Think about the basic sports we have been exposed to over the years.
All have massive TV exposure. How do you think the general public gets inspired to play? Try new things, new shots, new moves? How do you they choose their favourite players? Why do they select certain jerseys etc.? They see the game and the athletes in action. They hear the commentary and learn the strategy. They mimic what they see (monkey see, monkey do). They are absorbing the game visually and learning through the influence of entertainment.
This is what the game of squash has needed for a long – long time.
We are FINALLY getting there with the introduction of SQUASH TV.
If you have not been exposed to Squash TV, I highly recommend it. They have made watching the game of squash a truly engaging and thrilling experience. The all glass courts and multiple camera angles pick up everything from sweat drops to slides and smashing nick outs. Never has the game been so accessible and never has it been more exciting. The commentary informative and completely entertaining. The players are not only incredible athletes showcasing their phenomenal skill, but they are characters we end up routing for (or against).
I have been playing this game for several decades and thought there wasn’t much else to add to the extraordinary sport of squash. I was wrong. I get very inspired (and rather fired up) after watching the pros in action. I find myself adding things to my game that I wouldn’t have even thought of before seeing someone like Ramy execute it like a surgeon! Not only does it help improve my own game, but as a coach, I can use it to help demonstrate certain shots, movement and strategies to students. It is a remarkable tool that I am very grateful for.
Squash TV has a positive impact on the game. Maybe one day it will get to the networks, but for now there are a few ways to check it out and catch the excitement.
If you don’t have to have a subscription (which I do – and obviously LOVE), you can catch highlights on Youtube and special editions such as “Shots of the Month”.
If this doesn’t get you revved up to play, I’m not sure what will!!
Squash Pro & Program Director
Brantford Movati Athletic
I confess I did not believe I would be writing a post about Ramy Ashour winning the Grasshopper Cup when the tournament started. It has been a long time since I have seen Ramy Ashour play at that level for an entire match, let alone an entire tournament.
Photo credit to www.psaworldtour.com
What an incredible display of squash we squash fans have just witnessed. When I started writing this I had just finished watching the final against Mohamed ElShorbagy and what a statement Ramy made. Ramy’s length and width amazing, his use of deception was incredible, and his retrievals simply unbelievable.
Joey Barrington made note of a comment that Mohamed ElShorbagy had made before the match about how good Ramy’s width and length is. I don’t always think that is what people think about when they think of Ramy’s play. His incredible shot making is what comes to mind when I think of Ramy’s top game. That is all setup though by putting immense pressure on his opponents by such an incredible base game. Watching the match there were so few opportunities for ElShorbagy to attack from the centre of the court. Not only was Ramy getting the ball past Shorbagy a great deal of the time he was really forcing him to deep in to the back of the court. That good length and width really put a lot stress on Mohamed physically.
Ashour is also an incredibly deceptive player. He is capable of using such a short swing and still generating enough pace to get the ball past his opponent. That short swing really forces his opponent to play a high “T” position to be able to cover Ramy’s incredible short game. That opens up the back court for Ramy and makes it so much harder for his opponent to cover the back court. It is all about the options he has from the same swing. There is also often a subtle delay in Ramy’s shorter swing. That delay forces his opponent to have wait for the shot to be played making them that little bit later to the ball.
A healthy Ramy Ashour is possibly the best retriever on the PSA World Tour. While Ramy is certainly fast from point to point I believe it is his incredible read of the play that makes his such a good retriever. He seems to be able to wait to just the right time to start moving to the correct location for where the ball is going. He does not seem to get fooled very often about where the shot is going to be played. His first step is also incredibly quick. So while there are probably players that are faster point to point, and others that are more powerful movers Ramy’s read of the play and incredible reaction time make him incredibly difficult to break down.
What an incredible treat it was to get to watch a completely healthy Ramy Ashour play! It has been a long time since we have had the chance to see such a performance. Ramy’s basic game, use of deception and incredible retrieving skill make his such a tough player to compete against. Add in his legendary shot making ability and Ramy is one of the best of all time. Congratulations to Ramy Ashour on winning the 2018 Grasshopper Cup and I truly hope that we get to see Ramy compete in many more events in full health in the near future! The PSA World Tour is always incredible but having a healthy Ramy Ashour competing for titles makes it even greater.
