Kick back in final back foot set…
—>  Paw down on back foot…or pedal down as 3rd and final load on back foot, while, in this triple load back, that are all almost imperceptible, set back foot parallel to front wall, loaded, ready to turn…
—>  Load hips = ideally slightly coil rear hip, as back leg is about to take on its heavy push off role…
—>  …Load back and go = Keep loading back and balance by feel (and time) on back foot or back of stance, while completing racquet loop, readying right away to move into downswing…
—>  …Optimally loop arm back big, raising forearm high…as you get your feet solidly under you. At top ideally raise a loosey goosey racquet arm (and wrist) chest high or even much higher, which completes your arcing loop up according to time you make by moving competently to play each ball…as for each stroke…
-> Salute forehand = place arm up and out on a virtual shelf behind you about shoulder high, forearm level with floor in Salute forehand. Point racquet face out to spot low on sidewall just behind you. Set L-shaped arm out away from your chest posing for forward swing…
-> Bow-shaped arm for backhand = Loop and bend racquet arm into a wider elbow angled bow-shape (> than 90 degree at elbow). Ideally pull racquet handle or hand back even with back shoulder, with racquet arm initially drawn in close to your chest…
—>  …Shoulder twist = at top of backswing, in final move, finish stretching racquet arm shoulder very lightly twisting it away from target…
—> …At full prep, tilt shoulders down = In full flowing backswing for either stroke, spin your upper body, while slightly raising back shoulder. There your back chest area ends up slightly higher than front chest area. Chest area for either back or front = ribs up to shoulder…
—> Look out over front shoulder at incoming ball…or angle shoulders down slightly readying for ball coming from behind you off back wall, as you move to get behind contact…
—> Adjust = prep sufficiently matching time YOU make with very active feet closing in on ball and early turn and face, when you pick a side. There set your feet as you develop your optimal racquet loop, AFTER you’ve read ball’s bounce, picked YOUR contact point (CP), set yourself behind ball and time when and how to shape what shot you judge is best…

Lesson One of Two