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Archive for June, 2011

Rocky Carson #2 IRT Pro Player

June 12th, 2011 Comments off

Rocky had an amazing season finishing as the #2 IRT Professional Player for the 2010/2011 season and winning one of the IRT Grand Slams and made 9 finals of Tier 1 events. Not only did he make it to 9 finals, but he pushed the IRT #1 Pro Player, Kane Waselenchuk, to 2 tie breakers before losing 10-12 in the 5th and also took Kane to 4 games in the Coast-to-Coast Canoga Park, CA, event.

Rocky is now looking forward to some time off to rest his body and mind before getting ready to defend his title at the Outdoor National Championships in Huntington Beach, CA, in early July.

As Rocky reflects back over the season he realizes that hard work in all areas of the “Racquetball Sports Triangle” Conditioning/Nutrition; Mental Toughness; and Racquetball Skills, Techniques and Tactics paid off with BIG dividends. We are both excited to see where his continued dedication and commitment over the summer will take him in the 2011/2012 season.

You can watch all of Rocky’s matches in the archives of IRT Network at www.IRTNetwork.com.

CONGRATULATIONS to Rocky for making the U.S. Team as one of the top 2 singles player and the top doubles team player. Rocky will represent the U.S. at the Pan Am Championships in Guadalajara, MX in late October 2011.

 

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Paola Longoria #2 WPRO Professional Player

June 12th, 2011 Comments off

WPRO Pro National Champion.. CONGRATULATIONS Paola you deserve it!

Paola finishes the season winning the last event of the season on May 13-15 – the WPRO Pro Nationals, a Grand Slam held in New Orleans, LA, against a fierce competitor, Rhonda Rajsich. This was a sweet victory for Paola as she lost to Rhonda in Stockton, CA, just 2 weeks prior in a very close 11-13 tie breaker. It was great to be there in New Orleans coaching Paola
to a 3-0 final.

There is no question in both our minds that her visit to Seattle for training the week before the event was an integral part of her playing so well. We worked out hard with my personal trainer, Austin Treloar for 3 days and spent 5 grueling days on the court working on very specific areas of her game. Unfortunately Paola will not have much rest as she has to continue
training for the Mexican National Championships in June. The top 2 women and top 2 men who make the team qualify to represent her country in the Pan American Championships at the end of October in Guadalajara, MX.

CONGRATULATIONS to Paola for winning some of THE MOST PRESTIGOUS awards:

October 2010 WPRO ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Awarded to her at the US Open in Minneapolis, MN
October 2010 Merito Deportivo
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Awarded to her by the government from San Luis Potosi, MX
November 2010 Premio Nacional Del Deporte
BEST ATHLETE OF THE YEAR OF THE WHOLE COUNTRY
Awarded to her by the President of Mexico
November 2010 Premio Estatal del Deporte
BEST ATHLETE OF THE YEAR OF TIJUANA, MX
Awarded to her by the government of Tijuana
December 2010 Premio Luchador Olmeca
BEST ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

Codeme gave it to her as it represents all the federations in Mexico

June 2010 Premio Cuahutemoc
BEST ATHLETE OF THE YEAR OF TIJUANA, MX
Selection comes from all the media, newspapers, magazines and t.v. companies
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Taylor Knoth #23 IRT Professional Player

June 12th, 2011 Comments off

Taylor Knoth the Jr. World and National Champion 2010, National Intercollegiate Champion 2011 and made it to the quarter finals of the IRT Pro National Championships – a dream came true!

Beyond his wildest imagination, Taylor never expected to make it to the quarter finals of the IRT Pro National Championships; he knocked off the #9 and #10 seeds along the way before playing the #1 pro player in the world, Kane Waselenchuk. What an honor, privilege and experience that was for Taylor who just turned 20 yrs. old and finished the season ranked #23-his highest ranking ever! Besides all this, Taylor had a fabulous season as he won the Jr. World and National Championships 2010, National Intercollegiate Championships 2011 (earning a spot on the U.S. Team), USAR Regional Championships 2011, several IRT Satellite Events and even had a victory over the #15 IRT Pro Player-Charlie Pratt. To top it all off Taylor was selected to be featured in the Sports Illustrated section “Faces in the Crowd” in the April 2011 issue.

