Monday, May 29, 2017

Tiger Trouble

This is a little off topic, but there's a lot we can learn from the news today about Tiger Woods. I turned on the sport highlights this morning and all the videos were about Tiger getting a DUI and people talking about this being the biggest downfall in the history of sports. Of course drinking under the influence is bad, there's no doubt about that. I don't know the stats off hand, but I know lots of people are injured and killed from DUI's every day across the world. But there are also probably thousands upon thousands of people that do this each day. Again, I'm not saying I agree with this, just that Tiger is not the only one who makes has made this mistake and paid the price for it.

My biggest problem with the reporters today is how happy they all seem to throw Tiger under the bus. I'm not saying he should receive special treatment, but there is a lot of research showing how difficult it is for pro athletes having to adjust to life after sport. He's had loads of surgeries and has not had any glimpses of success on the golf course in years. Not only that but Tiger was the most famous (and probably richest?) athlete of the 90's and 2000's. How is anyone supposed to live any resemblance of a normal life after all of this? I don't think any of us can relate to what Tiger is going through. He has the spotlight on him all of the time and he is forced into being good role model and saying politically correct things. We want hugely successful people to be the best role models for our young because they appear to have it all and are also model citizens. But even model citizens have low points.

Does someone who's super rich and famous really have it all? I can only imagine that it's not all it's cracked up to be. Once someone has achieved their lifetime dream which was their sole purpose each and every day of their lives, how exactly are they going to find meaning in their lives after the best is over? What does it feel like when you have to act like someone that the media wants you to be? As a coach, I feel like I have to be a good role model for all of the kids I coach, but that this in turn makes me want to be a better person so I enjoy this aspect of it. I'm sure I'm not the only coach or teacher that feels this way. Sometimes it can feel like you are 2 different people; 1 when you're at work (or for Tiger under the microscope any time you leave your house) and another when your'e not. It's incredibly difficult for these 2 to match up and I'm sure it causes a lot of stress. Do you think they should or can be the same? Or is that unrealistic expectations to put on someone? Most people would say they behave how they are expected to at work and off the clock they are themselves. Isn't that what we have come to expect from not just pro athletes, rock stars, but every single one of us?

Does someone not deserve to have a private life regardless of their spotlight in the media? This morning the reporters were upset about how Tiger put on this facade pretending to be the perfect role model and are in shock about how non-perfect he really is. My big peeve here is that humans make mistakes and that goes for each every one of us. It's about learning from our mistakes and from other people mistakes. This is more the message I hope is uncovered from this story. Should we not feel bad for what Tiger is going through? We loved him now we all despise him. Can we not turn this into a positive somehow and realize how fake media interviews turn famous people into? With social media being so popular these days it's difficult to hide the truth and it doesn't take much to tarnish someone's reputation. But I believe it's about trying to become a better person by giving back, being true to yourself, not following the money trail, following your passions, forgiving those that make mistakes and not being afraid to admit your own mistakes. And dealing with getting old and things change we need to learn how to adapt too.

I can only imagine what kind of life Michael Jackson lived the last few years of his life. I'm sure the same happens to many of the rich and famous. We all envy them, but maybe it not all it's cracked up to be. I would love nothing more than some of these greats to write an absolute truth biography and be completely open about all they went through. Theo Fleury did this and revealed that he had been molested as a child. I feel like if he never got this off of his chest he would have carried this weight around his whole life and never would have been truly happy. Maybe we don't need to make all of our skeletons public, but certainly having someone to speak with and help you through difficult times is an extremely important thing to have. Does Tiger have someone like that now that he is separated and has gone through piles of coaches? I still think Tiger means well and has just done some stupid things. And instead of publicly shaming him, I feel he could help a lot of other celebrities and pro athletes about how to better deal with the difficulties of falling out of the spotlight and losing their ability to compete at a high level.

Giving back is a way that can provide meaning and purpose much more valuable than any possession. Giving just money away is one thing, but actually going out and putting in the work is another.  Maybe Tiger will get into coaching or become even more involved with some charity work. He still has the platform to make our world a better place and I hope he takes this opportunity to do so. Gold is such a self-driven and internally focused profession so I imagine this makes changing your focus and motivation incredibly challenging.

