In an interview with Jason Mannino, the Legend
Jason shares his thoughts and insights on being coached by Fran Davis.
1) Jason, why did you choose Fran Davis when you were looking for a coach?
After I started teaching with Fran during the 2000 season I learned how much she knew about the game. At that time, I felt she was the only person that I could trust to analyze my game. We set up a video analysis session which I thought would last an hour or two, 10 hours later, after strict scrutiny, I realized I had a lot to work on and that she could help.
2) What contributed to making you a champion?
Many things. At the end of the day, it’s all about work ethic. Although I’m sure I had plenty of raw talent, I think that what set me apart was mostly mental toughness. I worked on all the shots, serve, serve return, footwork, speed, agility, flexibility, overall honing my craft. But analyzing my game, as well as my opponent’s (game) gave me the necessary information to thrive. All that, combined with mental toughness and a hatred of losing, made me a champion.
3) You went from being #4 to #1 How did Fran help you get there?
My strokes were always pretty good, as was my court sense. Fran helped me understand the importance of figuring out what my opponent was doing correctly, as well as identifying the holes in his game and how to capitalize on them. See, she taught me to play away from my opponent’s strengths, and into their weaknesses. Also, taking into consideration my strengths and weaknesses to determine exactly what to do against each opponent. It was all about making the correct decision in any given situation.
4) What is your definition of a champion?
Well, a champion needs to have a certain amount of physical skill to warrant such a title. But at the end of the day, in general, a champion is someone that puts forth maximum effort in everything they do. In racquetball, it’s someone that puts forth maximum effort to achieve the highest attributes in every level of the sport.
5) Your relationship with Fran has evolved from player/coach into partners/teachers. You’ve made a video together, teach 15-20 camps a year together and now you two have written a book together- “Championship Racquetball.”
Over the past 10 years I have taught hundreds of camps, clinics, speaking engagements, etc with Fran and we have taught each other a lot along the way. It’s been an amazing journey from creating a video together, teaching all over the world together, and now co-authoring a book together. Fran is more like family than a friend.
6) What is your #1 Mental Toughness tip?
The same as I tell my boys! Play hard and have fun. The rest will take care of itself.
7) Your #1 Conditioning Tip?
If you can talk during your conditioning workout, you’re not working out hard enough.
8) What would you say is your #1 Nutritional Tip?
If you think you shouldn’t eat it, then you shouldn’t eat it!
9) Tell us what you think is the most important Racquetball skill.
I’m often asked if I could give one tip before a match, what would it be? Well, it would be to hit the front wall! Most players try to kill the ball too often, and if they would concentrate more on hitting the front wall than on how good it feels to hit 1 out of 10 kill shots, they would be much better off.
10) Who is “Yoda?” Can you explain your “Yoda” comment?
Many times I have referred to Fran as “Yoda” from Star Wars. The reason for that is she seems to know the answer to the question even before I ask it. It’s almost like she’s in my mind. Yoda was the all knowing jedi-master, which pretty much encapsulates Fran.