Do Something Every Single Day To Improve Your Squash!

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These articles are suitable for players who belongs to a club and plays regularly. That is quite a wide description though, so if you have been playing a few years, even though you might not belong to a club, these articles could still be of interest to you.

Like most of these types of questions, the simple answer is “it depends”.

Is Weight Training Good For Squash?

Professional squash players have been using weight training to get stronger for decades. Of course, they have more time than you to dedicate to training, so the question becomes: with limited time, should I stop doing other sorts of training and replace it with weight training? When performed correctly (more on that in a moment), weight training can drastically improve your core strength, your ability to reach the ball and your ability to recover after a hard match. I am not going to give you a “Weight Training Routine For Squash Players” because I am not a qualified fitness trainer, but also because each player is different and may have different needs. I will say that an all-round beginner training programme is good enough for most players, unless they have any particular injuries or issues with their body. You need a balance between endurance (low eights with high repetitions) and pure strength (a lot of weight with only a few repetitions). The generally recommend weight is one that you can do between 10 and 15 repetitions of the movement (one set), then a short rest, then two more sets – don’t forget the rest between the second and third set! For squash players just starting a weight training routine this is perfect. It is very important that you perform the exercises exactly as you are supposed to. It’s very tempting to want to use more weight to “increase the gains”, but by doing this you risk injury. In addition, and this is purely anecdotal, I have found that if you train with heavy weights and don’t spend a lot of time hitting solo your timing goes awry. Video Squash Coaching from the comfort of your sofa! Squash players need power, not strength. Power is the ability to use force in a short time. Being able to bench press 100Kg for 10 reps slowly will not improve your squash, but being…

A traditional squash court was made of bricks and plaster. It was white with red lines. Some had a back wall made of glass, which allowed more people to watch and gave the court a less constricted atmosphere.

What is it like to play on a glass squash court?

Glass squash courts have become much cheaper and therefore more popular in the last 20 years, so more and more people are getting to play on them. The first difference between a plaster court and a glass court is the colour of the ball you use. Most glass squash courts, although not all, require a white ball to be used. This is because the background seen through the glass is generally dark, so a black ball would be quite hard to see. Unfortunately, this means that only a slow ball can be used. A single dot white ball is exactly the same ball as a double dot black ball. Please don’t ask me why the white ball only has one dot, because I really don’t know and can’t seem to find out! The next difference is that the sound is very different from a plaster squash court. It’s hard to describe in text, but I love it. I feel there is less echo in an all glass court, but this is probably not due to the material, but rather the fact that it is open at the top. Like regular plaster squash courts, the temperature can vary a lot between glass courts. Some are warmer than others, so quite cold. I have never played on a glass court that was outside, but in my limited experience, in general glass courts are slightly cooler than plaster courts. This means that you normally need to hit the ball either a little harder or a little higher to get it to the back of the court. Video Squash Coaching from the comfort of your sofa! The final difference is the view, i.e. what you see. You can see the surroundings of the court, but once you start playing and are focusing on the ball and the match, that view fades into nothing. However, that is not true for some people, especially the first…

I often get asked “Should I Buy Expensive Squash Shoes?” and the simple answer is yes and no! The better question should be “Should I Buy Good Squash Shoes?” and the answer to that is a resounding YES!

Should I Buy Expensive Squash Shoes?

Having the right tee-shirt and shorts/skirt is important to ensure you look and feel great. Of course, modern materials also ensure your perform better; either by keeping you cool or by keeping you warm, depending on your needs. Having the right racket, grip and strings is just as important. It ensures you can use all your skills, style and guile to beat your opponent and win the match. Using the right ball, is essential too if you want to have a squash match that is competitive, but also fun. Play with a double yellow dot that you can’t keep warm and the game becomes boring and not much fun very quickly. Player with a red dot when you don’t need to and it becomes too bouncy very quickly meaning there’s not much running involved. USE THE RIGHT BALL! For more information about using the right ball, please see my in-depth guide: USE THE RIGHT BALL!. You should also be wearing WSF approved Squash Goggles, but I will be writing about Goggles in future squash articles. Over the years I have had expensive squash shoes and cheap squash shoes. Luckily, I have been able to adapt to what was available, but without doubt, the best shoes I had were the more expensive squash shoes. That said, the fit is the most important aspect for me. I would rather have a pair of cheaper squash shoes that fit perfectly than a pair of expensive squash shoes that were not quite right. The expensive ones would probably last longer, but what’s the point of longevity if they are not suitable? Video Squash Coaching from the comfort of your sofa! Nowadays, because I am only on court to make videos and maybe do some coaching, I prefer a more sturdy pair that will last me a long time. When I played competitively, I preferred lighter shoes that didn’t last as long. Decide what you…

Getting better at something is generally not rocket science. It’s often a case of setting aside time to practice. The problem is that most people don’t like practicing. Especially when it’s hard work.

