Author Archives: Nicole Garon

Help! I’m trapped in the corner and I can’t get out!

Do you struggle to gain control and keep control of the T?
Do you find yourself constantly behind your opponent?
Do you feel as though you are frequently scrambling and under pressure?

If the answer to one or more of these questions is yes, then you are likely finding yourself trapped in the back two corners and struggling to fight your way out.

As complicated as this game may seem at times, it is pretty simple to determine why you are finding yourself behind your opponent.

  • Poor Length
  • Loose Shots
  • Minimal Volleying

Poor Length

You’ve heard it a million times before. “Get the ball deep to gain control of the T”. That said, not all length is created equal. The length required to put yourself in control of the game needs to be quality length. What makes length quality length? There are several things to consider when hitting good length; two elements in particular can aide in adjusting and improving your long game: Weight & Accuracy of shot. These two elements work in tandem with one another. Are you hitting too hard, too soft? Too short or too long? Finding the right mix is magic!

Too hard/too long: You don’t want to crash the ball hard and high into the back where you are essentially “over driving” the ball. In this case your opponent can basically maintain their position on the T and wait for it to bounce off the back wall – yet again jamming you in the back of the court.

Too soft/too short: The opposite of the over drive is hitting the ball too high and too soft. This will provide your enemy with a perfect attacking opportunity, with the ball landing short of the service line and ample time make an aggressive offensive shot. Not only does this shot set your opponent up for a potential winner – it most definitely does not get you out of the corner and onto the T.

The optimal ball to hit from the back to get out of trouble is a lifted drive.
Getting the ball high on the front wall will get you the depth to move your opponent. Hitting the ball with a soft lift will provide you the time needed to get out of the back corner and establish yourself on the T. The softness of the shot should also keep the ball from sitting up for your opponent to pick off of the back wall. The goal is to get the second bounce of the ball just before it reaches the back wall.

Loose Shots

Getting the proper depth of the shot is ideal, but if the majority of the balls you are hitting are loose and coming through the middle, you are still in trouble. You are basically feeding your salivating opponent juicy fruit for them to pick off as they please. For you to move them off the coveted T, the balls not only have to have the right pace, but they also need to be tight to the wall (within 2 floor boards) on rail shots, and cross-courts should have good width (ball hitting side wall just behind the back of the service box). If you have a lob in your repertoire – use it! If you don’t, I highly suggest adding this shot into your game. It is a brilliant defensive shot that gives you time to reset and gain control – and sometimes much needed composure.

Minimal Volleying

You may be reading this and saying to yourself, “I hit good length. I keep the ball tight… Why am I still scrambling in the corners??” The most likely answer is – You are not volleying the ball! If you are in mid court and choose to move back to take a ground stroke instead of up to take a volley – you are relinquishing your T position to your opponent when they are not forcing you out. As the late great Patrick Swayze famously said “Nobody puts Baby in a corner’” so why do you keep putting yourself there? Test yourself the next time you are on court. Get high up on the T and tell yourself that no ball is going to get past you. You might be surprised at how often your tendency is to let a volleying opportunity slip away.
You need to fight to keep the T. Don’t be passive and let the ball lead you into the deep dark woods at the back of the court. Be more aggressive and take the ball early. Not only does this keep your T position. It also puts your adversary under pressure.

If you are yelling, “Help, I’m trapped in the corner and can’t get out”.
Putting these simple tactics into motion are the key to opening your cage.
Good, tight length – VOLLEY, VOLLEY, VOLLEY.

Nicole Garon
Squash Pro & Program Director
Brantford Movati Athletic

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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

Posted in Fitness, Squash Tips, Squash Training | Tagged , , | Leave a comment