AKA Women Making Racquetball History Now!
We will feature another woman making racquetball history every Wednesday. Do you know someone else we should be celebrating with this interview and feature process? Drop us a line on Facebook!
Name: Julienne Arnold
Are you a pro player, coach, association board member, tournament organizer, or racquetball broadcaster AKA why do racquetball players know you?
I am a Texas Racquetball Association board member, elected in 2017, primarily for the purpose of revamping the TXRA website.
I became a racquetball League Director for LA Fitness in 09/17.
I just started working on my instructor’s certification this year, because as League Director, players have asked for lessons. I want to teach proper fundamentals that keep players injury-free, while building upon their knowledge and skills.
Country of Origin: United States
Place you consider home: Dallas, TX
Did you play as a junior? When & how where you introduced to the competitive side of racquetball?
I started playing tournaments in 2014 in my late 30’s. I played recreationally for many years off and on, but never took it seriously because I was involved in other sports. My addiction to racquetball began when I changed clubs from 24HR Fitness to LA Fitness. LAF club players displayed skills I never saw before. Once I started playing in leagues, people suggested I play in tournaments. I didn’t know how well I would do, but I won my first 3 tournaments in Women’s A.
Playing hand: Right-handed.
Year you started playing racquetball: 2010 I started playing in leagues. 2014 I started playing tournaments.
First female mentor or idol in racquetball: Bernadette Zimmerman was my first female mentor. She was the league director at the time. She showed me that we can still compete at a high-level despite taking up the sport in our late 30’s. My greatest female influence would be Coach Fran Davis. I’ve been to 3 Fran Davis Camps, and I embraced her philosophy of playing smart, high-percentage racquetball.
Favorite racquetball shot: counter-punch kill shot because it demonstrates various athletic skills: reaction time, power, control, and accuracy.
Motivation for the game (what keeps you playing): During the four years I’ve competed, I’ve met so many fit and athletic women who started the sport late in life, or came back to the sport after raising children, having careers, or recovering from serious injury or surgery. Their passion and persistence to keep playing motivates me. It’s a sport that can be played and enjoyed for a lifetime. I hope the sport will still be going strong for the rest of my life
Love most about racquetball: It’s never boring. It will only become boring when you’ve lost motivation to become better or lack the creativity to try something new. There’s plenty of dynamics and challenges to this game that I believe I will never be bored with it.
Preferred equipment: I was sponsored by Ektelon my second year playing, until you know. The following year, I had a private sponsor using Gearbox. Despite not being sponsored now, I still use Gearbox and I wear Ektelon shoes. I’ve stocked up on 3 pair that have been discontinued.
Favorite event: The Battle at the Alamo in San Antonio is my favorite event because it is in Texas and it is an LPRT Pro Stop. I get the opportunity to see the best females in the world and to be humbled by them when I play against them in Women’s Open and Mixed Open. It is also our state’s Regional competition, and the TXRA inducts newly elected state board members. The TXRA Annual Awards are also presented here. So it’s a very important, exciting event for Texas. Last year, at this event was most memorable because I was inducted to the board, won female athlete of the year, and had one of my best matches ever against Carla Munoz.
Best results at tournaments you’ve played in: After winning my first three women’s tournaments in A division, I’ve always sought to play in divisions above my ability so I can learn from loses and have build experience and confidence in tough matches. I’ve played Elite at the US Open against women half my age with equal or better skills, and I’ve always competed well. Some wins. Some losses. My best result was actually a loss last year to Carla Munoz at the Battle of the Alamo in Women’s Open. I won the second game against an already depleted Carla who had played 3 LPRT matches already that day. In the tiebreaker, however, she was re-energized and focused, and kicked my butt 11-1. My sister jokingly said I shouldn’t have given her a piece of my energy bar during a timeout. Carla is so mentally tough though. The energy bar didn’t make the difference.
Day job: Software Developer
Family shoutout: My twin sister Jennifer travels with me to most of my tournaments. She likes to say she’s my manager, but I am usually the one carrying all the bags.
Other sports played in addition to racquetball: I grew up playing tennis, softball, and basketball. I only stopped playing basketball when I started competitive racquetball. Basketball was my one true love for so long, but the people I’ve met playing racquetball made it easy to dedicate my efforts only to racquetball.
Do you know someone else we should be celebrating with this interview and feature process? Drop us a line on Facebook!