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US Open Racquetball Championships 2011…Trifector

October 18th, 2011 Comments off

I just returned from the 15th Annual US Open Racquetball Championships held in Minneapolis, MN and I am proud to say  my “Championship Team” lead by Paola Longoria, Rocky Carson and Taylor Knoth tore up the field as they ALL made it into the finals of their respective divisions….thusly the “Trifector”. Along with them ten of my amateur students walked away with a medal around their necks…not too bad of a week’s work.

Rocky Carson made it to the finals without dropping a game and came out strong in the finals against Kane Waselenchuk beating him the first game.Rocky’s new “aggressive style of play” has served him well and our working together is paying off. Even though he lost to Kane in the finals he pushed Kane to 4 games and put Kane on the defense more often creating more mistakes…something no one has been able to do. Watch out Rocky is on a mission.

He is now in Guadalajara, MX for the Pan American Games representing USA.

Paola took back the 2011 US Open Championship Title from Rhonda Rajsich who won it the last 2 years in 2009 & 2010. Paola beat Rhonda convincingly with her aggressive style of play. Her trip to Seattle to train with me 3 weeks ago truly paid off as her serves and shots were deadly…consistent, accurate  and powerful.

She is now in Guadalajara, MX for the Pan American Games representing her home country Mexico.

Taylor Knoth at the ripe age of 20 he qualified into the main draw of the pros and 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, #4 in the world. Also, he played in the Open Division and made it to the finals  after winning 2 tie breakers in the quarter final and semi final matches. He even beat Alejandro Herrera, #15 in the world, in an 11-10 breaker before losing to Daniel Del La Rosa, #16 in the world, in the finals. Taylor is on his way and is moving up steadily. Our work over the last 8 years is really showing because he is so fundamentally in every aspect of the game. Once he graduates college he will be able to devote full time to racquetball. Even with Taylor going to school full time and carrying 18 credits he is ranked #24 in the world.

My Amateur Championship Team …I am so PROUD of these people who have worked hard on their games after taking our camps or private lessons/coaching with me:

Sharon Jackson:  US Open Pros round of 16, Open Division 3rd Place, Mixed Open Doubles 4th Place
Laurie Welsh:   Women’s  B  3rd Place
Page Kern:  Women’s 45+ A  2nd Place
Kelly Kirk:  Women’s 50+ Open  2nd Place
William Craig:  Men’s 19+ D 4th Place
Quentin Mieure: Men’s 25+ A  1st Place
Ben Howell III:   Men’s 45+ C  1st Place
Quade Howell:  Men’s 24- C  3rd Place (ONLY 12 years old)
George Brewer: Men’s 55+ A  3rd Place
Lamar Hughes:  Men’s 55+ C  2nd Place

 

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My Championship Team Summer 2011 Update

September 30th, 2011 Comments off

Rocky Carson wins the Outdoor National Championships in Huntington Beach, CA making it 8 in a row, after taking off 3 weeks from a grueling 2010/2011 professional indoor season where he was in 10 out of 12 finals. After winning the Outdoor Nationals his training regiment was like no other as he was not only getting ready for the pro season, but also he will be representing the USA at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, MX in mid-October.

Paola Longoria wins the Mexican National Championships in singles and doubles and earned a spot on the Mexican National Team and she will be representing her country at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, MX in mid-October.  After winning the National Championships Paola received one of the greatest honors anyone could ever receive…she was selected to light the Pan American Torch to start the torch traveling throughout Mexico before ending up in Guadalajara for the Pan American Games.

Taylor Knoth finishes #22 on the IRT ranking his first year playing part-time on the professional tour while going to school. He was also invited by the Korean Government, all expenses paid,  along with Jose Rojas to play in a Korean Tournament…an opportunity of a lifetime.