Tournament play can be very taxing both mentally and physically …
There are several difficult matches spaced out throughout a day and throughout the weekend. There are spectators and crowds that can be distracting or nerve-wracking depending on what you are used to. There could be people there you haven’t seen for a while that wish to catch up and socialize, as well as individuals that may want you to see their matches and give advice.
The food provided might not be available when you need it, or it may not be what you need to properly fuel your body. Depending on where the tournament is, you may not be sleeping in your own bed or have the comfort and convenience that home offers.
All of these factors affect game play. If you wish to perform well and have goals of success at a tournament (or tournaments), it is essential to prepare accordingly.
Now, how does one prepare? It is a personal thing, and you need to figure out what works best for you. That said; there are some basics that should be taken into consideration with the two vital buckets being Physical and Mental.
BUCKET 1 = PHYSICAL
Everyone knows that squash is physically demanding at the best of times. Training to be fit enough to play multiple matches and ensure you can recover between games is par for the course.
Trust that you have done the proper pre-work for fitness and endurance.
The key to the physical part of the tournament is the RECOVERY.
The keys to recovery are – REST. HYDRATION. NUTRITION.
Lack of sleep can have significant negative effects on performance and recovery. It can slow the body down physically as well as cognitively (you need to move and think in squash). Making sure you are getting proper sleep leading up to a tournament can help prepare the body as well as the mind.
Rest doesn’t only mean sleep it also refers to taking a body break. Leading up to the tournament, take at least the day before off of squash. Do some solo drills and light hitting to keep the confidence up, but if you can avoid the hard grinding matches a day or two before the tournament, your body will thank you!
The week of the tournament make sure you are hydrating. Take in less sodium and less alcohol and drink LOTS and LOTS of water. Proper hydration helps reduce the soreness that you will feel after hard matches. Staying hydrated during the tournament will also help reduce stiffness. Finally, make sure you are drinking enough water after your matches to replenish the fluids lost during your games.
It’s true, you are what you eat. Consume crap, perform like crap.
In other words, eat well. Skip the processed and fast foods. Instead, fuel your body with whole foods with high nutritional value. You will have the proper energy required for high-intensity aerobic and anaerobic activity, as opposed to the quick burn and burn out energy of processed food. Make sure you also pack food to have with you. As noted above, you may not be able to tap into the food available at the tournament due to match times, or food options. I always have several protein bars, apples, bananas, etc. in my bag that I can tap into if and when needed to maintain the fuel required to perform.
BUCKET 2 = MENTAL
Now that we have the physical basics covered, we can tap into the mental portion of preparing for a tournament.
As much as squash can be mentally demanding, tournament play is even more draining. There is something about the intensity and environment that can make a seemingly regular match feel very wearing. Call it nerves if you wish or tension; the fact of the matter is that tournament play amplifies our internal personal pressures and expectations of performance (even if we are consciously unaware of them – they are there).
How do you counterbalance the additional fatigue of amplified expectations and nerves? Know that it is coming! Once you are aware of the intensification, you can offset it.
Have a routine that you know relaxes you. It could be listening to music or sitting in a dark silent room. It could be meditating or going for a walk, or simply some deep breathing. Whatever it is that gives you a sense of calm, practice that and be able to tap into it. Calm the mind and reduce the surrounding clutter. Not only is this routine important to do before a tournament, but also after your matches. This should be part of your warm down to reset your frame of mind. There are a great deal of distractions at a tournament; matches to watch, people to socialize with entertainment and events etc., etc. My advice is to carve out some down time for yourself before and after your matches to get the mind focused and prepared.
If you have been to the host location before, visualize the courts – see the environment. Put yourself there and get comfortable with it. If you have never been, perhaps look it up on the web to get a visual sense of the layout etc. Having a sense of a place and layout can help reduce potential anxiety.
When visualizing match play, make sure you add people to the crowd, those who will be cheering for you as well as your opponent. This will help prepare you for extra bodies and extra noise outside the court.