What a year Taylor has had and I am so PROUD of him and all the hard work he has done over the last 8 years. Taylor started working hard at age 12 and it has made him into a fundamentally sound player and it’s paying off with big dividends.
With an ‘all expenses paid trip’ coming up at the end of June, Taylor and Jose Rojas were invited to play in a tournament in Japan. The Jr. National Championships will be the same weekend and Taylor was torn trying to decide whether to go to Japan or stay home and coach some kids from his local club who would be playing in the tournament. We encouraged Taylor to go to Japan and not pass up an opportunity of a lifetime. Taylor has worked hard and deserves this trip!

You can watch Taylor’s match against Kane in the archives of IRT Network at www.IRTNetwork.com

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Sharon Jackson, A Rising Star on the WPRO!

June 12th, 2011 Comments off

Sharon Jackson, the 2009 Junior National Champion and the 2010 National
Intercollegiate Champion qualifies at the WPRO 2011 Pro National
Championships in New Orleans and takes home Gold and a Silver Medal at the
2011 National Intercollegiate Championships in Tempe, AZ.

There is no question that Sharon’s game is taking shape as she qualified
again at the WPRO Pro National Championships in New Orleans, LA before
losing to Samantha Salas, #3 WPRO Pro Player in the world. She finished this
year ranked # 25 on the WPRO rankings.

As a full time student at Alabama State University she cannot attend all the
WPRO events so Sharon plays in as many events that her school schedule
permits.

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Diana’s Tips on Mental Toughness

June 11th, 2011 Comments off

VISUALIZATION….

The #1 technique in maintaining mental toughness is visualization. It is the art of creating images in your mind of perfect technique and performance and allowing these images to become imprinted into your muscle memory which lives an inch and a half around your belly button. The best athletes do this naturally without even knowing it! But every athlete needs to understand that this is the key to perfecting consistent performance. “What your mind can perceive and your body believes…you can achieve!” – Terry Orlick

YOUR MIND…is an amazing instrument. It does not know the difference between a vividly imagined picture and reality. The right side of your brain thinks in pictures and not words (alpha state). And every image you create in your mind sends a 30% neural-electrical response to the exact muscles that you are using in the image. All of this is done instantaneously! It is truly amazing!

5-7 days a week visualize

***Visualization can be found in our book Championship Racquetball.

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Diana’s Tips on Nutrition

June 11th, 2011 Comments off

As a general rule your muscles need a good combination of food as racquetball is very demanding on the body. You need protein ( fish, chicken, fish, beans, etc. ) every day at least 90 minutes after practice to REPAIR your broken down tissues and cells. You need vegetables for electrolytes or quickness. You need fruit for circulation and you need complex carbohydrates, glycogen, for muscle energy.

***Nutrition can be found in our book Championship Racquetball.

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Dan’s Tips on Conditioning

June 11th, 2011 Comments off

The techniques and skills of racquetball require five different speed motions:

  1. STARTING SPEED: getting up to the highest rate of speed as quickly as possible so you can get into good center court position or have better return of serves.
  2. FOOT SPEED: to negotiate balls that are hit at different angles and come off the wall at different angles, speeds and trajectories.
  3. HIP SPEED: (or rotation) is often necessary to turn and run as well as used to generate more power which we outlined explicitly in Chapters One and Two, Forehand and Backhand techniques.
  4. BACKPEDAL SPEED: is to relocate back into good center court after the serve or move back to the back court from center court to hit a ceiling ball or move back from the front court to center court after you retrieved a great pinch or kill shot.
  5. CHANGE of DIRECTION SPEED: is an often overlooked element of movement skills, but THE MOST important in racquetball. There are four types of change of direction speed that we’ll work on, side to side, forward backward, turning and running, and jumping.

