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Sarasota Thursday, Mar. 8, 2012 5 years ago

Athlete of the Week: John Schneider

by: Rachel S. OHara Staff Photographer

Bath & Racquet Fitness Club membership services head John Schneider was just 19 years old when he won the indoor state doubles championship and was named Junior World Champion in racquetball. Today, Schneider is still under contract with Wilson and represents the company at a variety of racquetball tournaments. Beginning March 19, he’ll be sharing his knowledge of the sport by teaching the club’s 123 Racquetball class.

What got you into racquetball?
Friends of mine were playing on the outdoor county courts in Bradenton, while I was playing tennis. I jumped over to their court and picked up an extra racquet and had a lot of fun. I ran home and told my mom I needed a racquetball racquet.

What are your strengths?
My knowledge on the court and my forehand, as well as my will and drive to win.

Do you have any weaknesses?
My backhand and conditioning.

How often do you play?
I play two to three times a week for about two hours.

Do you prefer singles or doubles?
I like both. For singles, you really have to train hard to play at a high level, and there is a lot of running. In doubles, you can just cover your side of the court.

Do you have a doubles partner?
Toby St. Piere. I met him playing here at Bath & Racquet. He’s a great player.

What is your favorite part about your sport?
I think the escape of it. When you go in to a racquetball court and shut the door, you block out the rest of the world. I also like how fast it is and the speed of it.

What do you love about teaching the game?
When you see somebody get that spark in their eye — like I got when I started. Also, for kids, it is a fast game to learn, and you pick up on the rules along the way. It is a lot faster to learn than tennis.

What is the best advice you’ve been given or give to students?
Stay attentive to what is going on on the court. A lot happens very quickly on the court, so if you’re not in the right place, you can find yourself in trouble. The ball really stings when it hits you, especially when I play against guys who hit the ball at 140 mph.

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