Last but not least, when visualizing your match see yourself in success mode. See yourself making winning shots. A positive mindset will help you be more confident and more confidence provides the right frame of mind required for squash, that ever so difficult combination of “Calm, Energized, Patient and Attacking”.
Squash is an exciting and challenging game, which is only further exaggerated by a tournament environment. Knowing how to deal with this environment and the emotions that competition can create will help you be more successful at tournaments.
The competition season is heating up.
Dip into both the MENTAL & PHYSICAL buckets for a little sip of help!
Squash Pro & Program Director
Brantford Movati Athletic
Salming’s Kobra are designed with performance in mind …
The Salming Kobra Indoor Court shoes are very light, very comfortable, high performance indoor court shoes.
The Kobra are widely used on the PSA Tour as such many people will have seen them or will know someone that plays in them. They are a very popular model at our club.
This post is designed to give you our take on the strengths of the Kobra and the technologies they use. We hope our review will help you decide if they are the right shoe for you.
After the review of the Kobra you will find the a section where we cover the technologies that Salming has incorporated in the Kobra. In that section we cover Salming’s description of each technology and also provide our take on them too.
“The Salming Kobra is a fast paced unique combination of lightweight, cushioning and stability. Together with all the unique Salming technologies, Kobra is wrapped up into one agile shoe.
A new Wrap Around System Design (WAS Design) In order to facilitate agility and stability but still maintain the lightweight characteristics, we have designed the midsole rear end with higher side walls that wrap around the heel area. In combination with the LMS Plus 8° and the new fully integrated ExoSkeleton construction, it ensures an excellent stability and perfect fit.”
The Salming Kobra are Salming’s top of line shoe in terms of both technology and price point. The Kobra provide excellent lateral support, cushioning that helps with comfort and performance, and are extremely light weight and breathable.
The Kobra provide exceptional lateral support and stability. It is one of the first things I noticed when I played in a pair. They are incredibly stable shoes. Before I play I do a stretch lunge exercise. As I am lunging quite far forward I find this to be a good gauge on how much stability the shoe will provide. The first time I tried them I was impressed with the stability provided.
The technologies that Salming has incorporated in the Kobra to achieve such good stability and lateral support are the EXOSKELETON, LMS, LMS+ and a new Wrap Around Design (WAS) system. These technologies work together to provide optimal stability to this light weight shoe.
The WAS system is an enhancement to the EXOSKELETON and is only found in the Kobra line. The EXOSKELETON on the Kobra integrates right in to the loop for the laces that keeps the foot locked in place and provides excellent strength and stability to the Kobra.
Salming uses RECOIL and RECOIL R foam to provide cushioning to the shoes. The RECOIL foam in the forefoot area not only does a great job of absorbing shock, it also transfers energy back to the player to give some additional spring to your movement.
The Kobra might look like they are a bulky/heavy shoe but they are anything but that. They are actually the lightest model from Salming. I believe that is a pretty incredible accomplishment for Salming given just how supportive they are.
The Kobra are geared towards the player looking for the latest and greatest in technology in an indoor court shoe to really take their game to the next level. They provide incredible performance and good cushioning.
Salming’s description:“An increased radius on the inner side of the outer sole, facilitates rolling the foot inwards and toe push off. Reaching for that stop ball in squash or covering a shot in floorball is made easier with the RollBar™ technology.”
Our take: The key benefit of the Rollbar technology is the aid it provides in pushing off towards the ball. When you dig your foot in to the court to push forwards, Rollbar allows the foot to work inwards towards the toe to provide better push off. Additionally, the shoes are very firm in in the toe area to maximize energy transferred to the court and provide the best possible drive.
Salming’s description:“Torsion Guide System. The distance from heel to the ball of the foot (62% of the shoe) has been designed with extra stability, which ends in the so-called ”ballet” line, a 75° angle. In front of the 75° line, we have equipped the shoe with greater flexibility to stimulate the foot’s natural movements. TGS 62/75 takes all of the gait cycle criteria into consideration. At the same time, it softens the strains caused by friction during lateral movements. The shoe bends in exactly the right places, stimulating the foot’s natural lateral and forward movements.”
