Do Something Every Single Day To Improve Your Squash!

Online Squash Coaching

Expand search form

Club

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.

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…

Everybody loves to hit the ball hard, right? I sure do. But I also want to hit it accurately, otherwise You might be causing yourself more problems than you solve!. Hitting the ball hard in squash is not about how strong you are, it’s about using the right muscles at the right time. That said, being strong in the right places also helps.

How To Hit The Ball Hard In Squash

Another requirement of being able to hit the squash ball hard AND accurately is good technique. Squash, like other racket sports, has its own technique that minimizes the effort needed to hit the ball at the maximum speed in the minimum space available. You can’t use a tennis swing on a squash court, not if you want to remain safe and effective. You also can’t use a badminton wrist flick either because squash rackets are just too heavy. So that leaves good squash technique. I’m not going to discuss the specific swing technique used for forehand or backhand squash swings, but I do want to talk about timing. Timing is the ability to use the right muscles at the right time and of course that is highly connected with swing technique, so make sure you get some lessons. The first thing you need to do when trying to hit the ball is relax! Yes, that sounds counter-intuitive, but if you are tensing the wrong muscles you will be inhibiting the natural flow of you body. The next thing you should do is learn to transfer your weight into the ball. That’s why you sometimes see small players who can hit the ball very hard despite their size; their use their weight. Ideally, you should make contact with the ball as you take the last step towards the ball, this will ensure you are transferring most of you weight into the ball. However, you shouldn’t be too close nor too far away from the ball. The right distance is where you are reaching but balanced. The moment of impact is very important to hitting the ball cleanly and hard. Any wobble of the racket head means that energy will be lost. Good technique is used to ensure that the swing is compact and uses the forearm muscles rather than the “flick” seen in badminton. Like nearly everything, you must practice hitting…

“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…

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…