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 SquashSkills                                                    SquashSkills.com
SquashSkills BLOGS
 

Paul Carter introduces the return of serve and highlights how beginner or amateur players
often struggle with the high backhand volley return ... see the video....

 

January is traditionally a time for New Year's Resolutions, where people make vague promises about things they would like to change and improve upon about themselves.

                            read the blog....
 

If you are one of the people who finds themselves playing less squash this time of year just due to your local club's courts quietening down through general seasonal circumstance, why not make a commitment to go through a ‘mini pre-season' to really get your game firing on all cylinders come 2017, and the resumption of your usual squash routine?
                                  read the blog...

 


PAUL CARTER: INTRODUCTION TO THE SERVE

What can be done when busy work schedules mean late nights at the office? Or when you’re away travelling with business or holidaying with the family, or during holiday periods such as Christmas when many gyms and squash clubs are operating on reduced opening hours?

Getting regular access to standard training facilities can often be difficult, or at the very least extremely inconvenient for many people in these circumstances
                     read the article....

Hi, my name is Priit and I'm a squash coach in MetroSquash, Estonia.

Estonia is a tiny country of only 1.3 million inhabitants next to Finland, Russia and Latvia.
A few months ago, I had a chat with SquashSkills owner Peter Nicol about how to better organise squash teaching in Estonia. I'm an avid fan of the SquashSkills.com site and that it provides incredible value for a very small investment.
                        read the article...

 

Three time World Champion Nick Matthew talks us through the importance of being able to turn a situation where you’re being forced to defend,
into a position where you can start to attack and build pressure from.
View the video

 

This week on SquashSkills Peter Nicol explains
all you need to know about executing the backhand drop shot

View the video...

The 'turn & touch' drill is a great one for developing single leg stability and balance
View the video...


This week, I’ll be looking at a 2012 study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: ‘Physiological Correlates of Multiple-Sprint Ability and Performance in International-Standard Squash Players’ (Wilkinson et al.).

One of the most relevant and interesting pieces of squash-specific research published in recent years, the study examined the relationships between certain physical testing scores and a player’s ability/world ranking, along with the fitness factors most important for the key squash-specific element of multiple-sprint ability (the ability to rapidly recover and maintain maximal effort during subsequent sprints).
                                                      read the blog...

 


Join us on November 12th & 13th 2016
at Hallamshire squash club, Sheffield, England

TRAIN WITH DAVID PEARSON & LAURA MASSARO

This week, The Boss Peter Nicol explains everything you need to know about the backhand drop.
View the video

In this series, three time World Champion
Nick Matthew explains how to move efficiently round the squash court.

View the video...
 

The element of athleticism that ties in most specifically with these explosive, multi-directional movements is power. But perhaps even more so than many other aspects of fitness and conditioning, power training is often poorly understood and frequently misappropriated in many training programmes.
Read the blog...

 

Ramy has an unusual technique on his short balls where he uses a very short swing and lifts up at the end of his follow through. It enables him to put lots of spin on the ball which means it dies quickly and stays a long way up the court...

Laura Massaro highlights the need to be aware about your opponent's strengths and weaknesses, and explains how you can construct rallies to really exploit them.

                           View the video...


Something that I’ve spoken a lot about is the importance of dedicating specific training time to developing the individual athletic qualities instead of just training your conditioning ‘generally’ – physical attributes such as Speed, Power, Strength, and Stability are vital...
                                              read more...

For this series we welcome former World Number One Natalie Grainger who will be focusing on using racket head speed to generate power.

                                   View the Video...

Water is an incredibly important element for the function of the body, so losing too much fluid during a game/training session can seriously affect performance and subsequent recovery.
                               Read the blog....

 

Nick Matthew explains how he builds pressure and maintains control of the T by drifting the ball into the back corners and evading his opponent's volley.
View the video

Autumn is fast approaching and the squash season here in the northern hemisphere is now well underway, with tournaments and league competition of all levels starting to kick back into full swing.

Motivation and ambition is high at this time of year, so to help get you ready for the on-court battles ahead, we’ve put together our SquashSkills guide for you to have the PERFECT squash season:

P.repare, E.valuate, R.ecover, F.ocus, E.njoy, C.hallenge, T.rain!
                                       Read the blog

When two opponents are so evenly matched, it can come down to the minutest of factors that give a player that crucial edge that carries them to victory – surprisingly, there is research to suggest that this may even include something as seemingly trivial as the colour of the clothes that you wear!

Working with players at a training camp recently, I noticed that over half of them happened to be wearing red t-shirts.

                                      Read the blog

 
06-Sep: This Week on SquashSkills -
lots of new content featuring Nick Matthew


First Video - "Different types of Length"

 

 

NEWS: SquashSkills teams up with PSA

This is a great session for developing your squash-specific speed and stability working into the front corners of the court - traditionally one of the toughest movements for many players.
View the video...

Jethro demonstrates how to position yourself so you are able to see your opponent, follow the ball off the front wall and allow enough space to transfer weight into the shot.
View the video...

In this series Lee Drew analyses PSA footage and explains how the best players on tour have a signature shot that they execute perfectly when playing with confidence.
View the Video....

