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November Madness 2011

December 15th, 2011 Comments off

My ‘Championship Team:’ Rocky Carson, Paola Longoria, and Taylor Knoth, all continued playing well coming out of the crazy  month of October with 2 major championships – the US Open Racquetball Championships (US Open) and the 2011 Pan American Championships (Pan Am Games).

Rocky came in strong to the Seattle Pro/Am Racquetball Championships IRT Tier 1 event held in Seattle, WA, November 3-6, after mentally regrouping from the Pan Am Games. Visualization did him good as he did not drop a game on the way to the finals beating Chris Crowthers 3-0 in the quarter-finals (sweet revenge after losing to him in Davison, MI the week before) and Ben Croft, 3-0, in the semi-finals. Rocky served well, moved fluidly and was cool, calm, and collected as he aggressively marched through the draw; when Rocky came up against Kane Waselenchuk he lost 3-0, but not without a fight, losing a close 2nd game with the score of 12-10.

The IRT players played to a packed crowd all weekend long. The tournament, presented by my partner George Brewer and myself broke all records in Washington State for the largest event ever with 182 players. The energy, enthusiasm, and the show put on by the pros was phenomenal. We raised over $4,200.00 for our local charity of choice – The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Everyone had a great time and all the players received a souvenir pint-sized glass with the tournament logo which was autographed by the top eight pro players.  The buzz is still ringing ALL OVER the Northwest Region. We had players competing from WA, OR, CA, UT, CO, and AZ.

Paola regained her #1 WPRO Professional ranking at the Puget Sound WPRO Tier 1 tournament held in Olympia, WA, November 18-20 by beating Rhonda Rajsich in the finals, 4 games to 1. In all the Tier 1 events this season and in the Pan Am Games, Paola has met Rhonda in the finals and has won which has moved her up to the #1 professional ranked player in the world. She took back the 2011 US Open Championship Title from Rhonda who had won it the last 2 years in 2009 & 2010. She beat Rhonda convincingly with her aggressive style of play.

Paola took home 3 Gold Medals at the 2011 Pan Am Games, 1 Gold-Individual Singles, 1 Gold-Individual Doubles and 1 Gold-Team Competition. She was the talk of the Pan Am Games  because in November 2010 she won the award for Woman Athlete of the Year for all of Mexico, one of the highest honors an athlete could receive. The cameras and media were focused on her as they expected her to bring home GOLD for their country…and she delivered BIG time!

HOT OFF THE PRESS! Paola just won the Christmas Classic WPRO Tier 1 event held in VA, December 9-11, in a 5 game thriller against Rhonda Rajsich. She came from behind to win in 5 games after being down 2 games-to-zero. I was texted by someone telling me-“Paola is losing 0-2 in games.” I IMMEDIATELY texted her to call me and she did. Thank goodness she did; we talked the rest of the match during her time-outs and inbetween games. Paola’s mindset was negative as she said to me, “I am playing the worst match of my life.” The first thing I told her was to change the way she was thinking…get rid of the negative and think positive and to dig deep and play smarter and harder. I asked her to think of all the times she beat Rhonda and this was no different-taking it one point at a time. Whatever I said worked. She won the next 3 games, thus winning the match…a well deserved victory!

 

Taylor, at the ripe age of 20, qualified into the main draw of the pros at the 2011 US Open. He beat Juan Herrera, #14 in the world, in the round of 32’s to advance to the round of 16’s where he lost to Andy Hawthorne, ranked #4 in the world. Taylor played in the Open Division and made it to the finals after winning 2 tie-breakers in the quarter-final and semi-final matches. Taylor was a double winner at the Seattle Pro/Am IRT Tier 1 event in both the Men’s Singles and Doubles Divisions and took home a big pay day.

 

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Racquetball Tips from the Pros #2

December 14th, 2011 Comments off

Fran Davis says, “Be PREPARED! If you fail to plan you plan to fail. My “Championship Team” is always prepared – that is why they are on TOP!”

Rocky Carson says, “The stronger I am physically, transfers into feeling stronger mentally. Knowing that I am quicker and more powerful on the court gives me more confidence in executing my shots and game plan.”

Paola Longoria says, “There are no second chances…you must play in the NOW, this moment is all we have and that is it. This is exactly the thinking I had when I won the 2011 US Open and the 2011 Pan American Championships. This was a major shift in my thinking from the 2010 season and it paid big dividends.”

Taylor Knoth says, “Set your goals high and don’t stop till they are achieved. The best athletes may lack some natural talent, but it is the will to win and hard work that pushes them to the top.”

