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EC3D Compression Garments

I like many of you have seen both amateur and professional squash players using compression clothing on the squash court. For squash it is most commonly a calf sleeve or a long sock that comes up to just under the knee that is used. I had always wondered how beneficial they would be for an athlete. I did some reading on them to get an idea on the reasoning behind using them and what the purpose was. After my research I decided it was a good idea to add compressions garments to our product line-up here at Control the ‘T’ Sports.

ec3d Twist Compressoion SocksSo to start with how are compression calf sleeves or socks supposed to help? They are designed to increase oxygen flow and improve lactic acid clearance. Increased oxygen flow helps performance. It allows the athlete to perform better by improving muscle power and endurance. In squash this translates in to more speed around the court, for a longer period of time. Lactic acid build up can lead to delayed onset muscle stiffness commonly referred to as DOMS. It is quite common for squash players to feel DOMS the day after playing or training really hard.

My experience with using compression calf sleeves and socks has been very positive. The performance increase is really hard to measure for me. I believe I am moving around the court better since starting using them but it is hard for me to objectively measure that. Where I have found the most benefit in the sleeves and socks is in the recovery phase. I have found that I have been much less stiff in the calves since starting to use them. It has been a very noticeable difference.

EC3D CompressGo Universal Calf Sleeves BlackOne other aspect of them that I have found really beneficial is in wearing them before playing. I sit at a desk for hours at an end at work and I am certain doing so hurts circulation in my legs. It is common for people that sit at a desk for long stretches to suffer from poor leg circulation and even swelling in the legs. The best solution/prevention for me is to get out of my desk and get mobile, even briefly to get better circulation to my legs. Work can sometimes get in the way of that and I have definitely found wearing the long socks in particular to have really helped improve how my legs feel after sitting at my desk. I attribute this to improved blood circulation and in particular less buildup of lactic acid in my legs.

The line of compression garments we are carrying are from EC3D. EC3D is a Canadian based company. They have a full line of compression garments. Their product is not only used for sport but is used in medical applications as well. There are 3 core parts to EC3D’s compression garments. Medical grade compression, graduated compression and targeted compression zones.

From EC3D’s site:

Medical Grade Compression

“Compression is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).To be considered Medical Grade,compression level must be 20 mmHg and over.”

This results in:

  • INCREASED BLOOD CIRCULATION
  • INCREASED MUSCLE OXYGENATION
  • REDUCED MUSCLE INFLAMMATION
  • LOWER RISK OF INJURY

Graduated Compression

“Strategic compression zones stabilizing key muscles and reducing muscle oscillation. Stabilized muscles are able to relax so you’re able to stay in the game longer.”

This results in:

  • FASTER REMOVAL OF METABOLIC WASTE FOR BETTER RECOVERY
  • REDUCED FATIGUE DURING EXERCISE
  • INCREASED EFFICIENCY, ENDURANCE AND STRENGTH

Targeted Compression Zones

“Strategic compression zones stabilizing key muscles and reducing muscle oscillation. Stabilized muscles are able to relax so you’re able to stay in the game longer.”

This results in:

  • BETTER MUSCLE ALIGNMENT, POSTURE AND STABILITY
  • REDUCED MUSCLE OSCILLATION
  • STIMULATE BODY AWARNESS (PROPRIOCEPTION)
  • MORE POWER AND PRECISION

To check out our current selection of EC3D’s compression garment please click on the “View in store” button below!

EC3D Compression Socks and Sleeves at Control the 'T' Sports

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A review of the Asics Gel Fastball Indoor Court Shoes

We have a Asics Gel-Fastball Squash Shoesnew line of shoes that we are selling for squash, the ASICS Gel-Fastball Indoor Court Shoes. I have been looking to add another model of ASICS shoe to our line-up for squash and the Fastball are them. They are a very light pair of squash shoes and feature many of ASICS top of the line technologies. The ASICS GEL Fastball feature the following technologies: Trusstic System, Removable Sockliner, P.H.F.® (Personalized Heel Fit), AHAR+, Magic Sole, NC Rubber® Outsole, California Slip Lasting, Open Mesh Upper, RhynoSkin, Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL® Cushioning System, Solyte 55 Lasting, SpEVA Midsole Material, and WET GRIP® Outsole.