Nobody is perfect and knowing how Tiger believes he can do anything he sets his mind to, I'm sure if he wants to he can turn this all around. Sometimes it takes a major low before you realize how far you've let something slip. I think we should be a bit more open minded and give Tiger a chance. In the end he seemed bigger than life, but that pressure in itself must make everything that much harder. People struggle and are often better for it in the long run. Let's hope Tiger will be too. I don't condone what happened, but you've got to feel for the man. He may appear to have it all, but clearly happiness isn't something you can buy. Only time will tell what's next for Tiger.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Just Play!

One of the great things about squash is that compared to other sports it really can be played your entire life, but for many of us it isn't. In squash you can be competitive and play tournaments at age, from under 11 to 75+. Since finishing juniors or varsity squash we tend to see most squash players disappear from the competitive squash scene. Some will continue to play the odd regular game with someone at their local club while others will turn to the more social and easier on the body game of hardball doubles. Once I got into coaching I also failed to play as much competitively for a variety of reasons. I think a lot of this stems from people moving on to the next stage of their lives and today's post is about trying to keep people in the sport after their junior and college careers and in doing so increasing participation in squash tournaments.

Team pic after winning an OUA title for Western Ontario from about 10 years ago (from all my years at university there were just 3 of us that played nationals this year)

When you're a kid you don't have many responsibilities. Even at university squash practices are all scheduled for you. There's also a lot of perceived expectations and self-imposed pressure that can take its toll on you over the years. When we finally finish competing as a junior or varsity athlete we have to set up everything on our own and clearly many of us do not make the time or have the desire to organize our own daily training schedule. Our focus turns to more adult like things such as careers and making money. Early adult life is for getting our career and our love life in order so we push aside our hobbies such as squash. It can also be quite a relief to let go of all that pressure you felt to win during your junior and college days.

Besides the challenges already discussed above there is another issue I believe keeps people out of competitive squash after juniors and university. As an individual sport we have all worked vey hard to get to a certain level and to play at our highest level requires daily practice both on and off the court. If we are unable to prepare to play at our best many of us just won't enjoy stepping on court and playing well below our potential; none of us want to lose to some junior we know we're better than. After all squash does require an extremely high amount of physical fitness to be successful at a high level which is very challenging to maintain when a weekly training schedule isn't planned out for you. Is this starting to sound familiar?

Long time rival and friend from juniors in the finals of the U.S. Open

From years of playing squash we have built up an ego about our skill level and who we believe to be better than or similar to. We like to preserve this level in our minds about what level we can play at with just a little bit of discipline and training. But even still at this years senior nationals (held in the squash capital of Canada, Toronto) the masters divisions of 30 and 35+ were very tiny. We don't have to worry about playing 2 matches in a day or losing to some kid because they're training every day and we're too busy living like adults. In the women's masters events they didn't even have entries in the lower age groups. It's kind of ironic that representatives of Participaction were on hand at the nationals when it's the one's who weren't in attendance that need that kick in the pants.

I know from growing up in Toronto and playing at university how many strong squash players there were and still are in the area, yet most didn't play in the nationals. Is it because they don't have the desire to play tournaments anymore or do they not think they're good or fit enough to enter? The age groups are much more about fun than the competitive open or junior events. I wonder why most didn't play when it's in their home town while I'm flying across the country to go compete.

I guess the main thing I take from all of this is that I wish more people would just get out and play and keep the squash spirit alive! It's easier to say than do, but if we don't worry about winning and losing and simply having fun and reconnect with old friends we battled against as juniors it could be a lot more fun than pain. If the nationals was held anywhere besides Toronto I'm sure the age group draws would have been even smaller.

I don't know what we can do to get more people to participate after juniors or varsity squash, but it would be great to keep more of these people stay in the game. Squash is a pretty small scale sport and it's a shame that so many skilled people who spent such a large portion of their youth playing squash stop competing and being a part of our sport. I know people begin to have families and get busy with their careers, but I know I would really miss squash if I just stopped playing and being around the game.

