Racquetball offers fun fitness alternative

by Bridget Chapman

Peter Kluch, Assistant Photo Editor

With the extensive amount of fitness options provided by San Diego State’s Aztec Recreation Center, racquetball may be overlooked as one of the prime amenities. It is a sport that requires quick feet and a knack for avoiding wall collisions.

Enclosed by four walls, each player uses a short-handled racket to hit a small rubber ball. Unlike other racket sports, this one does not involve a net and the walls, floor and ceiling are fair playing surfaces.

Located in Peterson Gym, the six courts are a short walk across the street from the ARC. An ARC membership covers the cost for rackets, balls and goggles.

ARC Racquetball Lead and Ladder Supervisor Hayden Slaught believes the sport is a legitimate workout. “It’s one of the best cardio workouts you can get,” Slaught said. “Be prepared to sweat a lot because it’s hard.”Racquetball consists of quick lateral movements and back-and-forward movements, which are ideal for anyone looking to increase overall speed.

Because of its differences from other sports, Slaught advises participants to review the rules prior to play. Rules can be found online and are posted throughout the facility for the players’ convenience.

If there is any confusion reguarding the regulations of the sport, Slaught is happy to explain the game.

Reservations for a court are not required, but are accepted for same-day play. Slaught recommends reserving a court because throughout the past few weeks, the courts have been booked.

Ladder tournaments run throughout the semester and are open to everyone. Thereare tournaments for beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. Each player has the ability to move throughout the three skill levels and can challenge another player three spots ahead to replace his or her ranking.

The ladder tournament is realistic for students because it is a self-run program, meaning the players contact one another to schedule matches around their availability. At the end of the semester, winners receive prizes consisting of racquetball gear. According to Slaught, the first place winner of the previous tournament was awarded a high-end sport bag and a $200 racket.

After learning about the accessibility of these courts, I decided to take a friend and play a game for myself. The fast-paced nature of the game was quite enjoyable and a great way to accelerate my heart rate. Before 15 minutes had passed we were breaking a sweat.

The entire game felt like a combination of tennis and dodgeball with never-endingintensity. Once we adapted, we went through a slow transition from laughing at our coordination flaws to focusing on the correct execution of our hits. We were quick to decide we need to play more often.When we stepped into the hallway to take a much needed water break, I couldn’t help but notice a young man in the room next to us demonstrating great expertise playing a game of his own.

I found out this skilled acquetball player was SDSU freshman Daniel Fregoso. He discussed his love for the sport during his high school years in Calexico and relishes the game because “it’s fun, fast, and good exercise.”

For anyone interested in becoming a racquetball enthusiast, Fregoso recommends to “practice and not get hit by the ball.” I can personally adhere to these pieces of advice after my first experience with the game.

Registration for the ladder tournament is available on the ARC’s website.