The Asics Gel Fastball are really designed for the aggressive squash player. They provide exception grip on the court and excellent lateral stability. One of the players I sponsor, Chris who is an amateur player but a top level A player here in Canada had this to say about the Fastball.

“Jeff introduces the Asics Gel Fastball to me because the Gel Blast 5 was discontinued. It was almost a blessing in disguise as I absolutely love these shoes! They are lower to ground which is great for balance and the wider outsole at the ball of the foot really increases stability which especially good for me and my weaker ankles.  Even with them being lower to the ground, the cushioning is still there and they don’t neglect the comfort of the Blasts. There was next to zero break in time, which was an added bonus as I was in dire need of a new pair of court shoes!”

Chris had tried to the Gel-Blast 6 and they had not worked out for him. The Blast which he and so many other players loved are long since discontinued and we can no longer get anymore.  I had compared these to the ASICS GEL Blade as another option to carry and found the Fastball to have better lateral stability and better cushioning as well as they have the GEL cushioning system in the forefoot which the Blade do not. Weight wise they are similar to the Blade as both are quite light.

From a construction perspective they are excellent as well. They feature ASICS Rhynoskin technology on the forefoot area of the shoe, including the medial side, which is very important in squash of course to protect against wear caused by dragging the back foot on the lunge. Like the Blast the shoe is stitched as well as glued up in the toe area of the shoe for added durability.

I am very excited about these shoes as they are priced very competitively and are really a great pair of shoes for squash. The combination of excellent lateral support, light weight and exceptional grip make them a tremendous performer. ASICS GEL cushioning system as well as the P.H.F system make them very comfortable shoes to play in as well. To learn more about the ASICS GEL-Fastball Indoor Court Shoes check out the View in Store link below.

ASICS GEL-FASTBALL Indoor Court Shoes

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Squash: A Deception Game

To deceive someone is to cause them to believe something that is not true, typically in order to gain some personal advantage. In the game of squash this becomes a vital thing. Being able to deceive your opponent becomes a key element in squash as it is fundamentally one of the best ways to win a rally. Deceptive shots, either by accident or by choice, create an element of surprise that will throw off any opponent. Deception is an art; a great strategy in the game of squash that highly rewards those who are able to master it.

Squash is a deception game. The ability to play with your opponent’s mind becomes a great advantage when playing squash. It is arguably the hardest strategy to develop; but, when successfully developed, it is the most rewarding one. Whether it is a head fake or a surprise cross from the front, any shot that eventually deceives the opponent will create more opportunities to keep adding pressure in the rally.

Most deceptive shots involve identical racquet preparation on every shot and good wrist strength combined with a fast racquet movement. The ‘hold’ on open shots will reduce the chances of an opponent being able to read the next shot. A player would ideally hold the racquet in the same position for as long as possible before hitting the ball hence increasing the chances of misleading the opponent. Also, a player can ‘fake’ the racquet movement involving a certain type of shot and then continue to hit a completely different shot. For example, a player could make it look as if they were going to hit a drop shot by lowering their shoulder, but then go on to hit a hard cross court by quickly snapping the racquet using their wrist. These combination of deceptive plays will create surprise in a player’s game giving them a big advantage against their opponent.

The element of surprise plays a big role in a squash match. When able to surprise an opponent during a match, players will find themselves with various opportunities to win the point. If a point is not won straight away after a deceptive shot, the opponent will have to use extra energy to return the shot. If the latter occurs the opponent will most likely return an open since they will be out of position due to the unexpectedness of the player’s shot. For example, if an opponent is expecting a drop shot and is then surprised by a cross towards the back, they will have to change direction and run towards the back of the court in order to return the ball. In this case they will be out of position when hitting the ball thus increasing the possibility of returning a shot than can be easily attacked by the player. These are great gains in a match since the opponent’s physical energy is depleted while putting them under heavy pressure. This has been seen throughout the sport’s history where some great players have shown incredible deceptive skills that have left their opponents baffled.

