In sports, the past is gone and the future never comes, so in racquetball you have to learn that there is only one ball, one shot, one serve, and one point at a time. Time is always now. That is truly the real beauty: every shot you hit only happens in the now.
Play one point at a time—Most players think too far back (in the past) or too far ahead (in the future) instead of being in the now (the present).
The past—If you get a bad call and keep thinking about it and lose 5 points because you can’t let it go, you are in the past. Instead of just losing that 1 point from the bad call you lose 5 points, and now you are 4 points in the deficit. Let it go.
The future—If you are ahead 9-2 in the tiebreaker and begin to celebrate your win in your mind, you are in the future. Because you are not playing in the now, you could end up losing the match.
The present—Take it one point at a time and be here and now, and you will see the astounding results in your favor.
Use the techniques in my book “Championship Racquetball”, Chapter 7 Developing Game Plans and Match Strategy, P. 190, for more details.
I advocate how to “play one point at a time” even to my “Championship Team,” Paola, Rocky, Taylor, Sharon, Connor, Jordan, Spencer, Lexi and Brian. Let’s examine what tools Rocky, Paola, Jason and all of my athletes use to “play one point at a time” by taking a closer look at all 3 sides of The Sports Racquetball Triangle: Conditioning, Mental, and Physical Skills
Left Side of the Triangle
Take it one step at a time when conditioning yourself in speed, agility, power & strength and balance.
Do one or two sets at first in each one of the above, 5 repetitions in each set, based on your fitness level.
Time each set and write it down in your fitness log.
Work your way up to three or four sets, 5 to 7 repetitions in each set, for intermediate players and five or six sets, 8 to 10 repetitions in each set, for advanced players. Try to shave off seconds from your time in each set.
Rocky’s & Paola’s stair step approach to building speed, agility, power & strength and balance is key to their success. Racquetball is a game that involves a lot of explosive power, quickness, and ability to maneuver around on the court therefore they are religious about having it as part of their conditioning.
Use the techniques in my book “Championship Racquetball”, Chapter 10, to learn about conditioning yourself in general and following the stair- step approach.with more specific exercises, techniques, and drills that you can use to build your fitness level.
Nutrition – hydration
Your brain, muscles and all neural-electrical connections need enough body water and fluids in order to perform at their best. Your brain floats in water and your muscles work in a water base so give them the fluid they need by drinking at least 60 – 100 ounces of water each day. The day before and of a match, up the intake to all day and add a Gatorade or electrolyte drink 60 minutes into your actual match since speed and timing all rely on electrolytes. After your match, hydrate in preparation for the next one.
The more an athlete is willing to prepare properly, the more that athlete will walk onto the court with total self-confidence, consistency, focus, and concentration..
Rocky’s and Jason’s hydration routines: They both drink no less than two 2 liter bottles of water throughout the day during heavy training days as well as during tournaments.
Right Side of the Triangle
The only problem with playing in the now is that your ego wants to hold onto your past mistakes and fear the future. It always wants to be right and take control of the situation. The beauty of totally playing in the moment is that there is no ego and you are 100 percent connected to the ball, the wall, the shot, or the point. Playing in the now erases the ego because your mind can hold only one thought in your head at a time, so focusing on the moment erases all past or future ego thoughts. Do not dwell on the past or worry about the future because that only feeds the ego.
Jason was the master at being in the now: If you watched Jason when he played at the IRT Pro Stops he showed lots of emotions and would even make a few comments to the ref, but was able to immediately regroup and get back to the now, and not worry.
More details on “Playing One Point at a Time” which can be found Chapter 9.
Base of the Triangle
Physical Skills To become a more consistent player you want to drill taking it one step at a time and building on your drilling combinations:
-one set-up shot at a time with one type of return at a time -one set-up shot at a time with a different type of return at a time
-different set up shots at a time with the same type return at a time
-different set up shots at a time with different type returns at a time
Paola’s drilling sessions are like no other:”I have added the drills above to my practice sessions as they help me to incorporate my drop and hit stationary drills into now moving drills which assimilates a game situation.”
There are various ways to drill, practice and play to improve your game in my book, “Championship Racquetball”, Chapter 8.
ALL of my players from the professionals I coach, led by Rocky and Paola, to the amateurs I coach know the value of “playing one point at a time”. They know just how IMPORTANT being in the moment is and only concern themselves with the here and NOW.
Next issue I will continue to build your Championship Racquetball Game one level at a time so you too can be ready to become the champion you always dreamed of, but now you will have the tools to do it and make it a reality. Rocky ‘s and all my athletes “Championship Racquetball Games” stem from their focus on ALL 3 sides of the triangle working together so they can develop into top competitors. Without a shadow of a doubt, they KNOW just how important it is to do the work. They are living proof it works and their titles substantiate it.
For details on more personalized instruction, a weekend camp, instructional DVD’s, our book, Championship Racquetball, and our APP (coming soon), ALL which covers all aspects of the Sports Racquetball Triangle and more, please visit www.FranDavisRacquetball.com.Fran Davis is a 2004 racquetball Hall of Fame inductee, Racquetball Woman of the Year 2009, Coach #2 IRT Pro Player, Rocky Carson; Coach #1 Women’s LPRT Pro Player, Paola Longoria; Coach Jr. World & National Champion, Intercollegiate Champion, & IRT Pro Player, Taylor Knoth; Coach Intercollegiate Champion & LPRT Pro Player, Sharon Jackson; Master Professional Instructor/Coach USAR-IP. International Racquetball Tour.