The Twooze return shot!
Racquetball for many becomes an obsession, as players new to the game find themselves playing almost every day and some play even twice a day. Similarly certain serves capture the very imagination of players who fall for say their drive serve to the corner. Or they may fall for their overhead smash serve directly into a back corner that bounces right before the back wall to spring off and rocket way out along the sidewall, like the ball is being shot out of canon.
Some shots have a very similarly alluring effect, too, like when you find your felt angle for a deep sidewall target that gives the ball its distinctive s-p-l-a-a-a-a-a-t sound, as it rips off the sidewall, carries to squirt off the front wall, and rebounds out in a squirrelly bounce that nearly parallels the front wall. Another shot that works up a frenzy for some players where they fall in love with its action is the High Z shot. Players like the High Z so much, as they like running the opponent deep into the backcourt to fetch it, that they may repeat the High Z shot ad infinitum in a rally just to watch the opponent run.
Today we’re going to reveal a *NEW* shot that has the same sort of magnetic appeal where you’ll want to do it from both sides of the court from up close along one sidewall to as far back as three quarters (3/4’s) court or 30′ back. The nuance of this new shot is that it’s hit with your off stroke or the stroke usually reserved for use on the other side of the court. As an example, normally you’ll hit a forehand on your forehand side to occupy more court and finish your swing closer to center court to make it easier to move know center to D-up.
When hitting on the other side, the off stroke is normally used for a reverse pinch into the corner up ahead of you or you may use it for an in-to-in power stroke for an untouchable DTL pass along that wall into the back corner. For the new stroke, you’ll use your forehand to hit on your backhand side or your backhand on your forehand side. It’s hit with the same stroke motion as the in-to-in off stroke that’s used to crush a down the wall pass, as is the case when your chest faces the far sidewall. The same result as this new shot may be achieved by turning and hitting a 3-wall kill-shot that’s hit when facing the sidewall and using that side’s primary stroke while hitting into that sidewall close up ahead of you in front of your racquet arm shoulder. That shot and this new shot actually both end up in the opposite front corner from where you’re located close to the near sidewall. With this new shot, your stance angle points into the sidewall just up ahead of you, while your chest faces more toward the front wall. Coincidentally your stance or angle of your feet point up ahead of you into the sidewall is also the same angle you’ll hit the ball into your low sidewall target that’s just a little way up ahead of you by about a yard on the sidewall. Like the in to in off stroke DTL, the new stroke’s forward swing is a very compact, powerful in to in motion. For the new shot, face the far, front corner with your chest and point your toes at that corner, too. Again, your swing angle into your sidewall target out ahead you approximates the angle of your stance. That angle info is repeated for one key reason. Sometimes players aren’t disciplined in how they set their stance to stroke (when they could) and, as a result, their shot just doesn’t pan out because their shot angle is off just that little bit, too. To find your shot target your swing and sidewall target is very adjustable based on where you’re playing the ball and what you’re trying to do next. First, from where you’re *down in your stance* with your knees bent, here’s what you can’t do and can do from that stance facing the opposite front corner. You can’t easily hit a reverse pinch into the corner up ahead of you on that same side you’re on because you’re stroking from an oddly angled stance. The correct reverse pinch stance points into that front corner, supporting that shot angle. Also, the V cross-court pass from this quasi open stance is not easily done or let’s say it’s not powerfully done when initially pointing the toes of both feet at the opposite front corner. The stroke for that passing shot would be a push motion, with a decidedly inside finishing out stroke motion. The cross-court stroke would be underpowered and vulnerable to attack unless you’re able to angle the ball all the way around the opponent who’s positioned in center court. On the other hand, an inside out swing motion for a cross corner touch pinch shot is doable. For example, from over by your forehand sidewall, you can diagonally flick the ball across the court with your off stroke backhand using an inside out motion to hit what is called a “near corner pinch” into your backhand front corner, sidewall first. This cut pinch shot must be hit with delicacy or touch and great accuracy. It is a very soft shot that must be hit extremely low or it could be very gettable by your hustling cover opponent. You may also replicate the inside out swing motion when over on your backhand sidewall and feathering a forehand “near corner pinch” diagonally into your opposite, front forehand corner. Now this inside out motion and flick pinch is actually the hard way or less effective way, in high paced play, to hit the ball into THAT cross front corner from this stance. That inside out, cut, cross corner shot should at best be your plan B. The new shot, with its new stroking method, is far and away your best plan A cross corner shot. Here’s a description of your new go-to shot and how it’s done.