A great example of deceptive play comes from a Canadian squash legend and former World Number 1: Jonathon Power. Considered to be one of the greatest shot makers in the history of the game, ‘The Magician’ kept fans on their toes every time he played demonstrating an amazing display of deceptive shots. Here is a video of his most famous deceptive shot where he does a perfect backhand fake on the back of the court to then hit an amazing drop shot that leaves his opponent completely static (0:13-0:31):

Another example of a great deceptive shot is James Willstrop’s famous double fake against Ramy Ashour:

Deception pays off very well in squash. Any player who is able to develop a strong deception game will have a great advantage against any type of opponent. This is one of the most powerful tools in the game of squash and it is widely used in many different ways by the best players in the world. Creating an element of surprise on court is essential whenever an opportunity to attack arises. The art of deception is one to be acquired by any player who aims for a much better squash game!

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A review of the Salming Viper Squash Shoes

As I have mentioned here many times in the past I love receiving new squash gear. So as you can imagine I was very excited when the new Salming shoes arrived this month. There are a couple of new colour options of the Race R1 2.0, there is the Race R2 2.0 which we did not carry previously and also the Race R9 Mid. Also in the order was the completely new Salming Viper.
Salming Viper Men's Squash Shoes Continue reading

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What makes a squash racquet a good control racquet?

So what makes a squash racquet good for control? There are a lot of factors actually. The size of the head plays an important part. The style of head also plays a big part in what would normally be deemed a control racquet. The string tension also plays an important part in determining control. The individual playing with the racquet though is probably the most important part of the equation.

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A review of the Asics Gel-Blast 5 Squash Shoes

Asics Gel Blast 5 Yellow Lightning Black The Asics Gel-Blast series of shoes have been our best selling pair of squash shoes for years. They sell well because of how good of shoe they are for squash. Their performance characteristics are excellent and they are incredibly comfortable. Let’s take a look at some of the key technologies Asics has incorporated in to the the Asics Gel-Blast 5 and see how they benefit the squash player.

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First Squash Tournament of the Season!

I confess I do not really play that many tournaments anymore due to time constraints.  I am however playing in one tomorrow and am really looking forward to it.  I am playing in it as it is fundraising event for the University of Waterloo varsity team and I am friends with some of the team.  I am also donating a prize to the tournament for them as well.

The tournament will be filled with mostly varsity players from Universities that are in the area as well as some local players.  Being a “Masters” age player now playing against a bunch of University aged “kids” should be fun.  Thankfully I still enjoy a nice hard paced game that really taxes you physically so I am looking forward to the challenge.

There are some really good squash players playing in this event so while I am looking forward to playing in the tournament I am also really looking forward to watching some great squash.  Canada’s top junior player is in the tournament and I expect he is the #1 seed.  There are some players in the field though that will provide him a good test.

I expect tomorrow to be a fun day.  A day filled with playing squash and getting to watch some highly entertaining squash matches.  I am definitely looking forward to it!

 

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Mike McCue – In the Main Draw of the National Squash Academy Open 2012

Mike McCue who blogs for us is entered in the National Squash Academy Open 2012 that starts next week and we would like to wish him the best of luck.  Mike trains out of the National Squash Academy (NSA) so this is a tournament on his home court.  Many of the entrants in this tournament train out of the NSA.  Mike’s first match is against Tyler Hamilton a fellow Canadian.  It should be a very tough match.

I will be going to watch the first day of the tournament at least next Wednesday and expect to see Mike’s first match.  I definitely hope to be watching a win for Mike but I know for certain I will be watching some very high quality squash.   If you are in the Toronto, Ontario area this is definitely an event worth seeing.   Will this years top seed, Dane Sharp repeat as champion or will someone else take the title?

Good luck Mike!

To check out the draw click here

 

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SquashSkills.com – Worth the subscription

Squashskills.com Banner

I have been following Squashskills.com since its inception.  I like their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and am now a subscriber to their website.  When they first started up I enjoyed watching their initial videos. I was very excited when Peter Nicol signed on.  Where else on the web could you get tips from one of the top professional squash players of all time?  I envisioned the site growing in to one of the top squash resource sites on the Internet.  Now that they have launched their subscription based site I believe they have achieved that.

