Some thoughts about hard work

March 23rd, 2010 by Darrin Schenck

As a coach of countless individuals and now a college team for my fourth season (go ASU!!!) I have always found it interesting how people react when I talk about putting in hard work to obtain results. I have noticed that I typically get one of three reactions:

1. Disappointment–I have actually had people tell me they came to me for lessons to learn short cuts and not have to work so hard to be better. Thanks for the vote of confidence in my level of wizardry, but the fact of the matter is I cannot wave my hands over you and make you an Open player.  If I could do that, I would have charged you a lot more money!  :-)

2. People who humor me–I have had plenty of players who nod their head and go along with what I am saying, only to leave the court that day with no intention of executing what we have discussed.

3. A glimmer in the eye–this is the player I am looking for.  Someone who looks back at me as if to say “all I needed was a roadmap”.  I am continually impressed how many of the girls at Arizona State fall into this last category.  It has been a lot of fun watching their games develop exponentially just by following the advice of someone who has been there and done that.

I recently attended a public speaking event where Kurt Warner, former quarterback of the AZ Cardinals, shared some great insight to what he thought it took to be a champion.  He relayed a story about Lance Armstrong during a stage in the Tour de France a while ago.  Armstrong came down with a high fever at the end of a stage, right before they were about to enter the mountains. He had an IV all night long, and was very sick for most of the night.  When he awoke the next day, the team was worried Lance would not be able to ride at all, let alone be competitive in this mountain stage. When he looked out the window, he just smiled.  It was miserable out; raining so hard it was coming down sideways.  Lance knew his team was ready for this, more so than any other team. They had done the work beforehand, and knew what it would be like out there today.  They were prepared; they had suffered and they knew they could perform under the worst of conditions.  Needless to say, they went on to win that stage by a large margin, setting themselves up for an easier time during the rest of the event because of this one day.

I make my team suffer, just ask them. My leg workouts after practice are no picnic. Plyometrics, jumprope, hops up the stairs, etc. after a two hour practice is not a lot of fun. Saturdays we run the hill near campus; 20% grade, 100 yards of slippery, rocky terrain that has my heart rate hitting 185+ everytime I do it with them. Why? Because they need to suffer…its the only way.  So that when we go to Intercollegiates and we are in the heat of battle and I look them in the eyes and remind them what they have been through, they’ll remember they are ready.  They have been through tough times, and are prepared for more. They can handle it, and persevere.

Are your ready?  Does your time at the club get you ready for tournaments, or does it simply burn a few calories and let you hang out with your friends?  If that is all you want out of racquetball, that is just fine, enjoy! If you want to be competitive, win matches and even tournaments, get to work.  Schedule drill sessions, practice matches, and fitness training.  Make every second you spend at the club push you forward, and not just let you hold your ground.

You can pick up a copy of one of my books at www.racquetballwarehouse.com and follow the drills, things to practice, and racquetball related workouts. Either Percentage Racquetball or Racquetball 101 will have what you are looking for.  Get to work!   :-)

- Darrin Schenck, ASU Racquetball Coach

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