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Mastering the backhand ceiling shot

This is an excerpt from Championship Racquetball by Fran Davis & Jason Mannino.

Grip—the same as backhand

Stance—the same as backhand except that your knees are only slightly bent at approximately 170 degrees because you are not hitting the ball below your knees but above your shoulder (4.11a).

Step and swing—the same as backhand except for the following:

1. Your step is short, 1 to 2 feet (.3 to .6 m), because you are not looking to get low to generate power.

2. The racquet and elbow begin to move forward and across the shoulder.

3. Wrist is cocked back at approximately a 45-degree angle as you start to swing (4.11b).

Contact point—the same as backhand except for the following:

1. In your hitting zone:

  • Wrist is flat upon contact.
  • The tip of the racquet is pointing to the side wall.
  • The face of the racquet is pointing up at a 45-degree angle toward ceiling and front wall.
  • Ball is hit off lead shoulder and lead foot.
  • Ball is contacted approximately chest to shoulder high.
  • Hitting arm is at full extension (4.11c).

2. On the ceiling:

  • The ball should hit the ceiling before the front wall, approximately 5 to 8 feet (1.5 to 2.4 m) back, so that on its second bounce it hits as close to the back wall as possible ideally in the crotch of the back wall (4.11d).
  • Where the ball hits on the ceiling is based on how hard you hit it: The harder you hit it, the closer to 8 feet (2.4 m), the slower you hit it, the closer to 5 feet (1.5 m).
  • Two key factors to keep in mind are that all surfaces play differently, and altitudes affect the flight of the ball. Just remember, if the ball is coming off the back wall for a setup, bring your contact point back farther from the front wall or hit softer; if the ball is dropping short for a setup, bring your contact point closer toward the front wall or hit harder.

Follow-through—the same as a regular backhand stroke, pointing to the back wall when you are done (4.11e).

Read more about Championship Racquetball.