I’ve previously discussed visualisation in my Tips For Maximising Your Ghosting, and even made a video (see below), but today I want to extend the idea to all parts of your squash training. Visualisation can be used almost any time, any where, and just like fitness training used to be something only “crazy people did” but has become mainstream now, I am sure that visualisation will become the same.
There was a time when you only played your sport to prepare for it. It was considered enough. Not now. Oh no. even juniors regularly perform lots of fitness training outside of the court. It would be fascinating to see the difference between athletes who perform all the modern training techniques compared to athletes who only play their sport. The difference would be huge.
So, how can you use visualisation for non-squash training? Well, at its core, visualisation is a person sitting down and imagining themselves playing or perform som other activity, for example remaining calm when receiving a really bad call at game ball. So if you can do it sitting down, why not do it when actually training. Which is why I talk about if during ghosting in the link above.
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Some Other Specific Examples
At the time of writing this article, I haven’t been on court for over 9 months due to pain, but I am considering a return within the next two weeks or so. As part of that return I have been doing daily Shadow Swings. As I am doing them, I imagine myself hitting the ball. I imagine the feeling as the ball hits my strings and the sound it makes against the strings and against the wall.
Before I do those swings, I also spend 35 minutes on the spinning bike at the gym. I don’t listen to music, podcasts or watch TV (fortunately there are no TVs in this part of the gym). Instead of trying to distract myself, I imagine myself playing a long rally, or just doing a pairs length-only conditioned game.
Even when planking or doing other fitness work, including stretching or racket twists, I use that time to visualise myself on court. Unless performing visualisation would be dangerous, I can’t see a reason not to do it. Remember, you don’t need to close your eyes to perform visualisation, think of it as mixed-reality.
This idea is perfect for longer cardio sessions; running, spinning, rowing, elliptical etc. Your mind would almost certainly wander, so why not improve your squash and concentration at the same time?
A Reminder Of Why I am Doing This Training
It’s also a reminder of why I am doing whatever training I am doing. Sure, I would prefer to just play, but that’s not possible if you want to be the best you can be. My days of playing are over, I doubt I’ll even be able to play length-only games, but I do want to coach and make squash videos again, so I visualisation myself playing and hitting the ball.
How much difference would this really make? Who knows. Sometimes it’s the little things the separate the great from the good. It’s certainly not going to hurt your squash and if you use the visualisation for controlling your emotions etc, then that’s always a good thing.
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