Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Planning and financing

Recently, we attended a talk by Istvan Balyi, an imminent sports figure, who spoke in part about the importance of planning for successful completion of athletic goals. He gave the specific example that if there's an event in two years time the plan and budget should be created in the first year, including hiring coaches and managers. He suggested that planning session would be a two day process involving representatives of all the necessary constituencies.

The budget is a concern, of course, as it can dictate what you can do in those two years of preparation. But he stressed that the quality of the planning and the implementation of that plan can drive financial contributions from sponsors.

This makes sense. Consider someone coming to you, as a potential sponsor, and they say either (a) please sponsor our sport, or (b) please sponsor our sport so we can promote it better (for example), or (c) please sponsor our sport so we can promote it better and here's our detailed plan on how we are going to do so. Which of those options are you most likely to support with your money?

Both USA Racquetball (USAR) and Racquetball Canada have embarked on new fundraising efforts, and here's how they're doing so.

USA Racquetball

In a letter "to the Racquetball Players Of America," USAR President Cheryl Kirk and Executive Director James Hiser outlined what the USAR does, including tournament organizing, regulation of rules and regulations, USA National Team administration, facilitating communication within the racquetball community, and some provisions for insurance and risk management.

Moreover, they stated that the USAR has "an aggressive agenda," which includes (a) "working with venues (clubs, universities, YMCAs, etc.) to position and maintain racquetball as a great sport and fitness activity - "Fitness and Fun, Rolled Into One!", (b) "creating and supplying promotional materials for marketing and visibility," and (c) "providing mechanisms (e.g., portable court, TV, on-line broadcasts) to bring the sport to the masses."

To this end, USAR will be increasing their annual membership dues to $50 from $35 as of January 1, 2009, and further ask for "occasional financial contribution[s] to USAR" when possible.

Whether the USAR's plans are detailed enough to convince sponsors and individuals to contribute is an open question. To grow the game, they will need to convince sponsors outside of the sport that it is an activity worth supporting. It's not enough to preach to the choir.

A plan also has to be evaluated, so as to identify what was successful and what wasn't. Doing so will mean some form of measurement. The three items Kirk and Hiser highlighted from their "aggressive agenda" won't be the easiest to evaluate, because they aren't the easiest to measure. How will we know if enough promotional materials were created to make racquetball more visible and marketable? (and how are we going to measure racquetball's visibility and marketablity?) How will we know if enough work has been done with facilities to best position racquetball as "Fitness and Fun, Rolled Into One!"?

Moreover, these are things that aren't completely in the control of USAR. That is, the USAR could work as hard as possible with facilities, but if a facility perceives the wind is blowing more favorably for another sport or activity, then anything the USAR does may be ineffective in changing that facility's opinion.

In short, while the USAR's agenda is aggressive, achieving its goals will be difficult.

Racquetball Canada

Racquetball Canada has embarked on a "Shop and Support" program to raise funds. It is asking its members to purchase gift cards to use for their retail purchases, and a small percentage of the gift cards purchased will go back to Racquetball Canada. Thus, using these cards when shopping for groceries or buying gas, for example, would benefit Racquetball Canada.

However, Racquetball Canada has not issued any planning statement on what they would do with the raised funds or even why they need them. One could speculate on why more funds are needed and what they would be used for, but again would you be more willing to financially support someone just because he or she asks for the money or someone who comes to you with a complete plan - including how they will measure their performance and evaluate the outcome of their plan?

If you were a venture capitalist, sometimes called a dragon, whose venture would you support?

Planning and volunteers

Planning is fundamentally important in any activity, and good plans can encourage contributions both financial and voluntary. Organizations that have clear plans can be more successful in recruiting volunteers, because they will know what to look for in their volunteers and what to ask of or tell potential volunteers.

When someone asks you to do something, isn't your first question going to be "what exactly do you want me to do?" before you decide whether to help or not? If the person has a clear answer for you, then you'll be more likely to help than if they hum and haw about it and don't really seem to know what they want from you.

Planning isn't a lot of fun. We don't imagine that Balyi's suggested two planning days for a two year sport cycle would two fun filled days, as they'd basically be two days of meetings.

However, not doing the necessary planning could mean even less fun down the road, because without adequate planning there are no achievements or progress to our goals.

As is often said, failing to plan is planning to fail.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

TRB's Santa Claus

If The Racquetball Blog was Santa Claus, or had an in with Father Christmas, then these are some of the gifts that some racquetball people would find under their trees on Christmas morning.

To Dave Negrete, Commissioner of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) and Shannon Feaster, Commissioner of the Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO): major non-racquetball sponsors that would allow them to continue to move forward in developing professional racquetball, especially with broadcasting and webcasting matches to the masses.

To the International Racquetball Federation (IRF): more accurate and timely reporting of matches and tournament outcomes.

To Rocky Carson and Jack Huczek: a strong drive serve that will allow them to be more competitive on Kane Waselenchuk.

To Kane Waselenchuk: wisdom to match his athletic gifts so that he doesn't repeat past mistakes.

To Jason Mannino: good health that will allow him to win another IRT tournament.

To Rhonda Rajsich and Paola Longoria: continued success on the WPRO tour.

To Cheryl Gudinas Holmes and Kerri Wachtel: another tournament win on the WPRO tour.

To Kristen Bellows, Alvaro Beltran, Ben Croft, Angela Grisar, Shane Vanderson, and Mitch Williams: a pro tournament win in '09.

To Veronica Sotomayor: a spot in the semi-finals at a full WPRO tour stop, and a tournament victory in such an event.

To the up and coming IRT and WPRO players: breakout wins that show the big players that they can't be complacent and the rest of us that pro tournaments aren't just about the top few players, but other players can make some noise too.

To Geoff Thomsen of Double Donut Studios: the ability get to some racquetball events, especially the US Open, and take more good pictures.

To all the racquetball companies: strong sales and solid bottom lines especially in these trying economic times.

To all racquetball players: good health for 2009, lots opportunities to play, and some flat roll outs.

Happy Holidays everyone!

From The Racquetball Blog

Follow the bouncing ball....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Latest Pro Rankings

Both the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) and Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) issued new rankings two weeks ago, but with all the World Junior competitions, we haven't reported them here.

There's no change in the IRT rankings, but it does reaffirm that Kane Waselenchuk has made it into the top 8. Thus, he will not have to go through qualifying at the next IRT event, which will be the California Open January 8-11, 2009. That will be followed by the New York City Pro-Am, which will be the following weekend in Syosett, New York (on Long Island).