Our take: The back portion of the shoe is firmer and designed to improve balance and stability. The forefoot area of the shoe has been designed to allow more freedom of movement to allow your foot to move and perform naturally. The split comes at the ballet line. If you were to drive your heels up off the floor so that your weight is on your forefoot area the “ballet line” is where your foot would leave the floor. It is also where Salming has designed the shoes to flex. The front part of the shoe is more flexible. The back 62% of the shoe is firmer to provide maximum stability.
Salming’s description: “The exo skeleton design stabilizes the foot for lateral movements and reduces pressure at the MTP joints (Metatarsophalangeal joints). It is important to keep the foot stable medio-lateral, avoiding friction and side forces in the soft parts of the foot sole, especially underneath the forefoot.”
Our take: This is one of the key components of Salming’s shoes. The shoes that feature the EXOSKELETON design are largely made of mesh. The EXOSKELETON provides the necessary support to the shoe. The EXOSKELETON is the little bands that come up from under the foot then around the foot and in to the lacing area of the shoe. They are very light but very solid and keep your foot in place inside the shoe. This is a critical component in lateral support as if you foot starts to slip outwards when planting the foot on a lateral movement your weight will start to transfer outwards and this increases the risk of injury. It also decreases performance.
Salming’s description: “To stabilize and fixate the heel, which is key to providing a great fit and comfort, we have developed a new anatomical Ergo Heel Cup that is slightly longer than the average heel cup.”
Our take: Salming’s description is clear and it is also very accurate. The Ergo Heel Cup helps keep your heel locked in place in the back of the shoe to prevent it from slipping upwards. This keeps the back of your foot from rubbing against the shoe and prevents blisters.
Salming’s description: “A new very durable lightweight rubber compound – HX120 – that features Salmings HexaGrip™ pattern designed for the best possible grip on all indoor surfaces.”
Our take: Hexagrip was first introduced in the Kobra series. It is an update to the rubber that they use on the outsole of the shoe. The rubber is formed in a hexa pattern, a 6 sided pattern to provide the best possible grip to the court. HexaGrip provides incredible traction. To maximize your movement you need your court shoes to have the best grip possible and HexaGrip is exceptional. Good grip on the court is also important from an injury prevention perspective as if you slip on the lunge you risk tearing muscles. Salming XR112 with HexaGrip is their top of the line outsole material.
Salming description: “Lateral Movement Stabilizer – an especially designed light weight integrated dual torsion unit that supports the foot during fast and irregular lateral movements.”
Our take: Lateral stability is one of the key performance and safety components in a shoe designed for squash. There is a lot of lateral movement in squash with the need to change directions quickly. Salming’s LMS provides torsional stability to the shoe in its mid section. That helps prevent your foot from rolling outwards when planting your foot to change direction. This reduces the risk of injury (rolling your ankle) and allows you to change directions as quickly as possible.
Salming’s description:“Fast lateral stops expose the foot to the risk to roll over outwards, causing injuries. LMS+ (Lateral Movement Stabilizer Plus) is a unique design with a positive angle of 11° that prevents the foot from rolling over outwards.”
Our take: LMS+ compliments the LMS system to provide lateral stability in the shoe. The 8° angle refers to the angle from the lateral (outside) side of the foot to the medial (inside) side of the foot. There is an 8 degree angle with the lateral side being higher than the medial side. That angle keeps your weight inwards and helps to prevent your foot from rolling outwards.
RECOIL™ + RECOIL R™
Salming’s description:“The material in the midsole is a newly developed compound named RECOIL™ which is a super lightweight cushioning compound that releases a higher rebound energy effect. The Recoil R™ – as in Recoil Reduction – is a cushioning compound featured in the heel impact zone designed to reduce impact forces and increase comfort when lunging.”
Our take: In the mid to forefoot area of the shoe Salming has used a RECOIL foam system. The RECOIL foam will absorb shock but it also transfers energy back in to the foot to add more spring to your movement. It’s a smart design that provides comfort and aids in performance. Under the heel RECOIL R is used to absorb shock. As squash is mostly a heel strike first movement there is a lot of impact under the heel and RECOIL R is designed to protect the foot from that.
