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April 2014

Sports psychologists talk about “Broad” and “Narrow” focus and I thought it might be helpful if I described how this could relate to squash. I don’t claim this is the only “correct” application of this concept, just one that I have used for a while and am comfortable with.

Switching From Narrow To Broad Focus In Squash

Narrow When considering what “narrow” focus could be for squash, or most racket sports come to that, it’s useful to talking about the actual process of hitting the ball.This includes, the way we move to it, the swing preparation, the swing, watching the ball hit the strings, the follow through and the movement back to the perfect spot – probably the T, but not definitely.If all you think about at that point is the above, then assuming you do the correct things then you will probably hit the ball well.Of course, if you don’t know how to move or swing, then no matter how well you concentrate on them, you probably won’t hit the ball consistently cleanly.There’s a school of thought that says that as your level increases the less you need to focus on these things. They become much more automatic (often referred to as “Muscle Memory”) and whilst I agree that it is true, I also believe that you shouldn’t “switch off” and go into cruise control.It’s clear to me that generally you will do something better if you are concentrating on it. That’s said I am also a big fan of the “Inner Game” under the right circumstances.After you have actually hit the ball, your attention and focus should switch to your opponent. Don’t Always Watch The Ball Now, before we talk more about that, I’d like to address a misconception, and that is: “Always watch the ball”. This is just wrong and I am about to explain why.As I just mentioned, this is the point when we switch focus to our opponent and that’s exactly why we shouldn’t watch the ball.Let’s perform a thought experiment for a moment. Imagine playing against an invisible opponent. All you see is the ball flying around. How easy would it be to guess where the ball is going? I would suggest it would be almost impossible to do. You hit…