IRT Rankings (December 8, 2008)

Rank - Pro - Points - Previous Rank

1 - Rocky Carson - 4676 - 1
2 - Jack Huczek - 4421 - 2
3 - Alvaro Beltran - 3379 - 3
4 - Jason Mannino - 3278 - 4
5 - Ben Croft - 2554 - 5
6 - Shane Vanderson - 2513 - 6
7 - Mitch Williams - 2355 - 7
8 - Kane Waselenchuk - 2148 - 8
9 - Chris Crowther - 2100 - 9
10 - Jason Thoerner - 1988 - 10
11 - Juan Herrera - 1421 - 11
12 - Andy Hawthorne - 1414 - 12
13 - Alejandro Herrera - 1218 - 13
14 - Javier Moreno - 1151 - 14
15 - Hiroshi Shimizu - 1088 - 15
16 - Kris Odegard - 975 - 16
17 - Travis Woodbury - 930 - 17
18 - Andres Herrera - 714 - 18
19 - Tony Carson - 597 - 20
20 - Lee Connell - 593 - 19

These WPRO rankings were issued prior to the Christmas Classic in Arlington, Virginia, where Rhonda Rajsich defeated Paola Longoria in the final. That should put Longoria closer to Cheryl Gudinas Holmes, but it seems Longoria will need a few more good results before she can over take Gudinas Holmes for second spot.

Also, Veronica Sotomayor is up two places in these rankings from the November 3 rankings based on her win in the New Jersey Open, where she defeated Aimee Ruiz (also up in these rankings), Doreen Fowler and in the final, Rajsich.

WPRO Rankings (as of December 11, 2008)
Rank - Name - Points

1 - Rhonda Rajsich - 1651.28
2 - Cheryl Gudinas Holmes - 1436.20
3 - Paola Longoria - 804.50
4 - Kerri Wachtel - 770.70
5 - Angela Grisar - 696.50
6 - Kristen Bellows - 584.50
7 - Adrienne Fisher - 426.44
8 - Brenda Kyzer - 387.50
9 - Doreen Fowler - 331.40
10 - Jo Shattuck - 268.25
11 - Veronica Sotomayor - 208.70
12 - Diane Moore - 203.00
13 - Samantha Salas - 201.00
14 - Vivian Gomez - 178.50
15 - Kimi Ferina - 170.58
16 - TJ Baumbaugh - 167.66
17 - Keely Franks - 155.00
18 - Jennifer Saunders - 151.50
19 - Christie Van Hees - 102.00
20 - Candi Hostovich - 88.50

Follow the bouncing ball....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

IRF : 20th World Juniors - Results Summary

The International Racquetball Federation (IRF) has yet to post the team results from the 20th World Junior Racquetball Championships in Tempe, Arizona. But looking over the medalists in the World Cup divisions - Boys and Girls 14 & under to 18 & under in both singles and doubles - The Racquetball Blog believes that the USA captured team title in both boys and girls, so the overall title as well.

If we're correct, it would be the first time the USA has taken the overall title since 2001. Mexico won it the last six years. The USA won the boys title last year.

Furthermore, we think Bolivia came 2nd in girls and 3rd in boys, with Mexico doing the reverse, and Mexico taking 2nd place overall. That would be Bolivia's highest placing in the girls competition, and the second year they've come 3rd overall.

Here's the medal break down.

USA - 3 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze
Bolivia - 1, 3, 3
Mexico - 2, 1, 1
Canada - 0, 0, 2
Ecuador - 0, 0, 1

USA - 5 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze
Mexico - 1, 4, 2
Bolivia - 0, 0, 4
Canada - 0, 0, 2
Costa Rica - 0, 0, 2
Ecuador - 0, 0, 1

20th World Junior Racquetball Championships
Girls 18 & Under

1. Paola Longoria (Mexico)
2. Jenny Daza (Bolivia)
3. Denise Haynes (Canada) and Sharon Jackson (USA)

Girls 16 & Under

1. Danielle Key (USA)
2. Yazmine Sabja (Bolivia)
3. Aubrey O'brien (USA) and Maria Paz Munoz (Ecuador)

Girls 14 & Under

1. Maria Jose Vargas (Bolivia)
2. Courtney Chisholm (USA)
3. Devon Pimentelli (USA) and Adriana Riveros (Bolivia)

Boys 18 & Under

1. Jose Rojas (USA)
2. Erick Sandoval (Mexico)
3. Jose Martinez (Mexico) and Roland Keller (Bolivia)

Boys 16 & Under

1. Alejandro Cardona (Mexico)
2. Bradley Kirch (USA)
3. Carlos Keller (Bolivia) and Taylor Knoth (USA)

Boys 14 & Under

1. Jose Diaz (USA)
2. Marco Rojas (USA)
3. Oscar Arias (Bolivia) and Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico)

Girls 18 & Under Doubles

1. Paola Longoria & Arantza Loredo (Mexico)
2. Shannon Inglesby & Sharon Jackson (USA)
3. Jenny Daza & Ariana Garron (Bolivia) and Christine Richardson & Denise Haynes (Canada)

Girls 16 & Under Doubles

1. Danielle Key & Aubrey O'brien (USA)
2. Daniela Gascon & Jessica Parrilla (Mexico)
3. Yazmine Sabja & Maria Jose Vargas (Bolivia)

Girls 14 & Under Doubles

1. Courtney Chisholm (USA) & Devon Pimentelli (USA)
2. Masiel Rivera & Adriana Riveros (Bolivia)
3. Paola Padilla & Paulina Estrada (Mexico)

Boys 18 & Under Doubles

1. Jose Rojas & Jansen Allen (USA)
2. Erick Sandoval & Jose Martinez (Mexico)
3. Sean Barclay & Mathieu Messier (Canada) and Ignacio Sabate & Javier Melendez (Costa Rica)

Boys 16 & Under Doubles

1. Bradley Kirch & Taylor Knoth (USA)
2. Alejandro Cardona & Pedro Gonzalez (Mexico)
3. Jamie Slamko & Pedro Castro (Canada) and Ismael Zhindon & Juan Pablo Ugalde (Ecuador)

Boys 14 & Under Doubles

1. Marco Rojas and Jose Diaz (USA)
2. Missael Leija & Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico)
3. Oscar Arias & Sebastian Oña (Bolivia) and Andres Acu & Andres Fabian (Costa Rica)

Follow the bouncing ball....

