Creating Your Opponent’s Mistakes

Fran Davis headshot 200

In the August issue I discussed you MUST make your opponent pay for their mistakes. …NO AND’S, IF’S or BUT’S about it. In this issue we will discuss how to go about about “Creating Your Opponent’s Mistakes.” You want to stay calm and pay attention to your opponent’s weaknesses, what they like, and what they dislike to capitalize on what they DO NOT LIKE. This is done in EVERY sport and racquetball is no different.

Here are a few things to look as you pay close attention to what distracts your opponent and rattles them:  

1- Does not take their time on the serve:

If your opponent rushes the serve, slow them down by putting your racquet up and utilizing the 10-second rule.  This means, “Both the server and receiver have 10 seconds combined to put the ball in play once the score is called.” You are forcing them to play your game, not their game. You are therefore in control, and they do not like that. Most players like to play fast, and slowing them down makes some players upset and causes them to lose their mental focus.

2-Does not take their time on the return of serve:

If your opponent rushes the return of serve and gets down and ready immediately, then slow them down by using the 10-second rule. Creating a serve routine will help you take YOUR time on the serve and will force your opponent to play your game and not their game, putting you in control.

3-Knows the rules and questions close calls—Most players do not like to be challenged and think they know it all. If you have a referee, appeal to them. If you do not have a referee, then agree before the game starts that close calls or calls you both disagree with are played over. Be aware of how your opponent handles these rules questions.

4-Likes a fast and powerful game—Slow the game down because most players cannot adapt to the slower pace and will often get upset. You will force a lot of weak shots.

5-Gets down on themselves and does not have a positive attitude—This negatively affects how your opponent plays.

6-Gets upset with the referee’s calls and loses focus and concentration—This negatively affects how your opponent plays.

7-Pick on your opponent’s physical weaknesses because that usually makes them uncomfortable and uneasy, which forces opportunities for you to capitalize on.

8-Pay attention to your opponent’s comments because they usually are an indication of how frustrated they maybe and how uncomfortable you are making them feel about their game. 

 Too often I see players just play the game they like and what they are comfortable with, not the game that “Creates Your Opponent’s Mistakes”. This clearly tells me they are NOT on the path to winning lots of matches because if you play the game you like that might ALSO be the game your opponent likes and they are comfortable therefore good at it. This makes them comfortable and more confident. The key is the more uncomfortable you make your opponent, the less confidence they have and the easier it is to create mistakes. Once you create the mistake you should take advantage of the opportunity you created by going with an offensive shot, as this could result in scoring a point or putting your opponent on the defense again or actually ending the rally with a side out. I tell my students this mentality results in MORE “W’s” and LESS “L’s”.

Here’s a simple formula that leads to WINNING:

Make your opponent uncomfortable=creates mistakes=creates opportunities=capitalize on those mistakes/opportunities =winning points/games/matches

Use the techniques in my book “Championship Racquetball”, Chapter 7, “Developing Games Planes and Match Strategy” P. 187 plus whole chapter.

Here’s how my Championship Team and Junior Championship Team utilizes these techniques:

Rocky Carson and Paola

They are masters at “Creating Their Opponent’s Mistakes” and then “Making Their Opponent’s Pay for their Mistakes”.

They take their time on the serve as they both have precise routines.

They utilize the 10-second rule always controlling the pace of the match.

They know the rules and questions or appeals close calls.

They slow their opponents down with a great variety of lobs serves or ¾ drive Z serves.

They have a game plan EVERY time they step on the court, which is comprised of their opponent’s weaknesses and their strengths.

They are positive and remain focused and take time outs to regroup if they go astray.

Wayne Antone; Mitchell Turner; Jordan Cooperrider (2015 Jr. National Team members)

These players are utilizing all of the above and are a work in progress. They KNOW just how important it is to “Create Their Opponent’s Mistakes” and then “Making Their Opponent’s Pay for their Mistakes”, as they are learning from Rocky and Paola…2 of the best

Learning how to “Create Your Opponent’s Mistakes and then Making Your Opponent Pay for Their Mistakes” is yet another required skill on the road to championship racquetball. ALL of the players I coach, from the professionals led by Rocky and Paola to the amateurs, know just how important it is to “Make Their Opponents Pay.” It’s not easy to do, but a MUST. Rocky and Paola are BOTH 2 of the most decorated athletes in racquetball.  Paola finished the 2014-2015 ranked #1 on the LPRT for the 4th consecutive season and was crowned the 2014 World Champion, the Central American Champion and the 2X Pan American Champion. Rocky finished the 2014-2015 ranked #2 on the IRT and was crowned the 2014 World Champion and 2015 Pan American Champion../

In the 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 becoming, by giving you the tools to make it a reality. Rocky 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 tips and 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 of #2 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Pro Player / 1X US Open Champion / 4X and present IRF World Champion / 2X Pan American Champion, Rocky Carson; Coach #1 Women’s LPRT Pro Player / 5X and present US Open Champion & World Champion, 2X Pan American Champion, Paola Longoria; Coach Jr. World & National Champion, Jordan Cooperrider, Wayne Antone & Mitchaell Turnern; Master Professional Instructor/Coach USAR-IP.