Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Happy 28th Birthday Shane Vanderson!

You finished the 2008-09 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) season ranked 6th, which was down one spot from last season due to Kane Waselenchuk's return to the tour. You've been a top 10 player since the 2003-04 season, but haven't cracked the top four.

You've been in finals of IRT Tier 1 events twice, and in the semi-finals 12 times. Those final appearances were only a few weeks apart back in the spring of 2005. You played Cliff Swain in the 2005 San Diego Open, losing 3-1, and then played Jack Huczek in the final of the Red Swain Memorial event a few weeks later, also losing 3-1.

You've been a Team USA player four times, winning gold in doubles with Mike Dennison at the 2004 International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in Korea. You earned silver at the 2006 Worlds in singles, and both silver (in doubles with Dennison) and bronze (singles) at the 2004 Pan American Championships.

You showed great promise as a junior player, winning IRF World Junior titles 5 times in singles and 6 times in doubles. Then you were a collegiate champion while attending Baldwin Wallace College, where you were part of two men's collegiate championship teams in 2001 and 2002 helped by your singles championship in 2001 and doubles championship in 2002 with Andy Hawthorne. You also won doubles with Hawthorne in 2003.

Thus, early in your pro career it looked like that you were going to actualize some of the potential you showed as a junior, but of late there's been some inconsistency. You made two semi finals this year, including the US Open, when you defeated Jason Mannino in the quarter finals hitting shoulder high backhand and forehand shots that slid along the side wall and flat rolled when they got to the front wall.

Shots like that almost defy belief.

Yet to crack the top four you'll have to make those kind of shots more often. We believe you can do it, but wonder if the lack of progress lately indicates a lack of commitment to crack the top 4. With Waselenchuk, Huczek, and Rocky Carson all stating they are going to be working hard this summer to play even better next season, you'll need to be doing the same.

We hope you will, so you can provide another threat to win on any given weekend.

(note: IRT stats from Boss Consulting)

Follow the bouncing ball....

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