Womens Racquetball

‘It was a bit surreal’: Danielle Drury enjoys triumphant return to racquetball – Saskatoon

Danielle Drury began playing racquetball at the long-closed River Racquet Club in Saskatoon, introduced to the sport by her parents as a child.

To say she spent her life with a racquet in her hand is an understatement. His love and dedication to the sport has earned him many accomplishments and accolades.

She won her first major medal, a silver, at the 2013 World Junior Championships in the 14U women’s doubles category.

In 2014, she was on the women’s circuit competing in singles and doubles on the national stage, winning a host of medals along the way.

But after clinching gold in the women’s open doubles to go with a bronze in the women’s open singles in 2019, she made an extremely difficult decision, choosing to swap her racquet for manuals as she pursued her mastery in physiotherapy.

The story continues under the ad

Read more:

A trio of young players put Saskatchewan on the racquetball map

“It was really great to end this part of my life on a high note,” Drury said. “However, it was a little sad to know that I had my best result at the nationals and that I couldn’t continue to participate in the Pan Ams that year or the Worlds, it was just a point. stop.”

For nearly three years, Drury stayed off the court to devote all of her time, energy and focus to her studies, her determined work ethic shifting from sports to school.

Despite her absence from the match, the competitive fire was still burning in the 25-year-old.

“I really missed playing, those Nationals in September 2021, I had a big fear of missing out, I was very sad to see it happen without me,” she admitted. “But at the same time, I think it showed me that I really wanted to come back to it because I missed it so much.”

(That summer) I was nearing the end of my masters, there was a finish line in sight and I think nationals really lifted that up, I was like ‘Holy shit, I really want to go there come back,’” she continued. “I missed having something outside of school that I was working on.”

The story continues under the ad

Click to play video: “A trio of young players put Saskatchewan on the racquetball map”

A trio of young players put Saskatchewan on the racquetball map

A trio of young players puts Saskatchewan on the racquetball map – May 5, 2016

In January, Drury returned to the field in a tireless effort to compete at the Canadian National Championships.

“It hit all of a sudden, I was back with the training squad twice a week on the pitch, twice a week off the pitch,” she said. “My body definitely took a while to get used to (the tension), I wasn’t in the shape I was three years ago, but surprisingly everything came back pretty quickly.”

One person who wasn’t surprised to see Drury’s quick return to a competitive level is longtime friend and sparring partner-turned-coach Tim Landeryou.

“I don’t want to say that I expected anything, but at the same time, I wasn’t surprised that she was looking to come back, that she wanted to be competitive,” Landeryou said. “That’s one of the things that makes her such a good player is that she has that competitive spirit.”

The story continues under the ad

Read more:

Record-breaking Manitoba racquetball star retires and joins national team staff

Landeryou credits a pair of traits possessed by Drury that allowed him to return to the sport so seamlessly.

“The first is that she’s got that talent and she’s been playing since a young age, so there’s this baseline that I would like to say never really goes away. You become a little less consistent and sharp, but it’s hard to forget a lot of skills, eventually your muscles remember them,” he explained.

“But, I think the most important thing is her discipline and I think part of what has made her such a good student and such a great professional now is that she has the ability to concentrate. very clearly and concisely about what she wants to do to achieve the goal.”

This focus was necessary for Drury during her training, as she wasn’t just preparing for one discipline – devoting her time to singles and doubles training, both of which brought their own unique challenges to her return to play.

“They’re both tough,” she explained. “I would say the overall speed involved in the doubles was more difficult simply because you have less time to react to the ball, compared to the singles I would say it was more the fitness that was the biggest barrier.”

The story continues under the ad

After five months of rigorous training, Drury achieved her goal of returning to the national stage at the end of May where she won two medals, winning a silver medal in the women’s open doubles and a bronze medal in the women’s open singles.

“I kind of made it a goal at the start of my season, that it would be great to get a medal at the nationals again,” she explained. “But, when it happened, it was a bit surreal.”

His next goal in sight is to earn a spot on the national team for the world championships in San Luis Potosí, Mexico in August. After that, with continued training, she hopes to surpass the level she reached in 2019 before stepping away from the sport.

“I’ve only been back for five months, if that, so I think the potential to work even harder to train even harder and really get back to the game I was playing. Yes, I have high hopes,” she laughed.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.