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Alex Robertson
By Alex Robertson on December 28, 2021

Looking Forward To Squash In 2022

Our last blog post looked back on some of the highlights and exciting moments of squash in 2021 (you can read it by clicking here).

As this year comes to a close, I thought it'd be fitting to focus another blog post on my predictions for squash in 2022.

I'm going to delve into professional squash and discuss the way things are heading there, I'll also be going into some of my own personal goals for squash and will give some tips on how to set them for yourself.

I remember back in the first half of 2021 and seeing Marwan ElShorbagy win the CIB Black Ball Open, seeing Mohamed ElShorbagy win the El Gouna International, seeing Mostafa Asal win the CIB World Tour Finals, and seeing Ali Farag win the PSA World Squash Championships. 

I thought to myself, this is going to be another year of Egyptian domination in squash.

But then, the year went on and we saw Diego Elias take the win at the Manchester Open and the Qatar Classic, Paul Coll take the win at the British Open, the Canary Wharf Classic, and most recently, the CIB Black Ball Open.

We've also seen players like Joel Makin and Eain Yow Ng make some major progress in some major tournaments and they've both shown on multiple occasions they have what it takes to push those top Egyptian players.

In the women's events, we have still seen a lot of Egyptian domination throughout the course of the year, but there have been a few stand-out players who are getting better and better at pushing the top Egyptian players.

Camille Serme has shown some serious consistency on the court and has reached a number of finals and semi-finals of major tournaments including the CIB World Tour Finals and the CIB Egyptian Open.

Amanda Sobhy has also been doing incredibly well including becoming the first US-born player in history to reach the semi-finals of the PSA World Championships and reaching a number of major semi-finals such as the British Open and the CIB Egyptian Open.

Anyway, my point is that I think 2022 could be the year that the tables turn in professional squash. 

I'd just like to clarify that I have nothing but love and respect for the Egyptian pros and the way that they have dominated the game over the past few years has been incredible.

However, seeing players from other countries begin to push those top spots in the rankings is a truly exciting thing for the world of squash and will be great for the fans.

I believe Paul Coll is going to be the catalyst of this change, in fact, it could be argued that he is already there.

As I mentioned above, Coll has upped his game to an insane degree over the past season and it's clearly started paying off with those major tournament wins. For a point of reference, the current World Number 1, Ali Farag, and Paul Coll have a head-to-head win ratio of 15 wins for Ali and 4 wins for Coll.

I may be wrong but at least two or three of Coll's wins against Farag have been in their last few matches against each other.

This shows that Farag has dominated Coll all the way up until this season, however, Coll now seems to be more consistently getting the upper hand against Farag. If you watched the CIB Black Ball Open final between the two a couple of weeks back, you'll have seen that Coll completely dominated the game to win 3-0.

Although, it should be mentioned that Farag had an absolutely brutal semi-final the day before against Mostafa Asal.

Anyway, Coll is now at World No. 2 and I think he's going to become the next non-Egyptian World No.1. I also predict that this will be the catalyst and inspiration for other players from other countries to take notes from Coll's new approach and playing style to take on the Egyptians.

2022 could mark a new era in professional squash and I'm very excited to see it!

Now, delving into some personal goals of my own, I have some specific (and some more general) targets I'm going to focus on for 2022.

The two areas I want to improve in my game are the consistency of my lengths and the pace I play at (I want to up my overall pace, volley more, and be proactive).

It's commonly said that goals should be measurable, however, when it comes to squash, it's often hard to put numerical targets on more subjective goals like mine.

It's not like I can really count how many volleys I play in a match situation or aim for a certain number of accurate straight lengths, because I'll be fully focused on my match.

Instead, I'm going to try to keep it simple and just aim to specifically do at least one drill session that focuses on one of those two goals at least once per week. I usually train once or twice per week and then have one or two matches per week where I can put my training into practice.

I think this target is achievable and not too far-fetched, although it is quite general, I'm usually good at focusing my mind on what exactly I want to improve during drills.

Whatever drill I'm actually doing often doesn't matter too much because the majority of drills incorporate lengths or volleying and attacking, so I can just make sure to focus my mind on my personal goals throughout the session.

Anyway, a couple of tips for setting your own squash goals for 2022, they can be as specific or as general as you want in my opinion, however, measurable goals tend to be better and more rewarding.

Let's say your goal is to beat a rival, or even just take a game off someone who usually beats you 3-0, once you reach that goal, you know you've done it and you can be proud of yourself.

Then, you can also use that to set yourself another goal, such as beating your rival by a larger margin or getting 2 games off of someone who usually beats you.

If you're looking to improve a specific shot, you can set down targets and measure how many times in a row you can hit your target. Or, how many times in a minute you can hit your target (putting you under a little more pressure).

There are a lot of ways to have fun with your squash goals and I'd say that having fun with it is essential. Don't drive yourself nuts trying to reach your goals, just try your best and have fun with it.

Also, final tip, don't set the bar too high. It can be exciting to think about, but often it can be quite demoralising if you set a goal that's too difficult to reach!

But anyway, I hope you all had a great 2021, and best of luck for 2022, I think the world of squash has a lot to look forward to!

Published by Alex Robertson December 28, 2021
Alex Robertson