Do Something Every Single Day To Improve Your Squash!

Training

These articles contain training advice, tips and ideas to ensure you maximize your squash training.

Hard training describes the amount of effort you put it. Smart training describes doing the most effective training. Often we train “hard”, sweat, feel like we accomplished a lot, yet it could be the totally wrong thing required to make you a better squash player.

What's The Difference Between Hard And Smart training?

Let’s take a real example. You have a fantastic forehand kill from the middle of the court. You have this great shot because you have specifically practiced it. You did that because when you first started solo practice, it was one of the things you did better than the others shots. It’s nice to hit good shots, so you did it for longer than other shots. pretty soon, you love practicing this shot because you have become really good at it. You have even developed a reputation within your club as the “Forehand Killer”. Every time you practice other shots, they just don’t feel as smooth as this forehand. You do those other shots, but you probably do the forehand for twice as long. It’s enjoyable and you feel as they you really have a good training session. Who wants to hit shots they are not good at? Phew. I probably laboured that point, but I really wanted to drive it home. When we are good at something we tend to enjoy it. We tend to enjoy it because we are good at something. It’s a training-performance circle. We are not lazy. Those workouts and training sessions are hard work. We sweat and we ache the next day – it must have been a good session, right? Yeah, maybe, but was it the best use of your time? Time For Some Smart Training! Smart training requires you or somebody else asses your game and produce a list of 3 top priorities. That can be difficult, e specially if you don’t have a coach or experienced player to help you. However, if you are honest with yourself you can probably find one or two things that you know need serious improvement. Perhaps that backhand service return, perhaps that forehand drop shot, it could be anything. It’s clearly something you are not very good at – probably something you don’t like practicing.…

Solo practice is one of the best things you can do to improve your squash. It mostly works on your skill, but with the right planning can also work on your fitness.

Sharing A Squash Court For Solo Drilling

Most squash players believe that solo practice is something you do because your partner is late or has cancelled. For most, it’s a boring at worst and not fun at best. I fully understand that point of view, but with a small change in your approach to solo practice, it can be one of the most challenging parts of your training. Do It Regularly The first thing to understand is that you must commit to performing solo practice for at least 6 sessions, and those sessions should really be once-per-week to fully benefit. Any less than 6 sessions and you might not have had time to improve and if it is not once-per-week or about once every ten days then the space between each session is too much. Strengths Versus Weaknesses Work mostly on your weaknesses not your strengths. Too many people perform drills that they are good at and enjoy, and that’s fine as long as you spend more time working on the things that you need to do. A good example is the figure of eight. It’s a drill that is fun to do and can be impressive to watch if you are new to squash. But unless you need to work on your volley timing, there might be other drills that are more useful for you. Here’s me trying to get down low! Never Do Any Drill For More Than 5 Minutes Too often, I’ve seen people advocate doing drills for 10 or even 20 minutes. It’s too long. It will actually have a negative effect on your skill acquisition. What will happen is that you will get tired and your technique will falter and you will essentially be teaching your body to do the drill the wrong way. It’s much better to do something for less time, more often, ideally with a sleep in between. Keep Switching Drills As mentioned above, don’t do any drill for…

Essentially, one is a physical process, the other mental. Reaction Time is how fast your body can move to a stimulus. Anticipation is making a decision based on what you see AND what has happened in the past.

The Difference Between Reaction Time And Anticipation?

Let’s Start With Reaction Time Reaction Time can be decreased by training. There are plenty of drills, exercises and equipment you can buy to help you do that. There is something called a Reaction ball, and the video below shows how to make a cheap and easy homemade version. As I just mentioned, there are plenty of drills you can do, and you have probably seen videos of coaches throwing balls for players to catch or reach starting on the T. These are great because they require very specific squash movements that should include racket preparation or even swings. Anything longer than a second’s worth of work, which I know doesn’t sound very long, starts to work other system of the body, not just your reaction time. This type of training should be performed at the beginning of a session, as it requires fresh muscles to gain the most from it. Of course, in the real world situation of a competitive match, you will be required to react ALL through the match, the training is what actually matters. I really like the reaction ball as it’s one of the easiest things to use on your own. Most other reaction training requires another person because you need that element of “unknown” involved. However, there’s more to reaction training than simply moving as quickly as possible to a stimulus. You also need to be able to control the racket and ball, so I like my pupils to stand near the front wall and hit forehands and backhands to themselves, either standing closer and closer to the wall or hitting the ball harder and harder. The reaction training comes from having to move the racket as quickly as possible to unexpected positions. Do a hundred shots then do something else. Do it three times each time you go on court and that should help. What is he going to play? Moving Onto Anticipation…

This drill is also called “The Butterfly”, but I prefer the name “infinity” as the shape the ball-path makes is more like the infinity symbol than an eight
(∞ vs 8), also the idea that you could do the drill for infinity if you were good enough!

