AKA Women Making Racquetball History Now!
We will feature another woman making racquetball history every Wednesday. Do you know someone else we should be celebrating with this interview and feature process? Drop us a line on Facebook!
Name: Khyathi Velpuri
Are you a pro player, coach, association board member, tournament organizer, or racquetball broadcaster AKA why do racquetball players know you?
I am one of the only junior racquetball players in Colorado. I compete in tournaments frequently and won the Colorado High School Championships and Colorado State Championships this year.
Where do you promote racquetball on social media and the web?
Instagram – private page
Country of Origin: USA
Have you ever been on your country’s national team? When?: Not yet 🙂
Did you play as a junior? When & how where you introduced to the competitive side of racquetball?
I am currently a junior, so yes. I started playing competitively about 3 months after I started learning, where I played in the 2016 Colorado High School Tournament and placed second.
Playing hand: Right
Year you started playing racquetball: 2016
First female mentor or idol in racquetball:
Carla Munoz. I met Carla at a breast cancer charity tournament we hold here every year, the Racquet For the Cure tournament. I got to watch her play and got to know her, and when the World Doubles Championships came to Colorado, she stayed at our house and I was able to get to know her very well and learn a lot from her.
Favorite racquetball shot: Backhand rollout
Motivation for the game (what keeps you playing):
The community and the people. I love getting to meet new people at every tournament and league I play in, and I love that I get to play people of all different skill sets. My dad always says racquetball players are the nicest and most sociable athletes you can find and I can’t say I disagree with him. The fact that it’s a great workout is only the icing on top of the cake .
Love most about racquetball:
That I can play it whenever I want and wherever I want. It’s a year-round sport that nearly anyone can play, it has no restrictions.
Gearbox! Almost everything I use is Gearbox although I’m not sponsored by them. My 15th birthday present was a brand-new 165g Quad Gearbox racquet and I still use it to this day.
Racquet For the Cure, it is a charity tournament we hold here in Colorado every year that is dedicated to breast cancer. This tournament is always so much fun because it is centered mainly around female racquetball players of all skills so this is the tournament where I get to see all the women in Colorado who play racquetball. It’s the most fun tournament and the one I look forward to the most.
Best results at tournaments you’ve played in:
In this past year, I won the Racquet for the Cure Tournament in Women’s C and second in Women’s Doubles B with my partner Mikayla Postma. In State Doubles, my partner Taryn Boomgard and I received second in Women’s B, in State Singles, I won my singles division and my father and I won in mixed doubles, and I won the Colorado High School Championships. In the years prior to that I’ve mainly received second place medals in the tournaments I’ve played but so far 2018 seems to be the best year for me regarding tournaments.
Day job: High School Student
My father, Seshu Velpuri. He’s a racquetball player as well, and my first coach. He taught me the basics and the beginning of what is now a drive serve I am very proud of. He’s the man behind the glass doors cheering me on, telling me what and what not to do, and sometimes he’s also the guy right next to me in the court in mixed doubles.
What can we do to activate more female players?
Have more tournaments gravitated towards women of all ages and skills.
What is your hope for the future of racquetball?
More young women! So far I’ve only ever met 2 young girls other than me who play racquetball for Colorado and I’d love to see more in the future.
What do you do to train?
Drills (obviously) :), other than that not much. I play frequently with my dad and in leagues, and that always helps because practice makes perfect.
What is the biggest challenge you face right now as it comes to racquetball, and how do you work to overcome that challenge?
My mental game, it’s very easy for me to get into my own head during an intense match and everyone knows that can be a major downfall for any racquetball player regardless of their skill. Eventually it will come with age as I mature further but for now, I try to maintain a calm and confident composure whenever I’m in the court.
Do you know someone else we should be celebrating with this interview and feature process? Drop us a line on Facebook!