Thursday, September 13, 2018

Building A Winning Routine

Routines are in mind essential towards long term goals. Most of what we do on a daily basis is done by habit and without much thought. Habits about what you do and how you do it can go a long way towards dramatically improving your ability to do something. Squash encompasses so much to play at the highest level, from the technical skill, shot selection, all the physical fitness component endured, the metal game, nutrition and so on. If you really want to be great it takes a lot of persistence over a sustained period of time. How do you maintain your motivation and obsessive habits over a long period of time? Well you can either absolutely love squash and/or you can build good habits and put them into your day to day activities.

Here's a little 1 page sheet I wrote for the school I work at. It's posted to be understood by kids of all ages and levels so some of it is vague. Intrinsic motivation and making kids aware of how little actions (on and off the court) can build up into something special was my motivation for writing this document.

Building A Winning Routine

  1. Ask yourself what can you do each day to become better???

  2. There's a LOT you can do off court to improve your squash game. Here are some examples
    • strength training (specifically core, quads, hamstrings and calfs).
    • Mobility exercises (to improve your range of motion, this could include yoga, rolling and stretching along with simple exercises like lunges and squats). 
    • Make healthy food choices and avoid sugary drinks. 
    • Get a good night's rest ( > 8 hours) and make time for short naps. 
    • Rest is an important part of an training program. Listen to your body and when it's saying it needs a break, take it. 
    • Playing other sports is excellent for cross training!
    • Set goals. Use short to long term goal setting to help you with motivation and to monitor your progress. If you don't know what SMART goals is, google it!
    • Watch pro squash players on youtube or SquashTV. This is the reason the quality of squash has improved so much in the past 10-15 years. Watch and learn from the best. 
    • Watch video of yourself playing. 
    • Make a weekly plan for during the season and the offseason. This way you can be sure to get sufficient time in for solo practice, matches, strength, aerobic training, etc.
    • Don't let anyone tell you you can't do something or get somewhere. Use any critics as extra fuel for your fire. 
    • Don't be shy asking good players to play or for tips. The same goes for the coaches. 

  3. On court we have to have the basics down (grip, footwork, wrist and swing motion, etc). We also have to work on all the different shots. Here's a list of some of the most common shots. 
    • Straight drive (attacking, rallying and defensive).
    • Crosscourt drive (attacking, rallying or lob).
    • Boast (2, 3 or backwall boast).
    • Drop shot (on the bounce or volley, straight or crosscourt, attacking or counter drops).
    • Kill shot (straight or crosscourt aiming for the ball to bounce twice quickly or straight into the nick. Normally tight is better).
    • Serve.
    • Return of serve. 
    • Lobs.
    • Volleys (a critical skill!)

  4. Also try some of these more advanced and fun squash skills:
    • slicing the ball vs. hitting it flat (the very rare shot slight topspin).
    • Hitting rollout nicks (crack between any sidewall and floor).
    • Hitting down on the ball (most people hit the ball late, after the ball has started dropping). Think of the tin as a net and use the angle to hit more severely. 
    • Figure 8 volleys (google it if you don't know what they are).
    • Holding the ball (get on the ball early and pretend to hit the shot, but delay your swing). You can also fake playing 1 shot and hit another

      That's the document. It's something I'll probably tweak over time. I've been posting a lot more social media stuff than blog posts, but I'll try and keep up with both. So if you want more Serious Squash follow along on Youtube, Facebook and Instagram. Stay on the look out for details about a Serious Squash Xamsa racquet and of check out all the cool merch and instructional films at