RYDF has three primary goals within its overall mission. The first, Dream It, empowers communities by providing opportunities for youth and families to experience fun, friendship, and lifetime health and fitness through participation in racquet sports. The second, Reach It, provides emerging professional racquet sport athletes with financial support, mentoring, and career development opportunities to achieve success on the court and in their life. The third, Live It, 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.
Just a few short weeks ago, we had the opportunity to see all three goals being met through a performance-focused fundraiser. Held at the ClubSport San Ramon in San Ramon, California, a group of 23 amateurs joined 12 young and established professionals for some education, training, and fun. The afternoon began with an instructional session for amateurs led by 5-time World Champion Rocky Carson. The purpose of this session was to provide a holistic overview of racquetball technique where Carson provided instruction on racquetball fundamentals. As Carson noted, “I can teach someone to hit a splat shot or a reverse pinch, but what most players really need to learn is the basic shots of racquetball. If they learn these well, then they are much more likely to be successful when they compete.”
While amateurs were being instructed by Rocky, RYDF-supported players such as Jose Rojas, Mauro Rojas, Antonio Rojas, Jose Diaz, Ricky Diaz, Jaime Martell, Alex Cardona, Bobby Horn, Francisco Troncoso, and Robbie Collins participated in video interviews with board member and career coach Mike Manoske. Following their interview, athletes met with GOAT Sports Performance expert Dr. Tim Baghurst to discuss their career goals and the importance of professionalism in becoming and succeeding as an athlete. Tim also spoke to the amateur athletes and provided some tips on how to overcome negative situations in competition.
ProAm doubles soon followed these sessions and amateur players had the opportunity to interact and compete alongside the professionals. This was a time of fun, conversation, and competition enjoyed by all. For amateurs, this is a special event. After all, how often do players get the opportunity to play with and against some of the best racquetball players in the world?
After the doubles mixer, all participants enjoyed dinner while coaches Dave and John Ellis provided an update on our very successful Fitness Forever program that is part of Dream It. The program is being expanded across sports clubs in California, and the progress Dave, John, and the other coaches involved have made in attracting youth to racquetball is encouraging. Not only does it provide youth in our community with physical activity opportunities, but also it can be used as a platform to justify to club owners and general managers how racquetball courts can be effectively used.
The program’s focus is on engaging youth and children in regular racquetball activities. Initially begun in Stockton, the program has spread to other clubs across California. Coaches interesting in adopting the model should contact us for more information.
The evening ended with a Q&A with world champion Rocky Carson and performance expert Dr. Tim Baghurst. Topics varied, from whether athletes should have coaches, how game plans can be developed, how sponsors can be raised, and how racquetball has changed over time. However, the primary goal of this time of the event was to emphasize how important all facets of life are in being a professional.
This is the first time RYDF has offered a Performance 360 event, but it was well received by all.
Such sentiments were echoed by current pro Jaime Martell. “I got a better understanding of how the Foundation works, and it will help me present the Foundation to others as we attend tournaments and meet people. I really enjoyed the part of the program where Rocky Carson and Tim Baghurst spoke. They reminded us how important it is to behave as a professional on and off the court. It was also great to meet people who support the sport we love and help us to continue playing it.”
Although this is the first Performance 360, we intend to continue offering such events in the future. We recognize that while supporting young players financially helps to grow the sport, RYDF also has the responsibility to promote physical activity among youth and train emerging athletes to become professionals on and off the court.
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.
To learn more about RYDF or to donate, please visit www.give2rydf.org.