Do Something Every Single Day To Improve Your Squash!

July 2022

You might think that you just need to arrive at the court, listen to the coach and suddenly you will become the club number one. Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that.

Participation Coaches

Wouldn’t it be nice to simply go to squash lessons and improve? You made the effort to book the lesson, that’s enough, right? WRONG! If you want to get the most out of lessons, follow the points below. This is the second of three in my short Coaching series1. Arrive Early Rushing, not heating up properly, thinking about work, family, school etc all detract from your task: To learn and improve. Being late is even worse – that’s lost time, that you have paid for. Sure, sometimes things happen are you are late, just make sure it doesn’t happen often. Learning requires a calm and focused state of mind. If you are checking your mobile phone or not physically ready to do the work, you are wasting time. You might not think that coaching is learning, that it is just hitting the ball. But you ARE learning, you are taking in new information and processing it. Any distractions will imped that process and make it less efficient. Ideally, I want you to sit down before going on court to think about what you need to discuss with the coach. For example, what information you can give them about your squash between this lesson and the previous one. I’m not asking for a 5-minute presentation, just something to keep the process of communication as effective as possible. Remember, the coach will almost certainly start with a question any way, something like “How’s the backhand?”. Having thought about it before will help give you a better answer. Like everything; the better you prepare, the better your performance: even learning. Make Notes – Yes Seriously I recommend you make some simple notes immediately after your squash coaching lesson. OMG, who makes notes after a coaching session? Why? Well, firstly, research has shown that the action of writing something down helps you remember2. So that in itself is enough reason, but also, having bullet…

There is no doubt in my mind that having on-court coaching is the best way to improve your technique and game. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of a few things before you have it.

When Should You Get Squash Coaching?

Knowing what to expect when you have coaching can improve the process. A lot depends on your objectives for getting coaching and how much you commit to the process, but in general these points are valid for everybody. Bt the way, if you don’t have access to a coach, don’t worry, I offer a paid (but reasonably priced!) video service that I link to below. It’s also worth noting that the points I talk about are true for squash coaching, tennis coaching, badminton coaching and table tennis coaching – actually, it’s probably true of ALL sports coaching! Number 1: You are likely to get worse before you get better! There are lots of armchair coaches, who are quick to point out what you should be doing. You only need to visit Reddit to see players giving their opinion on what players should do. The reality is that going from your current swing (for example) to a better swing is a process. It’s not a smooth jump from one to the other. It’s not just a switch that can be flipped and suddenly you have a great swing! Many times there are intermediate steps that need to be passed through first. Bad habits that need to be replaced by better ones. It’s during these times that you may play worse squash. Your accuracy and power may drop. It may take a few weeks until the change really feels comfortable. It’s not true for everybody, but when it comes to swing technique there is definitely a period of adjustment. That’s why I mention “commit” in the first paragraph. Of course, coaching is not just about big changes to your swing, and the most effective change might be to do with shot selection or something simple. Number 2: The coach doesn’t have to be better than you to help you improve. That might sound obvious at higher levels of play. For example, a…

I have a fascination with private courts. Perhaps because I dream of owning one or perhaps because I am an urban explorer at heart. Who knows?

Fifth Avenue Private Squash Court

All squash courts are beautiful, but some are more beautiful than others. The ones with limited access hold the most interest for me. This short article is the first in a regular series on private and beautiful squash courts. I recently received an email from a New York resident asking for advice about their squash. They mentioned having a squash court in their building. They use it most weekdays and are thinking of purchasing a ball machine to use. We talked about their options and I asked if they could send some photos. I won’t reveal the exact location, but as you can see from the title, it’s in Manhattan. If you live in New York, you might, just might, recognise the lobby. Apparently the building was built in the 1920s and as you can see from one of the photographs below in the gallery, it’s a hardball court rather than a squash court, although I haven’t differentiated that in the title. The area is very exclusive, with a duplex apartment recently selling for tens of millions of Dollars. Let me quote the sender to give you some more details. “As you exit the back door, you are on the lobby area. You proceed to the back and get into a private elevator to the basement. You flick onthe lights and descend a rather concerning set of stairs and flick on more lights. The court is accessed by stepping up, something I recallnever having to do. Unfortunately, the court is 18′ x 31′ and the service line is at 20′. There is a basketball hoop and a white three point line painted on the floor. I checked with a squash court builder about bouncing a basketball on the court as to whether it is damaging and he assured me not to worry!” If I ever get back to Manhattan, I’ll do my best to have a hit on it and…

Maybe you are not a squash player yourself, but are looking for gift ideas for somebody that is? In which case, this is the perfect article for you!

