Competitiveness is often a precursor to success in the case of Junior National Champion Jordan Cooperrider. “Competition runs in my family,” laughs Jordan. “Every Cooper has it. My friends laugh at me about it all the time because I want to be the best at everything and I get mad when I’m not, but we all have that competitiveness.”
For Jordan, her racquetball journey began as a four-year-old. “It was 14 years ago,” she reminisced. “My dad (Daryl) and older brother would play all the time, and my dad would bring me along to the club. But I wanted to play as well so he started putting me on the court with my older brother.”
Not a year later, as a 5-year-old, Jordan had entered her first tournament. It did not take long to make an impression. “It was in Florida, but I remember my dad told me I was playing the daughter of the number one professional at the time so it was quite memorable. I went in and beat her, and I remember her dad being in the court at the time. It’s something I’ve always remembered.”
A taste of success seems to be a motivator behind Jordan’s continued achievements, but her dad and coach Fran Davis also push her to be better. “My dad keeps me going and supports me with all the tournaments and getting me to practice and to train even when I don’t want to go. Of course, my coach Fran Davis is my full-time coach and keeps me mentally on track.”
At times, like many of us perhaps, quitting might be an easier option than enduring the challenges of training to be the best. And Jordan is no exception. She openly confesses that she has considered walking away from the sport, but the competition and the challenges she faces in tournaments are what spur her on. She recalls two examples of outcomes that have encouraged her to continue.
“When I was twelve, I won the Junior World Championships, and at the time I wasn’t much into the sport, and wasn’t interested in training, and wanted to quit racquetball. But when I won, it changed my motivation and made me want to keep playing. Playing that tournament is why I’m still playing. Then another great moment was when I was 15 and played my first pro stop. I beat pro player Frédérique Lambert at the stop and it made me want to train even more.”
Competing professionally is what Jordan aims to do for the near future, but she has her sights set much further ahead. “I want to play the pro tour fulltime. I want to make the U.S. adult team. I also want to be a veterinarian, so I’m going to have to figure out how I can compete and study. My goal is to own my own business so that I can travel around the world and compete. I want to mix my career with racquetball.” Jordan will be enrolling at University of South Florida in the spring following a semester of classes at a community college closer to home.
For Jordan, racquetball has had an enormous impact on her life, but she is also quick to recognize that it is not all just about her. “All the people I’ve met through racquetball have made me more social, livelier, and happier. It keeps me in shape, allows me to travel, and enjoy what I do. RYDF has really helped me and others get to tournaments. It is what we need to do to be playing more and getting used to playing higher-level players. I probably wouldn’t have been able to get to as many tournaments, and by providing hotel rooms, it really helps a lot. But people should know that it is better to support RYDF than me as an individual. I really respect people who support RYDF because it’s not just me on the court. If you just support me, then I’m going to be the only one there. But if you support RYDF, then you’re supporting everyone.”
You can support the mission of RYDF by assisting young athletes from around the world with needed resources to achieve success both on and off the court and to develop successful careers in sports and life. RYDF accomplishes this through three different initiatives.
Dream It – Fitness Forever Program
Empowers communities by providing opportunities for youth & families to experience fun, friendship and lifetime health and fitness through participation in racquet sports.
Reach It – The Dream Team
Provides emerging professional racquet sport athletes with financial support, mentoring, and career development opportunities to achieve success on the court and in their life.
Live It – Athlete to Professional
Uses experts across disciplines to provide knowledge, skills, tools and practices to improve performance, build a successful career on and off the court, and give back to the community.