Once you’re familiar with the basic skills, techniques, and tactics, YOU will be ready to train to enter the zone
3 Key Elements to Playing in the ZONE:
Start with your body to warm up to the speed, tempo, and timing of the game.
Take a shower, which loosens up your body, and then do some stretching to work on your core, hamstrings, quadriceps, and so on.
Get to the club at least 90 minutes before your match so you can continue to warm up your body with an aerobic workout on a bike, treadmill, or elliptical trainer for 12 to 20 minutes to get your heart rate up and develop a light sweat.
Then you can do a few abdominal crunches and stretches to wind down your warm-up.
Find a quiet place, sit down comfortably, and close your eyes and then start tapping into these techniques:
- Nostril Breathing – Begin to slowly inhale and exhale through your nostrils as this breathing quiets your mind and you can tap into memory banks of your brain.
- Visualization –Start visualizing your perfect performance by creating images in your mind of what you want to do on the court.
- Affirmations – Adding positive personal statements to the images you create on the court imprint the images more deeply.
- Cue Words – After developing affirmations, add cue word. Saying a cue word like “Yes!” helps your body memorize the muscle activity that produced the positive performance.
Emotionally you want to get centered, quiet, and still and store all your emotional energy in your gut. You actually want to be quiet on the inside so that you are not distracted on the outside. All great shots come from the still point in your center.
With the body, mind, and spirit all working together, you are ready to turn your whole game over to trust and faith. Believe in yourself, your skills, and your competitive instincts because these are the only things you can genuinely control to get you into the zone.
At the World Championships in Toronto, Canada June 14-21, 2014 and at Junior Nationals in Denver, CO June 25-29, 2014 I saw my players get in and stay in the ZONE:
Rocky Carson versus Jose Rojas in the semifinals of the 2014 World Outdoor Championships:
After losing to Jose the last 2 times Rocky played him this season, I had to remind Rocky to use the above 3 Elements of the Body/Mind/Spirit connection to get himself into the Zone. Rocky did just that and beat Jose in 2 straight games in the semifinals on the way to winning the 2014 World Championship title.
Paola Longoria versus Marie Jose Vargas in the semifinals and then Rhonda Rajsich in finals of the 2014 World Championships:
Paola is impeccable about warming up her body. She showers at the hotel and then she religiously does the elliptical for 30 minutes, 1 hour before her match, followed by stretching all her major muscle groups. When Paola is on the elliptical she listens to motivational tapes and goes over her game plan. Once done Paola goes off to a quiet place and gets centered. It is not by chance Paola beat both Marie and Rhonda, in the semifinals and finals, and is the 2014 World Champion.
Connor Laffey (Boy’s 18 & U), Wayne Antone (Boy’s 16 & U), and Jordan Cooperrider (Girl’s 16 & U) all won in the semi-finals of the 2014 Junior National Championships to advance to the finals and was awarded a one year appointment on the Junior National Team. Connor made the team for the 2nd straight year, Wayne for the 1st time ever and Jordan for the 3rd straight year and this could NOT have happened without the Body/Mind/Spirit connection. They will all be representing the USA at the Junior World Championships in Cali, Columbia in October 2014.
Playing in the ZONE 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 develop the Body/Mind/Spirit Connection in order to “Play in the ZONE”. Their records speak for themselves…Rocky and Paola are BOTH 2 of the most decorated athletes in racquetball. Paola finished the 2013/2014 ranked #1 on the LPRT for the 3rd consecutive season WITHOUT dropping a match since May 2011 and was just crowned the 2014 World Champion. Rocky finished the 2013/2014 ranked #2 on the IRT and was just crowned the 2014 World 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 ‘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 racquetball playing tips, 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 200; Coach #2 IRT Pro Racquetball Players / 1X US Open Champion / 4X and present World Champion, Rocky Carson; Coach #1 Women’s LPRT Pro Player / 4X and present US Open Champion & World Champion, Paola Longoria; Coach Jr. World & National Champion, Intercollegiate Champion, & International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Pro Racquetball Players, Taylor Knoth; Coach Intercollegiate Champion & LPRT Pro Player, Sharon Jackson; Master Professional Instructor/Coach USAR-IP.