I had a long time player in my local league ask if they should play in a tournament coming up in two weeks. One of the things I thought about after that discussion was what would have made my tournament experience better if I had known it before the first one.
1) Read the full USA Racquetball rules. Lots of things here that you might be dismissing or replaying that have a different official rule than you are observing locally. Case in point: crotch shots. i.e. a ball that hits a wall and the floor, or two walls at the same time. In the case of crotch shots, the floor wins, then the side wall wins. So on a serve that hits the side and the front at the same time, it is an out serve, because it did not hit the front wall only first. So on a serve that goes to the back wall and hits the floor and the back wall at the same time, is a good serve, because it did not hit the back wall first.
2) Watch the referee rules clinic to understand things like replay hinders and penalty hinders. No one explains it quite as well as Otto Dietrich.
Access the rules clinic videos
3) Enter more than one division, as you may think you are the big fish locally, but you’re about to find out how small that pond actually is. 🙂 One match and done can be a difficult investment to make repeatedly, so ensure that you get more than one match. I recommend playing in a skill division and an age + skill division, if offered.
4) Bring a 32 oz Gatorade or PowerAde or water bottle and consume the whole thing during each match. (Refill it ASAP!) You will need the energy and rehydration as the extra mental energy you are exerting in your first event will take its toll.
5) Take protein bars or bananas or other portable snacks that are high in nutrition (and not just calories) so that you don’t have to wonder if the tournament will be providing them.
6) If you ever cramp up after playing, eat spicy things! Add some hot mustard or tabasco or sriracha sauce to any meal that you have. It is surprisingly effective at staving off cramps. (The PowerAde & bananas may help too.)
7) Stretch after every match. The best time to do static stretching is just after exertion.
8) Show up early, be well rested, and play hard!
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