Do we need to find a way to make squash less competitive or less physically taxing for those that aren't playing much, but were once strong players? What if we played to 7 PAR or best of 3? Or simply guaranteeing just the 1 match per day? I'd actually really like to see the low tin used on all courts for amateurs so this could be a good step too. Or perhaps the best way to keep all of these people involved at tournaments is to provide lots of free beverage tickets ;)

Squash Canada and each province needs to find a way to keep all of these previous juniors involved in squash at any capacity. I know there is a big gap right now for people that want to go from juniors or varsity squash to the pro level. Maybe it's just up to each and every one of us to just sign up as long as we are relatively injury free. Nobody is ever completely healthy and fit when they get into their 30's and this is why they have age groups! I know it's too easy to listen to the reasons why you shouldn't, but remember life is about experiences and getting outside of your comfort zone. Hopefully this trend will change and we'll see more people getting back into the competitive side of the game. Remember that you don't need to be playing the best squash of your life to play in a tournament. There is more pressure to prepare for competitions when you're a kid, but this is only self-imposed when you're older. Sign up and play and don't take yourself so seriously. Let go of expectations and your ego and you may just find yourself enjoying the best game in the world with an old peer.

Play squash because it's fun and because you love it. If you're worried about the outcome you have to remember it's just for fun and exercise. Let's help keep the game strong with increasing participation which likely also will increase the tournaments beer sales too! Support your local club tournaments and play provincials or nationals whenever possible and especially if they're close to your hometown. This post doesn't just have to do with Canada or Nationals, but any club in the world. How many times have you made illegitimate excuses not to participate in a tournament because you didn't feel 100% prepared for it? Let's all try and say 'sign me up' a little bit more. Let's try and remember that the game is bigger than any single one of us.

I leave for vacation tomorrow so there will be a break from postings. I'm certain I'll come up with some new great topics to write about once I return so stay tuned for those. This summer I also plan on beginning to film the 2nd Serious Squash instructional film. Stay tuned for more details. If you haven't hear yet, the 1st film is a full length instructional video titled 'The Secrets Of Solo Hitting.' It contains 30 solo drills and tips to improve your game. The film can be streamed and downloaded at and there is a no questions asked money back guarantee that comes with it. Here's a video preview of the film:

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Bellevue Squash Classic Finals: Gaultier vs. Farag Analytics

When watching the finals of the Bellevue Squash Classic I did some charting. In the semis I charted one of Farag's games because I was surprised how rarely he plays straight drives. He does move unbelievable so clearly he doesn't want to get stuck into a controlled/patient style of play. I was curious if his lack of straight drives is why his technique on his drives is a little suspect. But this post isn't about technique, it's about shot selection and notation.

In the semis where Farag played Marwan Elshorbagy I only charted the first game. There were 115 shots in the first game and 42.6% of Farag's shots were straight drives. Also 10.4% of his shots were boasts, which seems very high for the first game at this level. 25.2% of his total shots were short so he was certainly trying to move his opponent around. In the finals I decided to chart Gauliter because I thought he played more structured and we would see this in the numbers. I think we know Gaultier crosscourts a lot from the forehand, but is generally quite patient. Here's how the numbers looked.

Game 1 - total number of shots = 244
47.9% straight drives
31.5% crosscourt length
14.3% drops/kills
1.6% boasts

Game 2 - total number of shots = 142
45.7% straight drives
26% crosscourt length
26.8% drops/kills
1.4% boasts

Game 3 - total number of shots = 136
52% straight drives
20.6% crosscourt length
24.3% drops/kills
2.9% boasts

Match Totals
Number of shots = 511 + serves
Straight drives = 253/ 49.5%
Crosscourt length = 142/ 27.8%
Drops/kills = 106 (10 errors)/ 20.7%
Boasts = 10/ 1.9%
Long = 395/ 77.3%
Short = 116/ 22.7%

It would be interesting to see more stats like this against other players and be able to compare them from match to match and event to event. Would Gaultier play more or less short or more or less straight against a more traditional player? It would also be interesting to know how many shots per rally or game his best suit his game or give his opponents their best chance. The French General was pretty fortunate to win that 2nd game and it looked like he lost his focus and started going short at the wrong time. He also popped up a lot of his drops, which I can only assume has something to do with his ridiculously low string tension. It as nice to see him stay calm out there and both guys seemed to be really enjoying the match.