Saturday, December 20, 2008

IRF : 20th World Juniors - Singles Champions

Paola Longoria of Mexico successfully defended her Girls 18 & under title on Saturday at the 20th World Junior Racquetball Championships in Tempe, Arizona by defeating Jenny Daza of Bolivia in the final, 15-6, 15-4. Longoria's win was expected, as she's the third ranked player on the Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) tour having won two WPRO tournaments this season including professional racquetball's premier event, the US Open.

American Danielle Key played the role of hometown hero perfectly as she came back from a game down to win the Girls 16 & under title by defeating Yazmine Sabja of Bolivia, 2-15, 15-11, 11-8.

A third Bolivian girl was in a final Saturday, and Maria Jose Vargas made sure Bolivia was not shut out of the gold medals by defeating Courtney Chisholm of the USA, 15-7, 15-11.

Thus, one gold medal went to Mexico, the USA and Bolivia from the girls finals, as well as two silver medals to Bolivia and one to the USA.

Vargas's gold medal is the first for a Bolivian - either boy or girl - in the World Cup (14 & under to 18 & under) singles competition. Bolivians Carlos Keller and Jorge Luis Michel won Boys 14 & doubles last year, and Daza and Sabja won Girls 18 & under doubles.

The boys medals were split between Mexico and the USA. However, the Boys 14 & under final was between two Americans. Jose Diaz caused what might be called a minor upset as he defeated last year's 14 & under champion Marco Rojas, 10-15, 15-11, 11-8.

Mexican Alejandro Cardona won Boys 16 & under after a close match with American Bradley Kirch, 15-14, 11-15, 11-4. It looked like Kirch won game one, when a get by Cardona was called two bounces by the referee. However, the Mexican appealed the call, and the linemen overturned it, leading to Cardona getting the serve back and finishing the game.

Undeterred Kirch won game two with strong drive serves and some backhand errors by Cardona from the deep left corner. However, in the tie-breaker Cardona was making his shots - including a pinch roll-out for the match, and Kirch was uncomfortable returning Cardona's lob serves.

The final in Boys 18 & under went as expected, with American Jose Rojas winning confortably over Erick Sandoval of Mexico, 15-7, 15-9. Sandoval was down 9-4 and 13-6 in the second game, but made a comeback to 13-9. But that's as close as Sandoval got as Rojas finished off the match in which he drove served effectively keeping his opponent off balance.

Thus, the USA and Mexico split both the boys gold and silver medals two to one, respectively.

20th World Junior Racquetball Championships
Girls 18 & Under - Finals

Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. Jenny Daza (Bolivia), 15-6, 15-4

Girls 16 & Under - Finals

Danielle Key (USA) d. Yazmine Sabja (Bolivia), 2-15, 15-11, 11-8

Girls 14 & Under - Finals

Maria Jose Vargas (Bolivia) d. Courtney Chisholm (USA), 15-7, 15-11

Boys 18 & Under - Finals

Jose Rojas (USA) d. Erick Sandoval (Mexico), 15-7, 15-9

Boys 16 & Under - Finals

Alejandro Cardona (Mexico) d. Bradley Kirch (USA), 15-14, 11-15, 11-4

Boys 14 & Under - Finals

Jose Diaz (USA) d. Marco Rojas (USA), 10-15, 15-11, 11-8

Follow the bouncing ball....

Friday, December 19, 2008

IRF : 20th World Juniors - Semi-finals - Results

There's been a lot of racquetball played over the past five days at the 20th World Junior Racquetball Championships in Tempe, Arizona. Only two players are now left in the draws, as the finals will go on Saturday.

The Racquetball Blog has been highlighting Girls 16 & under but the final match will have two players we haven't highlighted, as Danielle Key of the USA had a great day on Friday. She defeated Canadian Frédérique T. Lambert in the quarters, 15-11, 15-12, then beat top seed Maria Paz Munoz of Ecuador, 15-11, 15-6.

But unlike what we might have thought, it won't meet team-mate Aubrey O'brien in the finals, as Yazmine Sabja of Bolivia defeated her, 15-11, 5-15, 11-8, gaining a measure of revenge for losing to O'brien in the preliminary round, when the 11-8 tie-breaking game went in O'brien's favor.

The Girls 14 & under final is also a Bolivia-USA contest, as Maria Jose Vargas will face Courtney Chisholm Saturday. In the semis, Vargas defeated American Devon Pimentelli, 15-10, 15-9, while Chisholm defeated Adriana Riveros (Bolivia), 15-8, 15-10.

As expected Paola Longoria (Mexico) easily reached the Girls 18 & under final, beating Sharon Jackson of the USA in the semi-finals, 15-2, 15-8. Bolivian Jenny Daza will have the unenviable task of trying to beat Longoria on Saturday, as Daza defeated Canadian Denise Haynes in the other semi-final, 15-9, 15-9.

On the men's side, we'd expected the American boys to be tough, and 4 of the 6 finalists are Americans. In Boys 14 & under, both finalists - Marco Rojas and Jose Diaz - are American. Rojas defeated Daniel De La Rosa of Mexico in one semi-final, 15-10, 15-11, while Diaz won the other by default over Oscar Arias of Bolivia.

We expected Jose Rojas to get to the final of Boys 18 & under, and he has. Erick Sandoval of Mexico will be Rojas's opponent on Saturday. In the semi-finals, Sandoval defeated Bolivian Roland Keller, 15-8, 15-9, ending Keller's good run in the tournament, while Rojas beat Mexican Jose Martinez, 15-5, 15-9.

Finally, Boys 16 & under will also be a Mexico-USA stand-off, as Alejandro Cardona will play Bradley Kirch in the final. Cardona beat American Taylor Knoth, 15-11, 15-5, in one semi-final, while Kirch easily defeated Carlos Keller of Boliva, 15-1, 15-5, in the other.

Thus, Mexico's possible gold medal total will be three at most. We'd pencil in gold for Longoria, but not for Sandoval, with Cardona-Kirch being a toss up. So, Mexico will perhaps get two golds, which would match their total from last year.

It's been a good year for the USA, who will get one gold for sure in Boys 14 & under, and likely another with J. Rojas in Boys 18 & under, as well as chances for gold in three other divisions. Two Americans won gold last year: Jose Rojas in 16 & under, and Marco Rojas in 14 & under.

