The title of this post isn’t an open invitation to vent your frustrations of the day, rather an important question about your thought process on court. This is an exercise in metacognition; thinking about your thinking.
I’ve discussed the concepts of deliberate practice and “10000 hours” in earlier posts, and those themes tie in well here. To review, several sports science/psychology studies have shown that it takes a minimum of 10000 hours of deliberate practice to truly master a sport (for reference, I am at about 8000 hours…and nowhere near a master). Continue reading
Movement in squash is critical. It is imperative to move well to and from the ball. Often though when we arrive at where we expect to hit the ball we might not be in the best possible position. This can happen for a couple of reasons. It can happen if we simply misjudge the ball or if the ball comes off of the wall unexpectedly. When this happens the ball will most often be in a poor position for us to hit. One of the most common errors that players make is not adjusting and hitting the ball when they are now out of position. Of course as we play and practice more this will happen less but when it does happen it is imperative, if you have the time to move your feet and get to the best position you can to hit a good shot. Continue reading
As squash players the lunge is something we are all familiar with. I was practicing movement in to the front court with the help of my coach and one thing that we were working on specifically was how far forward the leading knee can go. If your leading knee goes too far you can lose balance on the shot you are playing. Also if you go too far you will also not have the same strength to push back out of the corner.
Photo credit to SquashSite
I had a chance to discuss racquet preparation with the pro at my squash club today and we went over some things that I knew but were definitely good to have reinforced. Early racquet preparation has some real benefits. It gives you more options as to what shot to hit. It also improves deception making it harder for your opponent to figure out what shot you are playing. Another benefit is it allows you to adjust quicker to a ball that takes an unexpected bounce.
Having learned the sport in a relatively “rural” squash area, and now living in the biggest hotbed for junior squash in Canada, the topic of junior development is very interesting to me. I often think about the best ways to groom young players into stars, and try to figure out what key elements make or break a junior’s development. Hopefully there are some juniors or parents of juniors reading this!
We at Control the ‘T’ Sports would like to thank Peter Nicol, Tim Garner and their sponsors for the wonderful event that was the Xodus 7 Continent Challenge. Continue reading
My favourite shot in squash is a high soft cross court lob that catches the side wall and then dies in the opponents back hand corner. I prefer this over a flat nick in the front court, over a clinging drop and over a dying hard straight length. I find it extremely satisfying to win a point this way. I also like this shot because as long as it is hit relatively well I get time to get back to the ‘T’ and get in position to attack my opponents next shot. It is said that golf is a sport of misses and you need to minimize the trouble you get yourself in to and I believe this is true of squash as well.
The Asics Gel-Blast 4 have been by far our best selling squash shoe ever. The Blast 4 live on and are still the current model from Asics and there are some pretty exciting new colours for this year. The first new colour is Orange/Black/Silver pictured above. Want to stand on court then this may well be the pair of shoes for you! They will definitely get you noticed. They are not only flashy though they are a terrific performing pair of shoes.
The 2013 PSA Squash Finals have been extremely entertain thus far. The semi-finals today look to be two highly competitive matches. The first match between Gregory Gaultier and Nick Matthew. The second semi-final features James Willstrop and Amr Shabana.
Gaultier has been on in very fine so far this tournament. In particular his match against James Willstrop was highly competitive and top quality squash. He managed to beat Willstrop who was the #1 ranked player of all of 2012.
Nick Matthew needed a win yesterday. After having lost his first match against Amr Shabana he found himself in a must win match for the rest of the group matches. Not an enviable task but one that he took on and succeeded at. He took advantage of the loose play of Shorbagy in his second match and closed the match in 2 games. He was able to get past Peter Barker in 2 straight games as well.
The first semi is a very tough match for me to pick a winner of. Nick had to win yesterday but did so in convincing fashion and did it in 2 games. Gregory did not look up for his match against Karim yesterday and went down in 2 games. Both should be on pretty equal footing physically. I am going to pick Nick in a very tough match to go through to the final.
James found himself in a must win situation yesterday as well having lost to Gaultier in the second round of group play. He played Simon Rosner yesterday and managed to close out the match in 2 straight games and should be fairly fresh for today’s match.
Amr’s match yesterday was probably the hardest match on paper and it lived up to its billing. He was up against Mohamed el Shorbagy who no doubt wanted was really up for his match with Shabana. Amr had already qualified for semi’s but came out determined as ever to get the win yesterday. Off all the players in this tournament he has been in the best form so far and is the defending champion. Can he retain the title or did he expend a little too much energy yesterday?
I am really excited about the second semi-final. Amr has been playing so well having gone undefeated so far. Willstrop though is such an incredible tactician on court and may well be able to contain Shabana’s brilliant attack. My pick is Willstrop in another tightly contested match setting up an all English final.
If you have any thoughts about today’s semi’s leave a comment below.
I have definitely talked about mental confidence before but wanted to discuss from a little different perspective this time. I am sure we have all played against someone that is young, new to the game and really fit and can seemingly chase down any ball. Even when they can’t quite get it they often exclaim how close they were to getting the ball. They run all over the court and have a smile on their face while doing it. They look like they are actually having fun chasing the ball around the court. Why do they look this way? The obvious answer is more often than not the right one. They are having fun!