Racquetball is a demanding sport on your muscular-skeletal system: your muscles, tendons, and joints are taxed tremendously with the quick direction changes and bursts of sprints and stops. Additionally, the one-sidedness of racquetball creates even more problems. The dominant side of your body works much harder than non-dominant side. Over time, that one side of your body gets stronger, bigger, and tighter. No amount of work in the gym will make it even, but it is a good idea to work hard to make the difference as little as possible.
In addition to changes in your upper body, there are things happening in your hips as well. Often you choose to hit your forehands instead of the backhands and you hit the forehands with the open stance while many backhands you hit with the closed stance, the hip muscles of your dominant side are used most of the time. Once you start having slight imbalances in your hips, then the mechanics of your running stride change a little bit and over time, you may encounter problems with your knees, ankles, feet, or your lower back. Paying attention to your hips should become a high priority in your fitness training. Keep them balanced with strengthening and stretching and always address one side at a time so you can feel the imbalances. The best time for your hip stretch is directly after the racquetball practice, because if any hip issues have been created, you can correct them right then, before the muscles get tight and make the imbalances even worse. Perform this glute stretch at least once every day.
Get down on the ground on your hands and feet with your glutes up in the air. Bend the left leg and bring your knee and the lower leg forward on the ground close to your hands. If you are very flexible, your lower leg will be parallel with your hands. If you are like most racquetball players, your foot will be closer to your hip. Slowly fold down your upper body over the left leg, place your elbows on the ground, and relax your shoulders and the right leg. Do not tilt your hips to the left, keep them even and parallel with the ground. Relax your neck and make yourself comfortable in the stretch. The majority of racquetball players find this stretch difficult because of the tightness in the glutes. You may also feel tightness in your left inner thigh, knee, or the right hip flexor. Breathe deeply and hold the stretch for one to two minutes, then switch sides. The goal with this glute stretch is to reach the ground with your left glute and without tilting the hips. With a regular practice, you will be able to do it. Always start with the tighter side, then stretch the good side and return to the tighter side one more time.
Daily stretching and myofascial release of your glutes will keep your hips functional and as a result, your movement on the racquetball court will be faster and more explosive. You will get to the ball sooner and hit shots that are more powerful, and your racquetball game will improve.