Does your squash game suffer from the following symptoms?
Infrequent and/or poor volleys
Sloppy racquet errors
Fat shots and/or loose drives
Unnecessary and/or excessive boasts
If you feel that you are tormented from the above complications, you may be suffering from “Late or Lazy Racquet Prep”.
It may seem simple and inconsequential, but racquet preparation is far from a trivial or minor thing. Why? To put it simply, the ball is moving with pace and trajectory, it does not stop and wait for you to hit it at the optimal strike zone. If your racquet isn’t ready, then you have lost the opportunity to hit the ball at the prime impact point (at or slightly in front of the hip closest to the front wall). Once the ball is past the ideal impact position, the swing is compromised and shot selection becomes drastically reduced.
Having the racquet ready means your wrist is cocked and the head of the racquet as at your hips or higher. Dangling the racquet head by the floor with a loose wrist does not constitute as “prepared”. As soon as your previous swing is completed you should try to form the habit of immediately re-setting the ready position.
The way I tend to teach this is to connect the racquet head movement to the shoulders. As you are back to the T from your previous shot, your wrist is cocked (yet relaxed). Once you see the ball moving to the left or right side, your shoulders turn to prep the body for hitting the forehand or backhand. As the shoulders turn the racquet head goes up with that movement. Doing this will have your racquet ready for anything that comes its way!
Keep this sequence in mind.
EYE – See the ball so you can turn the body and react accordingly.
RACQUET – What the eye sees the racquet head responds to ( up for forehand prep or up for backhand prep)
FEET – Move the body behind the ball to strike it in the optimal spot.
Yes. The feet move last. The racquet is ready before (or as) you go to the ball! This tiny little thing can make a significant positive impact on your game.
With good racquet preparation you can and will reduce the symptoms outlined above.
First and foremost the racquet head is suddenly available for the VOLLEY. Adding the volley into your game helps in so many ways.
Takes time away from your opponent between their shots (putting them under pressure)
Takes you out of the back corners where trouble tends to occur
Puts pace and variety into the game
Helps maintain your T position
Secondly, having the racquet ready REDUCES RACQUET ERRORS / SLOPPY, LOOSE SHOTS and provides shot options other than the BOAST. When the racquet head is ready before the ball hits the optimal strike zone, your swing is smooth and clean. Weight shift is forward and through the ball. When the ball is in front of the swing all shots are accessible. If you are in the process of lifting the racquet to hit the ball when you get to it, then the ball moves behind the front hip meaning the weight shift reverses to the back foot, pulling the ball loose. Letting the ball get behind the body also diminishes shot options. It is very difficult to drop, cross-court, or even get in a tight drive. More often than not you are stuck with a boast to keep the ball in play. Making your game predictable and vulnerable to attack.
Not only does racquet prep help with the above elements, it provides the ability to ADD DECEPTION into your game. When your racquet is early, then you have time to “hold” your shot instead of swinging quickly before the ball completely passes you by. That slight pause before you stroke the ball muddles up the natural movement and flow of your opponent. They either become flat footed or lean to one side or the other. Both are difficult to recover from once the ball is struck, especially if they are leaning the wrong way. This kind of recovery to get to the next ball can put a lot of pressure on your opponent and wears them out!
In conclusion, if you are suffering from Late and/or Lazy Racquet Prep, it is highly recommended to alleviate these symptoms with a bit of hard work and practice.
Remember – EYE, RACQUET, FEET.
Small fix – big difference!
Racquet UP UP UP.
SQUASH PRO & PROGRAM COORDINATOR
BRANTFORD MOVATI ATHLETIC
What shoes would you use if you were the fastest player on the PSA world tour?
The S Line from Eye Rackets, at least that is what Paul Coll uses and I do believe he is the fastest player on tour today …
Paul is famous for his incredible dives and court coverage. While I find his dives incredible to watch I find his court coverage even more impressive. His dives might have earned him the nickname “Superman” but it is his court coverage that makes him such a great player.
