The first month of 2020 has been a busy one in the Racketlon community. In North America, tournaments are on the calendar and are open for registration. The Asian Swing of the FIR World Tour was a success and tournaments in Europe are underway. The efforts to broaden the local Racketlon community here is the states continue to progress. This months’ Coaches Corneris focused on a badminton movement known as the China Jump. Last, but not least, we are excited to introduce you to USA Racketlon team member – Shree Dhond – in the first 2020 Player Spotlight.
Tournaments (Register Now)
Granby Racketlon Tournament – February 22th Granby, Quebec
Granby has been the home of many successful Racketlon tournaments in the past. Experienced tournament directors, Pat Laplante and Richard Soucy are hosting a one-day tournament in Granby Quebec on Saturday February 22nd. Support our friends from the North and register for the tournament here: Granby Tournament Registration Link
Inaugural Battle of the Rackets Tournament – Revised Date February 29th Rochester, NY
We are very excited to announce the first annual Battle of the Rackets tournament in Rochester, NY on February 29th. With the “core four sports” table tennis, badminton, squash and tennis, this one day tournament is the perfect opportunity for new players to try Racketlon as well as a tune up opportunity for those planning to compete at Northampton in April. The Goergen Athletic center on the University of Rochester campus has gorgeous facilities. Come check out this new tournament. Contact tournament director, Justin D’Antonio with any questions at email@example.com.
Follow the link here to register for Battle of the Rackets tournament!
MA Racket Masters – April 11-12, Northampton MA
As we shared last month, the 4th Annual Massachusetts Racketlon Masters will take place April 11-12, 2020. Registration is now open! Please don’t hesitate to register for the largest North American FIR sanctioned Racketlon tournament. All ages and skill levels are encouraged to participate. If you have any questions about the tournament, contact tournament director, Andy Stenson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow the link here to register!
Moran Finds Success at the CHA Thailand Open
Pat participated in the CHA Thailand Open, January 3rd-5th. This tournament was held in Pattaya and marked the start of the first ever Racketlon “Asian Swing.” Moran was ranked as one of the top four seeds in the Men’s A singles draw. What was unique about this tournament is that the top four seeds were each from a different country, none of which were from Europe – impressive! After a close match against Austrian Stefan Urban, winning by +5, Pat moved on to the semifinals where he fell to the eventual runner- up, Sidharth Nadal from India. We caught up with Pat and he shared some thoughts around the Thailand Open. “It was truly amazing to play a Racketlon tournament in Asia. Players from 5 different continents competed. I enjoyed playing a junior national table tennis player from Hong Kong, a semi-pro badminton player from India, and a squash coach from Australia – all provided some intense competition. I loved every minute of the battles. The venue was gorgeous with quick access to the beaches. Frank’s (German Racketlon president) organization skills are unmatched. I highly encourage players to take advantage of the Racketlon World Tour, competing and seeing the world is a nice combo. I was even able to have some of the top athletes embark on the great American tradition of shot-gunning a beer!” Pat moved up two spots in the FIR rankings in men’s singles and up three in men’s doubles. Keep this tournament in mind next year when you are considering future tournaments.
Steve de Luca posts solid showing in Vienna New Year Classics
While Pat was in Asia, Steve was competing the same weekend in Europe. Steve celebrated the new decade by playing in the IWT Vienna New Year Classics in Vienna, Austria. In the Senior +50 division Steve went 1-2. Speaking with Steve, he shared that this was a very “young” over 50 draw and the competition was fierce. Those who know or have heard of Steve, know that he battles and gives it his all on the Racketlon court. His victory in Vienna was nothing short of a battle. After losing table tennis and badminton, 21-16 and 21-18 respectively, Steve relied on his squash to get him back in the game. He won squash 21-9 and led by 4 going into tennis. Needing 18 points to win, Steve got them but it was very close. His Austrian opponent, Michael Tesar, got 19 points in tennis – almost beating de Luca. Steve also played the two seed, Gyorgy Janzer and kept the match very close until tennis. Steve lost table tennis by only 2 points and got 15 points in badminton. Janzer only allowed Steve to get 10 points in squash, thus needing three points to win in tennis. With this solid showing in Vienna, Steve sits one spot behind former USA Racketlon president, Andy Stenson in the men’s seniors’ singles rankings.
