Shahier Razik has been the #1 Squash player in Canada for a number of years now. With the retirement of Jonathan Power in 2006 Shahier has consistently been the best player in Canada.
I love watching Shahier play. Why, because he plays a type of game that we can all strive for. He certainly is extremely talented and can hit amazing shots but what impresses me most about his game is his efficiency on court, his patience and his work ethic.
A few months ago I posted a blog entry that focused on a video of Shahier's about footwork. It is definitely worth reading the blog and watching the video as it is a real lesson on movement around the court. Shahier very clearly and concisely demonstrates how to move from the 'T' to the ball and back again. Moving efficiently is imperative to squash as it allows a player to get from point A to B as quickly as possible and with as few steps as possible. That might not be terribly important in the first game but in fifth game of a long match it is critical.
The other part of Shahier's game that really strikes me is his patience on court. Shahier plays the game at the highest level and when put under pressure he does not panic, he gets himself out of trouble. That is an amazing trait. It is very common for people when put under constant pressure to look for the easy way out. Shahier doesn't look for the easiest way out of a point, he looks for the safest way out of a difficult situation. That gets him out of trouble and extends the rally until he gets an appropriate chance to attack.
His work ethic is what makes his patient play work. People look for the easy way out when they are too tired to take the safe way out. Being willing to play a safe shot when your lungs are burning takes the confidence to know that your opponent is hurting too and wants the rally to end. Shahier's remarkable fitness is what makes it possible for him to play the safe consistent type of squash that he does as he is fit enough to go that one extra shot that his opponent often is not. Remarkable fitness comes from a remarkable training regime.
Shahier is an incredible squash player and while not all of us will have his racquet skills we can all learn a great deal from his style of play. Train hard so that you don't search for the easy way out of a hard rally. Train hard enough so that when your lungs are burning and you want to go for an ill-advised winner that you won't you find a safe way to extend the rally and make your opponent go for that ill-advised shot.