I decided to give a pair of the S Line a try myself to see how they performed, and while I have no intention of diving (at least intentionally) to get balls back, I did find them to be a good performing pair of indoor court shoes.
In this review of the Eye Rackets S Line Indoor Court Shoes we give our take on the following:
First let’s hear what Eye Rackets Brand Ambassador Joey Barrington has to say about the S Line:
Now on to our take on the Eye Rackets S Line Indoor Court Shoes.
I find that performance is a function of a few different aspects of an indoor court shoe …
Lateral stability in an indoor court shoe is one of the key elements for squash due to the demanding movements we squash players make.
The S Line features a torsion control system to provide lateral stability. If you look at the lateral side of the shoe the torsion control system is the silver section of the shoe. It runs from the mid sole of the shoe to the medial side. This is designed to limit twisting, or rotation of the shoe from the medial to the lateral side to keep you stable on the court. I found Eye’s torsion control system to work very well, and I felt very stable on court when lunging to the ball or planting hard to change direction.
Traction on court is clearly one of the most important components in determining how a court shoe will perform.
Eye has used a durable gum rubber to provide excellent grip on the court. The rubber has been coloured to match the look of the shoe but is a non-marking sole and does grip well. I have played a couple of matches in the S Line so far and have found their grip to be excellent. This gives me confidence that when I need to plant my foot hard to stop and change direction, and that the shoe will not let me down.
The weight of the shoe also is a factor in how well they perform.
A heavier shoe might offer excellent lateral stability and excellent comfort, but the extra weight will slow you down a bit on court. The mesh upper of the S Line helps keep the weight of the shoe down. Having a light shoe is good, but the shoe still needs to be well structured to provide the lateral support that is required. The S Line are a good balance between keeping the weight of the shoe down while still providing the stability necessary.
I compared the weight of the S Line to the weight of the Salming Kobra and the ASICS GEL-Blast 7 and they are right in between the two, weight wise.
The trade-off to pure performance is often at the expense of comfort …
The Eye Rackets S Line are well balanced between performance and comfort.
The mesh upper of the shoe is quite soft and contributes to the overall comfort of the shoe. It also helps with allowing the shoe to breathe. The tongue of the shoe is well cushioned and comfortable. The heel counter is also well cushioned and does not feel harsh on the Achilles tendon.
Probably the most important part of comfort in an indoor court shoe is how well cushioned the sole of the shoe is.
The S Line are reasonably well cushioned in the forefoot area. Under the heel there is extra cushioning. As there is so much lunging in squash it is very hard on your heel. It is a very high impact area and the S Line do a very good job of cushioning the foot on impact.
Overall the Eye Rackets S Line Indoor Court Shoes are a pretty comfortable shoe. They are comfortable while still providing excellent performance.
From a fit perspective we have found that they fit a bit small, although they do loosen up a bit after playing in them.
If you are normally between two sizes, you would mostly like fit best in the half size up. For example, I wear a size 8 normally but in the odd shoe I need an 8.5. In the S Line I am wearing an 8.5.
I would also note up in the forefoot area the rubber protection provided to protect the toe box and medial side from wear from the court is relatively firm and does not give from the inside. As such they are a slightly narrow fit from the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint through the toes.
It is a bit early for us to gauge durability on the S Line as we have only had the the shoes for a month or so now.
From a construction perspective they look to be a very well-constructed shoe. The toe shield that Eye has added to protect against wear from foot drag from the toe through the medial side of the shoe looks to be very solid.
The sole of the shoe is both stitched and glued up in the toe box area.
The eyelets are metal to protect against damage to the upper from tightening of the shoe. On one pair of the shoes we have sold we have seen a bit of wear on the outsole of the shoe right about where it is stitched. Nothing that would affect the performance of the shoe but worth mentioning.
Overall, they look well-built but overall durability will be something we can better comment on in a few months.
While I have just started using the S Line from Eye Rackets I am quite happy with them so far. I have found them comfortable and they perform very well. Lateral support was good as was the cushioning. While they have not magically made me as good a mover as Paul Coll (that would take a lot more work in the gym) they are working well for me.
