Tuesday, August 11, 2009

PASO Coaching Clinic

Guadalajara, Mexico hosted world leaders in more ways than one this past week. Sure, the Mexican, Canadian and USA heads of state were there the last few days. However, several of racquetball's top coaches were there last week for a Pan American Sport Organization (PASO) coaching clinic.

Organized by Gary Mazaroff of the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) and hosted by the Mexican Olympic Committee the five day event was attended by coaches from Argentina to Uruguay. In all, 14 countries were represented, although not the United States despite PASO funding for one coach from any eligible country in the Americas who applied. Thus, there was a Cuban coach in Guadalajara but not an American one.

The instructors for the course were Ron Brown of Canada, Dave Ellis and Jo Shattuck of the USA, Jorge Rodriguez and Fernando Rodriguez of Costa Rica, and Mexicans Javier Moreno Arroyo and Fabian Parrilla in addition to Mazaroff. Topics covered included service strategies, seasonal planning, rules of the game, including information about the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) regulations from a Mexican expert, as well as demonstration games with participants assigned to roles as head coach, assistant coach, referee, and line judges.

The impetus for this event is the 2011 Pan American Games, which will be held in Guadalajara. The clinic's on court activity was held at the venue that will be used for the Games, a five court facility featuring two courts with side wall glass.

There had been two previous clinics like this: in Albuquerque in 2002 and in Colorado Springs in 2006.

Key for development

To develop racquetball excellence, you need to have courts and then you need coaches. Coaches come before players, because committed coaches will seek out players to develop through lessons and instruction. Also, if you have a racquetball facility, you want to have people playing the sport, which means introducing people to racquetball and encouraging them to play. The people who best do that are coaches.

Europe would do well to have a clinic such as this to help develop the sport there. However, such an event would be costly. The funding for the Guadalajara event came from PASO, because of the Pan Am Games. However, there is no event in Europe like the Pan Am Games, a multi-sport event held every four years.

The Asian Games are similar to the Pan American Games. Given that racquetball is already played in Japan, seems to be on the rise in Korea, and there's a legacy court in Taiwan from this year's World Games, racquetball may be more likely to expand in Asia than in Europe. In fact, racquetball representatives from India and Mongolia were at the World Games last month in Taiwan.

Follow the bouncing ball....

1 comment:

Sathwik said...

I agree that racquetball has great scope for growth in Asian countries such as India and China. THe IRF has to make every effort to promote and spread racquetball in these countries. Involving these big countries is going to help racquetball become an Olympic sport someday.