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These articles are for advanced players, who almost certainly plays tournaments and other competitive matches.

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.…

The pandemic has been the catalyst for squash to fight its way out of the dark and dingy corners of sports centres or private, often elite, clubs and into the sunshine (and rain!)

Squash Plus

One of squash’s problems is that many courts are never seen by potential players. They are often in private clubs, that are either very expensive or in not well-maintained. In the public sector, i.e. sports centres, squash courts are nearly always in the corner of the building you never walk past them to get somewhere else. It means people don’t see them. Just think about tennis for a moment. When Lawn Tennis was first created, it was because a King of France wanted to play Real Tennis outside. At least that’s how the story goes! The point is that once something is visible to more people, more people want to try it. At least that’s how the theory goes! Not only that, but many outdoor tennis courts are free to use. So if those two principles could be used in squash, that would help, right? yeah, probably. Squash+ is a company that was specifically created with the intention of building and promoting outdoor squash courts. They are focusing on two approaches. The first is almost an “off-the-shelf” solution. The image above comes from a padel club in Cáceres, Spain. Where they are continually developing new materials and construction techniques to ensure that this type of court is as effective as possible. That includes cost, maintenance and the ability to even move it. The second approach is for custom designed courts and surroundings. The image above is a render of a proposed facility with two courts. This type of specifically designed facility would obviously be more expensive than the other approach, but clearly has advantages. What’s crucial is that more people get to see squash in locations that they wouldn’t normally. Professional tournaments have been erecting squash courts in all sorts of unusual locations; train stations, airports, tops of skyscrapers and possibly the most icon, near the Pyramids in Cairo, Egypt. I am sure we all wish Squash+ success and can…

Overall, this is a well-performing racket, if a little too powerful for my liking. In this review, I talk about what it does well and what it doesn’t do so well, as well as three types of players it will suit.

Grays Illusion 110 Squash Racket

Techs and Specs As supplied this racket weighs 144grams and has a balance point of 370mm, making it quite head heavy. Once I put a grip on top of the one supplied, which is always too thin for me, it become 156 grams and has a 350mm balance point. Don’t worry too much about the difference in the name “110” and the actual weight “144” because manufacturers always use the base frame wight, i.e. no string,s grip, grommets etc. The frame is quite wide giving it a very solid feel and making the racket quite stiff. The strings are “Graytech” and seem acceptable. The tension was a little higher than I like, but that is expected and is the right thing to do – that way they can loosen over time. Visuals You certainly couldn’t miss this racket if it were in a pile of other rackets. Some will like the bold colourway and design, whiles others won’t. I do like the yellow myself. I’m a little unclear on the addition of the spade symbol, but perhaps I am missing something?! I suppose it’s simple a love it or hate it design. Power Baby! Of all the rackets I have tested recently, this one has the most power. That’s not an important aspect for me, as my game is bsed on control, but for some that could make the difference. Unlike some other powerful rackets, the Grays Illusion 110 never felt over-powerful, as in I could still control the ball. It impresses you the moment you first start to hit the ball Touch and Kills This racket plays best when hit with a lot of slice or flat. Anything in between doesn’t seem to get the best from the frame. if you style of game is attacking the ball, then this racket should suit you. Forgiveability Forgiveability describes a racket’s ability to respond when the ball is hit outside of…

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…

The connection between squash and chess has been made many times, and most people who play squash and know a little about chess seem to agree with the concept.

The More Serious You Are, The Less Creative You Should Be

I’ve always felt that squash has so much more variety than most other racket sports primarily because of the side and back walls. Whether the rectangle of walls and the similarity with a chess board are important I don’t know, but there’s almost certainly a connection.A few days ago I read the following sentence in a subreddit about a chess website and it stuck in my mind. “The more serious you are, the less creative you will be in chess” I have no idea whether the author of this sentence is an international grand master or the village idiot – not that they are mutually exclusive or that it matters. What is important is whether the statement is true and not being a good chess player, I can’t tell you if it is or isn’t.But it did get me thinking about whether it was true of squash or even other sports. Do you think that the higher ranked a player becomes, the less creative they play? On the surface, I think I agree, but perhaps the creativity is simply more nuanced.You only need to visit any local sports centre or squash club in most countries and watch recreational players to see reverse boasts, serves at the receiver, weird almost undefinable shots that better players would avoid. Play those shots against a better player and they will eat you alive, but at this level they are often successful. Video Squash Coaching from the comfort of your sofa! Most coaches have plenty of stories of trying to convince pupils to stop playing the reverse angle only to be told “but it wins me points!”.So I am going to say that I think in principle, I agree with the statement, but with the caveat that the creativity at higher levels is more complex and subtle than the “Leisure Centre Boast” as the boys from Squash TV like to call it.What are your thoughts?

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…