There are essentially two kinds of shots in racquetball, first is offensive shot (designed to win the rally) and second is defensive shot (designed to force your opponent deep into the back court so that you can take a good center court position). A versatile player like Winston DeLoney has mastered both types of shots.
The most important single shot in racquetball is the ceiling ball. It can be struck from almost any place on the court, but is typically hit from the back court. The ball strikes the ceiling 4-8 feet in front of the front wall, hits high on the front wall, lands in the front court or mid court, takes a very high bounce and dies on or near the back wall. This is the most important shot according to Winston DeLoney because it can be hit easily from anywhere, it forces your opponent deep into the back court, and, because the ball travels slowly, it allows you plenty of time to saunter into good center court position.
Occasionally you will encounter a player that cuts off the ceiling ball. He or she will run up to the dotted line with the racquet held overhead, catch the ball on its rebound off the floor and direct it low into the front wall. It takes a lot of energy to do this, which is probably why you don’t see it very often, but it is most annoying when it does happen. In this case the appropriate defensive shot is the lob or the Z. The lob is hit just like the lob serve, although from behind the service box, at a point 12 to 18 feet up on the front wall and directed into one of the back corners.
Every now and then you will find yourself chasing a ball in the front court that is over your head. You have two obvious choices. If you are close to a side wall, the first choice is a Z ball which is hit like the Z serve upwards into the opposite corner, striking the front wall close to the side wall, then hitting the side wall, traveling to the opposite side wall, and finally sliding across deep back court. If your opponent can’t cut it off in mid court, it will pull her deep into one of the corners where she will have a difficult time generating an offensive shot. This shot does not have to be hit hard to be effective, but most players who use it tend to hit it hard.
Round the World
This shot hits high on the side wall, then high on the front wall, then the other side wall. It then bounces in mid court, rebounds to the opposite side wall, and dies on the back wall. I don’t recommend this shot because it is too easily cut off in the mid court.
Back Wall-Front Wall
This is a desperation shot when all else fails. Hit the ball with an open racquet (35 degree angle) into the back wall so that it rebounds off the back wall high toward the front wall, generating a high lob or ceiling ball.
While a defensive shot is designed to move your opponent to deep court and allow you to move into center court, the offensive shot is designed to win the rally. There are two kinds of offensive shots: pass and kill. The pass can win a rally in one of two ways. The first is that the ball gets past your opponent so that she cannot return it. The second way is that the pass draws your opponent deep into one of the back corners forcing a skip or a weak shot that you can exploit.
Down the Line
The DTL pass travels from the front wall directly to the back corner on the same side of the court, bouncing twice before hitting the back wall without hitting the side wall. The target is a point on the front wall somewhere in the area between 4-8 feet from the side wall, depending on your court position. You should try to hit the front wall between one and two feet above the floor. This should keep the ball from bouncing once and rebounding off the back wall for a setup for your opponent.
The CC pass hits the front wall at a point within 4 feet of the center of the front wall, depending on your court position, and rebounds directly to the opposite back corner. Hit the ball one to two feet high on the front wall so that it bounces twice before reaching the back corner.
The WA pass hits the front wall one to two feet high at a point a foot or so closer to the opposite side wall (making a wider angle) than the CC pass. The ball rebounds from the front wall, contacts the side wall around the dotted line, and then angles to the back court so that it dies near the middle of the back wall
How to Play Racquetball : The Z Serve in Racquetball
Hitting the Pass
The pass is hit with the standard forehand and backhand stroke. The key is to keep the stroke level (flat) and to let the ball drop somewhere between the waist and the ankle. Trying to hit the ball down from a point above the waist can lead to skips.
A kill shot is defined as a shot that bounces twice before the short line 20 feet from the front court. A roll out is a ball that bounces twice before the foot fault line 15 feet from the front wall.
The pinch shot strikes the near side wall at a point two feet or lower within 4 feet or so of the front wall. The ball hits low on the front wall, rebounds sideways and bounces twice before hitting the opposite side wall. It typically bounces twice in front of the short line for a kill.
The splat is hit when the ball is within a foot of the side wall. In fact, it is best hit when the ball is within six inches of the side wall.