Timmy Hansen attends Palm Beach Central High School and competes in a sport that has been around a long time, but is not offered in scholastic athletics. Hansen is a nationally ranked racquetball player, and he has recently won accolades and qualified for the junior national team.
Hansen began his racquetball career at the young age of nine, watching his father play professionally. Tim Hansen Sr. is a racquetball icon in his own right, being one of the most decorated players in the history of the sport. He has 60 national titles to his name.
Hansen watched his father play and decided to give it a go. The enjoyment he experienced in his younger days evolved into a competitive spirit that he continues to satisfy through the game. “Once I went to my first junior nationals, and I made it to the finals,” he explained. “I was on the U.S. team for that, and after that, I started playing all the time.”
It was the local tournaments Hansen competed in early on in his career that sparked his motivation to compete; slicing through the competition.
He attributes much of his success to his father and his professional coach, Jeff Leon, who also still coaches Tim Sr. “They both help me out a lot, and at tournaments, they are both there, telling me what to do,” Hansen said.
Hansen’s parents could not be prouder of him and his accomplishments. “He has 15 national titles, at age 15,” said his mother, Sarah Hansen. “We are really proud of him.”
Hansen’s father still competes and said that his son has exceeded his expectations as a player.
“At his age, I never had what he has,” he explained. “If he continues at this pace, he’ll blow the records right out of the water.”
Hansen trains at LA Fitness in Wellington as his home club and is sponsored by sport equipment company Head. He trains at least four times a week after school and trains consistently throughout the summer.
His dedication has helped him grow and mature as a player, Hansen’s mother explained. “It’s amazing to watch him now,” she said.
Hansen’s titles are through USA Racquetball, the governing body that qualifies players to compete at a national level while representing the national team.
Hansen recently competed in the National Junior Olympic Tournament in Iowa and took gold medals in singles and doubles. The victories earned him a spot on both the singles and doubles national team.
It also qualified him to compete in the world games hosted in Mexico this November. He was seeded fairly low early on in the competition, but after winning gold, he jumped to the top seed. “Nobody took a game off of him the whole tournament,” said his father.
Hansen still has to maintain a balance between playing and school. “I go to school, do my homework, then after that, I’ll play racquetball,” said Hansen, who maintains over a 3.0 GPA.
Hansen has traveled all over the world to play the game against athletes from different countries and appreciates the opportunities. “It’s cool. I get to see new places and meet new people,” he said. “It’s intense. I watched the other players to see how they are before I would play them.”
Hansen continues to elevate his game as he prepares for the upcoming world tournament. He would eventually like to attend college, study medicine and compete professionally after college. To follow Hansen’s progress, visit www.teamusa.org/usa-racquetball.