***Conditioning, five different speed motions, can be found in our book Championship Racquetball.

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Valerie Marott

June 7th, 2011 Comments off

By day, I’m a mild mannered teacher, but around 6 PM and on weekends I become “Middle Aged Court Rat” Yes, that is my super hero name. I learned to play racquetball in college in the 80s, but that’s not where this racquetball story begins, because I played off an on for years, never getting better than a mediocre C player. Then 4 years ago I had the opportunity to change my life, move across the country from California to North Carolina, and focus on the things I’d always wanted to do. One of those things was to devote more time and effort to racquetball…..but I didn’t know where to start. The ladies at my new club were very welcoming and I started playing a couple of times a week, but I wasn’t happy with what I was accomplishing. I wondered why a person with some athletic talent and a decent brain was not improving and performing as I felt I should. While reading my Racquetball Magazine I saw an ad for the Fran Davis Racquetball Camps and decided to go on line to check it out. I went to my first camp in Louisville, KY in 2007. There I started on the road that would lead me to seeing racquetball as a challenging athletic pursuit that stimulated my mind and body as well as a fun, social way to get exercise.

At camp I learned several things I could change with a minimum of effort and that would have an immediate effect on my game. One of those was that I was playing too far forward and that was the reason I was getting passed so much…I thought I was just slow! I also learned to receive the serve closer to the back wall, which helped immediately on my return of serve. I also learned some other strategies that would require time to integrate into my game, such as developing a variety of serves from several positions in the service box. Over the course of a year and a half I improved and began beating the ladies instead of losing to them and lost a few lbs.—maybe 8. But that just whetted my appetite.

My sister lives in Seattle where Fran is headquartered, so the next year on a visit, I attended one of her Seattle camps and Jason remarked on my improvement asking if I had gone up “What, a division and a half?” I was thrilled they even remembered my level and stunned to know they could see a difference! I had put into practice one of the longer term goals I had been working on—being able to move with the ball away from the back wall on a set up to hit a solid passing shot, both down the line and cross court on my backhand. This time at camp I learned things I didn’t think they had taught before and commented on it. Fran just laughed and said, “Oh we taught that last time, you just weren’t ready to hear and learn it yet.” And I realized she was right. When I went back to my old camp handbook…..sure enough everything was there. My forehand was still in trouble though and I asked for special help on that, which I received through video taped analysis of my swing. My knees weren’t bent. I was taking the ball too close to my body which jammed me, I was transitioning too much of my body weight toward my front foot, robbing myself of power. I tried to put into practice some of the strategies that I learned, such as pinching when my opponent was behind me and passing when they played too far forward as I once did. And my second camp experience began to pay off in subtle ways. I noticed that I not only pulled even with the players who used to beat me regularly, I began to beat them more often than not. Some of them were not at all pleased by my new intensity and began to complain I was taking it all too seriously. Others were supportive and wanted to know what I was learning. Guess which ones I continued to play with? That was in Jan. of 2009.

