Newsletter (April/May 2020)
For many of us, April and May were quarantine months. As Spring comes to an end and summer begins, we have nice weather and outdoor, socially distanced activities, to look forward to. Over the last two months, FIR has kept us informed on tour changes including canceled events and changes to the World Championship venue. USA Racketlon president, Pat Moran, continued marketing efforts with a nice segment in a Manhattan squash podcast. We launched our new USA ranking system and much more! We encourage everyone to join us on social media at usaracketlon on both Instagram and Facebook and subscribe to the usaracketlon.com website. Continue to stay safe and healthy.
FIR Tournament Announcements – None until September at the Earliest
About four weeks ago, FIR announced that all tournaments, until September at the earliest, are canceled. As you may remember, the World Championships were targeted to take place in August; this highly anticipated tournament has been postponed. Due to the postponement of the tournament, the location has changed from the Netherlands to Enskede in Stockholm, Sweden.
Two other popular tournaments that have been rescheduled are the Nick Matthew Steel City Open (currently scheduled from 18th – 20th December) and World Doubles/ Czech Open (now set for the 5th-8th of November).
The following tournaments have been canceled and will not be played in 2020: The Swiss Open (June), Latvian Open (July), London Open (July), German Open (August).
Read the full FIR announcement on: https://www.racketlon.net/2020/05/06/fir-tournaments-cancelled-september/
Manhattan Squash segment with Pat Moran
USA Racketlon president, Pat Moran, was featured in an interview on the Manhattan Squash Show, an online video series following the history and current events in the great sport of squash. Check out the full segment here: The Manhattan Squash Show Episode 34
New USA Rankings System
We are excited to announce that the new USA Racketlon ranking system is LIVE! Thanks to combined efforts of Patrick Moran and Andy Stenson, with support from Racketlon Canada, all results from each of the USA racketlon tournaments in the last 5 years have been incorporated. The ranking system is modeled after the Canadian system, with points being granted to each player based on what events they participated in and their final positions in them. Check out where you and your fellow competitors stand here!
USA Racketlon Logo
Help us design a new logo for USA Racketlon – we are looking to upgrade our look. Do you have any ideas on how we should change our logo? If so, send them to us at email@example.com.
Professional Racket Sports are Coming Back!
A few weeks ago in West Palm Beach, Florida, the first top-tier tennis exhibition in the age of the coronavirus took place! This was part of the UTR Pro Match Series and one of many to come. This event featured four men’s professional players ranked in the top 60 in the world, including Tommy Paul and Tennys Sandgren; both of which had very exciting matches at the 2020 Australian Open. In the interest of safety, these matches only had one official and no live spectators. The only way to watch was via Tennis Channel.
Meanwhile in New Zealand, UNSQUASHABLE and SquashXL have come together to present the first post-coronavirus live professional squash. You can view this event for free on YouTube at SQUASHTV, the channel of the PSA.
The UNSQUASHABLE Premier Squash League provides leading New Zealand players a chance to get back playing, after many of them have not stepped on a court in months! It is the first of four weeks of tournaments all at SquashXL, the only venue in the country featuring a permanent all-glass squash court.
Promoter Duggan said: “New Zealand is at Level 2 in our safety guidelines, meaning that the venue is limited to 100 in total and no more than 10 people in a ‘group’.”
Player Spotlight – Brandon Willis
For our April/May player spotlight we caught up with Brandon Willis, a novice racketlon player and SUNY Oswego graduate who won the beginner’s singles and mixed doubles draws at the Rochester Battle of Rackets tournament!
Brandon is from Norwich, NY but currently spends his time in quarantine on the other side of the border in Kingston, Ontario.
In February 2020, Brandon competed in his first Racketlon tournament at the U of R Battle of the Rackets tournament. He caught our eye taking home first place in both the beginner singles draw and in the mixed doubles draw with partner Bridget Bender. Brandon shared that playing doubles with Bridget was his favorite Racketlon memory to date. Brandon heard about Racketlon from U of R tournament director, and fellow Racketlon competitor, Justin D’Antonio. Being an avid table tennis player, he thought he’d give it a try.
Brandon graduated from SUNY Oswego this Spring with a Bachelors in Computer Science. During his time at Oswego, he led the SUNY Oswego collegiate table tennis team through his competition record and as acting president of the club. In 2019, Brandon qualified and competed at the Great Lakes Regional tournament, solidifying himself as the first male singles player from SUNY Oswego to qualify for regionals. He qualified again in 2020 but elected to try out the Rochester Racketlon tournament instead as they were the same weekend!
