Monthly Archives: July 2017

Battling the Broken Body Blues

Staying Focused During Injury

Well, lets face it – Injuries suck.

As an armchair athlete or a competitive, dedicated and somewhat obsessed athlete as myself – it is torturous.  All you want to do is ignore the pain and play. Hop in a time machine and avoid the injury all together, or jump forward past the ridiculously, painfully slow rehab to a full functionality you and  – PLAY. All options of which are completely unrealistic – especially ignoring the pain ; )

Many would say we are juvenile  and completely obsessed with play. But the fact of the matter is without the physical outlet, we would be completely “untamed”. If you can relate to this, and are currently suffering an injury holding you back from your sport – then perhaps my words might be of help on your track to recovery, or at least make you chuckle.

No matter what the injury is, an incident, an accident or good old fashion wear and tear – the result is the same.  You are unable to play the game you love until you rehab your limb and life back to some semblance of its former self.

I can only speak for myself, but I have a sneaking suspicion that many of you will be able to relate to my point of view.

For me, throughout the process of rehab – time has not only slowed to a drunken snails pace, but at the same time gone into warp speed. My knee seems to be making the smallest most minuscule improvements on a weekly/monthly basis (and at times feels as if it is going backward), while at the same time the Squash season is running toward me like Usain Bolt.  This juxtaposition is grossly unfair and at times makes one feel like giving up all together. Yes, I am talking about the anger and gloominess that are part and parcel of injury. This is what most of us have to battle – and this is how I am battling the “body broken blues”.

Staying Active

Ridiculous I know. If I could be active I would be playing squash. At any point I would much rather be playing squash than on cardio equipment. That said, my knee simply will not allow for certain movements – and those certain movements are all required for squash. My staying active saviour has been Spin Classes. Not only is it a phenomenal workout (which helps burn the built up energy), but it is also a brilliant cross training tool for squash. Working the legs at intervals helps build the endurance and speed required for intense squash rallies. When the knee is ready to take on squash movement – at least I won’t be too far behind in fitness.

Staying on Top of Rehab Exercises

Let’s face it, these exercises are not fun. There isn’t a point system, there isn’t an opponent to conquer. To me I have had to look at this as a personal challenge to get myself back into action and feeling as strong, stable and secure as possible – as quickly as possible. Someone tells me it will take a month – I work my butt off to make it happen in 3 weeks. Yes, I have a competitive nature and I try as much as possible to use it for good not evil ; )

I have to remind myself (quite often) that as boring and as silly as these rehab exercises may seem – they are actually accomplishing something, stick to it!

Staying Focused

Have a goal in mind. Not just getting better – but an actual deadline goal.

Personally without a set date/event on my calendar staying on top of rehab would slip in priority. It is so easy to not do it for a day, and another day slips by – but then I look at the calendar and that tournament date is looming, getting closer by the second. I have no time to dilly dally, I have to remain focussed on improving the functionality of my knee. I tell myself , “You want to play – do the work to get there”. Please note! Choosing a realistic goal is essential, otherwise disappointment will be a very hard cold slap in the face. Discuss your goals with your doctor/physio or whatever healthcare practitioner you are working with. Ensure that they know what you are aiming for. They can help keep the goal sensible as well as aid you achieving those goals.

Staying Positive

Its pretty simple really. Play is fun. Work is not (and rehab is work). Unfortunately in this situation one must be done to allow the other to happen. Progress is slow, frustrating and down right maddening at times. After all “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is very true indeed. All I want to do is get out on court and play my favourite game. I miss squash, and missing something generates the feeling of longing and sadness. There have been times where I get “testy” and “edgy” because I am not able to do what I love. In a sense I am like that child that is moody because I can’t have ice-cream before I eat my broccoli. So I simply must eat my broccoli. Therefore I have decided to take small bites so I can finally get my ice-cream. The improvements are slow and small – but they are not unimportant. If I didn’t acknowledge the little improvements I would only see what has to be done, not what has been done. I am not the most patient person in the world (far from it), but this has taught/forced me into being more aware of the big picture.

This has been my journey with the “broken body blues” and how I have been dealing with the daily task of rehab. Hopefully something in this has resonated with you or at least has provided you with a sense that you are not alone!

Mantra of the day:

“Small bites will eventually get me through the broccoli to that divine bowl of ice-cream!”

Keep on Chomping.
Nicole Garon
Squaush Pro & Program Director
Brantford Movati Athletic

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The benefits of a light squash racquet

As my last blog post noted I have recently been using the Harrow Vibe Jonathon Power Signature Edition squash racquet. I have been using lighter squash racquets now for the past year or so. So what are the benefits of a lighter racquet and why would someone choose to play with one? For me I find the benefits to be a shorter more compact swing, deception, quicker reaction time and it also compensates for slower racquet preparation. I have found all of these aspects to be of benefit to me.

Harrow Vibe Jonathon Power Signature EditionThe lighter racquet really allows you to generate a lot of racquet head speed with a much more compact swing. I find that allows me to focus on getting the racquet back and not having to get the racquet up as much. The swing is much shorter and more of a snap through the ball rather than a long fluid motion. You can generate lots of racquet head speed with the pronation or supination of the forearm. With heavier racquets it is much harder to generate enough racquet head speed in this manner. You really need to focus on getting the racquet back and up and let the weight of the racquet carry the racquet through to the ball.

The shorter more compact swing really helps with deception as well. For me I find it easier with the shorter swing to disguise whether I am driving or dropping from the same racquet preparation. As the swing is short and most of the acceleration is through the hitting zone with pronation/supination of the forearm on the drive all you need to do to drop is not accelerate the swing. With a longer more traditional swing you when you have the racquet back and up you end up having to slow the swing down to drop to really disguise the drop well which is not as easy to do.

Reaction time is improved with a lighter racquet as well. As there is less mass to move you can get the racquet back and through to the ball easier. This is very valuable for players that like to volley a lot. Being able to get the racquet back and then through to the ball faster than you can with a heavier racquet allows you the option to drive or drop on the volley on more balls than you would a heavier racquet. With a heavier racquet it will take longer to get back and then through. If you don’t have enough time to get the racquet back that limits your options on the volley to a drop or to block the ball back to length. You will not be able to hit the ball hard to length as often.

For the player with poor racquet preparation a lighter racquet can be of real benefit as well. While I certainly believe the correct cure for poor racquet preparation is to actually improve that facet of your game, if for whatever reason that is not going to happen a lighter racquet can improve your play. It improves your play for the same reason described in the paragraph above. You can get the racquet back and through to the ball in less time than you can a heavier racquet. That will give you more options and the ability to drive more balls.

I have been using the Harrow Vibe for the last few months now and have really enjoyed playing with it. I have found it allows me to have a shorter more compact swing, better deception, volley the ball more frequently and allows me to prepare my racquet better more often. All of these traits are at present helping me with my game.

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