Excel Formula To Determine Number Of Days Between 2 Dates Racquetball – Is it Time For a Change?

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Racquetball – Is it Time For a Change?

How can we get more people to play the game? How do we get more people (non-players and players) watching the game? Two major dilemmas faced in racquetball.

I have observed the development of the game from the vantage point of owning a racquet club for nineteen years and I have seen the dynamic improvements in technique and the tremendous progress in physical skills exhibited by the top players. How do they get better and better? I congratulate them. However; As we age, most of us don’t get better. Still, I see that the age demographic is growing and, in fact, the most common player coming into the sport today is one who played ten or fifteen years ago, left to have a family or a career, remember that the big game is racquetball. And wants to play and get back in shape. We can only imagine what it’s like for someone who thinks he’s good, out of shape, faced with a big racket and a ball that’s traveling much faster than he sees it. Very discouraged I guess and many don’t come back a second time.

Dilemma number one – How do we make the game suitable for the majority of players, including beginners, those trying to get their game back, those who are working hard to improve but are slow, those who want to enjoy the game, or those who just want to enjoy the sport? Competitive players who cannot spend time playing well and staying in condition. face it; Racquetball is a very demanding sport for those who take it seriously. You can’t just walk on the court two or three times a month, play at your peak and not suffer for two days after each game. After a while people start choosing between pain and golf. I personally believe that many women do not play racquetball because it is too demanding.

Perhaps the answer lies in developing a level of play that is less physically demanding but develops skills that are equally admirable as serving the ball at 150 mph. Those skills are, of course, touch, strategy, trickery, quickness and maybe cutting the ball if we get rid of the ridiculous “Curry Rule”. The answer may be to slow the ball down and put it in play to create longer rallies. You may even see more diving from some of the older guys if they can get close enough once in a while. It can also improve television viewing and allow non-players to appreciate watching the game. I know when I take many non-players to watch the game at its highest level they can’t follow the ball much less know what’s going on and they get bored and can’t enjoy it.

I’m not suggesting that making another “dead” ball will accomplish the above. The goal here is to give slower players more time to get to the ball and rallies often last longer and provide more opportunities for sophisticated shot selection. The ball should be bouncy but slow. Can it be done? I think so. Make the ball bigger. Perhaps this invention, if perfected, could have the added benefit of making the ball easier to watch on TV.

I know most of its readers are probably advanced players and would love to see the game played at the fastest level like I did but think about myself in a few years. Your skill, your speed and your stamina will diminish one day but if the game becomes more skill than stamina, players can compete more successfully at older ages not to mention that there may be some benefit in longevity for elbows, shoulders and knees.

It’s not a radical idea, but as one of the world’s oldest and possibly most popular sports, table tennis has recently faced similar problems as racquetball. Table tennis players began increasing the thickness of the fast sponge layer on their paddles, which made the game extremely fast and difficult to watch on television, so fast that changes needed to be made to keep the audience engaged. In 2000, the International Table Tennis Federation instituted several rule changes aimed at making table tennis more viable as a televised spectator sport. First, the 38 mm balls were officially replaced by the 40 mm balls. This increased the wind resistance of the ball and effectively slowed down the game, allowing for longer rallies and greater spectator appreciation.

In 2001, the International Table Tennis Federation made another change to the game and service rules to increase excitement and interest in the game, which brings me to another racquetball dilemma.

Dilemma number two – How can we make games more dramatic, exciting and suspenseful for the audience?

Here, there is also a proven model in table tennis. To create more suspense and excitement, they changed from a 21-point game, with five service changes every five points, to an 11-point game, won by two and every two service changes. This certainly made the games faster and reduced the service advantage. Games are played on any odd number, usually five.

This method of scoring results in rapid point fluctuations, it also reduces the server’s advantage and the “win by two” requirement creates extra suspense and excitement for the spectators. Another advantage is flexibility in the number of plays. It will lend itself to five-game single-elimination tournaments and three-game round-robin tournaments. Finally, the most important advantage is related to dilemma number one, by shortening the games, skill becomes a bigger factor than endurance so that on weekends, unconditionally, new, families, older boys and hopefully more women can enjoy the game. Because the game is a little less demanding and more fun.

I know that most advanced players with their aggressive nature may resist these ideas just as the Chinese resisted table tennis changes. They felt it was an attempt to stop their dominance in the game. However, China still dominates today because of superior skill and athleticism, as it will always excel in racquetball.

I invite you to find some table tennis clips on YouTube.com and see how the ball can be seen at speeds in excess of 100 mph and over long distances, without the benefit of professional lighting or photography. USA Table Tennis, a sports organization that faced many of the same challenges and issues we face today, adapted, has been an Olympic sport since 1988 and now claims to be the world’s most popular racquet sport.

Should we keep asking the same questions and getting the same old answers; Get more kids into the game, promote racquetball in high school and college, let more women play, get major sponsors, get racquetball on TV and in the Olympics, hoping that someday we’ll get a different result. Probably not.

Maybe it’s time for a change in racquetball.

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