Do you think the shorter or longer rallies favour Gauliter? He did well slowing the pace down and lifting the ball and his movement really is outrageous. Still I think Farag was close and had a chance to win all 3 games. Do you think Gaultier should go short more or less? Should he play straighter on the forehand and cross or boast more from the backhand? He certainly gets stuck into patterns, but because he's such a great mover he can get away with this predictability. I'd really like to see a healthy and fit Ramy have at least 1 or 2 more good battle with Greg before they retire.

Have you ever charted your own match? What you think is happening may be quite a bit different from what actually is going on out there? Sometimes just a few more shots to 1 area of the court can change the game around. Maybe being slightly more patient, or just a little more aggressive is all you need to turn things around. When a pro plays 100-200 shots in a game a difference in 5-10% of shot selection is huge. This could have to do with settling into the match, gaining confidence, the players getting tired or the ball softening up.

Have you hear about The Secrets of Solo Hitting? It's a 64 minute instructional video which contains 30 solo drills which will help you improve your squash game. Pick up a copy at and if you don't enjoy it I will give you a full refund. So far there are over 100 copies sold to people from all over the world. Here's a preview of the film

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Play To Win, But Focus On The Process

A pitcher in baseball may want to strike out the batter, but all they can do is select a pitch and try and hit his/her location. What the batter does afterwards is out of the pitchers control. A poor pitch can be swung on and missed while a perfectly executed pitch can be hit out of the park. This post is about learning to focus on making your pitch (with confidence) and accepting whatever follows. If you can continually concentrate your efforts on improving the quality of your pitches you will give yourself increasingly better odds at producing the desired outcomes. Everyone wants to win, but nobody can always win or completely control the outcome.

When we grow up we are surrounded by people praising achievement. People who win elections and win sporting championships get parties and parades thrown for them. I loved squash more than other sports because winning or losing was mostly in my control. In a team sport you can only do so much and I enjoyed having a big part to do with the outcome. When I was young I also loved winning tournaments. They'd make announcements at school after you won a tournament and you'd get some really cool trophy or squash racquet. I remember even making the front page of the local newspaper at some point.

I know from experience it's a difficult balance helping a kid along this journey because most parents want to support their children and embrace success, but also are careful of not pushing too hard on the result side of it. I enjoyed winning and being the best at something and my motivation was 100% intrinsic. If we're good at something we tend to like it, practice it more, become more skilled at it and win even more; the trouble with this process is that our ego can disrupt our progression and the ability to perform at our best because we are only thinking about winning and not necessarily on the process, which after all is what dictates the results. What a tough concept to grasp.

Fear or anxiety of a poor performance and outcome leads many people to avoid participation in tournaments. It's much easier to handle winning than it is losing. Other people love competition and only play their best squash when they're in a tournament. Do you still register for a tournament when you have no chance of winning it? Do you play better when you're a favourite or underdog?

After many years of playing and coaching at tournaments I have a more relaxed approach to competition, but don't let that fool you into thinking I still don't want to win every match I play or coach. It goes without saying that we should always give everything we have to try and win, but winning should never be our goal. I always try and praise effort and preparation over results. If you've done all you can to prepare and leave it all out on the court, the rest will be simple. I believe the outcome focus for tournaments puts extra pressure on you. I've seen it many times where someone plays not to lose and is unable to find their zone and coincidentally their best squash.

Although I've just stated how your focus should not be on winning, there is 1 trait that going into a tournament expecting to win can give you which is desirable and that's confidence. There's a big difference between someone that goes out there not expecting to win and someone who is. This is the difficult balance we need to find as a squash player. How do we step on court each time with the confidence to be successful without focusing on the outcome?