Girls 18 & Under - semi-finals

Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. Sharon Jackson (USA), 15-2, 15-8
Jenny Daza (Bolivia) d. Denise Haynes (Canada), 15-9, 15-9

Girls 16 & Under - semi-finals

Danielle Key (USA) d. Maria Paz Munoz (Ecuador), 15-11, 15-6
Yazmine Sabja (Bolivia) d. Aubrey O'brien (USA), 15-11, 5-15, 11-8

Girls 14 & Under - semi-finals

Courtney Chisholm (USA) d. Adriana Riveros (Bolivia), 15-8, 15-10
Maria Jose Vargas (Bolivia) d. Devon Pimentelli (USA), 15-10, 15-9

Boys 18 & Under - semi-finals

Erick Sandoval (Mexico) d. Roland Keller (Bolivia), 15-8, 15-9
Jose Rojas (USA) d. Jose Martinez (Mexico), 15-5, 15-9

Boys 16 & Under - semi-finals

Alejandro Cardona (Mexico) d. Taylor Knoth (USA), 15-11, 15-5
Bradley Kirch (USA) d. Carlos Keller (Bolivia), 15-1, 15-5

Boys 14 & Under - semi-finals

Marco Rojas (USA) d. Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico), 15-10, 15-11
Jose Diaz (USA) d. Oscar Arias (Bolivia), default

Follow the bouncing ball....

IRF : 20th World Juniors - Quarter final results

As expected the quarter finals have produced some interesting results at the 20th IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships in Tempe, Arizona.

Here's where we're at so far:

Girls 18 & Under - Quarter finals

Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. Ariana Garron (Bolivia), 15-3, 15-4
Sharon Jackson (USA) d. Christine Richardson (Canada), 15-5, 15-11

Jenny Daza (Bolivia) d. Sheryl Lotts (USA), 15-9, 15-6
Denise Haynes (Canada) d. Rocio Enriquez (Mexico), 15-11, 15-12

Girls 16 & Under - Quarter finals

Maria Paz Munoz (Ecuador) d. Jessica Parrilla (Mexico), 9-15, 15-13, 11-9
Danielle Key (USA) d. Frédérique T. Lambert (Canada), 15-11, 15-12

Yazmine Sabja (Bolivia) d. Sofia Rascon (Mexico), 15-14, 15-3
Aubrey O'brien (USA) d. Cristina Cordova (Ecuador), 15-5, 15-6

Girls 14 & Under - Quarter finals

Adriana Riveros (Bolivia) d. Michele Morissette (Canada), 15-7, 15-2
Courtney Chisholm (USA) d. Paulina Estrada (Mexico), 15-7, 15-6

Devon Pimentelli (USA) d. Brittany Nelson (Canada), 15-4, 15-2
Maria Jose Vargas (Bolivia) d. Carolina Bockmeulen (Venezuela), 15-7, 14-15, 11-1

Boys 18 & Under - Quarter finals

Erick Sandoval (Mexico) d. Teobaldo Fumero A. (Costa Rica), 15-6, 15-7
Roland Keller (Bolivia) d. Danny Lavely (USA), 15-1, 7-15, 11-7

Jose Martinez (Mexico) d. Felipe Alonso (Costa Rica), 15-11, 8-11, 11-7
Jose Rojas (USA) d. David Echalar (Bolivia), 15-5, 15-3

Boys 16 & Under - Quarter finals

Taylor Knoth (USA) d. Pedro Castro (Canada), 15-6, 3-0 - injury default
Alejandro Cardona (Mexico) d. Marcelo Lora (Bolivia), 15-11, 15-4

Bradley Kirch (USA) d. Pedro Gonzalez (Mexico), 15-2, 15-13
Carlos Keller (Bolivia) d. Jamie Slamko (Canada), 15-5, 1-15, 11-6

Boys 14 & Under - Quarter finals

Marco Rojas (USA) d. Samuel Murray (Canada), 14-15, 15-14, 11-8
Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) d. Sebastian Oña (Bolivia), 15-5, 15-3

Jose Diaz (USA) d. Rodrigo Garay (Mexico), 15-9, 3-15, 11-8
Oscar Arias (Bolivia) d. Andres Fabian (Costa Rica), "5, 15, 3"*

* as indicated on the R2Sports.com site

Follow the bouncing ball....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

IRF : 20th World Juniors - Elimination rounds begin

The first day of the elimination rounds produced mostly expected results on Thursday at the 20th World Junior Racquetball Championships in Tempe, Arizona. But there were some unexpected results, so we'll highlight those below.

In Boys 18 & under, the two Bolivian players got to the quarter finals despite being lower seeds. Roland Keller and David Echalar will be playing on Friday. But they'll be in tough. Keller, the 11th seed, will face American Danny Lavely, the 3rd seed. Perhaps a glimmer of hope for Keller is that Lavely's win in the Round of 16 over Luis Perez of the Dominican Republic was close with Lavely taking it 15-11, 15-14.

Echalar's quarter finals opponent will be the division favorite and second seed, Jose Rojas of the USA, who defeated Dayan Yamin of Venezuela, 15-0, 15-4.

Boys 16 & under went as expected with the top 8 seeds making the quarter finals.

But in Boys 14 & under Andres Fabian of Costa Rica won twice to make the quarter finals on Friday, when he'll play second seed Oscar Arias of Bolivia. Fabian defeated Edwin Galicia (Guatemala), 15-11, 15-2 in the first round, and then Carlos Barrios (Nicaragua), 15-11, 15-14, in the Round of 16.

The results in the girls divisions were as expected in the 18 & under and 16 & under divisions, although there was somewhat of a surprise in the 14 & under division. Arieth Maldonado, the second Mexican player, lost, and lost by a wide margin to Venezuelan Carolina Bockmeulen, 15-4, 15-7. Thus, Paulina Estrada is the only remaining Mexican player in that division.

We've been highlighting the Girls 16 & under draw, so here's the quarter final matches in that division.

Girls 16 & Under - Quarter finals

Maria Paz Munoz (Ecuador) v. Jessica Parrilla (Mexico)
Danielle Key (USA) v. Frédérique T. Lambert (Canada)

Sofia Rascon (Mexico) v. Yazmine Sabja (Bolivia)
Aubrey O'brien (USA) v. Cristina Cordova (Ecuador)

Those should all be good matches. They are all scheduled for 10:45 AM Friday Arizona time, with the winners to face off in the semi-finals at 5:20 PM Arizona time on Friday afternoon.

