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A lot depends on the type of injury and how you did it, but the simple answer is NO! Nobody likes having to stop playing their favourite sport or doing their favourite fitness activity, but in the long-term, resting is the best course of action.

Should I Continue Playing Squash When I am Injured?

Ideally, you should visit a medical professional as soon as possible, but that is very easy for me to type and a LOT harder (and expensive!) for some people to do. I am certainly NOT going to give you any advice for any particular injury, even the much repeated R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) is not always the best thing to follow. That’s why seeing a medical professional is your best option. I can tell you though that I have NEVER heard of an injury becoming worse by resting! At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that a lot depends on how you injured yourself and sometimes that injury can come from training too hard or not using the correct technique. Becoming the best squash player you can, requires you to do the things that YOUR game needs, not what everybody else is doing or advises. For example, your game might require improved skill and control, not just improved fitness, so your time is better spent doing solo drills or conditioned games. I am not saying that you don’t need to work hard to become a better squash player, because you do, you really do, but you need to work hard on the things that matter. A well-balanced training programme never puts too much stress on one aspect of your body or mind. It includes injury prevention exercises and always uses a proper heat up routine. Video Squash Coaching from the comfort of your sofa! One of the hardest things for sports people to do is NOT do the thing they love, so resting is particularly frustrating for active people. However, that self-control and patience is a reflection of a strong mind, a mind that thinks long-term not just a few weeks away, and that is how you must approach these situations. There could be other types of training you could do, visualization for example, or maybe some…

Very few sports allow you to improve your skill on your own in the same way that squash does. yes, some sports, for example table tennis, makes it easy to fold the table and practice lone, but you have to change the table. In squash, you are supposed to hit the ball against the wall and have it come back to the court!

The Benefits Of Solo Practice In Squash

The benefits of practicing alone on a squash court are many and important. Firstly, it allows you to focus on your technique and swing without having to worry about winning a point. Of course, you need to know exactly how to swing and for that you should visit a coach if you can. Even if you don’t have good technique, practicing alone can improve your control, both of the ball AND the racket head. It is important to note though that using bad or dangerous technique when performing solo practice will not help you in the long term, so find a coach if you can! The next thing solo practice can do is make you fitter and stronger. You don’t simply have to stand around and hit the ball gently back to yourself. You can mix hard-hitting with some soft-hitting, you can mix standing and hitting with ghosting, which will improve your footwork too. Being able to concentrate and focus for more than a few moments is a very important ability that can be improved when doing solo practice. If you notice yourself starting to think about school, work, Tv shows, family commitments etc etc, just bring your mind back to the hitting. Nowadays we call this “Mindfulness” and in this context it means only thinking about the hitting. One way to improve your squash mindfulness is to listen to the sound of the swing and, the ball hitting the wall, floor and your racket. It can be very relaxing. In fact, I made a video essay about this exact topic called Solo Hitting is my Meditation Video Squash Coaching from the comfort of your sofa! Walking onto a court and not knowing what to do is one of the biggest reasons players don’t try solo hitting, but fear not! I have created plenty of videos and posters to give you a fixed-time mental, physical and technical workout when hitting…

Squash is often about hitting the ball hard and fast. Trying to punish any weak return with a nick or winner. The problem with this approach is that we get into the habit of hitting our shots fast and forget that pace variation is important, but also that we have many jobs as a squash player.

Please Play The Lob When Under Pressure!

Being an individual sport, it means that you often think you have one job – to win the point, and in many ways that is true, but there are many ways to win a point! If we take football (soccer for some people) as an example, there are essentially three jobs: attack (scoring goals), midfield (creating chances) and defense (stopping goals from being scored). If we transfer those jobs to a squash player, it’s easy to see that players neglect the defensive role. Which is where the lob comes in. We are scrambling to reach the ball at the front and before we have realized what has happened, we have wacked the ball back and most likely not a great shot. This is where professional squash players have the presence of mind to take away to advantage of the attacking player and even turn defense into attack. Too many cl8ub players have told me that they don’t play lobs because that’s not a satisfying shot to play! I’m shocked. Besides a beautiful rolling nick, a lob that takes me from being under pressure to PUTTING my opponent under pressure is one of the most satisfying feelings I know. Watching that ball sail through the air, unable to be volleyed, only to drop into the corner, forcing my opponent into a weak return or at best leaving them noting to hit, is pure joy. I’ve turned the tables on their attacking shot. And you know what is frustrating? It’s a lot easier than you might think to hit good lobs. Sure, some courts are low or have strange ceiling supports that can make it difficult to really get the ball high, but for most courts, a good lob *is* possible. A quick anecdote: I used to coach at the BBC in White City, London and the two courts were in an old studio building and the height to the ceiling from…

Sometimes we have to stop playing squash. This could be due to work or family commitments, injuries or many other reasons. If we are lucky, we eventually come back to squash.

