“Control the Things You Can Control and Let Go of the Rest” by Fran Davis

Head/PENN Coach Fran Davis w/ Paola Longria & Samanta Salas Solis

This is a statement I live by and coach by. There are things within your control and there are things outside of your control. The quicker you differentiate between the two and let go of the things that are outside your control the more you can focus on the task at hand…playing your best racquetball. Here are some clear examples of both and how to handle them:



                        Out of Control-If there is traffic on the road your moaning, groaning and getting mad and bent out of shape about it will NOT change the traffic situation as you will still be in traffic…correct?

                        In Control-If there is traffic you can get on your google maps and find another route…side streets, another highway, etc. Or next time leave more time, so you allow for traffic, accidents, etc.


                        Out of Control-If the weather is bad and you planned an outside activity moaning, groaning and getting mad and bent out of shape about it WILL NOT change the weather situation as you will still have bad weather…correct?

                        In Control- If the weather is bad change your activity as complaining about it and being mad WILL NOT change the weather. Enjoy the day with another choice that will make you happy such as the movies, bowling, indoor sports, etc.


The Referee:

                        Out of Control-If the referee in your mind makes a bad call you flip out and start yelling, taunting the referee with why don’t you where glasses as you can’t see, starring them down, swinging your racquet at them etc. Getting mad and bent out of shape about the call WILL NOT change the situation as you will still have the bad call AND the referee will probably not look at you favorably, not a good thing…correct?

                        In Control- If the referee in your mind makes a bad call ask the referee to explain their call…why a hinder, why no hinder, why why why rather than flip out and berate the referee as you will make an enemy out of the referee, not a neutral person making calls. Also, if you are really bad it can lead to a technical and finally a forfeiture of the match. LET the BAD CALL GO. Diana McNab, my sports psychologist mentor, told me and told me to tell my athletes to EXPECT 5 BAD CALLS a GAME. When that happens you say to yourself okay that’s 1 of 5 bad calls, okay that’s 2 of 5 bad calls, etc. Rehearse and accept it and you WILL NOT BE BOTHERED BY IT.

Your Opponent:

                        Out of Control-You hate your opponent as you think they are a cheater; you lost to your opponent before so you want to beat them bad this time; you beat your opponent all the time at the club you both belong to, so you look beyond them to the next round; etc. Usually more often then not if you think this way about your opponent, you WILL NOT change the situation as you will still be thinking of “wanting to beat them so bad or you don’t respect them as a player and you are thinking of the future opponent and you are NOT in the PRESENT MOMENT.

                        In Control- Diana McNab, my sports psychologist mentor, told me and told me tell my athletes to remember your opponent doesn’t have a name, doesn’t have a personality, doesn’t cheat, isn’t a bad player etc. We say, “respect all, fear none”, and prepare the SAME WAY for ALL YOUR OPPONENTS. Make sure you have a game plan, you use the 10-second rule, you use all your time outs, you have your routines and you play in the NOW, NOT the future.

Here’s how my Championship Team utilizes being in control-

Rocky Carson versus Erik Garcia in the quarterfinals of the 2019 National Doubles US Team Singles Qualifying:

Rocky lost the 1st game 14-15 and was down match point in the 2nd game 8-14. We called a time out and I reminded him to play 1 point at a time and FORGET THE SCORE, stick to your game plan DO NOT DEVIATE, concentrate on your serves that were working and BELIEVE IN THEM, make him shoot from deep court AS HE WILL PRESS and LIKELY SKIP, use wide angles and SPIN HIM making him hit with HIS FEET MOVING creating mistakes and opportunities for you to take advantage of and shoot, END the rally when you can BUT DO NOT FORCE YOUR SHOT and told STAY IN CONTROL and STAY POSITIVE etc. Rocky won the 2nd game a forces a tie-breaker and won 11-3 to advance to the semi-finals.

Paola Longoria versus Gabby Martinez in the semi-finals of the Paola Longoria Experience LPRT Pro Stop August 2018:

Paola lost to Gabby in the finals in a tie-breaker at the World Championships the week before and now found herself playing Gabby in the semis of this event. Hours before her match we sat down and developed a solid game plan from what we learned at the World’s, which she practiced all week long. Paola DID NOT come from an angry place of WANTING to BEAT Gabby SO BAD at THIS TOURNAMENT. Paola has the utmost respect for Gabby and just carried out her solid game plan 1 point at a time and beat Gabby in 3 straight games.