West Michigan Spartans – Team Sports Club

Latest Posts

West Mich Racquetball League: Season Starts with a Bang

To attain a perfect undefeated season in the West Michigan racquetball league takes extreme focus, consistency and confidence. Those are three qualities that Mike Harris possessed during the summer season, as he went 8-0 during the regular season and then breezed through the playoff bracket to claim the championship trophy. Nobody had an answer for this hard-hitting lefty. In particular, nobody had an answer for his devastating serve, which is arguably the most difficult serve to return in the entire league. Heck, it might even be the best serve in the entire Orlando, Florida area!

The burning question was if Harris could continue his amazing winning streak into the fall season, which started this week. Mike’s first opponent for the fall season was Brian Munger, who had posted a decent record of 6-2 last regular season, but lost in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. This would be a much anticipated matchup, as Munger had not faced Harris during the summer season . . . and Munger was also a lefty, so this would be the first lefty that Harris would face in several months. This would definitely be a key factor, as the majority of Mike’s serves are buried in the left hand side of the court – on Munger’s strong forehand side.

On Thursday, Munger and Harris duked it out to begin their season. As expected, Harris had a dominant serve, which Munger had extreme difficulty in returning. Despite having troubles with Mike’s serve, Munger was still able to manage to keep the game close, as the score went back and forth throughout the first game. At one point, Harris was up 10-8, but then Munger regained serve and started to heat up. During the next couple of rallies, Munger utilized his crafty dink shots and was able to muster a 13-8 lead. Harris would then get the serve back and scored two more points off his serve. Moments later, Munger hit a perfectly placed ceiling shot along the right side of the court to regain serve. Munger then wasted no time in taking advantage of the opportunity, as he scored two more quick points to win the first game by a score of 15-10.

After taking a brief water break, Munger and Harris reentered the court to proceed with their 2nd game. Harris started off on fire, as he blew Munger away with his fierce serves. Before Munger knew it, he was down 2-8. All but one of those points for Harris came directly from his serve. This was a frustrating time for Munger, but he finally gained composure and began returning the serves on a consistent basis. Munger slowly, but surely, made his way back, point by point. A short time later, Munger had tied the game, 8-8. With Harris showing signs of fatigue, Munger kept it coming and continued to work in a nice mix of drive shots, ceiling shots and dink shots. More importantly, Munger was no longer dominated by the serve from Harris, as Harris would score no more points on his serve for the remainder of the game. Now that Munger had Mike’s serve mastered, he gradually cruised on to make a bigger and bigger cushion for himself. Eventually, Munger was up 14-8 and served a lob serve into the right hand corner. Harris returned the serve and started a vigorous back and forth rally with Munger, but Munger would ultimately have the last swing in this rally, as he used his finesse to place another dink shot, which BARELY caught the front wall to end the game. Game over. Munger won 15-8 and had put an end to Harris’ amazing winning streak.

Despite not forcing Munger into a third game, Harris had still given Munger a true battle, as each game lasted approximately 30 minutes. It was a fiercely contested matchup and there is a good chance that these players will meet again in the playoffs, so stay tuned!

How to Hit a Baseball

Though many people would say the best offense is a good defense, this is not true in baseball as it is impossible for the defense to score. Without good hitting, a baseball team cannot be successful.

Mechanics, at least for young hitters, is one of the most important parts to being a good hitter. Once you advance into higher levels, you must have a quick compact swing or you will be way behind the pitchers throwing 80-90 mph fastballs. There are many many different styles of hitting and just as many variations on technique. However, this will merely be a general overview of proper form.

First, we begin with the feet. While hitting you must have good balance in order to make contact with the ball and have a powerful swing behind it. You should be balanced at all points during your swing. The feet generally are shoulder width apart or wider. This, however, is personal preference. Find a position for your feet that gives you the most balance. Your feet should be parallel to each other and pointing straight at the plate. You should be on the balls of your feet and your weight should be back on your back foot. Your knees should also be bent slightly.

The grip on the bat should be loose. If you are tense you will not be able to swing as quickly. The second knuckles on your hands, the ones you would knock on a door with, should be lined up. You should hold the bat about shoulder height. So, your hands should be shoulder height, in near your chest and just behind your back shoulder.