We carry both the ice white and electric purple colour options. Both are the signature versions of Paul Coll. To learn more about the Eye Rackets S Line Indoor Court Shoe click on the image below to view them in our store!
The game of squash is so easy from outside the glass …
Sometimes when I am watching people play I wish I had a joystick (yes I am dating myself – I think they call them “controllers” now). The point is I would like to have the option to press a button to get them to drop it, or drive it, or execute whatever shot is clearly the winning shot from behind the glass. When playing the game some of us tend to get caught up in the adrenaline. Instead of thinking about game strategy and the proper shot, we simply become retrieving and hitting machines. Others tend to over think the strategy and or try to out manoeuvre or trick their opponents by playing irregular shots instead of basic predictable, high percentage shots.
If a player sticks to the basic strategy of the game, there is a much higher rate of victory. It is pretty straightforward. From the back of the court, play high and deep. From the front of the court, attacking and low. Squash isn’t necessarily about “winning shots” as much as it is about setting yourself up for an attack in a low risk situation. Its about working your opponent both mentally and physically so they make the errors and start playing loose. Letting a loose ball go by without attacking is a lost opportunity, and potentially a lost point.
So how do we work our opponents and create the openings for the attack? Stick to the basics. High and deep from the back. Consistent tight shots. Attack from the front. Who cares if it is predictable to drop off of a defensive boast? You are putting the work into your opponents legs.
Is there more to the game of squash than this? Absolutely! Strategy can be built based on your best and favourite shots (what combinations provide you the openings to play those). It can be tailored to offset your opponents best shots and strengths. It can modified in each game to adjust to court play, ball play and environment. So yes, things do get more advanced and complicated as we build skill and confidence. That said, even at the top levels of this game, the basic strategy is what sets up the most effective and successful situations.
My challenge to you is to get out there and try to stick to this game plan. It is harder than you think not to get swept away in the game. In your next match, remind yourself between every serve of the game plan, and seriously focus on: High and deep from the back – Low and attacking from the front. Working for the opening and taking advantage of any loose balls. You will see a difference!
Good luck and Keep it Simple!
SQUASH PRO & PROGRAM DIRECTOR
BRANTFORD MOVATI ATHLETIC
Control the ‘T’ Sports is very pleased to now be carrying Eye Rackets terrific line of squash racquets. Eye Rackets has a very strong presence on the PSA World Tour with many top players using their racquets.
“Superman” Paul Coll
“Fearless” Fares Dessouky
Eye Rackets has 4 series of racquets that they carry. They have their X.Lite series and their V.Lite series. The X.Lite are a more traditional head shape featuring a bridge. The V.Lite series feature a teardrop head shape. In both series they carry CONTROL and POWER versions of their racquets. The difference between the CONTROL and POWER versions is the stringing pattern.
“The Black Falcon” Mazen Hesham
“El Toro” Borja Golan
The CONTROL stringing pattern is a 14 x 18 string pattern. A 14 x 18 stringing pattern is fairly common in squash and provides a reasonably dense string bed which aids in control while still providing reasonable access to spin and power. The POWER series feature a very open 12 x 17 string pattern. The open string pattern provides extra power and extra spin.
“The Silver Surfer” Oli Tuominen
“The Iceman” Piedro Schweertman
As an example if you are a fan of Amr Shabana and love the weight and balance of his racquet, the X.Lite 120 CONTROL but find that you need a bit more power then the X.Lite 120 POWER is the logical choice. It has the same weight, balance, and feel but with more available power and spin due to the more open stringing pattern.
“Zac Attach” Zac Alexander
In both the X.Lite and V.Lite series of racquets there are models that feature a more flexible feel and others that are stiffer and offer a more direct response.
We also carry Eye Rackets exciting “S Line” Indoor Court Shoes. We have a review of them on our blog if you want to learn more about them.
Eye was founded by ex squash players in 2010 with headquarters in Oslo (Norway) and distribution centre in Amsterdam (Holland). Eye is unique as the only pure squash brand on the market with a full range of products to suit all players at every level. Eyes fresh new approach to racket and product development has given Eye the edge in creating innovative and exciting new products. Extensive input from the brand ambassadors and top sponsored players on the PSA world tour ensure Eye maintains its position as one of the sports leading brands with rapid international growth. Eye is excited to launch its brand new collection and continue to expand its footprint as the only pure squash brand in the industry.