I continued to work on the short and long term goals Fran set with me such as starting a weight training program and aerobic conditioning program I learned at camp. This program is outlined in Fran and Jason’s new book Championship Racquetball. I lost another 16 lbs. and saw a difference in the way I was able to move around the court. But I was unwilling to do the most important thing. I didn’t want to drill. I groaned and complained about how boring it was, and just didn’t want to do it! I loved the dynamic nature of racquetball, the competition, the elation of making a great shot, and of course winning. Drilling had none of that. About this time a new female player joined our club. She had been an A player but now had knee issues. Even with limited mobility, she was still good enough to beat me. She was the one who convinced me to enter my first tournament–a benefit called the Caring Hands on a Racquet tournament in Atlanta, GA in January of 2010. I entered as a C and won my first two matches in 2 games each. I lost in the final, but was reasonably happy with my play and resolved to improve before I entered another tournament. Now, just how I intended to do that without drilling is now a mystery to me. Improvement without a plan is sort of a nebulous idea…..it doesn’t just happen because you say you will out loud. And sure enough it didn’t happen for me. When I became frustrated with my stalled progress, I decided to jumpstart my program by attending my third camp in Greensboro, NC in the Summer of 2010. I told Fran I wanted to make “an evolutionary leap in my game.” I told her I didn’t want to just get “better” I wanted to be an A player some day and I wanted that day to be tomorrow! “Then you have to drill,” she said, and challenged me to commit to a drilling schedule. Again, I learned some new things at camp that they probably taught before, but that I wasn’t ready to hear or learn, such as waiting for the ball to drop one more second before hitting it, that I should be reading the ball off my opponent’s racquet, not off the front wall, to give myself more time to react. I learned to effectively use the ceiling ball when I was off balance to get back in to position. And I learned to see the ball, not the wall, when returning a down the line shot.

I’d like to say I went home and started drilling immediately, but that’s not what happened. I was supposed to drill exclusively and not play for a month. What happened is that I obeyed the not playing part but didn’t do the drilling and ended up taking a month off from racquetball! I was furious with myself and when Fran checked in with me about my progress—yes that’s right, the Hall of Fame coach who coaches the Number one woman and junior in the world checked in with ME—I had to tell her that I guessed I wasn’t ready to commit. I honestly don’t remember what her reaction was or what she said to me in that phone call—I’ve probably blocked it out, but I began drilling the next day. One hour of drilling for every hour of play. I hated it……for a while, but I began to see results in a few weeks. I began to play some of the men at my club and hang with them, if not beat them. By the Fall, I was splitting games with the former women’s A player and beating a few men. Around the holidays, I entered the Mountain Madness racquetball tournament in Gatlinburg, TN. The division was a combined Women’s B/C/Men’s D division and on the day of the start of the tournament, I slipped on the ice and hurt my knee. I came in 3rd out of a field of 4 in a round robin determined by the number of points won, but I was glad I had limped through and practiced the mental toughness techniques I had learned. Plus, I won a game off a very condescending gentleman, costing him the winner’s trophy. It was better than Advil.

I continued to drill and play as soon as my knee was better, and when Fran and Jason’s book Championship Racquetball came out this past Feb. I bought a copy for both myself and my new boyfriend, whom I met playing racquetball! I studied the chapters on mental toughness and match strategy in preparation for another tournament, and just this last weekend entered the Racquet Up for the Red tournament in Goldsboro, NC. I entered as a B even though I hadn’t ever won as a C player. I had been playing so well, made so much progress, and I just believed in myself and in all the strategies I had been taught at camp and read about in the book and knew I could win. Sorry for the predictable and sappy ending, but I really did win!

That was a few weeks ago, and the next day, I was back at the gym upping my weights and powering through my cardio. This past weekend I entered the Women’s A and the Women’s All Age divisions at the Atlantic Coast Championships in Wilmington, NC. I wanted to challenge myself both by moving up a division and by entering two divisions to test my fitness level. Both events were round robin and by hanging tough in the tie breakers, I came in 2nd in both divisions in a very tight race. I was so proud of myself.

My new goals are to drop some more weight—about 15 more lbs., increase my drilling time using my Championship Racquetball book to select and work on various aspects of my game, and to win a tournament as an A player. By setting, working towards, and achieving goals as Fran has taught me, I am living my racquetball dream! I don’t know how to express how full my heart is when I think of how she changed my life with her racquetball philosophy. But she has because I have been able to apply the lessons I have learned on the court to my life and now have a very different and healthier paradigm when I view life’s challenges. I take more risks with anticipation instead of trepidation, and I feel confident that with hard work I can accomplish reasonable goals that I set for myself. That may not sound like much to someone else, but for me it is quite a victory!

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