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

I am sure you have heard of Squash (duh!), tennis, racketball, and badminton, but the fact is, there are over 25 racket sports and this is the first in a monthly series exploring and introducing those sports.

Squash Tennis

When squash was first “exported” to the United States of America, they built squash courts before they had equipment! Sounds stupid nowadays, but such is how new things are created. So basically, in the 1880’s, the boys at St. Paul’s School, in Concord, New Hampshire had some squash courts but no rackets or balls to play with. So what do you do? You find the next best thing and that happened to be the recently introduced game of tennis. So those enterprising youngsters took their rackets and the tennis ball and Voila! Squash tennis was born. This is the back of postcard describing squash tennis. And just like squash rackets, which by the way used to be the official name of squash (just in case you didn’t know), the actual rules didn’t really develop or at least were codified until 30 or so years later. Nowadays we understand and expect the size of courts, rackets and balls to be strictly controlled and adhered to, but back then, and I only slightly hesitate to use the term, things were more like the Wild West. Court sizes varied between locations, as they did in early squash. The balls used in Squash Tennis have also changed over the years, from originally regular tennis balls to specialist green high-pressure ones. As I have mentioned, courts sized varied until they eventually chose a size that was close enough to a regular squash (as it was originally played on anyway) that people could use those too. Echoes On Modern Squash There a sentence in the Wikipedia page that says “A faster ball was preferred by advanced players, but it discouraged novices.” and it’s fascinating that Squash Tennis had the same issue as modern squash in the sense that advanced players wanted or required a different ball than novices and I can’t help but feel that is crucial to the development of the sport. Dead And Gone…

If you were to perform a search on the internet, I mean not right now, but after this article, you would find some different definitions of strategy and tactics, but I feel confident in saying that most agree with what I am about to say.

What's the difference between strategy and tactics in squash?

The relationship between business and sport has never been closer, in fact nowadays most sports are businesses! And that connection goes back further in the way players play and the way businesses run. Both are about competing against an enemy, in the case of business we call them competitors, in the case of sports opponents, but sometimes competitors too, especially in sports where you are not against just one individual at a time; athletics is a good example. But enough abstract, let’s get down to details! Strategy is the overall plan to win, tactics are the methods used to follow the strategy. So far, so good. Let’s look at some specific squash examples. Player One Player one is an average club player, who plays two or three times per week depending on their schedule. They may do some fitness training once a week as well. On thing that stands out about them though is how tall they are. Plenty of jokes about “What’s the weather like up there?” and “Bump your head a lot?” the thing is though that Player one wins matches against better players because they volley a lot. They volley a lot because they can, because the have great reach and it’s easier to stick their racket out, block the ball and make their opponent do all the running. Sneaky, or what? So what would be my strategy? Well, the first thing I would try, and I stress that it might not work, but you have to have a gameplan!, is to tire them out. That’s my first option because tall players have to work hard to move around a squash court. It’s one of the reasons they volley – they want shorter rallies. You might think that’s it’s easier for them to get around the court, “they’ve got long legs!” you say, but the bigger you are, the more work you have to do. Ever noticed…

The simple and direct answer is YES! However, like most activities, it also depends on doing it properly. Having good technique when swimming is just as important as having good swing technique when playing squash. In fact, it might be more important due to the potential for injury. I’ve seen some terrible strokes that look like they do more harm to the person than good! So make sure you stroke technique is not terrible.

Online Squash Coaching

Squash players can suffer from back, hip and knee issues because, and let’s be honest, squash is a very physically demanding sport. Some courts do not have a sprung floor, this means that moving around a court for 45 minutes puts a lot of pressure on your body, especially if you are not a good mover. To compensate for this pounding, exercising in water allows the body to recover, but also allows you to exercise your cardio system and your muscles, while giving your bones a rest. Often people ask questions like, “How often should I swim?” and “What type of swimming should I do?” and the answer is more or less the same for everybody. Anything less than once per week is more useful for the mind than the body. If you swim less than once per week, you body will not become accustomed to the exercise and it won’t really benefit you. This is of course assuming that you are playing squash at least once per week and some other training too. Perhaps make swimming a regular session the day before your weekly match or club night. That way, you do some exercise without straining yourself too much. I probably won’t recommend more than twice a week either, simply because the time might be better spent on court doing solo or pair drills. Swimming should be seen a supplementary to your core squash training. Use it to give your body a rest from gravity. The next question is what type of swimming. Well, the first part of the answer is a variety of strokes. Ignoring the butterfly, which most people can’t do, if you can do the other three strokes: front crawl, backstroke and breast stroke, do them. All three work the arms, shoulders, back and chest, but the breast stroke is great for hip strength and mobility. You can mix some long swims with shorter more intense…

In the past, squash came from an upper-class game called Squash Rackets, which was played in public (private) schools. The people who played squash tended to be well-educated and professional people, so there could have been quite a lot of formality surrounding the sport. As squash became more popular, more types of people started playing. At first everybody was expected to wear completely white clothes (well, maybe a navy blue or green stripe was allowed here and there, but generally white or cream) and people were expected to behave in certain ways.

