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What Squash Players Can Learn From Boxers: Part 1

I don’t profess to be an expert at boxing, but you don’t have to be an expert to learn from other sports. Boxing is interesting in the way that both boxers use the same area, same as in squash.

What Squash Players Can Learn From Boxers

Who hasn’t watched Rocky and wanted to start training? Those training montages1 inspire us all, but there’s more to boxing than singing “Eye of the Tiger” and running up steps at dawn! Here are a few ideas for squash players to steal from boxers.

What Squash Players Can Learn From Boxers

Skipping

One of the first things you think of when you imagine boxers training is skipping, at least I do. Some people call it Jumping Rope and there’s plenty of videos2 about how to do, different techniques and even “Can you stop the rain?“. I’ve written about the Split Step in Squash3 but to effectively do it, you must have strong legs and core, and one of the best ways to develop that is via skipping. Some of you may be thinking skipping is for children, well, wait until you buy a fast, metal skipping rope and watch those videos.

The great thing about skipping is that the equipment is not too expensive, easy to carry in your bag and you can do it almost anyway. It’s perfect for heating up before a training session or match, or as part of your actual fitness training. It is possible to skip without the rope, but by using the rope, you also develop concentration and timing. Every ambitious squash player should spend 6 months doing it before deciding it’s not suitable for them.

Skipping is hardcore training and will only improve your squash!


What Squash Players Can Learn From Boxers

Body Shots

Each and every rally in squash is like one whole boxing match. The knockout blow is like the nick shot. Of course, you need to win at least 33 points to win a squash match, but only one knock out punch in boxing. Boxers “work the body” with body shots. Those punches don’t often win matches, but they tire the opponent out, drop the guard and then allow us to look to end the match. Same in squash. The deep shots to the back4 draw the opponent out of position, tire the opponent and allow us to play more attacking shots.

Boxers can’t try for the knockout punch every single time they swing and squash players can’t aim for the nick every time they hit the ball either.

Deep Shots create opportunities for more attacking shots


What Squash Players Can Learn From Boxers

Shadow Boxing And Solo Work

Boxers spend a fair amount of time shadow boxing and working alone. You can’t be in the ring getting hit all the time and while it is possible for squash players to spend most of their time on court with a partner, they shouldn’t. Squash players need to do their own shadow swinging (swinging without the ball to perfect technique) and ghosting (running around the court to improve movement) as well. Boxers also hit bags and speedballs alone. They do this to improve their technique but also general fitness and timing/rhythm – squash players should do the same.

Solo hitting done right, can improve technique, accuracy and concentration. Solo hitting is not something you do because your opponent is late – you perform solo hitting because it’s one of the best ways to get better. There has never been a professional squash player that hasn’t spent many hours on court alone hitting the ball.

Spend time improving you skill by solo hitting on court


Resource Links

  1. Rocky Training Montages – YouTube
  2. Jumping Rope Videos – YouTube
  3. What Is The Split Step In Squash – BetterSquash
  4. Why DO Pros Hit The Ball To The Back So Much? – BetterSquash