Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Getting Back Into Squash After the Summer Break

So it's been 2 weeks since I put out a 2 week challenge out there. Anyone accept this? What did you do? It's amazing what we can do in 2 weeks if we have the motivation to do it. If you didn't take part in the challenge, well try one now until the end of the month. Don't wait until September rolls around to start getting back in shape. I know it's still summer, but this is the time to start getting back into squash. I remember one summer I took the whole summer off and it took me 2 or 3 months to get back to where I was the previous spring. If you start now you'll be one step ahead of most people when the season begins. This means you should be playing well for the first tournament and when your league starts.

A typical Canadian squash season starts in September and wraps up around May. It's great and important to have a break, but if you take a long time off you are begging to get injured when you get back into and try and play 4 or 5 days a week. Start easing yourself back into it. Start with a short session, maybe just a couple of easy drills or even a solo hit. We all try and do too much after a long break, so have a goal for when you want to get back to last springs form. Depending on your age and what you've been doing with your time off are good indicators for how long it will take you to get back to where you were. Older people may take at least as long as they missed (or even longer) to get back to where they were. Young whipper snappers can get back in a fraction of that time especially if they've stayed active. So set your goals accordingly and be patient as you get things back on track. This is where you need to stay positive and not get down when you hit a few frame shots or even when you have a terrible case of squash butt.

If you are just getting back into squash it is even more important to remember to have a proper cool down. Do some light aerobic activity and stretching. You will still be sore, but you will recover much faster. Because of your time away this is often the best time to get into a new routine such as a post match cool down. As we get older we need to do this, but don't wait until you're at this stage. Even teens will recover faster if they take care of their body by having an effective cool down routine. They may not think they require this now, but when they get to some big tournament and have 3 matches in a day they will have a huge advantage if they have this routine down pat while their competitors fail to do the same.

Summary of my main tips for getting back into the squash season: start slow, don't play too long the first couple of times and stick to some easy drills, stay positive and laugh off mishits or poor decisions (this isn't important at this moment), set some short term goals for getting back to where you were before you took a break, and do some light aerobic activity like biking and stretch after you play. Also this is a good time of the year to start thinking about your goals for the season. Try and connect your short term getting back in shape goals to what you want to accomplish and improve this year..it could be to get into women's A or top 5 in your age group, doesn't matter what it is, but the first step starts with getting back to where you were before moving on and up.

New challenge: I'm going to leave this post with another challenge for everyone! If you're reading this you love squash. So my challenge is help get a new person into squash this season. This may be a family member or friend or just some kid you help out (for free!) at your local club. It's tough to get new people into the sport because usually they are pretty bad at the beginning and two beginners usually don't have any rallies. You don't need to be a great player or coach, just play some rallies and show why you love the game. Who knows, maybe the person you introduce squash to will really love it and take it up. That's a great gift we can all share. Don't embarrass them, let them win some points and make sure they have fun. Normally squash is all about yourself, but not this time!

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