Sharon Jackson says, “I like to live life as if there’s no tomorrow, and I apply this in every aspect of my life. When it comes to training, I work as hard as I possibly can in the time I’ve allocated in my busy schedule (school- work, training, court time, social life, work, and finding a big girl job). I have become very good at time management, so I make sure I never waste any precious time not putting forth anything less than 100% the entire time I’m working out/training. While practicing on the court, I’m not afraid to take an extended time out if I find something I need to work on right then. I make sure to address the issue, learn from my mistakes, and do everything to erase those bad habits so I don’t make them in the future when they actually count.”

Jason Mannino says, “I am a man of percentages and became the #1 IRT Pro Player in 2003 because of the way I think. My main concerns were making my opponents run the furthest distance to hit the ball, keep my opponents behind me, make them shoot from as far back in the court as possible, and make them feel as uncomfortable as possible. I wanted to hit the shot that was the most effective in a particular situation and most importantly – if you can win on a pass, never go for the kill. These were some of the keys to my “championship game.”

Diana McNab says, “A positive attitude is a CHOICE and you are the only one in control of your mind; to take it even deeper, your body loves to respond to the energy and feelings that come from your mind. So, if you feel positive and happy and excited about your match, your body responds by being loose, relaxed and free of anxiety.”

Dan Obremski says, “Stretching or flexibility is important to a racquetball athlete for many reasons: injury prevention, range of motion, speed, agility, and overall athleticism. These are all factors that can benefit you as a player by becoming a more flexible athlete.”

 

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Racquetball Tips from the Pros #1

December 14th, 2011 Comments off

Rocky Carson says, “Preparation is KEY in all areas of the Racquetball Sports Triangle. I concentrate on ALL 3 sides… Conditioning/Nutrition, Mental Toughness and Racquetball Skills, Techniques and Tactics. There are NO shortcuts only long and hard hours of preparing.”

Paola Longoria says, “Play in the NOW and seize the moment as there are NO second chances ONLY the present moment.”

Taylor Knoth says, “The serve sets the tone to the match and I have never worked harder on my serves than this year…particularly my drive serve with the pros changing to a 2 serve rule….it has definitely paid off BIG Time. Thanks Fran for pushing me.”

Sharon Jackson says, “You got to BELIEVE in yourself. No matter how hard you work on the physical aspects of your game, if you don’t work on the mental aspects you will not be a complete player and you will not be able to develop your championship game….take it from me as I learned the hard way.”

Jason Mannino says, “I DO NOT care what you do when you step on the court, but you better give 110% and NEVER give up. There’s a quote Fran and I use at our camps, ‘Winners never quit and quitters never win’. You know what I mean.”

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Diana’s Tips on Mental Toughness

December 14th, 2011 Comments off

One must train the mind for “Championship Racquetball.”

In Sports Psychology we talk about an athlete having two brains…one in your head and one in your “gut.” You have the Learning Brain (head) and the Sports Brain (gut).

1. Learning Brain – this is the brain in your head where you are auditory and then visual. At first you listen to instructions (auditory)and once you have heard the message your brain tries to see or “visualize” the message. In this way you have heard it and then have seen it and now you are ready to try it.

a.  Auditory Brain – when you first learn a new skill that is taught to you it enters the auditory brain-the left side of your brain, and you understand the concept. For some athletes this is good enough, they hear what you say and then do it.

b.  Visual Brain – most athletes need more than just hearing it, so they need to then add the visual picture of the skill-this happens in the right side of the brain.

2. Sports Brain – once you have performed a skill perfectly at least seven times it then gets imprinted and sent to your “second brain” (kinesthetic/feeling center) which lives an inch and a half around your belly button-this is called your gut or instinct. All mucle memory is stored here and is triggered by sight and sound.

It all sounds so easy. Learn the skill, practice the skill, imprint the skill and go out there and win, but there is a lot more to it. Seeing and believing are two different things. In our book we teach you the latest skills and strategies that Jason and Sudsy use to Maintain Mental Toughness.

Check out the techniques of Mental Toughness in our book, “Championship Racquetball.”

 

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Dave Boyovich

December 14th, 2011 Comments off

As a 100% disabled veteran with pins in both my right shoulder and right wrist, being a right-handed player seems to always be a struggle for me.   Before I started taking lessons from Fran, I was barely a B-level player.  And after the first lesson with Fran when she broke down my basic skills I felt like I was a D-level player.

I took to heart everything she said, then went and watched their video, read their new book and the things they were saying began to click.  Your book has become my racquetball bible.  I read and re-read chapters, then go and practice what I’ve read.

