"I am a proud Ambassador for the Reaching Your Dream Foundation because the combined reach of the racquetball community can have a greater impact than I can on my own. I have been involved with racquetball off and on since 1978 and currently support the Georgia racquetball scene and some of the local RYDF recipients/athletes. My recurring donation can help ensure that more young players get a chance to play at more professional events and that will help them stick with the game and help the game because they are around. To me, the RYDF is the best way to ensure that young players continue to promote the sport that we all love."
David Bobby Horn was always an athlete. In high school his main sport was basketball and he was frequently found shooting around the gym at the In-Shape West Lane racquetball club in Stockton. A group fitness dance class held in the gym would interrupt David’s time on the basketball court, leaving him two options: hanging around the club doing nothing, or going home to do nothing. One day while waiting for the basketball court, Jose Diaz invited him to hit the racquetball around. David, being a natural athlete and competitor, was immediately hooked. From that first day, David loved racquetball. It wasn’t about playing racquetball competitively; it was just for enjoyment. As a teen who didn’t really know where he was going with his life, racquetball became a positive outlet and a way to stay out of trouble.
David embraced the Stockton racquetball scene and started traveling to tournaments with Diaz and the Rojas family. This was David’s first opportunity to travel, ever. With the excitement of traveling and his love for the sport, David started to see how racquetball could be a part of his future. Today, through his professional career, David has been all over the United States, places like New York City, Chicago, and the beautiful state of Colorado, where he hopes to fish the next time he is there (fishing is David’s second passion). In addition to traveling the United States, he has played tournaments in Mexico, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Bolivia and Chile.
You can still find David at the gym, but now he’s on the racquetball court, playing, practicing or teaching. As a consistent quarter finalist and frequent semi-finalist, David is a top player on the World Racquetball Tour (WRT), and is now at the No. 3 spot. In the last year, David has made changes to his diet, his training habits and has focused on dedicating his life to racquetball. It was this past August in San Luis Potosi where Horn saw his hard work and dedication pay off. At the 2015 San Luis Open this season, David won his first WRT title, defeating No. 2, Jake Bredenbeck in the finals 15-9, 15-2. The win in San Luis has further fueled David’s enthusiasm for training and competing. David is hungry for another title.
David continued to wet his appetite this season, at the U.S. Open where he battled Alvaro Beltran in Round of 16s. He won game two against Beltran, but ultimately lost in four games. And in the U.S. Open Doubles Quarter Finals, with his partner and Junior Mexican National Champion Andree Parrilla, they battled against Ben Croft and Kane Waselenchuck in a nail biting three game showdown. David and Parrilla won game one, 15-5, lost game two, 15-6, and answered back in game three tied at 10-10, but ended up losing 11-10. The young duo continued as a team again at the WRT Modesto Open, where they won the Doubles Championship against Jake Bredenbeck and Jose Diaz 14-15, 15-11, 11-4.
From the great support he has received at home in Stockton to the opportunities he has had with the World Racquetball Tour and the Reaching Your Dream Foundation, David is so grateful he can make a career for himself in professional racquetball. In addition to traveling on the WRT, David teaches racquetball at ClubSport Pleasanton and is in his final year at Cal State East Bay. When David returns from the Pan American Championships he will then be off to Tempe, AZ where he will be representing California State University East Bay playing #1 Singles in the collegiate nationals.
Follow David and his hunger for more on his Facebook Fan Page.
Jake Bredenbeck is having one heck of a year. He describes it as a bit of a rollercoaster. Opening the year, in January, Bredenbeck won the WRT Sonora Open, defeating then No. 1 Polo Gutierrez and becoming the first American in the No. 1 spot on the World Racquetball Tour. That is an incredible way to start the year. The following weekend, at the WRT San Diego Open, he lost in the first round. In speaking with Bredenbeck, he guesses maybe he was burnt out, but he’s not sure what happened. He does know he wasn’t comfortable playing and wasn’t playing well in the weeks following his big win. So, the champ took a few days off, changed his mind set for playing in front of his home crowd in Minnesota for the WRT Midwest Championships and was focused on playing for fun. “I wasn't worried about the other stuff,” like preserving his No. 1 position on the WRT. Of course, the new mind set paid off, he won his second WRT Title at the Midwest Championships in May.
The year has continued to have its ups and downs for Bredenbeck. He constantly battles for the No. 1 position on the World Racquetball Tour, and is currently in the No. 2 spot, behind Alex Cardona. He is a consistent semi finalist and finalist on the WRT, but hasn’t won a title since the Midwest Championships in May. Back at the top of another peak of 2015, a monumental accomplishment was going to the Pan American Games to play and represent the United States in singles racquetball. “Winning two years in a row at National Singles has been incredible,” but Jake says it contributed to the roller coaster-like feeling. After winning Nationals this year he wasn’t sure that the qualifying process would ensure he would play in the Pan Ams. It’s a huge deal to represent your country in the biggest racquetball tournament in the world. According to Bredenbeck, the Pan Ams have a different atmosphere, a different set up and that was exciting but it was stressful waiting to find out if he would be a part of the team. When he got the call from the USA National Coach, Dave Ellis, he was filled with a mix of excitement, relief and lots of happiness. Out of all the racquetball moments in his life, he thinks this is the most happiest he’s ever been. He was proud to represent the USA. His parents were also very excited. In fact, they drove up to Canada to support their son.
