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Are You Fit Enough To Play Squash?

“Get Fit To Play Squash Or Play Squash To Get Fit?” was more or less a slogan used by the Squash Rackets Association (England) back in the 1980 or there abouts.

10 July 2022 / 3-Min Read

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I believe its objective was to encourage people to do extra fitness work and take squash more seriously, in the hope that they would play more. It’s one of those phrases that sounds cool the first time you hear it and is a great sound bite, but what does it really mean and is it useful? One problem is that it forces people to decide which group they are in, and that might limit them.

Get Fit To Play Squash

So if you would describe yourself as part of this group, then the chances are you take squash seriously. You have separate fitness sessions, probably multiple times per week. You realise that the fitter you are, the better you play. That’s true for everybody, but you have the motivation AND the discipline to wake up early and go for a run, or spend time on stretching core strength work and even lifting weights in the gym. All with the hope of playing better squash.

Now, if it sounds like I am being a little negative towards this type of player, that’s not my intention. I used to be one of these people. I relished the sweat pouring down my face and stinging my eyes. Seeing a t-shirt that looked like it had just come out of the washing machine soaking wet, was part of the enjoyment. I knew that my hard work now would pay off in the future. And that I think is the key. For people who “Get fit to play squash“, the fitness work now is for your future squash performance, and will hopefully be worth all the extra hard work.

Fitness is not one of the end results for you, it’s part of the process of being a better squash player.

Are You Fit Enough To Play Squash?

Strong legs and core allow this player to reach and control the ball.

Play Squash To Get Fit

Your objective if you are in this group is to get fit and squash is one way to do that. Your performance is less important that working hard during the activity. The thought of doing exercise specifically to improve your squash might seem crazy to you. It’s possible that you do other sport, but probably not purely exercise. To be honest, I believe a lot of people feel like this. The thought of working out in a gym surrounded. by other people all with different objectives seems unnatural.

Sport and exercise should be fun and enjoyable, right. Time should pass quickly, not make you feel like a Friday afternoon staring at the clock in a boring school lesson. Sitting on an exercise bike or running on a machine just doesn’t excite you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this approach. The chances are you don’t play many or any competitive matches and certainly don’t watch professional squash.

Just play your sport and enjoy the benefits of getting fitter!

Can There Be A Middle Ground?

Do we really have to be in one group or the other? Are things that black and white? I say NO to both questions. It’s true there are plenty of people who are at the extremes of one group or the other, but I also believe that there are more people straddled between both groups. Let’s take my good friend Imran. He has never done a separate fitness session in his life. Wouldn’t dream of it. For him, if it’s not fun, he is not doing it.

Does he play squash to get fit though? Hell no! He plays because he loves it. When he plays once-a-week for a few months, he feels fitter, generally plays better squash and has a lot of fun. If he doesn’t play squash – for whatever reason – he won’t do another sport to stay fit. He doesn’t like other sports. He knows improving his fitness would improve his squash. He knows that if he can’t play squash, nothing else will satisfy him. He’s stuck in a loop of playing squash for a few months and then having to take a break due to other commitments, and then coming back out of shape and suffering each time he plays again. It works for him and I suspect plenty of other people.

Squash should be part of your regular exercise, but I don’t think it should be the only part. play other sports if you can, but ultimately do something you enjoy, otherwise you probably won’t continue.

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