Illness and How it Affects Performance

Rocky Carson gets sinus infections every month or two. Kane Waselenchuk had vertigo and played with a back injury. Paola Longoria and Jason Mannino each have had a very bad case of the flu. No one is exempt from unfortunate timing in getting sick. The key is to understand what happens to your body, what you can do to cope, and how you might possibly perform at your best.

Championship Racquetball” Sports Racquetball Triangle….Tips from the Coach!

In the last two articles I talked about FEAR. Where fear comes from and how to deal with it as well as specific techniques you can use to “Overcoming Fear.” It comes from lots of hard work in every aspect of the Sports Racquetball Triangle. It is not by accident Rocky has been the #2 IRT Player, Paola has been the #1 or #2 WPRO Player for the last several years, and Taylor and Sharon are marching up the Pro Ranks. But what happens when they get sick? Getting sick happens to everyone, you and even the best in the world, can feel quite under the weather prior to and during a tournament:

Let’s take a closer look at all 3 sides of The Sports Racquetball Triangle: Conditioning, Mental, and Physical Skills

Left Side of the Triangle



When an athlete first notices that they are getting sick the best thing they can do is “shut it down”. Stop training and go to bed early with hot tea, lemon and honey. Put your legs up and REST. Your body needs all of its energy to fight the flu, infection or bacteria. Training only depletes your energy sources. Also the greatest healing is done when you are resting and sleeping. If after 2-3 days you are not feeling better go to your Doctor and get tests and prescription drugs if you need them. Keep resting.



Our Nutritional Expert, Diana McNab, informs us that any drug dehydrates you. So hydrate with water and hot teas like crazy. Stimulating medicines can affect your timing, co-ordination, recovery and consistency. So, be aware of what you are taking.

Right Side of the Triangle

Mental Skills

Our Sports Psychology Expert, Diana McNab, informs us that the best thing to do psychologically if you are sick is to put no real pressure on yourself as you are under prepared and sick all ready. Go out there completely open-minded and totally in the moment. What you will lack is endurance, consistency and accuracy of performance over the long haul. Take breaks and rest whenever you can. Your body’s muscle memory can do anything it wants to do.

Fake it to make it. Act as if everything is perfect and don’t buy into any negative thinking. Being sick is out of your control, but how you perceive it and think about it is 100% in your control. So think that you feel great and act as if you are a super-star anyway. Show no negative body image signs of defeat and go for it. Don’t think about winning, but rather focus on playing each shot, each point and each game.

Remember your body can only achieve what your mind tells it to do. You can only control your mind, not the total health of your body. So listen to your body and do the best that you can as you are in control of your focus, concentration and each shot one at a time. Learn to listen to your body and control your mind.

If you are really sick and your body cannot perform, then bow out of the competition and take care of yourself.

*Check my book, “Championship Racquetball” to learn all about this:

Positive Affirmations in Chapter 9 “Maintaining Mental Toughness”.

Base of the Triangle

Physical Skills

As I recommended above no hitting or playing just rest you will not lose anything in just a few days or a week. While you are sick the best thing to do is to visualize and watch videos as much as possible as remember your body goes through a 1/3 of a neuromuscular contraction every time you think of a thought.

*Check my book, “Championship Racquetball” to learn all about this:

Visualization and the powerful tool it is in Chapter 9 “Maintaining Mental Toughness”.

Once feeling better, then resume conditioning, cardio, weights, and physical skills such as drilling and playing, but EASE back into exercise taking workouts one day at a time. Once you start feeling strong, then you can go back to your normal workout and hitting routines.

Rocky’s and Paola’s “Championship Racquetball Games” stems from ALL 3 sides of the triangle being present and working together so they can develop. 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.

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.

For more playing and health tips and details on more personalized instruction, a weekend camp, instructional DVD’s, our book, “Championship Racquetball,” and more, please visit

Fran Davis is a 2004 racquetball Hall of Fame inductee, Racquetball Woman of the Year 2009, Coach of the #2 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Pro Player, Rocky Carson; Coach #1 Women’s Pro Player, Paola Longoria; Coach Jr. World & National Champion, Intercollegiate Champion, & #18 IRT Pro Player, Taylor Knoth; Coach Intercollegiate Champion & #25 WPRO Pro Player, Sharon Jackson; Master Professional Instructor/Coach USAR-IP