If you haven’t read yesterday’s Part 11, don’t worry, you can read it later. All the ideas are separate, so you don’t need to have read it first. I am a great believer in “Cross-Learning”, that’s like cross-fitness, but instead of doing exercises from other sports, it’s about learning from other sports. Here are some more ideas from boxing that can be applied to squash.
Fitness Is Important, But Technique Is Vital
Being fit is very important for both sports, but I truly believe that being technically superior has more effect on success than fitness. I’m not saying that you don’t need to be fit to win squash matches, because you do, but the fittest player doesn’t always win. Of course, neither does the technically proficient player either. It’s clearly a combination of physical, technical and mental. Fitness comes and goes – technique is for life!
I have no doubt that I could be super fit and get into the ring with a old boxer and he would beat me easily. Just the same as an old squash player would beat a young, super-fit novice. Fitness is only useful when you skill levels are more or less equal. Once you perfect your technique, you will only need to maintain it. Fitness requires constant work.
Never neglect your skill and technique training!
Don’t Get Hit And If You Do, Cover Up!
There are two types of defence in boxing: avoiding getting hit (see the image of Mr. Ali as a perfect example), although Mr. Alvarez is also fascinating to watch2, and covering up in close quarters. I don’t know if you can split the concept into squash, but the simple idea of defending when needed does translate very well into squash.
There are different types of defence in squash, but I suppose the most obvious ones are using height and slowing the ball down. Done well, both can actually turn into attacking shots. The problem is that not enough amateurs play defensive shots and they quote the phrase “The best defensive shot is an attacking one“, which is total tosh! They quote that phrase as justification for going for winners when they should be playing defensive shots. Don’t be one of those players.
Playing defensive is not a sign of weakness, but of tactical awareness. Improve your lob and your game will improve.
The Will To Win And Concentration
I just talked about skill and technique, and those things can be learnt. Determination and grit can also be developed, but it takes hard work, day in, day out to develop that will to win. Make no mistake, when you walk into a squash court, you are about to fight your opponent. Not with fists and punches, but with drives, and drops.
Sometimes the difference between winning and losing is attitude. Fighting for every single point, no matter the score can make the difference. I understand why when a player is 10-2 down in a game they will try to hit he nick and win quick points. Sometimes there are even good tactical reasons to stop fighting, but in general I believe that you should fight for every single point. It’s one of the things about Rafa Nadal that I so admire. He never gives up and his opponents know that and it affects them.
Be the type of player that others dislike playing. Make them work for every single point.
- What Can Squash Players Learn From Boxers – Part 1 – BetterSquash
- Canelo Alvarez – Defensive Slips & Rolls – YouTube