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.
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 about learning new skills. New skills that can be incorporated into matches when you are under pressure. So, yes, give it 6 weeks before you take a break.
Not Just Fitness Though
I can’t deny it, fitness plays a huge role in our squash level. There’s little doubt, if you took almost any amateur squash player and over 6 weeks got them a lot fitter, they would win more matches. To me, that’s not being a better squash player though. To improve, your skills and abilities have to get better. So make sure you spend at least 20 minutes a week doing solo drills, another 20 minutes doing pair drills, 40 minutes playing conditioned games and at least one competitive match, plus 2 or 3 fitness sessions. That’s a lot, I know. But that’s why it’s called hard work!
Motivation Versus Discipline
Doing something when you want to do it is motivation. Doing something when you don’t want to is discipline. I don’t expect you to suddenly become Rocky; waking up before dawn, running in the streets, punching dead animals and running up the steps at sunrise! You maybe have a family, a job, a partner, pets, child, responsibilities, other hobbies and an exciting life outside of squash, but, if you really want to improve your squash you have to be disciplined.
All I ask is for you to set realistic goals, with an achievable training plan. Start with something easy, perhaps 1 extra fitness session per week and one on-court drill session, you could even share the court with a training partner: half the time solo drills, the other half either pair drills or conditioned games. Do that for six weeks and see how you feel. Often, success is the motivation we need to continue.