I cannot tell you just how excited I am to be working with Paola. I have been watching her for years through her junior career and now as the #1 Women’s Professional Player in the World. The one thing that impresses me the most about her is her intensity level on the court when she is competing. She is totally focused and her level of concentration is incredible.
I actually commentated the Finals at the 2009 US Open, Memphis, TN, for Racquetballonline.tv featuring Paola Longoria, the defending US Open Champion, and Rhonda Rasjich, the 2008 US Open Champion. This allowed me to watch her match with a new set of eyes. When you are commentating you must watch and critique each and every point as the play develops and unfolds and you CANNOT miss a beat. The public is relying on you to analyze the game in depth such as serve, the return of serve, court position, shot selection, footwork, the players emotional state, and their EVERYTHING. By doing this I felt I knew Paola BETTER than I did before.
When she approached me after her match with Rhonda she was quite upset and VERY disappointed that she lost the match…understandably so. She told me if she had a coach she felt she could have won the match. She felt she was playing very inconsistent and needed another set of eyes to assist her and help keep her focused and in the match. Her parents and friends were telling her what to do, but there was too much input from too many people so she was overwhelmed. At that point when she asked me if I would coach her I KNEW I could have helped her by tweaking a few things because of her tremendous talent.
When Paola returned home to Monterey, MX after the US Open she e-mailed me and asked me again if I would consider coaching her as she was VERY serious about working on her game and fixing the weaknesses in her game. I graciously accepted. Before we could get together in the middle of December she asked me to give her a few tips as she was getting ready to play three more tournaments. I gave her four critical tips that would make an immediate difference in her game. They proved to work as she proceeded to win ALL three events having to beat Rhonda Rajsich on her way to victory. At that moment she became more of a believer in me.
Her goals are to remain the # 1 Women’s Professional Player in the World, win the World Championships in Korea in August 2010 and win the Pan American Games in her home country, Mexico, in 2011 and she KNOWS she CANNOT do it alone. On December 14th, 2009 we joined forces and started to work together to make her dreams come true.
Let’s hear from Paola.
Read This Exclusive Interview With #1 WPRO Paola
Why does the #1 player in the world WANT and NEED a coach?
For me it’s very important to have Fran who will help me improve my game. A Coach is necessary for any player that wants to be the best player so they can continue to improve their game. I always want and try to be the best player I can be and I know that I need a coach to help me achieve my goals. Coaches work hard to help players achieve everything, that’s why some ot the professional players have the support of a coach. Fran is the person I know that will help me correct mistakes, learn new things, and give me the support in difficult games and tournaments.
Most importantly WHY did you choose FRAN DAVIS?
I choose Fran because she knows a lot about the sport that I love. She is a person that has achieved a lot of goals herself and she always gives her best coaching to every player. She helps people in this sport to be the best players they can be like Sudsy Monchik, Jason Mannino, and many others. Everyone knows that Fran is one of the best coaches that exist in this sport. She was a player years ago and she has a lot of knowledge that will help me to improve my game and of course, she is a positive person that understands what each player needs to be their best.
NOW that you worked with Fran in Seattle for a week….WHAT did you like about working with Fran and what new stuff did you learn that will ENHANCE your already GREAT GAME?
I really loved being in Seattle working with Fran. She taught me a lot of new things to improve my game, especially drills, new serves, returning serves, more shots, better court position, mental toughness and footwork. We were able to watch a lot of video and analyze my game which was hard, but fun. We covered a lot of things that I can’t explain here, but I was there to work hard on my game. I had a great week there because we also had the opportunity to hang out and learn about each other in other aspects that complete the coach-player relationship. I like when she coaches me in every tournament and she is able to tell me the things that I need to hear to motivate me in each game. It’s things like that with time we are going to learn even more about each other.
How IMPORTANT is it to you for your coach to KNOW you as a person NOT JUST as a racquetball player?
For me it’s very important to have a good relation with my coach. I need to trust them and I need to know that they trust me too. When I have a coach I really treat them like part of my family. It’s good to have a good relation with your coach because when you really have a problem that affects your game the coach knows what to say that is going to help me forget the problem so I can focus on my game or in many times probably help resolve the problem. It’s important to have a good relation so the player and the coach can work better in the game.
THANK YOU FRAN!
I just want to thank Fran for all the new stuff she gave me in order to improve my game. I know that these are going to help me to achieve the goals I have in my head. I want to also thank you Fran for the great things you organized when I was in Seattle. I met new friends that treated me very well and I’m sure that you are the coach I was trying to find before. I can’t wait to see you again to continue working hard on my game 🙂
* Women’s Professional Racquetball Organization: www.wpro-tour.com