Monday, January 16, 2012

Weekend round up - Ackermann, Metcalf & Maher win

The International Racquetball Tour's (IRT's) main event was in Syosset, N.Y., but there three other minor IRT events this past weekend.

The most significant event happened in Austin, Texas, where Alex Ackermann won the Longhorn Open by defeating Jansen Allen in the final, 11-6, 11-7, 11-7. Ackermann got to the final by defeating the wily veteran Jimmy Lowe, 8-11, 14-12, 11-4, 11-4 in one semi-final, while in the other semi Allen had a five game war with Erik Leetch, winning 3-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-13, 11-8.

Ackermann was a double winner in Austin, as he and Allen teamed up to take the doubles title by defeating Ryan Rodgers and Shai Manzuri in the final, 15-2, 15-14. Ackermann and Allen beat Allan Crockett and Rusty Powell in the semi-finals, 15-6, 15-9, while Rodgers and Manzuri needed a tie-breaker to get past Leetch and Dustin Webster, 13-15, 15-14, 11-1.

Over in Gainsville, Florida, Aaron Metcalf won the Orange and Blue Shootout with a win over Nick Hand in the final, 11-4, 11-0, 9-11, 11-5. Both Metcalf and Hand needed five games to win their respective semi-final matches. Metcalf, the top seed, beat Vinnie Ganley, 10-12, 11-8, 11-0, 7-11, 11-4, while 3rd seed, Hand, defeated 2nd seed Mike Mondello, 11-3, 11-3, 7-11, 8-11, 11-8.

Finally, the 2012 Missouri Racquetball Blizzard was won by Ryan Maher in St. Louis, as he defeated Drew Finke in the final, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9, in what was a battle of the 3rd and 4th seeds. In the semi-finals, 3rd seed Maher beat 2nd seed Joe Sharamitaro, 11-4, 11-8, 11-6, and Finke, the 4th seed, beat top seed Hal Rutherford in the other semi.

Time for rest and recovery

Kane Waselenchuk's withdrawal from yesterday's final of the Cactus Salon NYC Pro-Am as a result of aggravating a injury he picked up the pervious weekend competing at the Coast to Coast California Open highlights the stress that players can be putting themselves under when playing on the IRT.

Rocky Carson spoke to this during his post-match interview, saying "you can't recover in one week" from an injury. This is especially so when it's not really a week of recovery when you are finishing on Sunday and starting again on Friday, and then traveling on top of that.

There's a two week break in the IRT schedule prior to the MonaVie Salt Lake City Pro/Am February 1-4, 2012. But at the end of February the IRT schedule gets especially brutal, as the San Diego Open February 23-26 begins a stretch of seven Tier 1 events in ten weeks, including two stretches of back to back to back tournaments.

Moreover, the two weeks that the IRT has off in late March and early April is when the Pan American Championships will take place in Temuco, Chile, so some of the IRT players are likely going to be there representing their countries, which will be an added burden on their schedules.

It all adds up to a lot of racquetball.

In recent years, one of the big realizations in the realm of training has been how important rest and recovery are. But a schedule of 7 events in 10 weeks doesn't leave much room for that.

We tend to think of high performance athletes as being healthier than the rest of us, and that their fitness affords them some measure of insurance against illness and injury. But the reverse can often be the case. That is, often it seems that high performance athletes are not so much creating a broad base of health as honing their conditioning down to fine point from which it can be easy to fall off.

One thing for sure is that high performance athletes will recover from an injury faster than the rest of us, because they'll take the dedication and discipline from their training and apply it to their recovery and rehabilitation. But because they put themselves in physically stressful situations more often than the rest of us, they are more likely to suffer an injury.

Thus, no one should be surprised when a racquetball player gets injured. Waselenchuk makes everything look effortless, but it's not, and as Carson also pointed out, Waselenchuk plays more than anyone else, as he's been in the finals of almost every tournament for the last three and half seasons.

But we expect he'll do whatever is necessary to prepare for Salt Lake City, where a Waselenchuk winning streak can begin again.

Follow the bouncing ball....


Todd Boss said...

I'm surprised the IRT allowed a conflicting event of the size/prestige of the Longhorn Open to compete with a tier 1 event. Both Ackermann and Allen would have considered flying to NYC for the event had there not been a local event ...

Court Outfitter said...

Great write up. Thank you!