The Mental Edge in Racquetball: Overcome Challenges & Reach Your Potential - with Mind Training
Do You Play Better Racquetball in Practice, Than Competition?
Affected by Doubt, Nerves, etc? or Just Taking Your Game to the Next Level?
Mental training, when added to your on-court training, gives you the 'edge' over your competitors. When you are playing your highest level, your strokes and movement are actually flowing instinctively on auto-pilot, and this is controlled by your powerful subconscious mind.
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And when two players are almost identical in physical ability and strokes - its the mind, and the difference in their levels of belief, that separates the winner from their competitor.
Champion tend to use far more of their subconscious than intermediate players (as you will see from the list of champions further below), and often use mind training methods regularly - such as the renowned visualisation technique (which we will discuss in more detail shortly).
And so racquetball players who use mind training (along with their physical training) improve much faster than those who only train on court.
Benefits of Mental Training
Mind training helps us to also create a mindset of success. This acts like a powerful protective shield of confidence - an expectation and belief that you will perform strongly on court, no matter who your opponent is.
When mental training is used correctly, it delivers consistently strong results in players of all levels, every single time.
Most often these improvements are shown in the these areas..
Advantages / Uses
• Increased belief and inner confidence in your ability and game
• Overcoming nerves,intimidation and self sabotage
• Increased consistency and concentration in performance, in both practice and competition
• Better shot selection during the heat of competition
• Overcoming negative thoughts, negative self-talk, slumps in form, and lack of belief in ability
• Increased performance and results
• Stronger confidence in stroking skill
• Improved mental toughness and resilience, remaining focused and calm in high-pressure situations
• Enhanced visualisation skills to mentally rehearse shots and strategies
• Improved concentration and focus, to react quickly and make better decisions on the court
• Develop positive self-talk and imagery, which can help overcome self-doubt and negative thoughts
• Increases motivation and goal-setting skills, to set and achieve challenging goals.
It gives racquetball players that "edge" over their competitors, including their ability to handle pressure and intimidation - and this transfers into confidence in their stroking ability and successful results.
It creates a shield of resilience to the physical and mental demands of the sport - by managing your thoughts and emotions during the most stressful situations, allowing you to remain focused and positive when faced with a particularly challenging opponent.
The Power of Visualisation
Visualisation is one of the most powerful mind training methods used to transform performance at elite levels of sport around the world.
This involves regularly and realistically picturing in your mind the exact way you want to perform during a game, with aspects such as:
• Mentally rehearsing all strokes to peak efficiency - such as down the line shots, cross court passes, wide angle passes, ceiling balls, kill shots, pinch shots, etc.
• Serving strongly, accurately and consistently using drive serves, Z serves and lob serves
• Solid footwork - reacting perfectly to each shot from your opponent, easily retrieving any ball they hit, attacking when possible and defending when appropriate
• Moving your opponent around the maximum distance on court, playing good strategic racquetball
When used correctly, visualisation brings major improvement to almost any area of a player's racquetball performance.
However, like your strokes on the court, visualisation also has to be done correctly to get the best results. For instance, the correct level of relaxation is required to open up the link to the subconscious mind.
Also, the visualised images need to be powerful, emotionally charged and realistic to pre-program performance within the subconscious.
Unfortunately many athletes who experience any kind of recurring patterns or self sabotage in their performance (which are common mental issues I work on with athletes) are most often caused by lack of real belief in themselves and their ability.
This inner doubt and anxiety send mixed internal signals from the body's control panel (the subconscious), and the results are usually a clear reflection of this inner doubt.
This is one of the strongest areas that mental training addresses - boosting up the self-belief so that there is no more hesitation.
Champions Use the Power of the Mind
• Kane Waselenchuk - widely regarded as the greatest racquetball player of all time, he has won over 100 professional titles and has been ranked No. 1 in the world for more than a decade - and uses visualisation and meditation to improve his mental toughness and focus.
• Paola Longoria - the Mexican champion who has won over 100 professional titles, ranked No. 1 in the world for several years, and used visualisation and positive affirmations to enhance her game.
• Rocky Carson - the American champion who was ranked no.1 and won multiple professional titles - has spoken publicly about using visualisation and relaxation techniques to improve his focus and performance on the court.
• Rhonda Rajsich - who won multiple professional titles, was ranked No. 1, and uses visualisation and breathing techniques.
And then you can also add many more, to this champion list - to name just a few.. Ben Croft, Maria Jose Vargas, Alvaro Beltran, Samantha Salas Solis, Daniel De La Rosa and Jansen Allen, among others.
So if you are looking for a mental edge in your game, you are in good company!
Just like your physical performance - the more you work at the mental side, the better you become - and the stronger your results.
See below for more information and my mind-training audio products.
Audio Products to Master Performance
by Craig Townsend - Mental Trainer / Clinical Hypnotherapist
For many looking to take performance to the next level, I created a guided hypnosis / visualisation audio which mentally guides you through the entire experience as well, to ensure you are mentally wired for success at the deepest subconscious level.
Information on mp3 downloads or customized recordings specifically designed for your sport.
• Audio - 'The Power of Visualization & Belief'
- Craig Townsend explains how these transform performance.
Click the 'Play' symbol to start the audio.
Of course, there are also the slower and longer-term methods, such as:
• Improving your footwork and movement on the court
• Practicing your serve consistently
• Developing a variety of shots, such as the drive, pass, and ceiling ball
• Increasing your overall fitness and stamina
• Working on your hand-eye coordination
• Learning how to read your opponent's shots and anticipating their next move
• Incorporating a consistent pre-match warm-up routine
• Learning how to effectively use spin on your shots
• Experimenting with different racquet sizes and weights to find the one that works best for you
• Practice playing against players of different skill levels to improve your adaptability
• Learn to play with different types of balls and in different environments
• Incorporate drills and exercises to improve your reaction time
• Use video analysis to identify and correct weaknesses in your game
• Seek feedback and guidance from experienced coaches or players
• Practice playing in tournament-like conditions to prepare for competition
• Develop a consistent post-match analysis routine to identify areas for improvement
• Learn to play doubles to improve your teamwork and communication skills
• Take care of your racquet and equipment to ensure they are in good condition
But keep in mind that the fast-track to improvement is through mental training.