Playing Squash After Taking A long Break

Coming back to squash after a long break is a delicate time, especially if you haven’t been very active in the meantime. In addition, a lot depends on your age when you stopped, your current fitness level and your age now. But here are a few suggestions to help you start playing again without getting injured immediately! The first thing I suggest is to go on court alone for the first few times. Perform some solo hitting and a little ghosting (See What’s The Best Way To Improve Your Squash Footwork? for more details about ghosting). The reason I suggest this is because it allows you a chance to improve your timing without worrying about playing against somebody and also stops you from over-exerting yourself the first few times you play. In addition, you should also do some leg and core strengthening exercises for a few weeks before you start to play. This is something you should do regularly anyway to improve you fitness and mobility, but also to stop reduce the chance of injury. I also highly recommend learning about and performing a proper “Heat Up” before going on court, even if you go on court alone. This will help reduce the risk of injury AND help you play better squash. “Why can’t I just start to play?” you rightly may ask. Well, you probably already know the answer: once you get on court with another person, it can be very difficult to control your enthusiasm and effort. You could easily over-stretch for a ball or play for too long the first few times and suffer for it the following days. Video Squash Coaching from the comfort of your sofa! It’s not my intention to scare you or convince you not to play or even play another sport, it’s just that I know how easy it is to come back after a break and think to yourself “I’ll just…

Moving around the squash court efficiently and effectively is key to playing well. You can’t hit great shots if you can’t reach the ball! I would be lying if I said great footwork and fitness weren’t closely linked, but you *can* have great footwork without being super fit, it’s just very unusual.

What’s The Best Way To Improve Your Squash Footwork?

I often liken great squash footwork to dancing. Being light on your feet, able to move as if you were gliding and being able to adapt very quickly are key elements to a great dancer. So does that means that you have to be naturally talented? No, it can be learnt by most people, but let’s be honest, some people have no rhythm, and those people will probably never be great movers, either on a dance floor or a squash court! Back to the question though. Getting stronger by doing leg and core strengthen exercises will help, but what you really need to do is called “Ghosting”. Ghosting is like shadow boxing; it’s moving around the court WITHOUT a ball or opponent and just focusing on how you move. Just like any skill, you need to start slowly until it feels more natural and then increase the speed. Not too slowly though as it won’t be natural. Here are three objectives for you to focus on: Firstly, start each movement with a little jump, with your feet just wider than your shoulders. This is called the Split-Step and is used to ensure you move quickly in the right direction. Lastly, make the final step quite long. This will ensure you transfer your weight into the ball and give you more options when hitting the ball. BUT WAIT! What’s the third you ask? Well, the middle objective is to use medium length strides that allow you to reach somewhere quickly but also allow you to adjust so that your final step is the longer one. Make sure you move back to the T quite quickly, but DO NOT turn and run forwards – move backwards as this will give you the most adaptability when it comes to changing directions. Video Squash Coaching from the comfort of your sofa! Okay, so now we know WHAT to do, HOW do we do it?…

One aspect of squash that can be confusing to new players, and some who have been playing a while, is the different balls. The first thing to tell you is that it is NOT your fault – it is the fault of the ball manufacturers and the governing body of squash.

How To Choose The Right Squash Ball

Squash balls come in four types: Blue dot, Red dot, Yellow dot and Double Yellow dot. Each ball is described by its speed, so the blue dot is called fast, the red dot medium, the yellow dot slow and the double yellow is called super slow. Now, if you were new to a sport, would you choose a fast or super slow ball? I would choose the super slow ball. I’m new to playing squash, I want a slow ball to make easy to hit, right? Wrong. But as I said, it’s not your fault. Complete beginners should play with a blue dot. It is the most bouncy and if you can not hit it consistently it remains bouncy. As you get a little better, you should move onto the red dot. The red dot, like the blue dot remains bouncy even if you can’t hit it cleanly every time, but is less bouncy than the blue dot. Keep using the red dot, but occasionally try a yellow dot. If you can hit the ball cleanly and consistently the yellow dot will stay hot and bounce enough to make squash fun. But be aware that you need to get the yellow dot hot before it will be bouncy. To do this I suggest you hold the ball in you hand for a few minutes before you start to play. Just after you have got changed into your squash kit and as you are walking to the courts to “heat up” is the perfect time. Holding the ball in your hand, especially in the winter or in cold locations, can make the initial first few hits much easier, but you will still need to hit it cleanly to get the ball hot. I want to be clear about one point. Moving from blue to red to yellow to double yellow is not always linear. There might be times that you should…

A new online magazine was launched this month aimed at racket sport enthusiasts and professionals alike. It’s not just a magazine though, but a fully global stringing association, whose aim is to bring structure to courses and training around the world.

The Global Rackets Stringing & Rackets Sports Association

The first magazine can be viewed here: GRSA-International Magazine May 2022. It covers the following racket sports: Tennis, Squash, Padel, Pickle Tennis and even Beach Tennis. If you are interested in joining the association visit their homepage here: GRSA-International.com, they have different types of membership available depending on your interest. Their website also has more details about the association, the people involved, their aims and business partners, which include Head and Wilson. There’s also lots of details about their online racket stringing courses. I’ve only strung a few rackets in my life, but looking at all the people involved, there is a lot of experience and knowledge they have to share and I look forward to reading future editions of the magazine. I was a little surprised to see them describe , what I call teardrop-shaped racket frames as “Closed Throat”, but naming conventions change over the years and perhaps this is a good example of that. I’m also disappointed that they continue to use the phrase “warm up”, when we should be talking about “heating Up” – but that’s something nearly every magazine, coach and YouTube channel gets wrong. As you can see, I feel strongly about this. To summarize: If you are interested in racket sports and specifically stringing, the Global Rackets Stringing & Rackets Sports Association might be something of interest to you! Go check it out. https://youtu.be/0OMYcVkXLQk