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 first website to go under the microscope is GeorgiaRacquetball.info. Note: I designed and implemented this site originally, but it is looking for reporters in Georgia to provide more detail about local events, leagues, gatherings, new facilities, etc.
TL:DR — 74 points out of a possible 100
1) Where can I play in/near city X?
Georgia Racquetball has this covered fairly well. Their Courts page has a very usable map with over 90 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.
2) What events are happening in/near city X?
There are 2 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. The second way the site addresses the question is with their Leagues page. This is about 10 months out of date and is one of the reasons a local reporter is needed. The final way the site addresses this 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.
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. 🙂 Georgia’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.
4) What is the rule for this situation?
Georgia 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) How do I get better at X?
Georgia 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.
6) Which racquet should I use?
Georgia Racquetball addresses this question by listing a pro-shop and a few distributors on their Stringers page. This is a good compromise, but doesn’t address the personalization of the question that could be answered. 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).
7) How/where can I get a racquet restrung?
Georgia Racquetball addresses this question by stringers on their Stringers page. This page could be improved by greater depth of coverage, as the Atlanta are is the main focus/source for the listing, and very few southern stringers are mentioned. Contact information for the listed stringers is complete and sufficient to allow a player to find one to work with.
8) Can military members find a place to play?
Georgia Racquetball addresses this question on their Military page. While this has a list of courts and a list of articles from the Military Racquetball Federation about events held on Georgia bases, it does not provide much detail for those facilities beyond what was available on the courts page. I expect that there is a lot of room for improvement on this subject, but don’t have any specific recommendations.
9) Are there places to play outdoors?
Georgia Racquetball addresses this questions on their Outdoor page and the Courts list. This includes facility locations as well as rules and social media links. This could be improved by regular reporting on the front page blog when players actually use those facilities.
10) How do I contact these people?
Georgia Racquetball addresses this question in three ways. The first is a Board members page. The second is a dedicated Contact page that provides an email contact form. The third is their Social page. This details the Facebook groups they run and Twitter accounts.
11) What is this organization about, who makes it up, what are their goals and processes?
The Georgia Racquetball website doesn’t address this question well. The Board members are listed, but there are no goal statements or committee discussions or bylaws or much detail about the organization itself. The other info provided is on their Sponsors page which details recent sponsors and how sponsor money is spent.
12) Is this organization still active?
The Georgia 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? 🙂
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 Georgia Racquetball website only addresses this with the Growth page, which discusses USA Racquetball’s Ambassador Program and the Facility Partnership Program.