My Junior Championship Team shined at the Jr. National Championships in Portland, OR earning a spot on the Jr. National Racquetball Team to represent the USA at the Jr. World Championships in the Dominican Republic…I am so PROUD of them:

Brad Schopieray Jr. Nationals Boys 18 & U Singles 4th/Doubles 2nd
Spencer Shoemaker Jr. Nationals Boys 14 & U Singles 1st/Doubles 1st
Wayne Toyne Jr. Nationals Boys 12 & U Singles 3rd/Doubles 1st
Jessica Munoz Jr. Nationals Girls 18 & U Singles 3rd/Doubles 1st
Jr. Worlds Girls 18 & U Doubles 3rd
Lexi York Jr. Nationals Girls 14 & U Singles 2nd/Doubles 1st
Jordan Cooperrider Jr. Nationals Girls 12 & U Singles 1st/Doubles 1st
Jr. Worlds Girls 12 & U Singles 1st/Doubles 2nd
Espirit Female Athlete of the Year 2011
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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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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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In an interview with Jason Mannino, the Legend

March 5th, 2011 Comments off

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.

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Rocky Carson #2 IRT Professional Player

February 28th, 2011 Comments off

“A GREAT Start to the 2nd Half of the Season”

Rocky has played three Tier 1 IRT events in January So. CA, NY and IN and not only made the finals of all three, but in the IN event he took Kane to a tie-breaker before losing 6-11 in the 5th game. Only a select few have even taken a game off Kane in TWO years, but in the IN event Rocky pushed him and had Kane on the ropes.

On February 13th at the National Doubles Championship at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ, Rocky and his partner, Jack Huczek, were crowned National Champions for the 4th time winning 11-10 in the tie-breaker against Shane Vanderson and Chris Crowthers. It was a GREAT match as Rocky and Jack were up 9-5, then went down 9-10. After tying it up at 10-10 Jack called a brilliant time out. They discussed what serve Rocky was going to hit. They decided to go with a hard drive z to the right which was to Chris’s forehand, as he played the right side. They chose that serve as they DID NOT hit it all match. Jack lined up in the doubles box as if Rocky was going to hit a drive jam, which they were using all match. This totally caught Chris off guard and Rocky aced Chris to win the tie-breaker and the title, 11-10.

In Rocky’s last Tier 1 in San Diego, CA, February 25-27, Rocky once again made it to the finals making it 4 straight pro stops in a row. In the semi-finals against Shane Vanderson Rocky fought off a match point in Game 4 and extended it to a tie-breaker. He was down 5-9 in the tie-breaker and with incredible gets and steady shots he beat Shane 11-9 to advance to the finals to play Kane. The finals was the best match of the season and both players were pushed to a 12-10 tie-breaker with Kane squeaking it out. This match was a barn burner as Kane has NOT been pushed and forced to play hard in 2 years other than the last time Rocky played him in IN where they also went to the tie-breaker. Rocky is clearly showing how the changes he has made in his game is making a HUGE difference in his performances. Remember, Rocky is the ONLY player on tour who is forcing Kane to play hard and is making him play under pressure….something Kane has NOT felt for over 2 years.

On the IRT Network Rocky is touted to have the Fran Davis Influence, “FDI”. In August 2010 Rocky hired me to coach him and in just six short months we have revamped his game and have added some very critical elements to his game that have been missing. When watching Rocky now you can clearly see his shots are more aggressive, he is using down the line more effectively, he is mixing up his serves well plus has added a new power drive serve and he is playing deeper center court position….and this is only the beginning.

Rocky shared with me this: “It’s amazing when you play day in and day out, pro-stop after pro-stop you sometimes slip back into some bad habits. I am guilty of that myself. This is the VERY reason I hired Fran Davis to get me back on track to some of the core principles of the game so I can continue to be fundamentally sound and build my championship game. Watching videos with Fran and doing video analysis of me playing has been the GREATEST eye opener for me. Thanks Fran the BEST is yet to come.”

Rocky why did you choose Fran Davis as your coach? ” My goal is to become #1 and I believe she can help me get there.”

Rocky is gearing up for a busy February getting ready to go to National Doubles with his long time partner, Jack Huczek, to regain their title as they did not play last year due to an injury which kept Jack from playing, the San Diego IRT Pro-Stop and the Seattle Open.

