Getting to Know: Robbie Collins
Getting to Know: Robbie Collins
Where do you currently reside? San Jose, CA
Where are you originally from? Makakilo, HI
When did you begin playing racquetball, and how did you get started? I started playing racquetball at ten years old. My parents would play at a couple of courts on Pearl Harbor. The courts were connected to a good-sized parking lot, where we assumed sailors left their cars while they were on the boat. A bunch of the other kids and I would ride scooters and throw the football around while our parents played. When they were done, they would pull out a bunch of lawn chairs and coolers and hang out for a couple more hours. That’s when we got on the courts.
When 9/11 happened, it became harder to get on base and play. After about another year of struggling to get on base, we moved to the Nuuanu YMCA, where I still practice to this day when I’m in Hawaii.
You lived in Stockton, CA, for several years. What made you move from Hawaii to Stockton? In Summer 2012, the Stockon crew hosted a five-day camp that I decided to attend. Not knowing what to expect, I was introduced to the Ellis, Rojas, and Diaz families along with Bobby Horn, Jose Serrano, Jesse Serna, and Jody Nance. Most of us were about the same age. We hit it off and got along really well. I knew at that point if I wanted to play pro racquetball, this was the environment I had to be in.
Six months later, I graduated from the University of Hawaii and moved to Stockton to start playing pro stops.
Do you have a coach if so, whom and how did that get started? I am fortunate to have a few coaches helping me. Mid-season, I decided to start working with Cliff. It’s been awesome working with him, and the changes we’ve made have started to pay off. The biggest challenge has been because we began to only a short time ago; it’s hard to practice the changes in the middle of all our tournaments. I am looking forward to the improvements ahead.
Two years ago, I began working with my strength and conditioning coach Jared Nessland. At the time, I was training myself and was starting to stall in progressing my workouts. Since working with Jared, I have taken my physical performance to another level!
About a year ago, I met mindset coach Adam Saucedo at the gym. After a few conversations, we began working together. From creating daily routines to learning how to respond to adversity, the wisdom I’ve learned from Adam carries both on and off the court.
What are your goals for the 2020-2021 season? Win a pro stop. It may seem like a stretch to some considering previous rankings and results, but not to me. If you don’t believe you can win, why show up? That’s something I’ve always talked to my dad about even back when I was a junior. Having big goals keeps me accountable to the process that is required.
What do you like to do when you’re not playing racquetball? Golf was my second sport growing up, so anytime I can get out, and play is a good day. When I’m in Hawaii during the off-season going to the beach and trying new places to eat are priorities!
You are an Assistant Coach for the US Junior National Team. What made you want to get involved in coaching? And what have you found to be most rewarding for you while coaching? I began coaching when I moved to Stockton in 2013. John Ellis was in my ear about helping coach some of the juniors. I remember the at first, if we had over ten kids on a Monday night, that was a massive win for us. Fast forward three years later standing on the court with John, Jody, and Dave looking at 40+ kids thinking holy smokes what are we going to do!
Being a part of the Stockton junior program helped me sharpen my coaching toolbox to help all levels of players and gave me the confidence to accept the assistant coaching position when Charlie Pratt asked if I was interested. Helping kids (and adults!) improve on the court and reach their goals is extremely rewarding for me.
What do you do to calm your butterflies while you compete? Routine. Sticking to my pre-match stretch/warm-up routine is crucial. I look forward to feeling those “butterflies.” It signals to me that I’m excited about competing.
Staying at home right now, I’m sure I speak for all racquetball players out there that I miss that feeling of competing on the court.
What do you think needs to be done to get more people involved and playing racquetball? Access through programming. Junior classes give the court time to kids when it would typically go to adults. Leagues of different skill levels provide access to local players of the same skill level weekly. Tournaments give access to compete against the best of your peers.
Getting involved creates a community, and that’s the biggest reason I tell people to continue playing. You will never remember the scores playing with your buddies, but only that you enjoyed being on the court with them and all the other fun times that come along with it. The second you stop playing is the second you lose your community.
If you could change any rule in the IRT, what would it be and why? Less artificial gaps in the draws. Have everyone start a straight draw in the 32’s like the US Open.
What do you like/dislike about training? I love the process of getting better. As long as I feel I can continue to improve, I will continue to play pro racquetball.
The thing I dislike about training the most is time away from friends and family. Deciding to pursue pro racquetball in 2013 meant I moved to the mainland from Hawaii. While I still talk to them all the time, I only get to see my family twice a year (summer and Christmas). At some point, I will play pro racquetball from Hawaii, but not yet.
Time for Some Fun Questions 😬
Ozark or Tiger King? Just started Ozark. What a crazy show!
What does your perfect day look like to you? A day that involves the beach, golfing, and dinner with my family. That’s pretty good.
If you could go to dinner with three people alive or deceased, who would they be? Tiger, Kanye, and Kobe. That would be an epic dinner conversation.
If you could have any Super Power, what would it be? No need for superpowers. I’ll be Batman! Haha
Favorite Song to Warm Up to? I don’t usually listen to music when I warm up, but if I do, it’s my Kanye West playlist.
Tacos or Poke? Poke. Tacos are great, but it’s not even close.
Photos By: Ken Fife/KSphotography