Many times when we play against stronger opponents we give them too much credit and play without belief that we can win and because of this we don't leave absolutely everything on the court. Even at the highest level you don't always see the underdog do absolutely everything within their power to win that match. But again, how can we do absolutely everything within our power to win our match without focusing on winning? It may sound cliche, but it really is about focusing on the process. If we can focus on the process we can concentrate on playing the right shot more often and less about avoiding slightly risky shots and not losing. If we think so much about only winning our current match it can hold back our long term development and we may not give our best effort when there is no chance of us winning. Try your best, play the right shot, commit to it and accept whatever the results may be. It's not just about this single shot, point or match. Maybe your opponent is simply better at the moment, but if so that's just a great opportunity to learn and become better from it.

A little more on playing a stronger player, at least try and keep them on court as long as possible. I see it all the time and people just try forcing the ball short from poor positions hoping to sneak a few cheap points or don't try at all, but that isn't going to beat a better player or allow you to improve; if anything you're just ingraining destructive mental habits. The best chances1 to beat a stronger player is to get into super long rallies and hope that they lose their focus and give you a few cheap points because maybe they are thinking too much about not wanting to lose. They may even get more tired than you expected and all of the sudden you can find yourself creating some more positive openings. That's why you should always give it everything you have and never panic during a match. If something isn't working yet, it doesn't mean it won't at some point. Keep fighting until the last point is over. You see people lose focus at game or match ball all of the time. It's almost like they let their focus slip because surely they can close it out from here. We start thinking about winning, or that we are about to win and we change how we think and play. This nicely illustrates how destructive the outcome focus can be to our squash.

In Canada we don't have an under 11 at nationals because they are worried about early specialization and kids competing at such a young age. I think this is crazy, because I believe it's up to the coaches and parents to help the kids learn about trying their best and having fun at a young age. We all need to learn how to handle both winning and losing. Yes there will be a few tears, but that's okay it's a learning process at this age. It's still a learning process in the under 19 division too! I think all kids will develop better if they can learn the delicate balance between wanting to win, but focusing on the process and development. Eventually you realize just how many areas there are we can improve in our squash game. We can improve our swing, our accuracy, our power, play around with different types of spin, make better shot selections and of course improve our mental game and get fitter, faster and stronger.

Winning happens if we improve all of our skills and become the best player we can be. It's nice to see your hard work pay off in the form of wins and rankings, but this is where fitness and technical testing can help too. If we can measure our improvement in our training sessions, we will have confidence we are improving without the need of specific outcomes or rankings. If we increase our confidence in our ability to play longer and harder railer or hit specific shots more accurately in our matches we will have a better chance of being successful.

You probably have heard the popular term, 'focus on what's under your control.' In sport this is so critical to playing your best. If we waste our energy getting upset about a lucky shot our opponent hit or a bad ref or a tough draw we are setting ourselves up for trouble. All of these things are out of our control and this is what makes life and sport so fascinating. It's learning how to handle adversity and focus on doing our best which this journey is all about. I love the challenge of trying to find the optimal mindset for playing my best squash most consistently. If you can do this and stay hungry to become the best you can possibly be you will get your share of results so don't worry about this area.

Wanting to win is fine, but focus on the process and on improving your game. When I ran a provincial junior camp before nationals this year I worked with some amazing young players. I had a questionnaire and the first question was what are there goals for nationals? Many had to win or make semis, etc. There's a lot that goes into winning such a big title and it's great to have such motivated athletes, but I also felt they were too result oriented. How are they going to play relaxed squash, especially when games are tight if they are focused on the outcome only? Again, you never know how the draw is going to be and how the other kids will play. Squash isn't like a class in school where getting an A for everyone is achievable. In squash there is only 1 winner, but that doesn't mean many of the kids competing shouldn't leave happy with how they performed and where there game is at. It's the fact that they (their ego), their coaches, parents and peers all want them to win too. Kids can easily attach their self-worth to their sporting results. If someone leaves absolutely everything out on the court and plays to the best of their ability that is as good or even better than someone who won the tournament. We need to learn how to feel satisfied with these areas regardless of the result. As I've already mentioned praise effort and preparation not results.

