The Bellingham Athletic Club opened its doors in 1975 as primarily a Racquetball facility. While over the years we’ve added more programs, racquetball continues to be one of our most popular activities. See how you can get in on the action, contact firstname.lastname@example.org!
If you have never played racquetball before or need a refresher, there is a free beginner’s clinic for our members each month. Please call the Cordata location to sign up.
We offer threeleaguesper year: Fall, Winter, and Spring. It is a mixed league with divisions for Elite through D level players. Open to members and non-members. Check the Upcoming Events (right sidebar) for the next league. We also offer ajuniors-only league.
BAC hosts a variety of tournamentseach year: The Charity Tournament for the Bellingham Cancer Center starts the season off every September, the Fall Classic in November, the Winter Shootout in January, and the Northwest Open in March. The Northwest Open is a premier Washington Racquetball Association event, drawing players from as far away as Alaska, Montana and Oregon. This year, in place of the Winder Shootout, BAC has been asked to host State Doubles!
If you are interested in brushing up your game, we have beginner, intermediate, and advanced racquetball lessons at a variety of times. The Club Pro also holds private and semi-private lessons.
Monday Mini Clinics
Each month, Club Pro Wanda Collins offers mini clinics on defined subjects for Intermediate or Advanced players. These are open to members and non-members. Check topics to the right and call the Cordata facility to sign up.
BAC has an active Junior Racquetball Program with lessons offered on a monthly basis throughout the school year. Lessons are open to juniors aged 7 – 18 and there are classes for Beginner through Advanced players. Juniors also have their ownleagueand there is a junior racquetball camp each summer.
Racquet restringing and Regripping services
We are a member of the U.S. Stringer’s Association.
We carry a large variety of Racquetball equipment in our proshop year-round.
Backhands Off Backwall Clinic
Monday, Sept 23 @ 6:00pm
Members $15; Non-Members $20
Starts Sept 2 for 4 weeks.
Member $48; Child of Member $54; Non Member $60
Improve your game with club Pro,Wanda Collins.
Find singles or doubles matches by just showing up! Singles: Fri 4:00pm – 7:30pm Doubles: Tue & Thu 4:00pm – 7:30pm Sun 9:00am – 12:00pm
League is available three times per year (Fall, Winter, Spring). Check the Upcoming Events tab on this page for the next available league. Contact Wanda Collins for more information.
You may reschedule a match if you cannot make it on Wednesday it is scheduled. Please avoid this as much as possible. Players reserve their Wednesday evenings for play, and it can be difficult and a pain to reschedule!
You must reach your opponent at least 24 hours in advance to reschedule.
Do not try to reschedule at a different time on Wednesday evenings. All courts will be reserved for other matches from 5 –10 pm. Failure to reschedule your match and get it played by the end of the 5 week session results in a forfeit for you and a win for your opponent.
Matches are two games to 15 and a tiebreaker to 11 when needed.
League points are scored as follows: 5 pts. – win in 2 games, 4 pts. – win in 3 games, 3 pts. – lose in 3 games, 2 pts. – lose in 2 games.
Match start times change periodically so please be sure and read the schedule carefully!
BAC hosts a variety of tournaments each year: The Wilson Hope Charity Tournament for the Bellingham Cancer Center and starts the season off every September. Then the Fall Classic in November, the Winter Shootout in January, and the Northwest Open in March. The Northwest Open is a premier Washington Racquetball Association event, drawing players from as far away as Alaska, Montana, and Oregon. We also participate with British Columbia in a great Juniors two-day Event: Racquets Without Borders.
Fall Classic November 22-24, 2019
Winter Shootout January 24-26, 2020 (tentative)
Northwest Open March 13-15, 2020
Are you interested in other tournaments in Washington State? Go to the Washington Racquetball Association website on theTournament Pagefor more information.
PRO TIP – PLAYING DOUBLES
by BAC Staff on February 10, 2018
By Wanda Collins
Doubles can be a great game if you understand the basics. Strategy changes a little when there are four of you on the court! Remember that you and your partner want to control center court. Ending up in back court is a sure way to lose a point (even more than in singles). Here are some hints to keep you in position and play well:
1. When your partner is serving, be sure that you exit your box and move away from the wall as soon as the ball passes the short line so that you can establish a good position before your opponent does.
2. Never serve to your partner’s side of the court (except an occasional lob), as it places him/her at a disadvantage in gaining position after the serve. Chances are, they will have to cringe on the wall, rightfully worried about getting hit on the return of serve.
3. Let your partner cover their side of the court! If you cover too often for ceiling balls and other passes on their side, they’ll have to give up their court position and will begin to expect that you will be there all the time. This will lead to problems: An open space on your side of the court that your opponents can take advantage of and your opponent will be out of the rhythm of the rally and lose their edge.
4. Speak up! Sometimes you will need your partner to help you out. Saying ONE word – “yours!” or “mine!” should do it. And before you start, ask your partner who will cover the center court shots so that you don’t run into each other, hit your racquets together, or watch a shot go by.
5. Crosscourt passes don’t work well in doubles. An opponent will be waiting and your partner may be in the way. Best way to get the ball by the other team is a down the wall shot, a ceiling ball, or a wide angle shot that hits front wall and then side wall just behind the short line so that it wraps around the court behind your partner and your opponents.
6. When the serve goes to your partner’s side of the court, move up to center position on your side right away so that you can establish yourself and be prepared for the front court shots. Doubles can be fun. Ask someone who is experienced to join you and show you the ropes!