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Taylor Knoth

February 24th, 2011 Comments off

“Gearing up for the National Intercollegiate Championships April 2011 in Tempe, AZ”

Taylor has not played many events after winning the Junior World Championships in November 2010 due to a heavy load in college, but the tournament he played in Corvalis, OR at the beginning of January he won beating Jeff Stark in the finals. Taylor just played in the Tier 3 IRT Satellite Pro-Stop, the Seattle Open, February 18-20, where last year he took Shane Vanderson to 5 games before losing in the tie-breaker. This year he took out the #15 IRT Pro Player, Charlie Pratt, in the quarter-finals and then lost to Rocky Carson in a well fought match in the semi-finals. He used the Seattle Open as a tune up for the National Intercollegiate Championships scheduled for April 6-9. Last year he made it to the finals and came in 2nd in 2010 as a freshman.

Taylor juggles playing racquetball with being a FULL-TIME student at Oregon State University and that is why he does not go to every pro-stop, even though his dream one day is to be the #1 Professional Player. His GPA last term was a 3.8 as you can see he takes school and playing racquetball seriously….a VERY dedicated and hard working individual

Taylor why did you choose Fran Davis as your coach? ” I chose Fran Davis because I saw her coaching many of the pros that I looked up to and knew that she had a lot of experience coaching players to the top. “

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Rocky Carson and Fran Davis Join Forces

December 1st, 2010 Comments off

Rocky CarsonIn August of this year, 2010, Rocky and I started to work together and immediately he is seeing results in his game and ranking. This summer he was ranked # 3 on the IRT ranking and now he is # 2. He lost to Alvaro Beltran at the US Open in the 16’s and just s few weeks later he found himself facing Alvaro in the finals at the IRT Pro Stop in Mexico which was definitely to Alvaro’s advantage as that was his hometown. But Rocky was MUCH MORE prepared in November in MX as we studied the video of his match from the US Open and we made 4 adjustments to his game. Rocky went onto to beat Alvaro in 3 games, 11-3, 11-8, 11-8 to win the match.

Rocky told me, “I am so excited to play again. I know you are the coach that can help me achieve the #1 professional ranking. I have already started to see positive changes in my game from some of the key areas we tweaked over the past few months. Fran, you seem to make it so simple. I can’t wait to see how I play in a month, 3 months, the 2nd half of the season, then next season.

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Taylor Knoth: 2010 World Junior Champion

November 28th, 2010 Comments off

Taylor finally took home the covenanted title of World Junior Champion, Boy’s 18 & U, on November 20th, 2010 at the IRF World Junior Championships in Los Angeles, CA, a title that has alluded him for 3 years. The event had over 300 of the best junior racquetball players from across the world gathered to compete for individual and team medals. The event kicked-off with an opening ceremony that represented 17 countries. Taylor led the way as the
Junior Team USA successfully defended their Boy’s and Girl’s World Cup and the Overall World Cup team competition successfully. Team USA has won the overall team title in 2009 and 2008.

I am so impressed with Taylor’s progress as he has accomplished so much over the last 6 months because we have been working hard on developing his game:

  • April 2010 at National Intercollegiates in Springfield, MO he took 2nd as a freshman.
  • April 2010 at Regionals in Portland, OR he beat Jimmy Loew for the title for the first time EVER.
  • May 2010 at the Adult National Singles in Houston, TX he makes it to the quarter-finals in the U.S. Qualifier losing to Jack Huczek.
  • June 2010 becomes Jr. National Champion, Boy’s 18 & U, in Minneapolis, MN and earns a spot on the USA Jr. National Team and is name Jr. Boy’s Athlete of the Year .
  • October 2010 qualifies for the Pro Division and takes Ben Croft, #3 IRT Professional, to 5 games before losing in the tie-breaker.

Taylor has won every age group at Jr. Nationals and is now blossoming into one of the up and coming professional players in the world ranked # 37 on the IRT website. I couldn’t be happier for him as I have been coaching him since he was 7, now 19 years old, and it’s been a pleasure working with him as well as his family as they are ALL such a class act.

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