Perfect Gift ideas for Your Favourite Squash Players

We all want to buy the perfect gift for our friends and family. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just something that the person would love to receive. Unless you partake in the same activity, it can be hard to know what people need or want for their given sport. In fact, you might buy the completely wrong thing. So, with all that in mind, here are a few ideas for gifts for your favourite squash players. Squash Rackets This is the most personal piece of equipment. Think very carefully before buying a squash racket for a somebody. The only two times it’s a good choice is when the person is a beginner and doesn’t have a racket or the person told you EXACTLY which racket to buy. Squash Shoes Not as personal as squash rackets, but still quite personal. Besides getting the correct size, choose a shoe that seems similar to the ones they currently use. For more information, see my “Squash Shoes Might Be More Important Than Squash Rackets!” and “Should I Buy Expensive Squash Shoes? articles. Squash Balls This is the perfect gift for a squash player. All squash players need a regular supply of new squash balls. It might seem like an unimaginative gift and it is, but it is an incredibly useful one. Buy the same brand and dot designation that they currently use. Squash Grips Just like squash balls, squash grips are another boring but useful gift for the squash player. There are two main types: overgrip and replacement grip. Most players have a preference and it is best to buy the same type as the one they currently use. Squash Strings This could be a great option for an unusual gift. Club squash players need to replace their strings and they often get lazy about it. Check with your local restringer to see if they offer a voucher or similar. Gifting a restring…

Yesterday, I wrote about skipping, body shots and solo work, each important in the success of both boxers and squash players. Today, I am going to explore some other ideas.

What Can Squash Players Learn From Boxers - Part 2

If you haven’t read yesterday’s Part 11, don’t worry, you can read it later. All the ideas are separate, so you don’t need to have read it first. I am a great believer in “Cross-Learning”, that’s like cross-fitness, but instead of doing exercises from other sports, it’s about learning from other sports. Here are some more ideas from boxing that can be applied to squash. Fitness Is Important, But Technique Is Vital Being fit is very important for both sports, but I truly believe that being technically superior has more effect on success than fitness. I’m not saying that you don’t need to be fit to win squash matches, because you do, but the fittest player doesn’t always win. Of course, neither does the technically proficient player either. It’s clearly a combination of physical, technical and mental. Fitness comes and goes – technique is for life! I have no doubt that I could be super fit and get into the ring with a old boxer and he would beat me easily. Just the same as an old squash player would beat a young, super-fit novice. Fitness is only useful when you skill levels are more or less equal. Once you perfect your technique, you will only need to maintain it. Fitness requires constant work. Never neglect your skill and technique training! Don’t Get Hit And If You Do, Cover Up! There are two types of defence in boxing: avoiding getting hit (see the image of Mr. Ali as a perfect example), although Mr. Alvarez is also fascinating to watch2, and covering up in close quarters. I don’t know if you can split the concept into squash, but the simple idea of defending when needed does translate very well into squash. There are different types of defence in squash, but I suppose the most obvious ones are using height and slowing the ball down. Done well, both can actually turn into…

I don’t profess to be an expert at boxing, but you don’t have to be an expert to learn from other sports. Boxing is interesting in the way that both boxers use the same area, same as in squash.

What Squash Players Can Learn From Boxers

Who hasn’t watched Rocky and wanted to start training? Those training montages1 inspire us all, but there’s more to boxing than singing “Eye of the Tiger” and running up steps at dawn! Here are a few ideas for squash players to steal from boxers. Skipping One of the first things you think of when you imagine boxers training is skipping, at least I do. Some people call it Jumping Rope and there’s plenty of videos2 about how to do, different techniques and even “Can you stop the rain?”. I’ve written about the Split Step in Squash3 but to effectively do it, you must have strong legs and core, and one of the best ways to develop that is via skipping. Some of you may be thinking skipping is for children, well, wait until you buy a fast, metal skipping rope and watch those videos. The great thing about skipping is that the equipment is not too expensive, easy to carry in your bag and you can do it almost anyway. It’s perfect for heating up before a training session or match, or as part of your actual fitness training. It is possible to skip without the rope, but by using the rope, you also develop concentration and timing. Every ambitious squash player should spend 6 months doing it before deciding it’s not suitable for them. Skipping is hardcore training and will only improve your squash! Body Shots Each and every rally in squash is like one whole boxing match. The knockout blow is like the nick shot. Of course, you need to win at least 33 points to win a squash match, but only one knock out punch in boxing. Boxers “work the body” with body shots. Those punches don’t often win matches, but they tire the opponent out, drop the guard and then allow us to look to end the match. Same in squash. The deep shots to the…

For many squash players, a racket press is a relic from a bygone age, something they might never have seen and certainly never used.

What Were Squash Racket Presses?

Wooden rackets were heavy and very susceptible to moisture. Over time the racket head would warped if it were not stored in a cool and dry place. In this context “warp” means to lose its alignment. If you were to place the racket on the floor flat, it wouldn’t touch the floor evenly. One side would be higher than the other. I looked for photos on the internet but couldn’t find one and luckily all my wooden rackets are not warped. Back in the 1970’s, when you bought an expensive wooden racket, they might even come with a presses, although it was often bought separately or you used the one from your previous racket. I never owned one back in the day, because I always broke a racket before it had time to warp and my rackets were cheaper than the press! I’m not sure if that was a good or bad thing! The image above shows the 3 main designs. The first one, almost square, but not quite, was the easiest to use as it utilised the metal bar you see with the hook shape. You placed the racket inside, then “flipped” the metal bar to the other end and it clamped the racket in place. The two other designs required you to unscrew the wing nuts and slip the racket inside. You then had to screw each wing nut again – very time consuming! I think my favourite design is the triangular ones, which I much rare than the three designs above. Most professional squash players didn’t bother with them because they greatly increased the weight and bulk of carrying multiple rackets around and being sponsored, they didn’t really care if the racket warped as they would just get another bunch supplied. There’s a great photo of a group of Pakistani squash players standing around some with 6 or 7 rackets in their arms. I looked high and…