Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Promoting women's racquetball

One theme here at The Racquetball Blog has been that there should be more women playing racquetball. If you look at women's participation in racquetball tournaments, you'll see that they are maybe 20% of the participants, which is too low in our opinion.

Even in the Texas Open, which had 26 women in the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) draw, the women's participation was only 25.7% overall (46 women in 179 players). But that's more than in many tournaments some of which don't even have women's divisions due to low participation.

But if wanted to promote racquetball to women, you could do worse than show them this video, which features Cheyenne Hayes and Grace Hughes in the Women's Open final at the 2011 NW Regionals.

Why do we like that video so much? A few reasons. It's good camera work that is from the front of the court, which is a rare camera angle for racquetball videos, but one that affords viewers a good look at the players.

It's got a nice rocking guitar music playing during the rallies, and the action is continuous: it goes from one rally to the next with no waiting in between. Also, it's not long at 4:28 running time.

We don't know if Hayes or Hughes won, but for promotional purposes, that's unnecessary. If you show non-racquetball people this video, and they don't want to try it, then you're probably not going to get them to try racquetball with anything short of putting a gun to their heads.

Hayes and Hughes are good players, although not top 10 LPRT players. But again for promotional purposes, that could be an advantage, as it could be easier to relate to them than to some of the top players. For example, if you show women rallies with Rhonda Rajsich diving all over the place, then they might get the impression that diving is required to play the game, when in fact, Rajisch's diving is just an aspect that makes her uniquely good.

Promoting sports is difficult, because sports aren't products, like cars or detergent. Thus, it's difficult to argue that one sport is better than another, or that people should do one sport rather than another.

Readers of The Racquetball Blog are likely already among the racquetball converted, but to convert others is tricky.

But part of the trick might be to show them Hayes and Hughes in action.

Follow the bouncing ball....

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