If you are suddenly needing to cut your lawn twice a week and struggling to find squash partner who’s not on the golf course – then Summer has arrived!
Summer signifies the end of a hard fought squash season. But as they say “ All good things must come to an end” and for good reason.
Squash is a tremendously demanding sport both mentally and physically. With the competitive season at an end it provides many of us with a much needed body break to recoup and repair from the general physical wear and tear, but also a bit of a brain unwind as well. It is important to refresh and rejuvenate, otherwise it could cause full on burn out (and possible injury).
Golf, cycling, soccer, tennis, baseball, rugby… whatever your summer sport of choice is, get out there and do it! Our Canadian summers are short and those perfect sunny days are quite coveted. My suggestion is to enjoy it while you can. The sleet, snow and chill is always lingering in the not so distant future. Seek out the sunshine, play in the sand, enjoy a pint on the patio and get your fill of vitamin D.
This mixture of play and relaxation can be quite healing. To me it is an essential part of the off season. Without a bit of a break and different routine life (including squash training) can start to feel like a week with no weekend.
With that said, if you are looking to maintain or improve your skills over the summer, there are things you can do to catapult yourself past opponents who let the racquet and body rust over the summer. Look at your game and determine where you would like to improve. Is it your Speed /Recovery time? Strength? Shot selection? Racquet work? Strategy? Whatever it may be, now is the time to focus on how to improve in those areas.
Speed Work/Recovery Time:
There are several things you can add to your summer routine to help increase your speed and recovery time. Court sprints. Ghosting. Interval Sprinting/Training. Spin classes. Plyometrics etc.
It is hard as a player to fit in weight work during the season as there are countless court hours as well as tournament demands. Several strength exercises have too long of a recovery period for a squash player to plan around (especially leg work – we really need our legs)! Now is the perfect time for a squash player to hit the gym. Remember, you don’t want to lift for muscle mass, you want to lift for strength. Too much mass can slow you down on court or impede your swing. Lift for muscle endurance.
If the above two items are a key goal for you to improve on, I highly suggest you check in with a personal trainer or look online for specific squash strength training and speed drill regimes. There is information out there to help you create a program that suit your needs and objectives.
If shot selection, racquet work and/or strategy happen to be your required area of development; summer is the perfect time for taking lessons. When taking lessons it is inevitable that things will start to crumble and get frustrating as you try to make the changes. Doing that during the season can have some exasperating effects, and many people tend to regress to their old habits in order to feel more in control of their games. It is not an easy thing to make technical changes but you have to break the eggs to make the omelette. Therefore I suggest you break the eggs now and make it messy when the score doesn’t matter. If you are eager to make these improvements over the sunny season you should be on court at least once a week (one lesson/one game). Summer squash is great for working on these maddening specifics and fantastic for building endurance. The ball is hot which tends to keep the rally going longer – keeping you on the move.
In conclusion summer should be what you want it to be …
A body and mind break from the game for recuperation, straight through to full on training to take the squash world by storm when the season hits this coming fall. Whatever you choose to do – good luck and have fun!
One last word of advice. Make sure to take some time to enjoy our short and sweet Canadian heat. A nice cold beer on the patio after a sweaty summer squash match is a beautiful thing!
Squash Pro & Program Director
Brantford Movati Athletic