The Power of Practice in Squash

Over the years, lots of players have asked me what’s the best way to improve. When I tell them they just have to work hard and practice, they pause and say they are looking for the tricks, shortcuts or secrets that will get them there without the hard work. I can’t blame them for wanting to improve with as little work as possible, after all today’s society is about “quick-fixes”, productivity and efficiency, so why not think in the same terms when it comes to sports? The reality is that 99% of players can’t get better without spending quite a few hours on the court. Yes, there does seem to be a few individuals who improve with very little effort, but I am sorry to be the one to tell you that you are not one of those people. How do I know? Because if you were you would know it from a young age. Where does that leave you? It leaves you with a choice. Option 1: continue looking for shortcuts, hoping to find some trick that will catapult you to the top of your club’s ladder or league, and dreaming of reaching your potential.Option 2: Commit to a scheduled training programme that focuses on the areas you need to improve. Video Squash Coaching from the comfort of your sofa! The second option doesn’t need to take hours every day or week, it just needs to be planned and followed. Only have 20 minutes most days to improve your squash? No problem, 20 minutes is better than nothing. On another day, maybe you could get to the court a little early and do some solo drills or light ghosting. Being committed to practicing doesn’t mean turning your life into a Rocky movie. It means accepting that just playing squash is never enough to really improve and reach your potential. Yes, even if you are overweight, started squash in your…

I recently read somebody advise another squash player to “Watch the ball at all times”. It’s one of those commonly repeated phrases, that amateur players and amateur coaches like to repeat, thinking it’s A: true and B: shows they know what they are talking about.

Do Not Watch The Ball All The Time In Squash

The piece of advice I often give is “Watch the ball hit your strings”. Essentially, you do that to ensure better contact, to have better balance and give less information to your opponent. In this short squash article, I am going to discuss why it is IMPOSSIBLE (Yes, capitals!) to watch the ball at all times. Putting aside the fact that the ball is often obscured by your opponent’s body. The reality is that not only can you not watch the ball at all times, you don’t even WANT to watch the ball at all times! When you watch the ball onto your strings, you can’t look up and follow the ball’s flight as well. It would ruin your balance, and the ball is just moving too fast. You would also probably give yourself a headache after a few minutes. Ask yourself this:Why do you need to watch the ball after it has hit your strings? Don’t you know where it is going? Accept that for a few short moments after you have hit the ball, you won’t be watching it. Now let’s look at the other time you shouldn’t be totally focused on the ball. Club players should be watching their opponents when the opponent is about to play the ball. You get more information from your opponent’s body position than you do from the ball. Video Squash Coaching from the comfort of your sofa! Do this thought experiment: Imagine you have just boasted the ball to the front. Your opponent moves forward to hit the ball and just before they hit it, time pauses. 1. Now imagine that the player disappears and all you can see is the ball. Where is the ball going to be hit to? You have no idea! You have no idea because the ball has no idea where it is going to be hit to. 2. Now imagine that the ball disappears and…

Error Fluid – Time to stop looking at errors in purely binary terms. About six years ago, I wrote an article entitled “The Myth of the Unforced Error” where I argued many errors traditionally called “unforced” were actually forced. In this article, I am going to further develop that argument, but also offer two new terms to allow a more nuanced view of errors.

A New Type Of Error In Racket Sports

Let’s Start At The Beginning Let’s start with the basic proposition.  Having a binary definition for errors i.e. “Forced” and “Unforced” does not fully cover real match situations or circumstances. It doesn’t take into account many factors that I believe should be considered before we try to define the error. We all think the definition of an unforced is clear; “when the player could have hit the ball in” or even “you’ll know it when you see it”, but we only need to watch a few squash matches, especially professionals, to find ourselves in a quandary regarding some of those errors. I will be arguing that there are in fact three possible types of errors. In addition, I will also be advancing the theory that errors can be made because you are mentally under pressure. These are currently grouped into “unforced”, partly because there was no obvious physical reason to miss and partly because, as is my contention, the mental aspect is ignored. Miss, Frame & Strings To make things easier to visualise I am going to call the players A and B. Player A hits a shot and player B is trying to retrieve it. Player B is the one who “makes the error”. The actual court positions and type of shots are not important at this stage, except to say that player B has always moved significantly to reach the ball and the ball never rolls in the nick. I say this because ANYTHING else is essentially “getable”, “reachable”, “playable” or whatever word or phrase you want to use. Let’s look at a few possible scenarios. Scenario 1 – Miss: Player A hits a shot and player B attempts to return it, but the shot is too “good” and player B misses the ball completely. Because player B didn’t make contact with the ball we class this as a “winner”. This is never called an unforced error because B couldn’t even get there, so no error, right? An exception to this description could be…

One of the things I love about coaching is encountering ideas and concepts from other fields of endeavour, and adapting them for use in squash. A little while ago, I was reading some Reddit posts and one was about “finance and how to spend your money” and it got me thinking about whether I could use the concept in squash. After a little pondering, I came up with this shot selection system that I call “The Shot Budget” and as far as I know, it’s a new way of looking at things.

The Squash Shot Budget

Under normal circumstances, I would have experimented with the idea using it with my pupils before posting about it, but as I no longer coach “on-court”, I have to admit, I haven’t tried it in a real-world situation. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to not only introduce the concept to coaches, but also hopefully generate discussion and dissection with a view to develop, modify and improve it. In addition, I hope self-motivated squash players may read this, try it for themselves and then have a new way of thinking about which shot to play and why. I believe that its core concept has value for most standards of players above improver level, but is really aimed at players who currently lack the willpower or self-control to not go for winners when they are not well positioned to do so and those who lack any framework for choosing shots when they play. For the sake of simplicity, I will be using Dollars, but you could easily use any currency, including made up ones that appeal to younger players. Decisions, Decisions, Decisions! When we play squash or any sport that requires shot selection decisions; where to hit the ball, how fast , how high etc, having some gameplan or strategy means that some decisions are easier to make, or at least can be made faster or earlier. I call these types of shots “Default Shots” – shots that almost choose themselves based on the situation. You could argue that with that definition, *all* shots are default shots as the situation is most often the deciding factor in shot selection, but a default shot covers situations where the choice of best shot is very limited. Imagine you find yourself in the back right hand corner of a squash court.  The ball has come off the back wall enough to allow you to play any shot you want. What shot do you choose? Well, the…