Bredenbeck comes from a family that is particularly loyal to racquetball. Both Jake’s parents, Karen and Bill, are in the Minnesota Racquetball Hall of Fame. His younger brother, Sam, just won the 2015 Junior Nationals in both singles and doubles. Jake comes from a really competitive family who does their best not only in sports but everything they do. It’s ingrained in them. You can further see this by Bredenbeck’s remark that the second happiest moment he can compare to the feeling of going to represent the USA in the Pan Ams is graduating from University of Colorado with his Masters in Business, at age 22. That was a big accomplishment and a proud moment in his life. Sure, he won a couple of junior national tournaments and he’s sure he was excited and happy but these recent accomplishments are outstanding and so fresh in his memory. He’s won two national titles in the last two years and has represented his country to play the sport he loves at the biggest racquetball tournament that only happens once every four years.
The racquetball powerhouse pro still has big plans for 2015. To finish out 2015, Bredenbeck wants to get back to No. 1 on the WRT and finish the year in the No. 1 position. If he plays more IRT events, he wants to rise to the top 10 of their ranks. You know what, he wants to win the US Open too. This is a guy who shows up to win, not to just be there, “the US Open is a huge tournament with a lot of big players,” and he is there to play to win.
As far as his goals beyond 2015, Bredenbeck wants to continue to grow the juniors programs and support the growth of the racquetball community. He coached several kids, not just his brother, at the Junior Nationals last month in Stockton, California. He wants to help other junior national teams, as he has done in the past, and found he really enjoys it. The biggest obstacle for Bredenbeck in helping the racquetball community is the demands of traveling. He travels a lot for tournaments, and therefore helps out whenever and however he can. He says, “it’s hard to start a juniors program in Arizona (where I reside) but harder because of all the traveling I do.” Life on the road can have it’s challenges, but it allows Bredenbeck to pursue his dreams, and he helps with clinics, lessons and supports the racquetball community in every way he can while on the road.
We just finished up a successful weekend in California at the Pleasanton Open. While the World Racquetball Tour held another exciting and successful tour stop, our RYDF players competed well both on the tour side and the Pro Am side. Many friends of Reaching Your Dream who support us participated in the round robin format of the Pro Am, as they were paired up with many of our players. The competition, though friendly, was filled with intense play. All of the young pros played very hard and worked respectfully with their patrons. Overall, it proved to be one of the main highlights of the weekend.
Featured in the picture are Pro Am winners Kim Randolph and her partner, Jake Bredenbeck and runner ups Barry Clyde and Francisco Troncoso.
For some of our players, it’s not all play. The WRT works very hard to provide a quality product with their live streaming. It benefits the fans as they get to enjoy high quality professional racquetball at home. But it also benefits many of the players, by giving them valuable experience contributing to tour operations and sometimes assisting the production crew. If you are familiar with the WRT feeds, you will often hear our players providing color commentary during matches. But there is also an added benefit for the players as the tour production grows, they get a chance to get hands on experience working with the production crew working the cameras and sometimes helping with the set ups. Manning the camera for the finals is the very popular Cocco Hayes, an up and coming 21 year old from one of Mexico’s main racquetball cities, San Luis Potosi.
These are the kinds of results we like to take away from these events. All positive. WRT’s Laura McCormick with Americans David Bobby Horn (#4 on the tour) and Jake Bredenbeck (#3). Jake and Bobby were first and second in last years U.S. Nationals and represented the USA in world competitions and will again in March in the Dominican Republic.
It’s a major goal for us at Reaching Your Dream to find ways to use racquetball to engage the community in ways that grow the sport. Fitness awareness brought together with the encouragement that is facilitated through setting goals on the World Racquetball Tour means that the time our players invest as professionals have real value when it comes to mentorship. While often, these opportunities happen organically while traveling on tour, it is a perfect storm of “nothing but positive” when matched up with programs that are growing and are making a difference using racquetball as a catalyst.
Aaron Embry of San Diego, California has formalized racquetball in a program with a local high school Saint Augustine, a private catholic high school in that town. The “Intercession” has been designed to provide students with ways to build on their college applications and life skills through 120 programs like internships with doctors, lawyers, architects, studying abroad, racquetball, etc. He’s been engaged with the program for 3 years and has seen that program grow in participation.
When the WRT rolled into San Diego’s Sorrento Valley Racquetball and Fitness Center for their second stop of the year, the San Diego Open, it was a perfect opportunity for RYDF players to engage with a well developed program like Embry and his team have been building up.
It’s a learning experience for everyone involved. For young racquetball enthusiasts like the Saintsmen of Saint Augustine, the opportunity to get court time with professional players can lead to the type of experience that can last a lifetime. These young players will hopefully be further encouraged to stick with racquetball as a means to incorporate fitness with confidence as life lessons. For our RYDF players like Alex Cardona, Bobby Horn and Alexi Cocco Hayes, this type of engagement also brings together positive aspects of racquetball that transcend the competition. They learn for programs that are doing the right things to encourage and engage for the sport of racquetball. Our players learn for themselves that they can make a difference in someone’s life when they give back their time in ways that encompass all that is good in racquetball.
There are two prominent ways to win in amateur racquetball, (1) overpowering your opponent by striking the ball with extreme power throughout the rallies; and (2) by retrieving everything, keeping the ball in play, until your opponent makes a mistake. Many outstanding junior and collegiate players enter the pro tour with histories of winning with one or both of these qualities.
To become a successful professional, however, a player has to realize that at the highest level these strategies are faulted. At the highest level, you will not be able to overpower your opponents. You will not be able to retrieve your opponent’s shots continuously.
A prospective professional player has to realize that he/she will need to add major new elements to his/her game. It will perhaps take some losses to convince our prospective pro that this is the case, but this realization must be made to have the correct mental attitude to move forward.