I was nine years old when I first entered a racquetball court. I remember playing with my mom. She had joined a gym, but she couldn’t leave me alone at home so she enrolled me in a Junior Racquetball program as she always wanted me to be active. I played once a week for two years. I had no idea of where the path would take me.
I competed in my first tournament when I was eleven. It was an Oregon Junior Tournament and I played in the beginners division. I won! It was pretty intense, but I absolutely loved the competition. From that day on I was determined to become a good player like some of the other Oregon boys. At the time, I didn’t know how they became such great players, but now I know–it was a result of great coaching from Fran Davis.
One day when I was in 7th grade I was practicing and a man was watching me. When I was done he asked me if I would like to spar with his High School team. I said yes. I would soon learn that his team was one of the most successful teams in the nation. I later joined the team and won my first national doubles title as a sophomore. My school, Sprague High School, also won the national title that year. I was completely hooked and wanted to learn as much as I could about the game. I asked my high school coach about how I could improve. He loaned me a book called Championship Racquetball, by Fran Davis and Jason Mannino. I had stayed at home all weekend reading it, devouring every page. I appreciated Fran’s and Jason’s lessons and insights into the game. I started drilling more efficiently and as a result was able to beat players that I never had beaten before.
I started working with Fran right before the 2011 Junior National Championship. At that tournament I was playing in the quarter finals against the number one player for the Boy’s 16 & U division and I took him to a tiebreaker. The game was extremely close. Although I lost that match, I grew in confidence and I knew that working with Fran was exactly what I needed. I was fortunate that I could attend her racquetball camp last February in Seattle. The camp was a blast. I met new friends, trained hard and learned a ton. During this last year I also participated in many tournaments and have become a competitive open player. During the past year, my growth both as a player and as a person with Fran as my coach has been just amazing.
This past June I competed at the 2012 Junior National Championships in the Boys 16 & U. I made it to the semi-finals in singles, which I had never done before. My semi-final match went to a tiebreaker and I knew I had to be as mentally strong as I could be. My work with Fran prepared me for the battle. With her help I was able to come out on top. My goal was to make the USA Junior Racquetball Team and by making it to the finals I had accomplished my goal.
I am also currently training with Darrin McNally, working on footwork and agility. I will be at my best for the 2012 Junior Championships coming up this November in Los Angeles, CA. I am going for the gold. Realizing my dream of playing for the USA at the World’s wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for my number one supporter, my mom. She has made it possible for me to train and compete. I also want to thank Fran for sharing her friendship, her knowledge and her love of the game. We will be a winning team. Now I know where my path will take me…all the way to the top!