“Life is Hard.It’s harder if you’re stupid”– John Wayne
My coaching rant of the day was provoked by the above quote from “The Duke”. For those of you who haven’t heard of John Wayne, click on the link and when we next meet, please pretend you knew who he was and didn’t have to check!
When a friend texted me the quote, it provoked three responses, one was a smile, the other was agreement and the third was to put it into the squash world and think:
“Squash is Hard. It’s harder if you’re stupid”– Me
Now, apart from being amused, it makes one ask, what do we mean to be squash “stupid”… how do we be “squash stupid” and how do we make life less hard by being less “squash stupid”.
My idea of being “stupid” on a court is to have no template of your decision making process. The best players have a clear understanding of what their best options are from all four parts of the court and from all parts of the court in the prevailing situation. Am I under pressure (“what is pressure” can be a chat for another blog…), what is the game score, what are the characteristics of my opponent, what are my physical resources, and on and on… you get the idea. Now “stupid” is not knowing the issues and the answers as they individually relate to your own game… no-one else’s game (that’s the job of the coach)… just yours!
Being “squash clever” doesn’t mean that we always execute properly, or always make the right decisions. Being “squash clever” does mean that we reflect on our errors in judgement, that we have a SPECIFIC understanding of what we are attempting to do with EVERY SINGLE ball and that every shot is an OCCASION. It’s a journey folks, not a destination. No-one’s perfect and as long as you’re reflecting on your decision making processes on court and gradually finding your answers you’ll never be “squash stupid”… you’ll be “squash moving on up”!
Now I’m off to watch the Duke in “True Grit” and find inspiration for our next blog – see you on court!