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Summer Training Tips

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got!"


They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results! Learning to play Squash and develop your game over Summer is no different! Read on to see our tips on making the most of your training over Summer ahead of next Season!

If you always do what you have always done, you'll always get what you've always got

In my Squash Coaching I constantly have this phrase at the forefront of my mind. Whether it's advice to Players or following my own philosophy, this saying has stuck with me for a number of reasons.


I have never been someone to sit still and get "comfortable" with the work I'm doing. I am always looking for new ideas and challenges to help me in both my personal and professional life. Sometimes these things work. Sometimes they don't. But without trying it's impossible to tell if a great opportunity is passing you by!


The INSPIRE Squash Academy wouldn't exist if I hadn't taken the leap to set-up and run my own business. At the time it was scary, things were uncertain and we were in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic; which on reflection might seem like the wrong time to set up a Coaching Business that primarily works indoors, in large groups and in a confined box!


However, I knew I would work hard to make it successful. If it failed, it failed, but it wouldn't be through lack of trying. To say I'm not scared of failing would be a lie, nobody wants to be seen to have made a mistake or been unsuccessful.


I do believe however that to achieve real success and personal development, you have to be prepared to take a few knocks on the way and hold your hands up when something didn't work. Nobody can criticise you for trying, and every failure is an opportunity to learn!


“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” — Nelson Mandela

This mindset can be applied to all areas of life, but as we're here to discuss Squash, below are a few tips to help you develop your Squash with this in mind! What have you done in previous years? How successful was it? How can you make the most of you Squash over Summer? Read on to see our top tips!


Tip #1 - For goodness sake Warm Up!

The Worlds Greatest Stretch

This is my biggest pet hate! Not warming-up!


The conversation normally goes:

"How did you get on?"

"Lost the first game!"

"Did you warm-up?"

"No....."

".........."


If you always do what you've always done etc. Next Match exactly the same...


Everyone should (hopefully) know why it is so important to warm-up before you train or play a competitive Match. Aside from reducing the risk of injury and looking after your body (which should be a given for everyone) a good and proper warm up will:

  • Increased blood and oxygen to the muscles. This will make them more responsive and increase power output!

  • Increase the heart rate to help pump more blood to the working muscles and also put less strain on the heart to pump blood throughout the system.

  • Increase body temperature & increased elasticity in the muscles. Increased muscle temperature and elasticity can lead to less muscle injury and strain!

  • Activation of cooling methods so the body won’t overheat (sweating) If you are not sweating after a warm-up, you haven't done it correctly or done the warm-up for long enough!

  • Hormones are released which allow fatty acids and carbohydrates to be converted into energy for those long 5-game marathons!

Mental Cognition

What fewer people may realise, is that a good proper warm-up will also prepare you mentally for your training session or match!


It is the perfect way to "get into the zone" as they say and settle any pre-match nerves you might have.


You will be prepared to compete from the very first point and not risk the game slipping away from you before you get a chance to get into the Match!


Here is an easy way to structure a proper warm-up using the RAMP method:


Raise - Raise your heart rate, muscle temp. & oxygen flow with some light movement like jogging, side steps, heel flicks etc. (3-5 minutes as a minimum.)


Activate - Activate the key muscle groups that will be working. This could include Squats, Lunges, Resistance Band Activation etc.


Mobilise - Mobilise key joints like shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. This is sometimes linked to Activation with Dynamic Stretches like Hip Strides, Leg Swings, Shoulder Rotations etc.


Potentiation - Prime the muscles for exercise with some final explosive movements such as Squat Jumps. This should me more Squash specific if possible, so a great exercise to finish off your warm-up is some Ghosting or fast explosive lunges.


NB- AVOID Static Stretching as this can temporarily REDUCE Muscle strength and performance, and your heart rate will decrease again while you stand still.


What are your go-to warm-ups? Leave a comment in the comments section below!


Tip #2 - Get Ghosting!


That might give you all the feeling of dread but hear me out!


The No. 1 way in which you can improve your Squash is by incorporating some Ghosting into your training! I believe you are only as good as your movement, and what better way to improve your movement around the Court!

Lisa Aitken Ghosting

There are 2 types of ghosting that you can include in your training, depending on your goals:


1. Ghosting for Fitness


This is the one that probably filled you with dread and in the one most people commonly associate with Ghosting.


A whole session of Ghosting with varying intervals and patterns can be brutal! But there is no better way for improving your Squash specific conditioning for those long and though rallies!


If you struggle with Match fitness, Ghosting is a good place to start.