A competition is simply a tool to measure your game and how much you've improved and what you need to work on going forwards. If you come up a bit short you may be hungrier than the person who won the title. If you won the title you may put too much pressure on yourself to repeat this the performance the next time. These are the lessons that I love about sport and I wish I had someone to help me rid my ego and outcome focused squash brain when I was young. If I knew how damaging it could be to solely focus on the outcomes I'm sure I would have changed it because I wanted to be the best I could be, but I had no idea that my winning every single time I stepped out on court mindset was also causing damage to my development. Nobody wins every match and if you are you aren't getting challenged. And I know there's people out there saying that this is a soft Canadian way of thinking, but I disagree. I am all for trying to become the best you can be, but I think there is a healthier process of getting to this place.

I just got back from playing in the 35+ Canadian Nationals. When I was playing in the 30+ a few years back I played to win. One time I did and another year I was the runner up. The year I lost it bothered me a lot; I kept replaying in my mind how I could have won. But even now at my age I've realized how debilitating these goals and mindset can be to my performance. Yes I did finish 2nd this time around too, but I didn't leave the tournament constantly thinking about how much it sucks that I didn't win. I know how I can prepare a bit better next time and that's that. If I only played in a tournament when I knew I had a really good chance to win I may never play tournaments again; that's part of the beauty of sport. I used to always be asked 'what happened?' or 'how'd you lose to that guy?' if I didn't win a match or a tournament. That puts a lot of pressure on you, so it's really about learning to not care what others think about your squash game and letting go of your ego and focusing on what is under your control, the process and getting better. Yes I wanted to win this time around and I had a shot at it, but it just didn't happen. I tried my best I can live with that. Maybe I'll win next year and I'll give everything I have to make that happen, but that's not my goal.

Have you bought a copy of The Secrets of Solo Hitting yet? 99 copies sold and counting! It's a 64 minute instructional squash video on solo hitting. There are over 30 solo drills with tips on how to improve your solo practice. Pick up your copy at Here's a preview from the Serious Squash Youtube page

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

2017 Canadian Nationals Recap

I just got back from competing in the Canadian Nationals. I missed playing it the last few seasons because of knee problems, so just to be back on court and competing was a win for me. Unfortunately I had trouble backing up a tough match and lost in the finals of the 35+ 3-1. Anyways, this isn't a post about me so let's move on.

Today I'm going to talk about the men's and women's open events. Here's a link to all the draws if you would like to check out the full results: Being around squash for my whole life you get to know almost everyone and you get to see juniors rise up and become some of the best players in the country. Canada has had some success on the PSA circuit over the years and we all look up to the footsteps of Jonathan Power (who for the record did not play this year). There was a good blend of some competitors around my age who are nearing the end of their careers and others are just beginning. Shawn Delliere and Shahier Razik have both won a number of the mens' titles over the years and Sam Cornett was back after missing last season due to injury. Cornett has had lots of great results on the PSA tour since her comeback so most people were favouring her to recapture the title. Hollie Naughton was the defending women's champ and Andrew Schnell was last years champ on the men's side.

The women's draw is the most competitive I have ever seen. Canada has a number of women ranked in the top 75 in the world (I believe 5) and there are others playing close to this caliber. Although the women's draw was smaller the caliber and competitiveness was good. It was encouraging to see a couple of the top local juniors in the mix.