Follow the bouncing ball....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

IRF : 20th World Junior Championships - Elimination Round Seedings

The preliminary rounds ended Wednesday at the 20th World Junior Racquetball Championships in Tempe, Arizona, so the seedings for the elimination round have been determined based on the results of three days of preliminary matches. The seedings are below.

Two things of note. One, seedings are based on results in the preliminary round groupings, but those groupings were based on how countries have done in past World Junior Championships. Hence, Jose Rojas of the USA is the second seed in Boys 18 & under because he was in the second group based partly on an American (in this case Rojas himself) finishing second in Boys 18 & under last year.

A Mexican, Ruben Estrada, won Boys 18 & under last year, so this year's top Mexican player - Erick Sandoval - was put in group 1, and as Sandoval won that group, he is the top seed in the elimination round draw. However, Rojas has a higher ranking on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) than Sandoval, so if they were in an IRT event, Rojas would be the higher seed.

Second, there is a rule that players from the same country can't play against each other in their first elimination round game. Denise Haynes (Canada) is the second seed in Girls 18 & under, but Sharon Jackson (USA) beat her in the preliminary round and won the group 2 of that division. However, if Haynes was seeded 6th, she would play fellow Canadian Christine Richardson in their first elimination round game on Thursday. Instead, it'll be Jackson against Richardson.

That doesn't sound bad necessarily, but it puts Jackson on the top half of the draw with Mexican Paola Longoria, the top seed, so Jackson will have to play Longoria - the heavy favorite to win the division - in the semi-finals (assuming they both get that far) rather than in the finals, which she'd be on track to do as second seed (again assuming they both got that far). Bit of hard luck that.

By the by, Girls 16 & under is proving to be the competitive division The Racquetball Blog thought it would be, as there was a three way tie in group 1 of that division between Maria Paz Munoz (Ecuador), Jessica Parrilla (Mexico) and Frédérique T. Lambert (Canada). Munoz beat Lambert; Lambert beat Parrilla; Parrilla beat Munoz. No other group in the six World Cup divisions had a three way tie.

Also in Girls 16 & under, Aubery O'brien (USA) needed a tie-breaker against Yazmine Sabja (Bolivia) to finish top of group 2, ahead of Sabja. Finally, Sofia Rascon (Mexico) won group 3, but needed tie-breakers against both Cristina Cordova (Ecuador) and Brigitte Richard (Canada). Only Danielle Key (USA) finished first in her group (number 4) without losing a game.

The elimination round begins on Thursday and runs through Saturday.

Remember: play is being streamed over the web at www.globall.tv.

Girl's 18 & Under
1. Paola Longoria - Mexico
2. Denise Haynes - Canada
3. Jenny Daza - Bolivia
4. Christine Richardson - Canada

Boy's 18 & Under
1. Erick Sandoval - Mexico
2. Jose Rojas - USA
3. Jose Martinez - Mexico
4. Danny Lavely - USA

Girl's 16 & Under
1. Maria Paz Munoz - Ecuador
2. Aubrey O'brien - USA
3. Sofia Rascon - Mexico
4. Danielle Key - USA

Boy's 16 & Under
1. Taylor Knoth - USA
2. Carlos Keller - Bolivia
3. Bradley Kirch - USA
4. Marcelo Lora - Bolivia

Girl's 14 & Under
1. Michele Morissette - Canada
2. Maria Jose Vargas - Bolivia
3. Brittany Nelson - Canada
4. Courtney Chisholm - USA

Boy's 14 & Under
1. Marco Rojas - USA
2. Oscar Arias - Bolivia
3. Jose Diaz - USA
4. Sebastian Oña - Bolivia

Follow the bouncing ball....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Juniors who have been Seniors

Some of the players in the 20th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Junior Racquetball Championships now going on in Tempe, Arizona on the campus of Arizona State University have already represented their country at senior IRF competitions.

Paola Longoria, playing in her last World Juniors, has already worn Mexico colours at five international competitions playing singles in each. She's been in three Pan American Championships (2006-2008), winning gold in 2006 and 2008, as well as two World Championships, in 2006 and 2008.

But Longoria isn't the only junior player to represent her country multiple times. Indeed like Longoria, Maria Paz Munoz has also represented her country of Ecuador five times: in singles at the 2006 and 2008 World Championships, and in both singles and doubles in the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Pan American Championships.

Jenny Daza has played for Bolivia in four competitions. She played doubles in the 2006 World Championships, and both singles and doubles in the 2008 World Championships, as well as the 2007 and 2008 Pan American Championships.

Ecuadorians Juan Diego Rodriguez and Jose Daniel Ugalde have both represented Ecuador three times each. Rodriguez was at the 2007 and 2008 Pan Ams and 2008 Worlds, playing doubles each time. Ugalde played doubles in the 2007 and 2008 Pan Ams and singles also in the 2007 Pan Ams as well as in the 2008 World Championships.

Naomi Sasso of Costa Rica and Islhey Mariana Paredes of Venezuela have also represented their respective countries three times. Sasso played both singles and doubles at the 2007 and 2008 Pan American Championships and the 2008 World Championships. Paredes played doubles at last year's Pan American Championships and both singles and doubles at this year's Pan Ams and World Championships.

Carolina Bockmeulen of Venezuela played doubles in the 2008 Pan American Championships and singles in the 2007 Pan American Championships.

Cristina Cordova of Ecuador played singles in both the 2008 World Championships and 2008 Pan Americans as did Bolivian Yazmine Sabja.

Both Honduran Raul Banegas and Venezuelan Roberto Santander played doubles in the 2007 Pan American Championships.

Other juniors playing for their country at this year's World Championships in Ireland include Nawoo Kim of South Korea (doubles), Eithne Skehan of Ireland (singles), and Roland Keller of Bolivia (doubles).

Other junior players who have represented their country are American Jose Rojas, who played singles in 2008 Pan American Championships in Costa Rica. Also, in Costa Rica was Canadian Frédérique T. Lambert who played doubles with veteran Josée Grand'Maître, a player then more than three times Lambert's age.

The World Junior Championships is a big stage, but despite being only teenagers, some of the players in Tempe have already been on even bigger stages.

Follow the bouncing ball....

