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.
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 play within my limits” and suddenly find yourself injured and in pain.
I WANT you to play squash again, but not just once or twice before you stop again, but for the rest of your life and that means accepting that unless you are in your early twenties and have been exercising regularly, the chances are you will need to very carefully ease back into playing.
I speak from experience. I took a break from squash for 13 years and spent 3 months playing alone, ghosting and getting fit before playing with somebody else and even then the first few weeks afterwards I was aching. Luckily though I didn’t injure myself.