Squash Etiquette

I don’t want to keep the old traditions alive simply because “that’s the way we have always done it”! Compared with many other sports, squash seems to have a reputation for being as fair and as honest as the complicated and “open to interpretation” rules allow. So, what modern squash etiquette is there? Nowadays, you can wear almost any colour clothing that you want and almost any style, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your opponent. You can bounce the ball as much as you want before a serve – yes, they actually stopped players from doing it in the past, as well as stamping your feet when you hit the ball. Fortunately, we don’t seem to have an “grunters” like they do in tennis. Players generally try to avoid each other on court, and sometimes off it too, but occasionally you will find the odd Neanderthal whose seemingly sole purpose in life is to bump into you at any and every opportunity. We should always say “Let, please?” even if we think it is a stroke. We would also have shaken hands with our opponent, but since the pandemic, some just touch rackets and to be honest, I prefer that. In some important matches, players were expected to shake hands before playing too. The choice of who serves is still decided by a spin of the racket, but I prefer the idea of a mini-skill challenge. Next is the idea of opening and allowing the loser of the game to exit first, but some players take that to the extreme and ALWAYS want you to go first – that’s a kind of mind game in my opinion. Video Squash Coaching from the comfort of your sofa! When knocking up *the first few hits before you start scoring), it is generally caused polite to not hit more than 3 shots back to yourself at any one time, although juniors…

There is a lot of confusion regarding the colour of the dots on squash balls and their use. This confuses is NOT your fault – it is the major manufacturers’ and the World Squash Federation’s (WSF). They designate the dots as speeds: Fast (blue), Medium (red), Slow (single yellow) and Super Slow (double yellow). Over the years those dots have changed, as have the actual colour of the balls, but the way they were and are promoted is the same.

Can I Use A Red Dot Ball In Squash Solo Drills?

As a beginner, isn’t your natural thinking to avoid the fast ball and player with the slow one? I know mine would be. Those manufacturers and the WSF also promote the fact that different balls should be used on courts with different temperatures. So for example, on a very very cold court, even a pro might use a single yellow dot. That’s the theory at least, but honestly, the court would need to be almost zero degrees for that to be true. So where does that leave the average club and recreational player? Simply put, use the ball that you have the most fun with. Honestly, anything else is just confusion. There exists a group of players within squash that I call “Ball Snobs”. These players believe that because advanced players and professional squash players use a double yellow dot, that is the only ball that should be used, irrespective of age, standard or experience. |they insist that juniors play with this ball as “it is the ball they will eventually have to play with, so they might as well get used to it now”. Idiots! That’s like say a child must use an adult bike because that’s what they will eventually use. Yes, you can without a doubt use ANY colour dot squash ball you want when solo drilling. Ideally, your objective is to build up enough skill and power that you can sue a double yellow dot, but even then there are times a red dot can be useful. For example, hitting soft, short shots or practicing boasts alone. Even a hot double yellow dot would get cold quickly unless hit hard. But don’t think you can only use a red dot if you are hitting soft shots. A red dot could also be used for practice deep drives that come off the back wall. For many players, hitting the ball hard even, with accuracy so a red…

“Consistency” is a very important word in performance. But this article is about consistent training and why that can be the key to improving your squash. I want to be very clear about one thing: I am talking about the regularity of training NOT the intensity.

Consistent Squash Training

I cringe when I read or hear people say that they train at 110%! Nobody trains that hard. Yes, people train very hard for short periods of time, but you can NOT train at your maximum for very long. Olympic athletes know that during the year, the amount and intensity of training MUST be varied, otherwise the athlete will become fatigued or worse, burnout and injured. So what does this have to do with “Consistent Training” then? Well, it is better to train at 80% most training sessions for 6 months than 110% for some but then stop and take breaks. Think of it like this: You accomplish more if you build small but daily habits than if you binge work for two days and then do nothing – it’s the same with your squash training. Consistent Squash Training Start by scheduling solo and pair training sessions with somebody like-minded. You can book a court, spend 10 minutes both doing solo drills (yes, that *IS* possible), then 15 minutes doing pairs’ drills and finish with some conditioned games. Make this a weekly or every-other week session and you will have started on the path to improvement. Couple that with some scheduled fitness sessions, and the list for that is almost endless!, working on aspects of fitness that YOU need, for example strength and core conditioning or flexibility. Add a practice match, plus a league match, maybe even a monthly coaching session and suddenly you have the beginnings of a well-balanced training programme that *IF* you keep going over a number of months will really bring improvements. Video Squash Coaching from the comfort of your sofa! Over the years, I’ve trained hard for short periods of time, maybe even up to 2 months. Now 2 months might sound quite a long time and in some ways it is, but from a performance perspective it is not. The reality is that it…

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…