I have not only moved up in my league from a B-level player to an A-level player I also find that when I get behind, I feel confident that by playing the high percentage shots that you have taught me I can come back and still win the game.  Yet, with all the things I continue to learn from you, the one thing that totally changed my whole game and my ability to not beat myself in the game is doing the down-the-line drill. That one drill has improved my ability to make the shots that I normally would have missed or would end up beating myself by hitting the ball to the floor.

People ask me, “What changed my game?”  I tell them, “Fran.”

Read her book and it will become your racquetball bible too, watch the video and then go back and read the book again and what Fran and Jason are saying in the book will begin to click. But, if you are really serious about changing your game, go and take not just one lesson, but lessons from Fran.  It will change your game no matter what level of a player you are.

I was tired of always beating myself in the game and I wanted to become a better player and compete at a higher level, so taking lessons from Fran has given me the opportunity to do just that.  Every penny I have spent I believe I have gotten more than my money back in the lessons that I have taken. I am not even close to what I believe I can be as a racquetball player.  But, before I started taking lessons, I never truly believed I could really become that player.  Today, I know I can become that player.

“Fran, thank you very, very much for giving me the opportunity, knowledge, and confidence to be the player I know I can be.”

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Diana’s Tips on Nutrition

December 14th, 2011 Comments off

Racquetball muscles need ‘glycogen’ in order to perform at their optimal level. Glycogen is a muscle energy source that comes from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains or complex carbohydrates. Your brain needs glucose or blood sugar and your entire metabolism needs water. Racquetball muscles also need ‘amino acids’ found in protein to repair your tissues and cells.

Breakfast of Champions consists of whole grain cereals, fruit, and juice; or eggs, toast, fruit; or hot oatmeal cereal, yogurt, granola and fruit. All of these good wholesome foods turn into muscle glycogen. Stay away from white flour, white sugar, chemicals, fats, and preservatives. They stay in your stomach too long which drives up your glucose index to higher levels, which in turn makes you feel more fatigued after eating these high fat, high sugar food choices.

Protein Lunch consists of a sandwich made of turkey, chicken, tuna, beef, egg or any form of protein with cheese, lettuce, and tomato on whole grain bread; or soup, salad, and a lean hamburger. These are the ideal protein lunches that you need which will contain the amino acids to build and repair muscle tissue and cells that have been broken down by intense play. These amino acids coupled with the glycogen will put energy back into your muscles.

Pasta Dinner consists of whole grain pasta, salad, bread, and lots of water, (throw in some oatmeal cookies for desert) – making this the perfect ‘glycogen’ source. This meal supplies the energy you need for your brain and your muscles.

Protein Dinner is the ideal post-match meal at night as it is filled with amino acids that will build and repair broken down muscle and tissue from your match. Try steak, salad, and steamed vegetables with rice or a potato.

Post Game Nutrition should be 90 minutes after your match. Always eat a protein/carbohydrate meal-the amino acids are used to repair your broken down tissue and cells and the carbohydrates are used to replace your muscle glycogen stores from your match. Do not replace beer and popcorn for a good meal.

*You need to consistently eat like this for 2 days or 48 hours before your competition begins, your body will be perfectly filled with all the nutrients that it needs for a consistent and peak performance!

 

 

 

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Dan’s Tips on Conditioning

December 14th, 2011 Comments off

AGILITY for a racquetball athlete can be most clearly defined as the ability to maneuver your way around the court as you are getting into position to hit the ball as it comes off the wall at different angles, heights, and speeds while having a sense of where your opponent is on the court. We can also call this “being light on your feet” or being “on the balls of your feet”, in other words being able to make adjustments “on a dime.”

If you can relate agility to a football player, it would best be described by a running back approaching the line knowing there are guys ready to hit him from all directions. He recognizes an opening and accelerates towards it, but finds a bigger athlete running towards him. In an instant he’s able to maneuver his body and feet to make the quick adjustment to avoid the collision.

By concentrating your efforts on maneuvering your body around the court and around your opponent, you will not only be able to get to more shots, but it will enhance your ability to perform the techniques and shots you’ve learned once you get there because you will have more time. With MORE time your shot selection will also be enhanced because you will be able to think…where am I, where is the ball, what’s the best shot to hit?

There are specific exercises that develop your agility and helps you to be “lighter on your feet” on the court so that when the ball is moving in excess of over 100 mph you can react to the ball in a split second.

Check out the exercises in our book, “Championship Racquetball.”

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