Dear USA Racquetball Members,
Last month we reported on the Future of Racquetball Group’s progress in several key areas.
Here’s another update on the work of our group whose simple but vital mission is to provide strategies for preserving courts:
- This month we will finalize the Strategic Plan to Preserving Courts document that will be accompanied by a simple Court Programming Coordinator (CPC) guide. Target constituents are clubs and gyms, state associations, and CPCs themselves.
- The USA Racquetball website is placing resources this month in multiple categories including but not limited to letters, data, materials, programming support, club membership growth, alternative court uses that leave courts intact, etc. Visit https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Racquetball/Programs/Future-of-Racquetball to get an initial look on this “living and breathing” collection of resources designed to help racquetball people around the country perform vital work to strengthen our sport. Do you have materials to share? Send them on over!
- To maximize court utilization, USA Racquetball Executive Director Mike Wedel and other leaders in racquetball are exploring the concept of proactively connecting with other sports that use the same 20x40 space in clubs. (See below.)
SHARE COURTS TO SAVE COURTS
To expand on point #3 above, Larry Haemmerle writes on the subject:
The pandemic puts indoor court sports in an especially vulnerable position. Will the downtrend of recent years continue and escalate while access to indoor court space is so limited? Will recreational and tournament players of all ages lose their “homes” and way of life, moving on to other endeavors?
One of the key strategies to avoiding court closures is also one of the simplest -- keep the courts fully utilized as much as possible. The days of court sports ”territorialism” must go the way of the buggy whip. We must cooperate and coordinate with any other sports that can help us keep the courts filled. This would include handball, paddleball, wallyball, and lesser-known sports (SocCourt, Spikeball, etc.).
A story out of California illustrates exactly this strategy. One facility in California had several courts that could be converted for squash play. Initially, there were disputes as to who would be allowed to play on these courts as they were prime courts for play and viewing. Fortunately, one of the racquetball players had the foresight to see the advantages in keeping the courts filled. When the squash players showed up to play, the racquetball players offered up the courts and played on some equally desirable but not as visible courts, even assisting in converting the courts for squash play. The net result was a General Manager happy to see his courts filled.
Reach out to the athletes from these other sports and agree to amicably share the courts to preserve them for everyone. You never know, you may even be able to run multi-sport events, further encouraging local management that the courts are a valuable asset for the facility.
Remember, if courts are eliminated, everyone loses!
Do you have employees or volunteers who are coordinating court activities in your club? If you have successes or ideas to share, contact any member of the Future of Racquetball group:
(Past President -- Texas/Treasurer -- Virginia)
(Past President – USA Racquetball/Colorado)
(Past President – USA Racquetball/State President -- Illinois)
(Past State President -- Indiana)