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Updated: Jul 27, 2021

Horse Quote:

“A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor… a perfect horse, never made a horseman”

Horse Meaning:

A beginner wants to find a perfect horse.  An advanced rider realizes that a slightly less obedient horse can teach them.  The secret is to find a horse that will challenge the rider, without being too much of a challenge so that one falls off.

Take home for Squashies:

In training we should not only feel comfortable with organized and simple drills.  A prime is when you take private lessons the coach gives you activities that you can manage, and gradually stretches you into new skills and difficult situations until it breaks down.  When the drill breaks down then the coach reverts back to something slightly more manageable to ensure repetitions and continuity.  If all the coach gave you were feeds that you could manage, then you just don’t grow as a player.

Don’t be the player that only wants to practice skills they have already mastered!

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Updated: Jul 27, 2021

The fifth in a six part micro series to provoke a little thought about the way you see your game!

Squash is a complex decision making sport and can be played with remarkable variations.  This indisputable fact is one of the reasons we love the game.  As a coach, I love creativity, I love individual differences and I embrace chaos.  Having said all that, I do like players to have a standard movement template to all four parts of the court as a real “safety blanket”.

The three criteria of footwork: facilitating recovery to the T, energy efficiency and ensuring a range of stroke are all pillars to build a game upon.  

Now, after the last post, I had people asking, what about “pure striking situations”.  By this I believe they meant, “what happens when someone dishes you up a simple ball in the middle of the court”.  Well, the same principles apply, it’s simply that they may look a little different.  A two footed plant may work well with time and space, whereas a lunge may be required to get that counter drop.  A huge shoulder turn may need to be facilitated by your heel strike, if the ball is in the center of the court, whereas again, on a full lunge, maybe not so much.

The key message is that I believe all players should have a “90% rule” for their footwork and a clear idea of how to get themselves in and out of corners in the most effective fashion.  If you’re hitting the ball from the center of the court all the time, you’re probably not in a competitive match!  Improvising and a reliance upon pure athleticism isn’t the end of the world, but a series of “one off situations” doesn’t win championships.

See you all on court!

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Remember Goldilocks… the search for a bed not too hard, not too soft, but juuuuuust right!  This is a principle we need to take to our training…

Overtraining is pronouncedly worse for a developing athlete, or anyone for that matter, than under training.  Sadly, lazy people still win sometimes, whereas over trained and over motivated people frequently don’t even make it to the event…. so, how do I know if I’m doing too much.

Well unfortunately it’s not that simple to diagnose over training, however there are some general symptoms, that when put together, let us know that we’re over reaching.  Please keep in mind that you need three, probably four of these symptoms before you should be concerned.

You may be overtrained if you:

Are performing poorly, losing to players you normally beat or badly missing targets with your strokes If your off court training feels harder than usual, or you fail to make standard lifts and cardio training Excessive soreness is a marker you should be aware of… Loss of appetite Fatigue during the day, or moodiness generally Poor sleep Frequent infections, colds or coughs Elevated waking heart rates

Now, if you are experiencing four or more of the above, it is possible that you’re doing too much.  The next obvious question is, what do we do about it…

Long story short, you need a training diary.  Record essentially all of those factors in succinct fashion over time and you’ll begin to get a picture.  Similarly devices such as Whoop (which I use) can be invaluable and at the very least get athletes more interested in recovery and less fixated by “beating up on themselves”.  Get interested in prevention, rather than cure and internalize the idea that quality minutes training are always better than bulk logging of hours!

Finally, remember, lazy players might not always win, but at least they get to play.  Train yourself too hard for too long and you don’t even make it on court… so be careful out there and listen to your body!


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