Monday, December 15, 2008

IRF : 20th Annual World Junior Championships Begins

Play in the 20th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Junior Racquetball Championships began today in Tempe, Arizona on the campus of Arizona State University. Two hundred and seventy nine players from 17 countries are competing in both singles and doubles divisions. Seventy four players are from the USA, 44 from Mexico, 31 from Canada, 29 from Bolivia, and 26 from Costa Rica.

The competition begins with three days of preliminary matches with the results producing seedings for an elimination round that will begin on Thursday and run through Saturday.

Play is being streamed over the web at www.globall.tv.

More Mexican Gold?

Mexico has dominated World Juniors in recent years. Over the past 5 years, Mexicans have won most of the gold medals in each of the three World Cup divisions - 18 & under, 16 & under, and 14 & under for both boys and girls with the exception of Girls 14 & under, which has gone twice to Mexicans, twice to Canadians and once to an Ecuadorian.

Overall, 18 of the 30 gold medals in those divisions have been won by Mexicans with 8 going to Americans, and 2 each to Canadians and Ecuadorians, so it's no surprise that Mexico has won the team competitions in each of the last five years with the USA coming second each time and Canada third each year except for last year when Bolivia was third and Canada fourth.

Mexico wasn't quite as dominant last year as in previous years, as they won gold in only the 18 & under Boys and Girls divisions, Ruben Estrada and Paola Longoria, respectively. Gold in the Boys 16 & under and 14 & under went to Americans Jose Rojas and Marco Rojas, respectively, while Maria Paz Munoz of Ecuador took gold in Girls 16 & under and Frédérique T. Lambert of Canada won the Girls 14 & under title.

Who'll Win?

It's difficult to know who specifically is going to come out on top from one year to the next in junior competitions, as junior players can change dramatically in a year. But the following are some ideas based on previous results.

One safe bet should be Longoria to defend her Girls 18 & under title. It's difficult to see anyone beating her, as she's the #3 player in the Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) rankings having won two WPRO tournaments this season and been a finalist in two others.

Girls 16 & under could be one of the more hotly contested divisions, as Munoz is back to defend her title, but she'll have to beat out Lambert, who has moved up to that division, and American Aubrey O'brien, who reached the final of Women's Open at this year's US Open.

Boys 18 & under features three top 75 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) players, including last year's 16 & under champion, Jose Rojas, who's #29 on the IRT. His main competition should come from fellow American Danny Lavely (IRT #53) and Mexican Erick Sandoval (IRT #74).

Americans Bradley Kirch (IRT #64) and Taylor Knoth (IRT #70) should be the players to beat in Boys 16 & under with Mexican Alejandro Cardona (IRT #108) offering the strongest competition.

The 14 & under division may be the most uncertain, so we're hesitant to say anything about what will happen there. However, last year's Boys 14 & under champion Marco Rojas has a chance to defend his title.

Follow the bouncing ball....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

WPRO : Rajsich wins Christmas Classic

Rhonda Rajsich reinforced her place at the top of women's racquetball on Sunday with a victory at the Christmas Classic, a Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) Tier 1 event in Alexandria, Virginia. It's her third title of the season, but the first since September.

Rajsich defeated third seed Paola Longoria in the final, 4-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7.

Longoria had won the last two WPRO main events, defeating Rajsich in one of them. Also, Rajsich had lost in the finals of two recent WPRO satellite events, so Rajsich was 0 for 4 after winning six WPRO events in a row going back to last season.

But with the win in Virginia, Rajsich is back on track.

There is now a long break on the WPRO schedule, as the next Tier 1 event is the Great Balls of Fire tournament at the end of February in Miami, Florida. There are two satellite events in January.

2008 Christmas Classic
Arlington, Virginia


(1) Rhonda Rajsich d. (3) Paola Longoria, 4-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7

Follow the bouncing ball....

WPRO : Christmas Classic Quarters and Semis

For the third time this season, #1 Rhonda Rajsich and #3 Paola Longoria will meet in the final of a Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) Tier 1 event. This time it's the Christmas Classic title on the line in Alexandria, Virginia.

Rajsich had the tougher time getting there, as she was pushed to 5 games in the semi-finals by fourth seed Kerri Wachtel. Rajsich won the first two games, but couldn't finish the match until game 5, making the final score 11-7, 11-3, 5-11, 8-11, 11-5.

Longoria won her semi-final match against #2 Cheryl Gudinas Holmes in three straight games, 11-1, 11-5, 11-7, although she did drop a game to Adrienne Fisher in the quarter finals, winning 11-4, 6-11, 11-2, 11-4.

Also in the quarter finals Gudinas Holmes continued her success against the teen phenom Veronica Sotomayor beating her in three straight games, 11-4, 11-9, 11-5.

Rajsich and Longoria have split their previous two meetings this season with Rajsich winning in Tijuana, Mexico and Longoria winning in Edmonton, Canada.

2008 Christmas Classic
Arlington, Virginia

Quarter finals

(1) Rhonda Rajsich d. (9) Jo Shattuck, 11-5, 11-3, 11-2
(4) Kerri Wachtel d. (5) Kristen Bellows, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5

(3) Paola Longoria d. (6) Adrienne Fisher, 11-4, 6-11, 11-2, 11-4
(2) Cheryl Gudinas Holmes d. (10) Veronica Sotomayor, 11-4, 11-9, 11-5

Semi finals

(1) Rhonda Rajsich d. (4) Kerri Wachtel, 11-7, 11-3, 5-11, 8-11, 11-5
(3) Paola Longoria d. (2) Cheryl Gudinas Holmes, 11-1, 11-5, 11-7


(1) Rhonda Rajsich v. (3) Paola Longoria

Follow the bouncing ball....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

WPRO : Christmas Classic Round of 16 results

All the top seeds made it comfortably through the Round of 16 at the Christmas Classic, a Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) Tier 1 event, in Arlington, Virginia, as #1 Rhonda Rajsich, #2 Cheryl Gudinas Holmes and #3 Paola Longoria won their matches in three straight games.

But #10 Veronica Sotomayor continued to defeat higher seeds, as she beat #7 Brenda Kyzer in a five game match, 11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 10-12, 11-3. She'll face Gudinas Holmes on Saturday morning in the quarter finals.

Also, Jo Shattuck seeded 9th upset 8th seed Doreen Fowler, 11-7, 11-7, 4-11, 11-9.