I thought about purchasing the subscription a bit before I actually paid for it.  I created an account on the site so I could view the free videos.  Some I had seen before some were new.  The quality was certainly better than most squash videos on the Internet so that was definitely a positive.  I went through the different sections of the site and liked what I saw.  In particular I read “The Story of Squashskills” and am really impressed with their vision for the site.  I also liked that at launch they were focusing on a particular topic for one week and progressing through the various aspects of the game.   The video library is structured that way as well.  You can randomly just browse the videos or you can select a particular area of interest whether that is videos from Peter Nicol or videos on the forehand. I really like that feature, being able to find videos on the topic that  I want to watch easily by just clicking on the topic and being presented a set of videos that match.

I liked what I saw so I decided to go ahead and purchase.  I have gone through the new videos on the forehand and backhand to start with.  I am very impressed with them.  The videos are very high quality.  What I like the most about them though is listening to Jethro, Lee or Peter discuss the topic of the video and why they are teaching that particular shot or skill.  The videos themselves are well laid out.  The coach discussed the skill they are focusing on and particular aspects of it.  They then demonstrate the skill and you typically get to see it from different angles and speeds.  I find it particularly helpful to see the shot in slow motion with the coach describing what is happening throughout the swing.

I am excited about the V1 section of the site as well.  I have not used it yet but having the option of creating a video using the V1 app for the iPad and sending that to Peter Nicol or Jethro Binns for analysis is pretty exciting.  Technology is a wonderful thing and having it allow us access to world class coaches from afar is tremendous.  The V1 software gives Jethro or Peter the ability to slow down your swing, see the good and bad parts of it and recommend improvements.  This will be of real value to many players I am certain.

Squashskills.com has now officially launched and is live and I am happy that I have subscribed.  I think it will prove to be valuable to all levels of players.  Do yourself a favour and register for an account, review what the site has to offer and if you like what you see, like I did, subscribe for full access.

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Winning in Tough Conditions

Learning how to play in unfavourable/imperfect conditions has been one of the most important lessons in my short career. Playing different types of tournaments in different types of clubs in different types of cities and countries provides invaluable experience in the art of adapting to your surroundings and making the best of the situation.  Very, very rarely have I felt perfectly prepared for a match. There are usually a few variables that I fail to or cannot control, even before matches I have been thinking about for months beforehand. There is always some sort of inconvenience or other circumstance that prevents ideal preparation. Part of being a good player though means doing your best to minimize the variables that you can control.

One of the most common experiences I’ve had is playing on unusual courts. Courts that were over 35°C, slippery as ice, had pieces missing, tins too high, etc. This has always bothered me, and instead of playing to the conditions, I’ve historically let these idiosyncrasies bother me. Lately though, I’ve been learning to accept the conditions and use them to my advantage. Ultimately, both players are on the same court. If the ball takes a weird bounce in the back left corner, keep hitting it there! Whining about the shadows or missing floorboard will only distract you and create excuses for a loss.

Another common scenario is not having the ideal equipment on hand (string, grip, shoes, etc).  For a variety of reasons- especially on extended tours- equipment fails or breaks and cannot be replaced before the next match. Again, this may make a minor difference to your play…but it will not be as detrimental as worrying that your grip or strings will make the difference between winning and losing. Forget about it, do your best with the tools you have, and sort out the situation afterwards. I always find it strange when people blame a loss squarely on their racquet- without considering the tinned reverse boast they tried ten times!

There are many other possible glitches that can come up before or during a match. Not eating properly, not giving yourself time to warm up, stress from work and the like. The list is indeed much longer for amateurs who don’t have all day to prepare for matches! But the moral of this story is to forget about what you can’t control (a bad grip, a bad ref, extreme temperatures), analyze the factors directly affecting the match (court conditions) and decide how to use them to your advantage. You’ll almost never play a match where everything falls into place, but you can still turn these perceived annoyances in your favour.

 

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