As an example, let’s say you’re close to your forehand wall and it’s a shot hit with your backhand into your forehand sidewall beside you while pinpointing a spot slightly out in front of you so the ball will then zip diagonally across the court into the opposite front corner, which is your backhand front corner. One way that produces good results is for your angled shot to contact the front wall first and then it’ll directly angle into the sidewall. The shot may also go directly into the corner crack. And, when you hit the sidewall next to you a little further back from the front wall, the ball will angle over to contact the sidewall first and then ideally carry to contact the front wall ideally very close to the corner. This 3-wall shot is like a pool table shot. It works like this…from where you are facing forward with your stance angling into the sidewall up ahead of you, the ball is hittable into the 3 walls much like a triple bank shot on a pool table which will leave the ball up alongside the last bank (which in this case is the last wall) it strikes. When the ball hits the near sidewall and then a spot on the front wall near the corner and then sidewall, the last bank or where the ball ends up is close to the front wall, as the ball almost appears to ooze out of that front corner. When the ball hits the near sidewall and then ricochets over to first hit the far sidewall, it then hits the front wall with very little inertia still left on the ball. The feel part of it for you is which angle do you hit for *this* particular ball you’ve prepped for to drive the ball into the near sidewall to place the ball in the far corner where you may pick whether to first hit the front wall or far sidewall first or go directly for the corner crack. When the shot angles over and hits the far corner and low on the far sidewall first, the ball will angle and barely touch the front wall to flutter out of the corner slowly and double bounce within just feet of the corner where it would be nearly irretrievable. The drawback there is sometimes the sidewall-sidewall shot doesn’t make it to the front wall unless the angle is just right. When your shot goes from the near sidewall into the far front corner to crack out right in the corner, that’s fantastic, –> Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner! When your shot angle causes the ball to angle across and hit the front wall first to then veer into the sidewall it can crack out low on the sidewall when your shot angle is just right. If the ball hits the front wall very low and close to the sidewall, the ball can deflect into the sidewall and catch the sidewall so low it may even roll out right at the bottom of the sidewall. If so, Huzzah! That’s very good stuff. However, if the ball hits the front wall a little high or a little more toward the middle of the front wall, the ball may pop off the sidewall much higher. The higher near sidewall-front wall-far sidewall ball carries with it lots of spin and it can veer more out into the center of the front court closer to the service line at 15′ back. There the front wall before sidewall ball may spin, hover, and invite a hustling cover player to run down the ball and attack it. Therefore, low targeting on your spot on the near sidewall while creating your telling angle across the court into the far front front corner defines your shot’s success. Controlling that crossing angle into the far front corner, as front wall first or sidewall first, depends on where you and the ball are to ensure a very low 3-wall shot result. Here’s the physics of the shot: after you hit the sidewall near you with the ball, that strike compresses the ball which causes it to spring out toward the second wall where it’s energy is nearly sapped by that contact so that it barely deflects off the second wall to barely make it to the third wall causing the ball to almost ooze out taking its rebound bounce. Hitting into the near sidewall, feel for your trajectory angle both side-to-side and high-to-low. Judge the up to down angle into the sidewall up ahead of you to place the ball you’re playing so that it will come off very low off the shot’s final wall to produce a shot that will take a very low first bounce and an earlier, closer to the front wall second bounce. Pick your lateral or side-to-side angle adjusting to where you’re making contact with the ball to ricochet the ball off the near sidewall toward the far corner and wall of your choice, as either front wall first or sidewall first. A roll out off the third wall is a doable goal, with lots of practice reps. Drill this shot to teach yourself how to find your angles out ahead of you along the sidewall at your dialed in height, as you respond to the game patterns where you read the ball is just right for this shot option. The timing is when you can turn, face the far front corner with your toes pointed there while setting your stance to point at the sidewall just