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Saturday, April 17, 2021

SquashUK Master Class: Part 1

Alan Thatcherhttps://squashmad.com
Founder of World Squash Day, Squash Mad and the new Squash 200 Partnership, building clubs of the future. Founder of the Kent Open and co-promoter of the St. James's Place Canary Wharf Classic. Author and Public Speaker.

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The SquashUK Master Class:

A journey of learning and commitment.

WARNING: This will change your life

This series will chart your progress through a programme of squash coaching lessons that will achieve the following desired benefits:

Open your mind

Unlock your potential

Visualise your success

Improve your speed, fitness, movement and stamina

Teach you the correct and unique methods of squash footwork

Enhance your racket skills

Understand discipline, on and off court (and, ultimately, in life)

Engage and explore tactical scenarios

Train like the pros

Think like the pros

Move like the pros

And … maybe … one day … play like the pros

I hope you are up for the challenge.

WARNINGS:

First of all, a few warnings …

SIDE EFFECTS OF TRAINING:

The obvious ones first:

Yes, you will get tired.

Yes, you will feel stiff.

This is perfectly normal and will occur every time you work and extend muscles beyond their previous boundaries.

With a purpose-built squash coaching programme, you will work the whole body to prepare you for the physical and mental challenges that lie ahead.

As well as feeling tired and stiff after your initial training sessions, you may well enjoy more frequent visits to the bathroom.

This is perfectly normal and a healthy sign that your body is becoming quicker at processing your food, absorbing the nutrients and expelling the waste products. In short, your metabolism is becoming more efficient.

One of the most important lessons to learn is to drink water: LOTS OF IT. Dehydration will make you feel tired and sluggish so make sure that, as a serious squash player, you drink at least 3-4 litres of water each day.

As your body adapts to the demands and the rhythms of training, you may well experience weight loss. Most people are pleased about this.

Diet is important for everyone, but especially those who are involved in such a physically demanding sport like squash.

You know those TV advertisements that tell us we need five helpings of fruit and vegetables every day to stay healthy?  Well, if you play squash and train seriously then five is not enough. No sir (or madam).

You need FIFTEEN helpings of fruit and vegetables every day to stay fit and healthy and to replace the nutrients you are burning off through your exercise.

Yep. FIFTEEN helpings. Fruit and veg. Get used to it. Find the stuff you like and adapt your diet accordingly.

Don’t waste all the effort you have invested in your training by going out and swallowing garbage food like burgers and fries (with zero nutritional value) and then washed own with a few beers. Save the beers until you have some results to celebrate …

Which brings me on to the next important mental note: Which comes first:  Winning or playing well? Hmmm, tricky one. Or maybe not. Read on …

CART BEFORE THE HORSE

I ask all the players I coach a very simple question:

Which is more important: Improving or winning?

They nearly always get it wrong and say winning is the more important thing.

Sad but true. That kind of opinion is missing the point of a training programme. To beat players who are ranked higher than you then you must go through a phase of improvement (and hard work) to stand a chance of beating them.

UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS:

For our UK readers: If you play county league standard football, rugby or hockey then you will probably train at least once and probably twice a week. You will play only one main match a week, usually on a Saturday afternoon, or the odd midweek match if you are a footballer. Training is important, in terms of fitness and tactics and planning to deal with your next opponent.

FACT: Most club squash players never bother to train (even team players).

They expect to turn up, go straight on court and play their matches without any kind of preparation.

They then get very upset (and sometimes very angry) if they lose.

How dumb is that?

If the game means so much to them that they feel like smashing a racket or two when they lose then perhaps they ought to think more about preparing themselves for their matches, as do most players in other competitive sports.

Here’s a simple question: Why do you expect to win a team match if you do absolutely no training whatsoever?

And another: Why do you get upset when the other guy is fitter than you when you do no serious training?

The answers are simple, and the rewards can be very quick to arrive (and be extremely fulfilling) IF, and only IF, you are willing to adopt a regular training regime.

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