I am sure you have heard it all before so I will not harp on the fact that in order to improve you need to dedicate some time to training. We, as recreational and amateur players, don’t have the same kind of time to devote to training as the pro’s but there are a few things we can add to our routine that will help advance our games.
Lessons, solo court hitting, ghosting, drills, personal training, yoga, and more match play are all things you can do to elevate your game. If you have time to add all of these in to your weekly routine then you have the gift of time and you will see grand improvements – go for it! If you have limited time and are looking for that one thing to the help take your game to the next level – this is my answer. GET FITTER.
Yes, fitness is the key factor! So many of us play squash to get fit and it is a game that brings great success in that department. This is how many of us started the sport – a fun way to get fit. But now that you are playing at a certain level and are looking for that extra edge, it is now time to “get fit to play squash” instead of playing squash to get fit.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard players come off court after a loss with the “I ran out of steam” statement. Squash is an extremely physically demanding sport and all players reach a point of fatigue in a match. The person who lasts longer or recovers quicker has the advantage. When fatigue sets in, that is where one’s game falls apart. We get sloppy, slow down and start making rash decisions and mistakes. The goal is to physically outlast our opponent so they are the first to breakdown with fatigue. We can then benefit from their sloppy play and mistakes for the win.
So how do you get fit for squash? Interval workouts are the most helpful for game play. You can do interval workouts on a treadmill, go to HIIT classes (High Intensity Interval Training) /or any class that includes Tabata training. Interval training is set up very much like a squash match. It is all about pushing to your maximum for a short period of time (20 seconds – similar to a rally) with a short recovery period (10 seconds – similar to the service/between rallies) and right back into max effort for a short stint (next rally).
I often get asked, “What do you do to train”. I struggle with the general “workout” as I seem to need a bit of a competitive environment for me to get motivated. I have found that spin classes are perfect in that respect and are exceptionally good at training the body for squash (without the impact). It also strengthens the legs, increases your cardio vascular endurance and with a Tabata structure within the class it trains the body for quick recovery after maximum output. I try to get to spin class 3 times a week, each of which is an hour in duration. These three extra hours a week has provided me with fitness confidence. I know that my fitness will not let me down, and in most situations I have no doubt that I will be able to “out-fit” my opponent.
So if you are looking to add that one thing to your weekly routine that will help take your game to the next level – focus on fitness. If you can get in 2-3 hours of interval training in a week, you will start to notice a difference out there on court. Even if you can dedicate 1 hour a week, your game will benefit from it!
The last few years I have been playing with the Salming Forza (both the blue and the pink to keep things exciting). Recently Salming has produced a few variations of their racquets to provide even more options to suit every squash player out there from recreational club to professional (or wanna be professional dreamers like me)!
I am now playing with the Salming Forza Pro which has a sharp black, yellow and white design (quite snazzy looking – and yes, that is important).
That said, the main difference between the Forza and the new Forza Pro is about 4 grams (doesn’t seem like much, but it does make a difference). With that little extra weight providing additional speed and snap through the ball. It has a crisp, clean hit right off the hop making the swing feel free and smooth.
The teardrop shape style of the racquet provides a “deliciously large” sweet spot generating quite a bit of effortless power. The head of the racquet is slightly heavier, but the balance is still even enough that it doesn’t affect the maneuverability. It is light enough to still be aggressive, volley and attack.
Last but not least is touch. The handle is slightly squared instead of round which fits naturally in the hand . I find this helps me soften my usual “death grip” on the racquet. In other words, it helps me soften up my hands which gives better touch and feel in the short game.
Overall, I feel that the Forza Pro is like a enchanted wand in my hand. All I need now is the magic to wield it with skill.
If you are interested in learning more about squash racquets and most importantly which one might best suit your game please download our guide to buying a squash racquet by filling out the form below.
Squash Pro & Program Director
Brantford Movati Athletic