How many times have you experienced the awful feeling of trying to catch up with your opponent’s shot when it flies from front wall to back wall and zips by you toward the front wall again? And what about that panicked feeling of what to do with the ball once you catch up to it? This should be a time when you could be thinking “Automatic Point for Me!” rather than feeling panicked about what to do. Here are a few tips to get you started in the right direction:
A missed ceiling shot is most often the cause for the above situation for experienced players. For beginners and some intermediates, it’s just an errant shot that flies too high in the court. If your opponent hits a ball that is obviously going to fly directly from front to back wall without bouncing, you should:
1. Take off running at top speed to the top line of the service box.
2. Pause there and look for the ball as it comes toward front court, getting turned sideways to be ready to hit a backhand or forehand shot.
3. Let the ball continue to come forward to the front of your stance and then move with it until you can contact the ball knee high or lower.
4. If you don’t have a sense of where your opponent is, don’t start trying to locate him/her now.
If you take your concentration and eyes away from the ball, you’ll surely miss the shot.
Shoot one of two shots:
– Directly into the front wall so that the shot “kills” (hitting below one foot into the front wall) and travels to a back corner of the court.
– “Pinch” the shot into the side wall so that it carries around a front corner of the court and dies.
BOTH of these shots should have a good chance to end the rally as long as you WAIT for the ball to be below your knees when you contact it. You can practice these shots by setting yourself up with these “fliers” on an empty court. If you practice your run and return over and over, that feeling of panic should leave you in an actual game situation and you’ll begin to think “AUTOMATIC POINT FOR ME!”
One of the toughest assignments in the game of racquetball is to successfully return a well-placed serve in the backhand corner. It is improtant that the receiver be able to neutralize the server’s advantage and get on an equal footing to play the point out. Notice that I didn’t say it is important for the receiver to “kill” the server return or hit a winner to end the point, although there are times when players look like they are trying to do just that. Remember that you are at a disadvantage: the server has great center court position and you are being forced to hit a backhand return from about 38 feet from the front wall. The better his or her serve is, the more you should be thinking defensive, not offensive play.
The best return to a tough serve is a ceiling ball. Ceiling balls force the server to run all the way to the back court from the service area where they will encounter a ball that has to be hit from shoulder height or higher. You should aim to hit the ceiling about 2 to 7 feet from the front wall. Use a full smooth stroke: make sure you don’t “punch” at the ball with your arm or you will not be consistent.
If the serve return can be hit with a good stroke before it gets to the back corner, or if it is hit hard enough and high enough to come off the back wall, you can begin to think more offensively. This is the time for a straight shot down the wall or a crosscourt pass shot to the opposite back corner. Make sure that you have time to actually set your feet and get back far enough to be in position to take the shot.
Remember to be SMART when returning serve. Force the server to back court and wait for another time to try and “kill” the ball in front court…and don’t forget to move into center court position as soon as you can!
I can’t count the number of players who are looking for tips to make their backhand better. Players who are self taught have some obstacles to overcome to improve their stroke, but the most important one is something they overlook: you have to be willing to make some changes to your current comfort zone. This might mean a different stance, stroke and timing. You might have to train your body to move differently. This takes patience and a lot of practice outside of a game playing situation. Players need to play less and practice more when working on a skill. It can reap big benefits down the road in your matches, but requires that you feel uncomfortable for a while. That’s a hard pill to swallow because it means that you’ll be worse before you become better.
Start with a check of your grip. A forehand grip should feel like you’re shaking hands with the racquet (NOT the flat side, but the frame edge of your racquet). When you need to hit a back- hand, that grip should rotate ¼ turn (or so) to the left, if you’re right handed, or a ¼ turn to the right if you’re a leftie. If you don’t change your grip, you will be more limited in your ability to hit flat, level shots without contorting your arm. This can cause a lower percentage of success and possible pain in your arm and elbow over time. Switching to a backhand grip is an essential part any game.
The next Junior Racquetball Lessons will take place the weeks of Sept 2-23 (no lessons on Sept 10). There will be offerings for all levels. Open to Members and Non Members! Sign up at the Cordata Facility front desk!
$48 – Member
$54 – Child of Member
$60 – Non Member
All classes are taught by Club Pro, Wanda Collins. Wanda has been teaching juniors for over 20 years and is currently Director of Junior Development on the board of the Washington Racquetball Assoc.
Club Pro, Wanda Collins, had 8 participants in our Junior Racquetball Camp. Most of these juniors were new to the game. Everyone received a tee shirt and either a racquet, glove or bag on their last day of lessons. Big thanks to the assistant, Nick Birnel!
Jessie has been employed at BAC since 2006. She is not a full-time employee any longer as she accepted a job at Mount Baker Imaging in August of 2016, but she is still running racquetball and basketball programs. She grew up in Indiana and graduated from Ball State University in 2006. Jessie enjoys water skiing, playing racquetball and anything else close to the water, and of course, spending time with Jasper.
AM Pro Certified Wilson, Racquetball Advisory Staff
Wanda began playing racquetball competitively in 1980 and has been a top-ranked open player since 1985. She is a long-time Washington’s Women’s Open champion and is on the Washington Racquetball Association board. She is the Club Pro and is available for racquetball lessons and advanced clinics. Wanda spends her “spare” time with her husband, Mike, and their two children, Sarah and Wade. Her offseason is filled with golfing, hiking, camping, and traveling as much as possible.