State Association Website Review #2 – AlabamaRacquetball.com

On October 12th, 2017, I published a list of questions that I feel every racquetball association website should in some way attempt to answer if they want to be the destination website for their area. I’ll score each question up to a maximum of 8 points, and I’ll give a base score of 4 so that every association with a website will be able to get up to 100 points on the review.

The next website to go under the microscope is AlabamaRacquetball.com. Note: I designed and implemented this site originally, but it is looking for reporters in Alabama to provide more detail about local events, leagues, gatherings, new facilities, etc.

TL:DR — 46 points out of a possible 100

1) Where can I play in/near city X?

Alabama Racquetball has this covered fairly well. Their Courts page has a very usable map with 55 facilities and outdoor courts listed. It is built into Google Maps, so there is a fine-grained search available by address, with a definable radius, as well as having a drop-down list of every city name that has a court listed. The detail available for each facility is good: name, full address, phone number, website, number of courts, type of courts, challenge court availability, league info, and more is present for many of the locations.

8 points.

2) What events are happening in/near city X?

There are 3 ways the site addresses this question. The first is their Tournaments page. This has the live schedule from R2 Sports plugged into the page, so it is always updated when a new event is scheduled and sanctioned with R2 Sports. Another at the site addresses this question is with their Leagues page. The primary way the site addresses the question is with their front page blog. One off events that aren’t sanctioned, like small charity doubles Saturday morning events are publicized there. The technology implemented covers all scenarios, but the lack of on the ground reporting is detracting from the site’s destination website goal.

5 points.

3) Are there players at college X?

This one can be hard for a state association website to answer definitively unless that association is involved with the schools. I certainly feel that they should be. 🙂 Alabama’s answer is a College page. It has links to every university or college that has racquetball courts on campus. When there are known clubs, links to those club’s websites or Facebook groups are included, as well as a link to the South East Collegiate Racquetball Conference. Could be improved by involvement of current college players.

5 points.

4) What is the rule for this situation?

Alabama Racquetball has the rules linked, as well as links to the online referee certification process. The only way I see for this to be better would be links to specific scenario videos or a place for prior Q&A results.

5 points.

5) How do I get better at X?

Alabama Racquetball addresses this question with a page for the certified instructors in the state, both the Am-Pro/IPro certified and the USA Racquetball certified instructors. This page could be improved by the addition of a drills video playlist from YouTube, either by Georgia players, or from existing videos prepared by others on YouTube.

5 points.

6) Which racquet should I use?

Alabama Racquetball’s website really does not address this question at all. There is no guidance for brands or weights or models. There aren’t any pro shops listed, except on the Courts page if a facility is known to offer a pro shop. This could be improved by linking Cliff Swain’s YouTube video about what to examine in a racquet, as well as by a post that discusses price points and purchasing from a big-box seller (and why a player with that question might be better served by an online store like Racquetball Warehouse or RacquetWorld).

0 points.

7) How/where can I get a racquet restrung?

Alabama Racquetball’s website really does not address this question at all.

0 points.

8) Can military members find a place to play?

Alabama Racquetball’s website only address this thru their Courts page, as there are 6 facilities listed on military bases. This could be improved by having military members contribute to the front page blog.

1 points.

9) Are there places to play outdoors?

Alabama Racquetball’s website really does not address this question at all.

0 points.

10) How do I contact these people?

Alabama Racquetball addresses this question in two ways. They have a dedicated Contact page that provides an email contact form. The other is the links to their Facebook group on the main menu and on the Contact page.

7 points.

11) What is this organization about, who makes it up, what are their goals and processes?

The Alabama Racquetball website doesn’t address this question at all. There are no goal statements or committee discussions or bylaws or much detail about the organization itself.

0 points.

12) Is this organization still active?

The Alabama Racquetball website addresses this with the front page blog and with the Tournaments page. More entries in the blog about one off events, league startups, out of state results by in-state players, and more would all be welcome here. Have I mentioned that they’re looking for reporters? 🙂

5 points.

Bonus points opportunity: Are there ways listed to volunteer or for new players to get started?

This could be handled by the front page blog, indicating dates/times for a clinic, for example. There could also be a volunteers needed page that addressed tournament staffing needs, committee involvement opportunities, etc. The Alabama Racquetball website only addresses this with the Growth page, which discusses USA Racquetball’s Ambassador Program and the Facility Partnership Program.

1 point.

What are your opinions of the review and the site?
Drop me a line on my Contact page, my Facebook Page, or via this Reddit thread.

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JT RB

I am a racquetball enthusiast in Austin, Texas.