You should be cocked like this and ready to begin your swing as soon as the pitcher breaks his hands. Stay relaxed and keep a loose grip on the bat until the pitcher breaks his hands then load up and get ready to swing. You are trying to develop a quick, compact swing. This will still have power and will let you hit pitchers of any speed. When you swing you take a step with your front foot and plant it. Your foot will be at about a 45 degree angle. Your hips and your shoulder should move simultaneously. Imagine there is a pole going from the top of your head through your body to the ground. You should be rotating on this pole when you hit the ball. This is how you get the most power. Your hands stay back and only start to drop once your body begins to rotate. Then you should get the bat into the plane of the ball. That way your timing doesn’t have to be perfect.

Most importantly, you should be practicing as often as possible. Whenever you can, get swings in — always focusing on your form and technique, starting slow and then gradually increasing your bat speed.

How Tennis and Golf Players Can Avoid Injury

Spring has finally arrived and many seasonal sports enthusiasts are looking forward to practicing their favorite physical activity once again. However, those who have been sedentary during winter months should implement these tips from Dr. Moshe Lewis, a San Francisco-based board-certified Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physician.

According to Dr. Lewis, the most common types of injuries amateur athletes endure, specifically tennis and golf players, are tennis elbow (tennis), shoulder tendinitis and back pain (tennis and golf). These injuries are caused by the repetitive nature and the force of the swing in both sports. Furthermore, the lack of proper technique leads players to develop bad habits, which over time can bring about injury. On the flip side, committed players who invest in lessons are taught, among other things, to rely on larger muscle groups as opposed to smaller ones, the former being less prone to strains.

Additional recommendations include following a good warm-up routine and investing in the right equipment (the right-size racket, the right string tension, and the use of support braces if needed). Players should drink plenty of water and make sure to get rest between training sessions. If their sports facility offers them, athletes should take advantage of hot tubs, steam rooms, and saunas to increase the blood flow to the tissues, and indulge in massages. Should a strain occur, players must cut back and consult a physician.

Dr. Lewis is a pain management specialist and as such, he is a proponent of using a customized approach that blends the best of traditional medicine and alternative care. His advice to patients: they should educate themselves about the practice of yoga, Pilates, tai chi, the Feldenkrais Method, and biofeedback therapy, since all these methods can help in the prevention of injuries. Players who love seasonal sports such as tennis and golf should cross-train year-round, and include low-impact sports such as swimming, as well as core training exercises and stretching, in their routine.

These suggestions should help players enjoy an active summer, free of pain and the common injuries that plague amateur tennis and golf enthusiasts.

How to Keep Score at Frisbee Golf

The main thing that you should score in Frisbee or disc golf is a great time with your friends. However, like in regular golf, there are guidelines for scoring. Also, like regular golf, getting your Frisbee into the hole in par or under is the most desirable score. It can also be the most frustrating part of what seems like it should be a simple game to master. Throwing technique, arm speed and strength, wind, and a variety of other factors can affect your score in this simple game.

Frisbee golf consists of a link style course with holes that have a par rating assigned based on the length and difficulty of the hole. As in regular golf, the par rating is usually either 3, 4, or 5. Instead of counting strokes, you have to count throws. If you have an agreement, mulligans can be allowed for those times when your hand and arm just would not cooperate. One or two mulligans per round is an acceptable number.

The course should have some areas that are considered out of bounds. When the Frisbee lands in this area, a penalty stroke should be assessed. Likewise, Frisbee golf rules say that a Frisbee that does not land on the ground that is more than 6 feet up is due a penalty. Unlike a golf ball, Frisbees that have an errant throw will often land on something other than the ground. For those that land below 6 feet or 2 meters depending on how you measure, the Frisbee is played as if it were on the ground. No penalty is required as long as it is in bounds.

Score the round by keeping track of each throw made on each hole. Like golf, you record the number of throws at the end of each hole so that an accurate count can be maintained. Add in penalty strokes as you go as well as the regular throws. By comparing the actual score to the par of the hole, you can see if you birdied, parred, or did some type of bogie. For a really good hole, you might even double birdie or eagle. At the end of the round total up all of the throws for each player to arrive at their respective scores. The lowest score is the winner.

Variations of scoring can be done as it is in regular golf. Match play, longest throw is used for the team, or other inventive scoring that might be agreed upon at the beginning of the round. Bonus scoring might be awarded for closest to the pin or longest throw from the tee. For beginners, penalties might be waved or a more generous mulligan rule might be applied. For younger children playing Frisbee golf, you might want to reduce their throws by half or a third to make it more competitive with older and more experienced players.