2008 Christmas Classic
Arlington, Virginia

Round of 16

(1) Rhonda Rajsich d. (16) Krystal Csuk, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6
(9) Jo Shattuck d. (8) Doreen Fowler, 11-7, 11-7, 4-11, 11-9

(5) Kristen Bellows d. (12) Vivian Gomez, 11-1, 11-1, 11-1
(4) Kerri Wachtel d. (13) T.J. Baumbaugh, 11-1, 7-11, 11-6, 11-2

(3) Paola Longoria d. (14) Keely Franks, 11-3, 11-8, 11-2
(6) Adrienne Fisher d. (11) Diane Moore, 11-2, 6-11, 11-9, 15-13

(10) Veronica Sotomayor d. (7) Brenda Kyzer, 11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 10-12, 11-3
(2) Cheryl Gudinas Holmes d. (15) Jen Saunders, 11-1, 11-6, 11-3

Quarter finals

(1) Rhonda Rajsich v. (9) Jo Shattuck
(4) Kerri Wachtel v. (5) Kristen Bellows

(3) Paola Longoria v. (6) Adrienne Fisher
(2) Cheryl Gudinas Holmes v. (10) Veronica Sotomayor

Follow the bouncing ball....

Friday, December 12, 2008

WPRO : Christmas Classic Round 1 results

All of the higher seeded players won in three straight games in the first round of the Christmas Classic, a Women's Professional Racquetball Organization Tier 1 event, in Arlington, Virginia.

The Round of 16 is being played later on Friday.

2008 Christmas Classic
Arlington, Virginia
First round (seeding)

(16) Krystal Csuk d. (17) Laura Brandt, 11-4, 11-7, 11-4
(13) T.J. Baumbaugh d. (20) Kelley Fields, 11-4, 12-10, 11-4
(14) Keely Franks d. (19) Yolanda Jordan, 11-3, 11-8, 11-2
(15) Jen Saunders d. (18) Dolly Watson, 11-3, 11-2, 11-3

Round of 16

(1) Rhonda Rajsich v. (16) Krystal Csuk
(8) Doreen Fowler v. (9) Jo Shattuck

(5) Kristen Bellows v. (12) Vivian Gomez
(4) Kerri Wachtel v. (13) T.J. Baumbaugh

(3) Paola Longoria v. (14) Keely Franks
(6) Adrienne Fisher v. (11) Diane Moore

(7) Brenda Kyzer v. (10) Veronica Sotomayor
(2) Cheryl Gudinas Holmes v. (15) Jen Saunders

Follow the bouncing ball....

WPRO : Christmas Classic Prediction

The Christmas Classic, the last event of the year on the Women's Professional Racquetball Organization's (WPRO's) schedule, run by fabulous tournament director Karen Denu begins today in Arlington, Virginia. Time for The Racquetball Blog to predict the winner. Which player will have a very merry Christmas?

The hot racquet is being held by Paola Longoria, who's won the last two WPRO Tier 1 tournaments in Memphis and Edmonton, so perhaps she's the obvious choice. TRB readers seem to think so.

But Longoria's not the WPRO's #1 player or even #2. Those players are Rhonda Rajsich and Cheryl Gudinas Holmes, respectively. We've picked against the top seed before, and it hasn't really worked for us.

Moreover, Rajsich should be motivated by her recent shock loss to Veronica Sotomayor, another up and coming player, in the final of the New Jersey Open. Top players don't like losing. That's one of the reasons they are top players. And their rare losses are motivation for working even harder to ensure that never happens again. Never. Again.

Yet the up and comers have time on their side. A lot of time. Rajsich, 30, is giving up over a decade to Longoria, 19, and Sotomayor, 16, and Gudinas Holmes at 41 is giving up more than two decades.

Nevertheless, we gotta pick someone, so we picking Rhonda Rajsich to bring her athleticism, unorthodox serving style and determination to Virginia and ruin everyone else's Christmas. Longoria will have to console herself with a World Junior Championship next week.

Follow the bouncing ball....

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

WPRO : Christmas Classic Draw

The Women's Professional Racquetball Organization's (WPRO's) Christmas Classic in Arlington, Virginia goes this weekend, and it's the last major pro stop of the calendar year.

The main question is can Paola Longoria continue her win streak? She's won the last two WPRO Tier 1 tournaments - the US Open in Memphis and the Canadian Classic in Edmonton, which has moved her up the rankings. However, she's still only ranked third, so potentially she'll have to beat beat both #2 Cheryl Gudinas Holmes and #1 Rhonda Rajsich to win in Arlington.

This season Longoria's 3-0 versus Gudinas Holmes and 1-1 versus Rajsich.

If Gudinas Holmes is going to play Longoria, she'll have to get to the semi-finals, which could be a tall task, as her potential quarter final match is against teen phenom Veronica Sotomayor. Gudinas Holmes has beaten Sotomayor in their two previous matches this season, but in four games each time. And since their last meeting in the US Open, Sotomayor defeated Rajisch, which must be a big boost to the young player's confidence.

Thus, the two Latin teenagers, 19 year old Longoria from Mexico, and 16 year old Sotomayor from Ecuador, will be the players to watch in Virginia.

You can make your choice for who'll win in Arlington by clicking on a selection in the right side bar. The Racquetball Blog will make its prediction later in the week.

Here's the complete Christmas Classic draw with seedings.

2008 Christmas Classic
Arlington, Virginia
First round (seeding)

(16) Krystal Csuk v. (17) Laura Brandt
(13) T.J. Baumbaugh v. (20) Kelley Fields
(14) Keely Franks v. (19) Yolanda Jordan
(15) Jen Saunders v. (18) Dolly Watson

Round of 16

(1) Rhonda Rajsich v. winner of (16) Krystal Csuk v. (17) Laura Brandt
(8) Doreen Fowler v. (9) Jo Shattuck

(5) Kristen Bellows v. (12) Vivian Gomez
(4) Kerri Wachtel v. winner of (13) T.J. Baumbaugh v. (20) Kelley Fields

(3) Paola Longoria v. winner of (14) Keely Franks v. (19) Yolanda Jordan
(6) Adrienne Fisher v. (11) Diane Moore

(7) Brenda Kyzer v. (10) Veronica Sotomayor
(2) Cheryl Gudinas Holmes v. winner of (15) Jen Saunders v. (18) Dolly Watson

Follow the bouncing ball....