The Figure Of Eight

This is one of the most common solo drills seen performed by professional squash players. In many ways it’s like the speed ball used by boxers. It doesn’t have any direct relation to what you do in a real match, but it does improve your timing, control, concentration and believe it or not, your core strength. Start With The Bounce Version The first version you should try is on the bounce. This allows you more time and space to make adjustments if your shot is not very accurate. Hit a forehand into the left corner (assuming you are right handed), aim the ball to hit the front wall quite close to the side wall, it will then come back towards you on your left side. You then hit a backhand into the right corner, aiming to hit the front wall near the side wall. It will then come back to your forehand side, and so on. Start with a rd dot or single yellow dot, it’s better to make sure the ball is quite warm before you start, but it’s not necessary. Don’t hit it hard to begin with or too low. You objective is to build a rhythm that feels comfortable for you. The temptation is to begin to hit harder and lower, try to resist that urge at first. Play the video below to see me performing the bounce version. Highlight: Figure of Eight with a bounce Move Onto The Volley Once you feel comfortable with the bounce version you can move onto the volley version, although you don’t have to have mastered it to try. It’s exactly the same, except you volley the ball. Volley means to hit the ball before it bounces (that’s why volleyball is called volleyball!). Volleys in squash are generally more difficult than shots that bounce because you have less time to prepare to get into the correct position, less time means a…

Are you looking for that one trick that will suddenly make your squash great? Have you tried the latest fitness equipment that promises to maximize your time and abilities? Are you using the latest training methods that will help you unlock your hidden potential? Do you eat the right super foods and take the newest supplements? Are you using the lightest racket currently available, with quantum-grade technology? Because if you are, then you are being lied to, you are being misled, you are being cheated.

The Secret To Great Squash

I am sorry to be the one to tell you this, but it is true! There is no “Secret to Great Squash”.  No new racket with revolutionary technology you buy will suddenly make you a better squash player (yes, you may hit the ball better, but that’s different). No one new training method will turn you into Super Squash Player Hero®. No new super-clever tactics will make you beat your nemesis. And that’s the good news, because if there were then everybody would be their own Super Squash Player Hero® and nobody would be better than the rest. It’s like everybody suddenly grew 5 centimetres overnight. The people who were tall are still tall. WAIT! That’s The Good News? Yes, although it’s not the news you wanted to hear. We all want that easy trick, but luckily there isn’t one. So why is it good news then? Because the secret to great squash is hard work. Yeah, I know, you’ve heard it all before, and you are right, you have heard it before and do you know why you’ve heard it before? Because it’s true. In all my years of coaching, I have never seen anybody who put in 6 weeks of hard and smart training and not see a significant improvement. There is no such thing as overnight success. Those people who seemingly became successful overnight, have put months, if not years of hard work into their game (or whatever it is they do paint, play instruments, dance etc) before that success. Mr. Gaultier has spent many thousands of hours on court training. 6 Weeks! Six weeks may seem like a long time, but any less and your body doesn’t have time to really change. Remember, getting stronger is actually growing new fibers, getting more flexible is growing longer fibers (not exactly, but close enough as descriptive aid). of course, training is not about just physically getting fitter, it’s…

The better you get, the less important the serve is, but the more important the return. At lower levels, both are incredibly important, yet generally neglected. Change that today!

Practice Your Serve And Service Return

As I said in the introduction, the better you get, the less important your serve becomes. The chances of hitting a winning serve get smaller and smaller, the better you get because your ability to volley or make split-second decisions improves. That’s why you don’t see many, if any, winning serves. Professionals, are simply trying to stop their opponent from having an advantage. It’s also why every now and again, a pro squash player hits a weak serve – they have got into the wrong frame of mind. At lower levels, especially at beginner and improver levels, the serve is a HUGE weapon because returning a good serve is quite hard for new players. The variety of successful serves is also important as new players find it hard to adapt to different serves. Move up the level in skill and this ability to adapt is much better trained. So Let’s Practice Those Serves! The first thing you can do is agree to play a 20serve game with your partner. This will allow you to try for a really high lob-type serve and if it goes out, it doesn’t matter because you have another one. Another option is to have 5 extra serves per game. That adds a new dimension to the idea, because you have to chose when to attempt a great serve. The next thing you can do is actually practice serves. Place a target on the wall as high up as you can reach, a long balloon is my favourite but a folded piece of A4 paper stuck on the masking/painters tape is good too. Then using a red dot, hit 10 serves, remembering to move to the T afterwards. Alternate this with some other hitting if you are doing a solo drill. Alternatively you can agree with your playing partner to practice serves at the end of each game. Video Squash Coaching from the comfort of your…

Yesterday, I explained why playing against different players can be better than playing against better players. Today, I want to explain how conditioned games against weaker players can improve your squash.

Switching From Narrow To Broad Focus In Squash

The gentleman in the featured image is Jahangir khan. Considered by some to be the greatest male squash player to ever have played. And if he had followed the advice that many people blindly repeat: “You should only ever play with people better than you” he would never have played anybody! Of course it’s not that simple and he did lose to people occasionally. Yesterday, in the article entitled Play Different Players Not Just Better Players – Part 1, I talked about how playing different players can be more valuable than only playing better players. Today, I want to talk about getting the most out of the time you play weaker players. Let’s first of all assume, that you are good enough to win 8/9 times out of 10. If you only win 6 or 7 times out of 10, then I would suggest setting a goal of 6 wins in a row and use those matches as practice for matchplay and concentration. Conditioned games are a form of practice where one or both players limit what shots they are allowed to play. With careful use of the type of game, stronger and weaker players can both get an enjoyable and valuable training sessions completed. Are they playing or training? Hard to tell. More Limitations The bigger the difference between the players, the greater the limit of the better player. I was lucky enough to spend quite a few hours practicing with Jahangir and for a lot of that time, although not all of it, he was only allowed to hit straight drives to the back. I was allowed to hit anywhere. It might seem like I would win easily, but you would be wrong. Very rarely did I win a game playing this system. You need to be safe, just because you know that they have to hit straight, doesn’t mean you can boasts the ball, walk to the…