Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Importance of Solo Hitting

How did I get good at squash? If I had to credit 1 thing over my entire life it would be all of the time I've spent solo hitting. Of course there were a few coaches along the way and the support of my family which helped, but I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours on court by myself solo hitting. Why? I wanted to get better, a lot better and the more time I spent on court hitting balls the more I improved. I loved that I could practice squash whenever I wanted and I always enjoyed hitting the ball and trying to learn new shots.

As a coach I've always told my pupils that solo practice is a MUST for any player that wants to be good. You can't make someone want to solo hit or be great. This is a quality that has to come from within the player. If you coach someone with this quality coaching is simple and really enjoyable.

As I got to a men's open level I felt I couldn't play matches everyday or I would get injured so I always tried to mix in lots of solo practice within these hard training or match sessions so I could still improve without overdoing it physically. My theory was that if I could control the better I would also have to do less work in my matches. There's also no better feeling than learning a new shot and executing it in your matches.

If you want to be able to confidently play the tactically most correct shot at any time during a match you've go to practice each of the shots over and over. You need to rehearse each shot until you've gotten extremely consistent and you no longer have to think about the technique of your swing while you hit it. If you're thinking about how to swing for a certain shot during a game you're in big trouble.   So if there are certain shots you have to think of you probably just haven't rehearsed these swings enough to become automated. Even once a skill becomes automated the level of precision for each shot must improve as you move up in levels. When you start playing just getting a drive to the back or hitting a drop a foot above the tin are well executed shots and will be pretty effective. As you improve these targets become more specified and vital to your success.

Last year Eye Rackets contacted me because of all the skill challenge videos I was posting. They started in good fun and slowly but surely people in squash took notice. In October I signed a 3 year contract with Eye Rackets and they are supporting my new venture in solo drills and skill challenges. I'm always looking for new cool and difficult drills to complete and I have a few on the to film list at the moment.

A couple of months ago I thought it would be fun to make a longer video and sell it online. I knew instantly that my 1st video should be about solo hitting because that's my most knowledgeable area and I believe it's so essential to a squash players development. I didn't realize how much work it was going to be, but after a couple of months of writing, filming, editing and marketing it is finally complete and for sale in the Serious Squash Shop. So far I've sold about 55 copies to people from all over the world. It's so neat that with the internet I can reach a small number of dedicated squash enthusiasts who are as passionate about squash, improving and solo hitting as I am. Feel free to share this with info your friends, unless of course they're also your competitors ;)

I've just put together a fun little promo video. Here it is if you'd like to have a peak.


If you'd like to order a copy of the film it's available at SeriousSquashShop.com/collections/coaching-videos and for $25 you can stream it and download it for safe keeping. There is a lot of information on this film so I'm sure the keenest will refer back to it as they work on their game and improve their solo skills.

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