2. Ghosting to improve Technique


This is something that not many people consider and can actually be quite fun and satisfying when done properly.


We have all seen the Pro's gracefully glide around the Court, making the game look so easy and the court look so small. They will have spent hours and hours Ghosting and working on their movement patterns.


A sessions working on certain areas of your movement can be a great way to help it filter into your game and make you feel like you are gliding around the court like the Pro's do! (That's until you get into a competitive match and the book often seems to go out of the window!)


The aim here isn't to tire yourself out. You might want to work specifically on your first steps off the "T" - the Split Step, or your movement out of the front corners. Practicing without the pressure of hitting a ball or can really help you focus on the specifics of the movement.


Whatever your goal, it's important to get your Ghosting correct, there is no point in practicing bad habits. A Coach can help you with this, or we are more than happy to help give you some advice or guidance on how to take your Ghosting Sessions to the Next Level!


Tip #3 - Solo, Solo, Solo!


Similar to Ghosting, getting on Court and doing a bit of Solo practice is a great way to improve and Develop your Squash over the Summer!

Dunlop Racket & Ball

The problem is most people don't know what to practice and either go on Court doing the same old practices - normally standing at the back playing Drives to themselves; or spend 40-minutes whaling a ball around with no real direction or focus. I have done this before, mainly as it can be great fun! But as a means to improve, it probably did very little...


Here are a quick 3 tips when it comes to Solo Practices:


1. Have a plan or a focus for the session

If you know what you want to work on and have a specific focus, you will get a lot more out of the session. Write a "lesson plan" for the session if it helps to keep you on track.


2. Set yourself targets and time limits

Rather than aimlessly hitting a ball, give yourself a target to hit and a time frame to see how many targets you can hit in "X" amount of time. A great way to keep sessions exciting and challenging! An easy and simple example is how many consecutive shots can you hit into the Service Box in a minute!


3. Practice with proper form

There is no point practicing bad habits. It might lead to short term rewards with high score in the targets, but will have a negative impact on your Squash. It's worth consulting a Coach before embarking on a series of Solo Sessions to make sure you are practicing the right thing.


Keep an eye out for a future Blog Posts on Solo Practices!


In reality, it can be difficult to schedule extra sessions like Solo's and Ghosting into your week. Especially with busy lives, sometimes there isn't enough time to include separate sessions for these two vital sessions! That is where Tip #3 comes in...


Tip #3 - Get used to utilising "Bolt-on" sessions!

Solo Squash Player

Not everyone is a full time Athlete, who can train every day multiple times a day! In fact, most have very busy daily lives and it can be difficult to fit in extra training sessions to help develop your Squash!


That is where "Bolt-on" Sessions can be the perfect answer! A "Bolt-on" sessions does exactly what it says, it bolts on to an existing session or Match to help squeeze in some extra practice.


The next time you play, either arrive early and complete a 10-20 minute solo or ghosting session, or alternatively stay on after the Match before hitting the showers!


By adding on these 10-20 minute sessions, you can get in some vital practice without having to schedule an extra dedicated session! If you do this often enough you can really accumulate a lot of extra training time.


Tip #4 - Here comes the sales pitch!


Finally, if you are in a rut and looking to find that next improvement in your Squash development, consider getting some Squash Coaching!


It is our Job to help Players improve and take their Squash to the next level! Whether you want to improve your technique or improve your fitness with pressure sessions and routines, we offer bespoke sessions to help you achieve your goals!


Whether you want a few sessions to set you off in the right direction to give your training some focus, or you want a more regular Session to continue your development, get in touch and we would be happy to help!


1-to-1 or 1-to-2 Coaching Sessions can be a great way to develop as a Player and we have worked with players from complete beginners to Regional Level, from Juniors to Adults competing in Division 2 of the North West Counties Squash Leagues.


We have 2 Summer Squash Coaching Offers running over August / September:


Get in touch for more information or if you would like to sign-up to one of our Summer Coaching Packages!


You must be the change you wish to see in the world

- Mahatma Gandhi


In short, if you want to improve and develop, you have to be prepared to change and create new habits. In creating new habits, you have the ability to be adaptable and find new ways to continually improve!


Think of it this way, if you went to the gym and lifted 20kg for 12 Reps every time you went to the Gym, you would improve to a level and then never progress from there. There needs to be progressive overload and improving your Squash is no different.


Hope you found the Blog useful! Comment below if you have any go to sessions or exercise that help you develop during the off-season!


If you would like to improve your Squash over summer get in touch!

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