Squash is not exactly an easy sport to play if you haven’t been active and suddenly decide you want to play. Let me clarify that I am not saying sedentary people shouldn’t start playing squash, I am saying that like all strenuous activity, it’s best to ease into it slowly and carefully.
Basic Fitness And Health
If you have been fairly active for most of your life, then starting squash should be no different to starting any other exercise. Learning how to heat up and cool down properly gets more important as you get older. Younger players can jump right out of bed and straight onto court, but just because they can, doesn’t mean they should! Including a strength and flexibility routine into your weekly squash schedule is highly recommended at any age, but more so when you are 30 or over.
Talent And Dedication
After accepting that as you get older, your attention on looking after your body should be your primary focus, it’s time to address how good you could become, and that really is dependant on your natural ability and dedication. I’ve taught 60-year-old players who became pretty good within a couple of months, and I have also taught 30-year-old players who just never seemed comfortable running and hitting the ball.
It was never about their age, it was always about their natural ability to judge the bounce, their movement and swing. Some not naturally gifted players had dedication and worked incredibly hard and eventually played good squash, but most who try squash and don’t immediately love it, eventually stop playing, and I think that is key.
As long as you are healthy, you are never too old to try squash!
Try It And See
So, your body is ready, your mind is ready; it’s time to get on court. However old you are, you won’t know if you will like squash unless you try it and see. Ideally, I would recommend joining a beginners group session as that is a very gentle introduction into the game as well as being under the watchful eye of a coach or at the very least an organiser.
From Armchair To Court
Honestly, I really don’t feel that your age should stop you. But if you have had a very sedentary lifestyle then suddenly playing squash 3 times a week is not the correct approach. Squash is inherently more active than tennis or bowls. It’s like starting to climb a mountain when you haven’t even been walking for months. Ease in slowly.
Oldest Player I have Coached
Eighty Four years old. He came to me and said that he couldn’t find anybody else to play and would I play with him. I agreed and was surprised at how well he moved. Admittedly, he was limited in his movement, but you could see that he loved to strike the ball well and that was our primary focus. Over the 40-minute sessions, he covered the full court though, so don’t think he just stood still and hit the ball.
All you need is a racket, a ball and a court.
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I Don’t Agree That Age Is Just A Number
“Age is just a number” is a phase used in English to say that people of any age can do whatever they want. But just because one 84-year-old man can play squash doesn’t mean all 84-year-old men can. Listen to your body. Some people have to stop playing at 50. Not because they are unfit, but because their body is telling them to find something slightly less strenuous.
At the time of this article I am 10 days away from my 58th birthday and I doubt I will ever play squash again. My body is just not able to do it. No, that’s not because I trained so hard when I was younger, it’s just my body has “issues”.
As long as you are physically healthy and active, you are never too old to try squash. Clearly starting later in life means you will never be as good as if you had started as a youngster, but playing sport later in life should be about enjoyment and maintaining your health.
Even if you haven’t been active before, you can still try it, but do so in a guide environment. I won’t recommend starting to play with somebody who players regularly – you might easily over do it and do yourself harm.
If you have any questions or doubts about starting squash for the first time, just email me – my address is at the bottom of this page.
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