Monday, December 8, 2008

IRT : 18th Turkey Shootout - RESULTS

Alvaro Beltran won this past weekend's 18th Turkey Shootout in Garden City, Kansas, a Tier 3 event on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), defeating Shane Vanderson in three games in the final, 11-5, 12-10, 11-7. The Racquetball Blog has the full results from Garden City below.

Alex Landa had the big upset of the weekend, as he defeated Ben Croft in the quarter finals, 11-4, 10-12, 12-10, 13-11. There's 29 ranks between Landa, who's #34 on the IRT, and Croft at #5, so this is one of the biggest upsets of the season.

Beltran and Vanderson teamed up to take the doubles title. They beat Croft and Mitch Williams in that final, 1-11, 11-7, 11-7, 14-12.

18th Turkey Shootout, Garden City, Kansas
First Round - (IRT rank)

(3) Alvaro Beltran - BYE
(45) Bradly Rogers d. (46) Felipe Camacho, 11-9, 7-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-7

(20) Anthony Carson d. (299) Jorge Luis Michel, 11-1, 11-1, 11-1
(7) Mitch Williams d. (338) John Cole, 11-3, 11-6, 9-11, 11-3

(6) Shane Vanderson d. (-) Roland Keller, 11-8, 11-5, 11-3
(21) Anthony Herrera d. (96) Kadim Carrasco, 11-6, 11-5, 6-11, 11-2

(34) Alex Landa d. (89) Tony Jammal, 11-3, 11-3, 11-4
(5) Ben Croft d. (-) Scott Wolford, 11-6, 11-4, 11-3

Quarter finals - (IRT rank)

(3) Alvaro Beltran d. (45) Bradly Rogers, 11-5, 11-4, 11-7
(7) Mitch Williams d. (20) Anthony Carson, 11-3, 11-3, 11-5

(6) Shane Vanderson d. (21) Anthony Herrera, 11-2, 2-11, 11-9, 11-8
(34) Alex Landa d. (5) Ben Croft, 11-4, 10-12, 12-10, 13-11

Semi finals - (IRT rank)

(3) Alvaro Beltran d. (7) Mitch Williams, 11-3, 5-11, 11-7, 11-5
(6) Shane Vanderson d. (34) Alex Landa, 11-1, 10-12, 11-8, 11-0

Finals - (IRT rank)

(3) Alvaro Beltran d. (6) Shane Vanderson, 11-5, 12-10, 11-7

Doubles Results

First round

Landa & Camacho d. Cole & Wolford - 11-5, 11-4, 11-9
Herrera & Carson d. Keller & Carrasco - 11-9, 11-5, 11-4


Beltran & Vanderson d. Landa & Camacho - 3-11, 11-4, 11-8, 12-10
Williams & Croft d. Herrera & Carson - 11-4, 12-10, 11-1, 11-8


Beltran & Vanderson d. Williams & Croft - 1-11, 11-7, 11-7, 14-12

Note: Thanks to Tournament Director Stacy Crase for providing the full results to The Racquetball Blog

Follow the bouncing ball....

Thursday, December 4, 2008

IRT : 18th Turkey Shootout

It'll a busy weekend for racquetball if the R2Sports.com site is any indication, as there are 26 tournaments listed for this weekend. They'll be competing in Tempe, Arizona, Halifax, Nova Scotia and Heidelberg, Germany to name only three.

The 18th Turkey Shootout in Garden City, Kansas is this week's professional racquetball event. It's a Tier 3 event on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT). There are 15 players in the draw, including four top 8 players - Alvaro Beltran, Ben Croft, Shane Vanderson, and Mitch Williams.

Here's what The Racquetball Blog anticipates the draw to be based on the players' IRT rankings:

Draw (anticipated) - (IRT rank)

(3) Alvaro Beltran - BYE
(45) Bradly Rogers v. (46) Felipe Camacho

(20) Anthony Carson v. (299) Jorge Luis Michel
(7) Mitch Williams v. (338) John Cole

(6) Shane Vanderson v. (-) Roland Keller or (-) Scott Wolford
(21) Anthony Herrera v. (96) Kadim Carrasco

(34) Alex Landa v. (89) Tony Jammal
(5) Ben Croft v. (-) Roland Keller or (-) Scott Wolford

Follow the bouncing ball....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Huczek & Ashaway Agreement Extended

Today, Ashaway Racket Strings announced their sponsorship of Jack Huczek, the #2 player on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) and three time World Champion, will be extended for two years. Ashaway has sponsored Huczek, who'll be 26 next month, for 11 years.

In the current economic climate, when some other sports figures have had their sponsorships ended, this is a very positive sign for both Huczek and racquetball. The agreement focuses on Huczek's use of the Ashaway Superkill® II string and the signature Jack Huczek/AMPS 311M racquetball shoes.

Furthermore, Huczek, with his MBA degree now in hand, wants "to develop my skills on the business side of the sport, and one of the best ways I can do that is to work more closely with my sponsors. Ashaway has been very supportive of my goals, and I'm looking forward to getting even more involved."

Ashaway Racket Strings are made by Ashaway Line & Twine Mfg. Co., the only U.S. manufacturer of string for squash, tennis, racquetball, and badminton. Operated by the Crandall family since 1824, Ashaway has been making racquet strings since 1949. In addition to racquet string, Ashaway Line & Twine Mfg. Co. also makes braided products for medical and industrial applications.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

'Tis the season

We are in the holiday season, so you might be hearing those familiar tunes on the radio ("Fa la la la la, la la la laaaaaa") and in the shops. You might be wondering what to get your favorite racquetball player this season. The Racquetball Blog has some suggestions.

We suggest getting them a book from Human Kinetics, one of the largest - if not the largest - publishers of sports material in the world. Moreover, they have published two good racquetball books in recent years.

Racquetball Fundamentals is by Jim Winterton, a many time coach of the US National racquetball team as well as coaching the Mexican and Ireland Nationals teams.

New for 2008 is Racquetball - Steps to Success by Dennis Fisher, coach of the Brigham Young University racquetball team.

Going back to 1996, Human Kinetics also published Ed Turner and Woody Clouse's book Winning Racquetball - Skills, Drills, and Strategies.

In addition to these books, Human Kinetics has books covering all athletic topics, including strength & conditioning, fitness, wellness & exercise, sport & exercise science, recreation and coaching.

Moreover, if you order one of these books through The Racquetball Blog by clicking on the links above, you'll be supporting The Racquetball Blog and all our good works. And that would make our holiday season all the more merrier.

Follow the bouncing ball....