Squash – Dealing with physical limitations

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I have been in the unfortunate situation of dealing with some physical limitations recently that have caused me not to be able to play as often as I like and when I do play it has been at a much slower pace.  I have a swollen foot which some days is worse than others.  When it is bad I can barely play, most days I can tolerate the pain enough to play although I am not as mobile as I would normally be.

When this first started I found it very disheartening.  I was not able to play the game I normally play and was finding myself not being competitive against people that I should be and was very frustrated by that.  I came to a few conclusions from this though.  The first being that I would have to accept that my movement was compromised and not worry about the results so much.  The second was that I was going to have to finish points faster than I normally would. The third was that I needed more time to recover back to the ‘T’ than I normally would.

The first conclusion was a tough one to swallow.  I am a competitive person and not being able to play at my normal level was really frustrating.  When I am playing my best squash I am pretty quick on court and am on the ball quickly giving myself options.  I am getting balls back that my opponent does not think I will and forcing them to try and hit better and better shots often causing them to increase their error count.  I very simply had to accept that while I could force myself to do this sometimes and deal with the pain it caused I could not do it all the time.

The second conclusion took some revision to get right.  I am not a shooter by nature in squash and I went overboard on this approach of trying to end points early.  I was not working the point at all I was immediately trying to hit winners and take the ball short. This worked a little bit against weaker players but definitely not against better players. They were reading my shots and I had not worked them out of position before attacking short.  I adjusted and tried to establish a good length game and tried to wait for better opportunities to take the ball short.  This has proven to be more effective.

The third conclusion was for me to slow the game down.  I was finding movement after the shot the hardest.  I was not recovering back to the ‘T’ quickly and was often out of position. In particular I was very susceptible to being taken short.  Using more height and a slower pace to my shots in to the back court has definitely helped.  It gives me more time to recover to the ‘T’ and get in position to cover the whole court.

While nobody enjoys being injured I am now working on staying positive about this.  While my movement is not nearly what I would like it to be currently it will improve.  What I will take from this is a better attacking game as I have been working very hard at trying to work my opponent out of position and then taking the ball short.  I have also definitely improved my high and soft ball to the back of the court.  While my squash game is not what I would really like now it will be better in the future.

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