Coaches Corner: Badminton – The China Jump (Justin D’Antonio)
This month we will discuss a type of smash in badminton – the China Jump. This smash is also known as the side shuffle jump. The China Jump is different than a Scissor Jump as you aren’t rotating your body when hitting the birdie. Here is more about what, how, when, and why you should use the China Jump in your badminton game.
- What is this move:The China Jump is a finishing move, used in the rear court for overhead shots. This move is considered a very versatile option that can be adapted to different scenarios. There is no body rotation in this move and your feet are intended to land in the same orientation as you take off from.
- How to do this move: To perform the China Jump, you want to move from the center position into a directional split step so you are in a “side-on” position, meaning that your racket foot is behind your non racket foot. Once your body is in position, use your upper body to help you jump higher and reach for the shuttle. Make sure to jump towards the shuttle and play the shot, landing with your feet in the same position that you jumped from. It is important that when you are completing this move, you make sure your back foot is pointed sideways, toward the rear court, so that you can push off against it to start your recovery movement. If you can’t get to the birdie directly with one directional split step, you can add in an additional side shuffle to help reduce the space between you and the birdie and help you more effectively perform the China Jump.
- When to use this move: The China Jump is generally used when a player is late to a shuttle because you can jump backward to quickly reduce the distance. Additionally, if you want to play more aggressively and intercept a flat shot, you can use the China Jump to the side and connect to the birdie before it is over your head. It is good because you are able to jump out fast and reach the shuttle early, thus putting pressure on your opponent. It is most common during two scenarios:
- When you don’t have time to turn your body
- When the birdie is not in front of you; it is either off to the side or behind you.
In scenario two, it would hinder you to do a scissor jump (body rotating jump) because your rotation will put you out of position and doesn’t give you any extra power for your shots.
- Why you should you this move: It is beneficial to use this move because it allows for fast footwork in the rear court.
Here are some additional links to learn more about the China Jump:
Player Spotlight – Shree Dhond
We started off 2020 by catching up with USA Racketlon rookie, Shree Dhond! Shree was born in New Delhi, India, and spent his early childhood in Pune. At the age of 7, Shree’s family moved to Connecticut, where he spent his formative years. After receiving a liberal arts education in Middlebury, Vermont, he’s since been living in New York City. Shree has been training for Racketlon, in some way, shape, or form, since his childhood. He remembers hitting a shuttlecock back and forth across a fence with his grandfather back in Pune. His parents often joke that at the age of eight, prior to forming any sense of public decorum or procrastination, Shree approached a gentleman on the local neighborhood tennis court, asked for his racket, and then requested him to teach Shree how to play tennis. His parents bought a table tennis table for the basement. Shree actively played tennis and table tennis through high school. He was on the varsity tennis team and simultaneously spent his weekends competing in table tennis tournaments. While at Middlebury, he helped start and served as president for the college badminton team. Over the years, Shree occasionally stumbled on a squash court, which made him question his purpose in life. Shree heard about Racketlon from USA Racketlon President, Pat Moran. They met at Brooklyn Table Tennis Club, and Shree was soon intrigued by the multisport competition, which combined many of his favorite sports. Shree always gravitated towards racket sports as his primary hobbies, and he was keen to take part in high-level competitions across racket disciplines. Shree continues to actively train with Pat on a regular basis. Shree decided to commit to playing Racketlon in early 2019 and he took part in his first tournament in Leipzig, Germany last November, where he competed with the US National Team during the World Championships. He commented that his favorite moment was when his stood alongside team members to listen to the U.S. national anthem. Shree provided a strong performance in his singles and team matches during the world championships. He had solid results in table tennis, badminton and tennis, which often counterbalanced his squash defeats. He won his first two singles matches, advancing to the round of 16, and then was eventually knocked out by Swedish rising star Jonas Engström, who went on to win the bracket. You can catch Shree playing racket sports all across NYC. He plays table tennis at a variety of clubs and venues including Spin, PIPS, Fat Cat, The Push, NYC TT Academy, Wang Chen, among others. He plays badminton at Stuyvesant Badminton Club, tennis at the Riverside Park Association’s 96th St. clay courts, and squash at NYSC in Cobble Hill. A fun fact about Shree is that he met his girlfriend Flora Soto through table tennis, and they continue to have a shared passion for the sport, playing whenever they have the opportunity to do so within the city as well as when they travel. Watch for Shree at the upcoming Racketlon tournament in Rochester, NY – Feb 29th.