I realize this post is long overdue, truthfully I've been putting it off as I had extremely high expectations of myself at this year's National Championships and I unequivocally fell short of them. While I try to take solace in the realization that as far as results are concerned, I've had by far my best year yet, simply put, it was frustrating to have the results not really mean anything. With both Kris Odegard and Vincent Gagnon out for almost the entire season, it's difficult to say that I have really proven myself when I simply beat the players ranked below me, and went 1-1 with the only player above me that I played this season.
This is not to say I'm not happy with my results, especially in Kelowna, where I was able to beat some great young drive servers on some extremely fast courts. There are just other things going on with Racquetball Canada that make the accomplishments this season a bit hollow. I definitely think these things were on my mind leading up to Nationals, and during the tournament as well. I had an extremely flat start in doubles, and honestly didn't play that much better in singles. I was lucky to scrape by Kurtis Cullen, who served extremely well and took advantage of my loose play in the second and third games, and I'm still unsure as to how I beat Nate with as little difficulty as I did. The real indicator of my level of play was in the final against Mike.
I had a solid strategy developed from our match in Brossard, and through the midpoint of the first game, I was getting the opportunities I wanted, I just wasn't capitalizing on them. Even now I'm not really sure what it was that I didn't have with me that day, something was just missing. This wasn't a big piece of the puzzle either, at this level the differences in the outcome of a match are generally the little things. It just seemed like I didn't have any of the little things I needed that day to win, which was extremely disappointing, but it also taught me that I need to try and find a way to win (like I did in the quarters against Kurtis) that is more fundamental. I think I need more guts in my game. Anyway, this lack of the "little things" translated into always being a few points behind, and being closed out in two marginally close games.
As with most important losses though, I learned a few things and will take away a renewed desire to train and improve. Also, with the World Games happening this summer in Cali, Colombia I will have more than enough excuses to make training hard this summer a priority. I'm extremely excited about what I'll be able to do to my game over the next several months, and what next season holds. With it being a World Championship year and a test event for the 2015 Pan Am Games, I'm sure everyone will be bringing their A games and I hope this raises the level of Canadian racquetball. I know I will do my part :)