Slumps and How to Deal with Them
In the last Newsletter I talked about Illness and the Affect on Performance. Learning how to adjust your training, your racquetball drilling/playing and your mental toughness on and off the court when you are sick and feeling like you cannot get up for it is key. 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 WPRO Player for the last several years, and Taylor and Sharon are marching up the Pro Ranks.
SLUMPS…are periods of time when some aspect of your game is off. Physically, mentally or emotionally you may be partially injured and your technique is off, you are overcompensating, or you are distracted by things happening in your life and you cannot keep your focus on the shot or game. And lastly, you might be too tired and drained to compete.
Slumps happen to the best of us, pros and amateurs alike, and in racquetball as well as all sports. You cannot escape them you just have to learn how to deal with them and work through them to get to the other side so you can once again play at your best. It is really only a little bump in the road that you should be able to roll right over if you have the right tools to tackle the situation.
Two of my players have unfortunately been experiencing a slump lately, Rocky and Taylor. Rocky lost in the finals, then quarter-finals and then semi-finals in three IRT events in a row, not a regular occurrence, and finally came out of it in the last two events. Taylor did not qualify in the IRT San Diego Pro Am and then lost in the Northwest Regional’s in the quarterfinals, not a regular occurrence either, but is now back in form for Ektelon Nationals presented by Penn next week.
Let’s examine what tools Rocky and Taylor have used to pull themselves out of their slumps by taking a closer look at all 3 sides of .The Sports Racquetball Triangle: Conditioning, Mental, and Physical Skills
Left Side of the Triangle
You need to take some time off, rest, figure out what is going on in your life and take care of your career or relationships or health or mental wellbeing. Once you can pinpoint the problem then you can go to the gym and workout starting out slowly and building yourself back up using the techniques in my book, “Championship Racquetball”, Chapter 10.
Eating Properly and Maintaining Energy Level
Our Nutritional Expert, Diana McNab, informs us that slumps can zap your energy, which is what you need on the court to perform at your best. All muscles, including the ones most used played racquetball, need “glycogen” in order to perform at their optimal level. Glycogen is a muscle energy source that comes from fruits, vegetables and whole grains or complex carbohydrates. Your brain needs glucose or blood sugar and your entire metabolism needs water. Racquetball muscles also need “amino acids” found in protein to repair your tissues and cells.
Right Side of the Triangle
Our Sports Psychology Expert, Diana McNab, informs us that if you are in a slump you are probably bringing the past onto the court leading to your fear of the future. You want toyou’re your mind back into the present moment.
In Sports Psychology we say that there is only one time and it is “NOW”. “When are you going to start to focus?” NOW! “When are you going to win your serve?” NOW! “When are you going to start to play well?” NOW!
In sports the past is gone and the future never comes so in racquetball you have to learn that there is only one ball, one shot, one serve and one point at a time and that time is always “NOW!” That is truly the real beauty of it that every shot you hit only happens in the “NOW!”
The ONLY problem is our “ego” wants us to hold onto our past mistakes and fear the future. It always wants to be right and take control of the situation. The beauty of totally playing in the moment is that there is no “ego” and you are 100% connected to the ball, the wall, the shot or the point. Playing in the “NOW” erases the ego as your mind can only hold one thought in your head at a time, so focusing on the moment erases all “past’ or “future” ego thoughts. Do not dwell on the past or worry about the future as that only feeds the ‘ego.’ Use the techniques in my book, “Championship Racquetball”, Chapter 9.
Base of the Triangle
As I said earlier, you need to take some time off, rest, figure out what is going on in your life and what is causing the slump and take care of that before you keep imprinting negative habits in your game. Once you’ve identified and resolved the issue so you’re feeling better, then do the things necessary to regain your consistency level such as drilling alone, drilling with a partner, playing controlled games (working on specific shots/serves/return of serves/etc.) and then competing—playing games to win.There are various ways to drill and practice to improve in my book, “Championship Racquetball”, Chapter 8.
Once you are feeling better don’t look back only forge ahead.
Rocky’s and Paola’s “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.
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 details on more personalized instruction, a weekend camp, instructional DVD’s, our book, “Championship Racquetball,” 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 #2 IRT Pro Player, Rocky Carson; Coach #1 Women’s Pro Player, Paola Longoria; Coach Jr. World & National Champion, Intercollegiate Champion, & #16 IRT Pro Player, Taylor Knoth; Coach Intercollegiate Champion & #19 WPRO Pro Player, Sharon Jackson; Master Professional Instructor/Coach USAR-IP. International Racquetball Tour.