up ahead of you and then howitzer the ball into the near sidewall mashing it over towards the far, front corner. Solid contact is key and your strong stance ensures it. Keep it simple like that. The new shot’s is named for the number of walls it hits and the way the ball comes off its final wall. It’s called the T-hree W-all *Ooze* Shot. It’s pronounced tw-ooze. Near sidewall and into far front corner low on the front wall first or sidewall first are the two ways the “twooze” shot flows. The twooze is a kill-shot that can change the momentum of a match as it ends a rally in a very memorable, dramatic way. And it’s a demoralizing way for your helpless competitor to see you capture the rally. The twooze shot may be hit from almost anywhere along the sidewall or even a little off the sidewall, when shooting from the backcourt at 30′ back or when shooting from there all way up into the front court. It’s made for re-killing balls left up by your opponent in the middle of the court (15-30′ back) and even all the way up into the front court. When? Go for the twooze when your competitor is more off to your side of the court or when they’re playing defense a little too deep behind the dashed line. Also, in doubles, when the cover player on the opposite side in coverage is close to the far sidewall, this can create havoc in their coverage because the ball stays so low, so far up in the front court when the twooze is angled properly. Your power swing motion and follow-through out toward the sidewall definitely will deter a defending player from sliding down along that near sidewall to cover the twooze shot once you’ve angled off to crank it. The cover run they must make is all the way around you to curl into the center to close in on the front court in hopes of making a get. How to perfect the twooze…this forceful sidewall shot is very drill worthy. It’s easy to learn with reps and angle compensation training. How does compensation training work you ask? When you drop and hit and the twooze shot is not close enough on the far sidewall to the targeted front corner, adjust your angle into your near sidewall by moving it a smidgen further up toward the front wall. Or, for example, if your shot’s target is too far from the sidewall on the front wall where the ball is not making it from the front wall to a spot low on the sidewall, move the near sidewall target back a little closer to you. By working on your angle control and making little, small adjustments, you’ll be able to hit, as a kill-shot, either sidewall – front wall – sidewall or sidewall – sidewall – front wall after a bunch of drop-n-hit drilling. Like you do your reps with your serves, add this to favorite shots practice, too. To simulate live play, as a movement drill, while standing on one side of the court initially facing the target front wall in an open stance, flick a ball back toward your position. As the ball veers back to where you’re moving your feet to return the ball read whether a twooze is doable. If so, get ready to set your feet to hit your best 3-wall twooze response shot available into the near sidewall to find the second wall you read will work best for you. Pick your best response by setting your stance angle and picking whether to angle the ball across and hit the front wall or sidewall first to hit your twooze kill-shot. This flick drill is a really good one to work on your twooze shot off a moving ball after you’ve experienced some good success hitting first with your drop-n-hit twooze drill. The moving drill is much like in the movie, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” when the Sundance Kid asked, “Can I move?”, after his stationary just pointing and shooting had been such a fiasco. Then, after his amazing draw and shooting display, the Kid said, “I’m better when I move”. So flick, move, track and get the ball in your sights and crush the ball into your near sidewall target to diagonally send it across the court into an extremely low placement in the far, front corner front wall first or sidewall first depending on the ball and your position. Now you have yet another kill-shot option to pressure the opponent’s coverage and for you to be able to respond from less than routine court positions, which by definition is what rallies are all about in highly competitive match play when hitting the ball or its contact point being set in relationship to your feet or legs is just a myth. Go with this plan A twooze shot early and often when you have a ball near the sidewall and you can turn and angle off to shoot the ball into the near sidewall at your selected spot just about a yard up ahead of you and angle the ball across the court to hit a kill-shot into the cross front corner. As a measure of how hard to hit it, it’s hit with comparable force to how hard you’d whack attack a ball hard up against the back wall to save it and get it back to the front wall to send the ball deep into the backcourt.