Prior to SUNY Oswego, Brandon competed for and ran the Onondaga Community College table tennis team in the Upstate New York Central division. His home club is the Syracuse Table Tennis Club.
His experience in the other three sports is limited but that didn’t stop him from finding places to train and learn each of them on campus before competing. He’s played about one year of badminton, 4 months of squash and 2 months of tennis.
When Brandon isn’t playing table tennis, he prefers to stay active through swimming and weightlifting. Keep an eye out for Brandon at future Racketlon and table tennis tournaments!
Coaches Corner: Squash: The Two Wall Boast and Lob (Joanne Schickerling)
As we are sitting at home longing for the day we can get back on court… how can we use this time to get an edge on our opponents? What can we add to our game that we didn’t have before? Here are a few of the most underrated and underused shots in squash and tennis that I think can give you more of an edge for when you get back on court.
The Two Wall Boast
Everyone knows the boast but most players just lump all the different types of boasts into one bucket and will just throw it in when they are in trouble or get impatient. The two wall boast is the boast that hits the side wall and then hits the front wall in line with the middle of the court and bounces twice before it hits the other side wall. It is an extremely underused and underappreciated shot. This type of boast really forces your opponent to move very quickly into the front of the court. It is more effective than the three wall boast, where the player has more time and can wait for the ball to come off the other side wall.
When and Why?
When playing racketlon there will be many times you face opponents on the squash court that might be coming from a stronger tennis, badminton or table tennis background. They won’t be as familiar with judging the angles of the court or looking back when the ball or their opponent is behind them. By using the two wall boast you can expose this very common mistake made even by top players.
- Use it when you are behind your opponent and they are watching the front wall instead of the ball.
- As a way to change the rhythm of the game. You have lulled them into rotating drives down the wall and then you throw in a surprise two wall boast attack
- To turn a defensive position into an attacking one. Jabbing in a quick two wall boast when off balance can really surprise your opponent when they might be expecting a slow three wall boast
- When you have your opponent pinned behind you or on their heels leaning back
- It expands the court by making them run the longest distance on the court- the diagonal.
- When you are in mid-court and in front of your opponent and they are expecting a straight drive or drop
- Exposing a player whose struggles moving forwards and backwards
Some Tips on How
- Early racket preparation is always key
- Think about keeping your racket face open and putting extra cut on the ball
- Follow through to your target on the side wall
- Aim so that the ball hits the front wall right in the center. Lean a racket against the front wall in the center and try to hit it during practice
- Don’t be afraid to practice and experiment with the angles
- As you get better at it you can also work on dropping your racket head below the height of the ball to hit with more of an inside out angle giving more cut on the ball and even better deception
Backhand two wall boast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ktt3rb-fFko
Working that boast on both sides: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zkd5q7PJ3oQ
Two Wall boast examples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X1F9f2a-4w
Top 15 boasts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JwKH33CAmc
This is my favourite shot to hit that most players only think of as a defensive shot. The lob can be used to not only get you out of trouble, but put you on the attack and squeeze out a weak shot from your opponent. The lob is one of the least practiced shots but can be the most satisfying when hit correctly!
The When and Why
- When retrieving a drop that is not too tight to the wall but your opponent thinks they have you on the ropes
- When off balance and need time to recover and just survive one more shot
- Off a weak short ball- can shape for a drop then at last moment hit the lob.
- Very effective on a cold court
- Use to breakdown a player who really struggles to hit high volleys, especially on the backhand side
- Pair with the counter drop for deception
Some Tips on How
- If there was ever a time to get low, open your racket face and get under the ball- the time is now!
- Racket prep can be short which will also create deception when pairing with the counter drop
- Use a flick up motion especially if under pressure to really lift the ball above your opponent’s head
- Use a longer and higher follow through if have time and are balanced
- Think height first-width later
Attacking with the lob: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0jyG-PPLeg
Top 10 Lobs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVfawjjWmwI
Even though you might not be able to practice these shots now, just by thinking when to hit them, watching videos and visualizing how you would hit them, will really help you for when you are able to get back on court!
Call to Action
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Help save Brown University Squash
Recently the Brown University Squash team was informed that their varsity program will be cut. Many students attend Brown with the hopes to play college level squash and get a quality education. Please take a moment to sign the petition attached to help save this program, known for their sportsmanship. Brown University is home to a competitive collegiate table tennis team, badminton club, varsity squash (formally) and division 1 tennis program. This is another ideal spot for a future USA Racketlon tournament.