The women's semis were set with the top 4 seeds and both matches were incredibly tight. Unfortunately both ended with bad calls by the ref. Down 10-9in the 4th and 2-1 in games Cornet had the momentum, but Letourneau was awarded a stroke for a simple let and the entire crowd gasped in shock and was vividly not happy with the call. I was thinking as watching this that if Cornett had won that point she was going to win that match, it was that critical. Shame when you see something like that. In the other semis (which I didn't see all of) I heard there was a wrong call at 9-9 in the 4th against Nikki Todd which gave Naughton match ball. I was worried about the refing from my very 1st match when I was awarded a no let when I hit my opponent during my swing which caused my ball to hit the floor. I don't know if the refs have got a new set of rules they're using. I don't like bringing up this topic again, but anytime a ball was hit lose it was either a 'no let' or a 'stroke.' It was really strange and you never knew which was coming regardless of the amount of impedance of the swing. There was no consistency with these calls. In my semis my opponent and I agreed to change poor decisions twice and the ref got angry and asked if we even wanted him to ref. I realized quickly it was not worth arguing or getting upset about any calls, you just hope they didn't occur in big points and unfortunately for the women it did happen in big moments in incredibly exciting and well fought matches. Moving on.

After Letourneau had caused a big upset and taken out Cornett I felt it was going to be very tough for her to mentally and physically back that up in the finals against Naughton. Letourneau was up 2-1 in the finals when you could see she was getting a bit fatigued and forcing the ball short too early and from defensive positions. Somehow it's kind of encouraging knowing the top players struggle with the same things everyone else does at times. Naughton went on to win in 5 and is the defending champ. But with the depth and caliber of the women in the field this title will be up for grabs every season!

On the men's side there were also plenty of upsets. The defending champ, Schnell lost in 5 to Mike McCue while less surprising was Nick Sachvie who beat Shawn Delliere in 3 straight. Sachvie has been climbing up the PSA ranks quickly and cleaned up during the weekend without dropping a game. Watching Sachvie play I felt like he has less obvious areas to work on than the other guys do. His movement and court coverage is unbelievable and super efficient. It would have been nice to see him tested and to see how he handles the pressure of tight matches. He definitely has the ability to continue cracking on up in the men's rankings. It's all going to come down to the tactics and mental game. He's got the movement and the racquet skill. If he can get out on court with some of the top pros I'm sure it would help him continue his rapid development. That's the challenge here in Canada when you become the best. Since the NSA has closed their doors there is no set place and team for upcoming pros to go train. Currently a group of them go to club in Toronto and work with a couple of the coaches there, but it doesn't have the draw or appeal of a place like the NSA and JP did.

I thought they caliber of squash was very high in the men's too. It will interesting to follow the men and women as some careers are winding down and others are just getting going. The top 4 Canadian women all have the ability to crack the top 30 and there's a few after that who aren't too far behind them. Sachvie seems to have the clear cut edge in how far up he can get up the rankings. I could see him making top 30 or even 20 in a few years, but at that stage you need to be getting regular hits with the top guys and on the glass court. Schnell is extremely fast and an amazing athlete and has already had some success getting into the top 60 and winning last years title so convincingly. We all know Razik and Delliere have already reached impressive previous career highs a few years back. I believe Razik got to the low 20's and Delliere around 30. Neither could find success on the glass court against the top players so let's hope our next crop of players can do better at this transition.

It's a shame that Squash Canada doesn't have a stepping stage or funding for juniors to the PSA for the top kids. It's tough to stay motivated and on the right course for year after year unless you happen to get a great team in place on your own. Even then, managing this financially is a major struggle. $1,200 for winning nationals barely covers expenses if you don't happen to live in Toronto. Other countries have paid pro leagues, more national funding and plenty of coaching and training available for their top players. If I was a top up and coming Canadian pro I would definitely need a lot of help, but would be afraid to ask for it and wouldn't know where to turn. Going to a good university program seems the simplest really. Other than that I say go abroad. If you want to keep our top players in Canada try and help get a PSA event at your club or reach out to sponsor 1 of these amazing athletes. And how about trying to get a glass court set up somewhere permanently in Canada? I'd be happy to make some space for it on the west coast :)

Did you watch Nationals is person or on the streaming? Let me know your thoughts. And if you haven't already checkout out the new Serious Squash film, The Secrets of Solo Hitting has now sold almost 100 copies to people from all over the world. It's a 64 minute advanced instructional video on how to solo hit most effectively. Pick up a copy at and if you'd enjoy it I will give you a full refund!