 

 

Jethro discusses his favourite teaching point for amateurs struggling to generate power:
the backhand diamond

Lee Drew uses PSA footage to analyse Nick Matthew's signature forehand volley drop
and explains how you can implement this shot into your own game.

 



As much as we’d like to think the standard of our play (and our opponents) means we will always be moving into the corners, the reality is we are more often than not moving around the middle.

There are three areas I would like to cover in this blog:
Forehand side
Backhand side
Right down the middle!
                                read the blog...

The warm-up is a crucial part of the performance puzzle for the squash player, and is a topic we devote a lot of attention to here in the content on the site, and in the sessions at our SquashSkills training camps.

A lot of the benefits from the warm-up are not related just to injury prevention as many believe, but can also help actually boost your physical performance.

The dynamic multi-directional movements that make up so much of the game of squash, place a lot of strain on certain key muscle groups.

                             read the blog....

Jethro focuses on the backhand, teaching you everything you need to know
about the technique for the drive, drop and kill
View the Video

 


View the video
Jethro explains everything you need to know about the forehand technique

What should you be doing after a match to best promote recovery in preparation for playing/ training the next day (or possibly even later the same day if within a tournament environment)?

                           Read the blog...                 

One thing we've been hearing a lot recently, is players desperate to increase their conditioning but struggling to find the time to do so.

With this in mind, we've created a brand new 'Bolt-on' programme, consisting of a series of short, sharp physical sessions of no more than 10 minutes’ duration, that you can simply bolt-on to the end of your usual on-court games/training each week.
                             Read the blog...             

       

VIDEO, LEE DREW TIME - ALL ABOUT DECEPTION

 Lee Drew introduces the art of disguise and highlights some of the different ways you can become deceptive on court.
                            View the video....

 Lee Drew helps you to use the position of your body to fool your opponent.

                            View the video....


Take the Thierry Lincou Challenge:

Cross court volley test
131... can you equal it?... Beat it?...

   

 

The Boss Peter Nicol explain how the side wall is basically your front wall when it comes down to playing a boast

                         Watch the video...

Getting into a physical training programme can be tough though, and a lot of players struggle to know what to do, when to do it, and – perhaps most importantly – how to maintain it.

                   Read the blog...


 

We’ve had lots of requests for a summer training guide, so we’ve pulled out all the stops to put together a comprehensive training programme suitable for all levels of fitness.
Read more...


One area of particular importance to the squash player, more specifically those playing in tournaments or who are following a daily training programme, is Post-Session Nutrition.

When it comes to recovery from a tough match or training session, what you consume immediately afterwards plays a big role in your body’s ability to recuperate and repair, ready for your next performance the next day (or possibly even the same day, for those playing in a tournament).

                         Read the blog...

With squash being such a high intensity, dynamic, multi-directional sport, injuries are unfortunately relatively common.

As well as these more sudden trauma injuries, people who regularly participate in physically challenging sports can also be very susceptible to over-use injuries.

One of the most common of these in racket sports is the dreaded lateral epicondylitis, more commonly known as ‘Tennis Elbow’.

                   Read the blog...

 

Despite the general acceptance of this perceived knowledge, a lot of people still aren't really sure exactly WHY the warm-up is so important, beyond perhaps the occasional vague allusion to ‘helping me to not get injured'
Read the Blog

Peter Nicol talks about the different targets
you can use on the front wall
when hitting straight drives

View the video
 

 

"What is space in the back?"

Gilly Lane discusses space at the back
& explains how to make your opponent do the diagonal

View the Video
 

Stressful circumstances affect us all – from work difficulties, family issues, financial problems, or even just bouts of frustration with your game when you feel you're playing badly – and everyone is subject to negative thoughts and mind-sets at times.

These mental distractions can cause big problems with your focus during a game however, when you're physically on court but your mind is elsewhere.

To avoid your game being affected, these thoughts ideally need to somehow be ‘shut away' somewhere so as they can't disturb your performance.
                            Read the Blog
 

 


Win  your Yale Camp Voucher


England September Camp

Why you need to attend the Camp: A solid length base is the foundation to every good squash player's game. You need to be able to keep your opponent in the back corners and create opportunities to attack the front.

There are a number of different types of length with different purposes, used at different times. From an attacking dying length, through to a defensive lob.

Over the course of the weekend we'll cover both attack and defence, giving you the tools you need to use the back corners effectively.


Road more about the Coaching Camp


For the squash player, the ability to move dynamically and efficiently around the court is key.

To this end, much of the training that we do to improve our athletic capabilities revolves around various drills and workouts focusing on the muscles of the lower limbs – various squats, jumps, and lunges, that predominantly target the quads, hamstrings, and gluteals.

                      Read the blog....

Peter Nicol explains how Rodney Eyles' quick movement to the ball allowed him to the ball allowed him to execute the perfect backhand volley drop.


Camps, Camps, Camps...


So what is power, and how does it relate to the squash player?

Power can be seen as a function of muscular strength – in this context, meaning the ability to produce high levels of force at the fastest rate possible.

Read the Blog
 


VIDEO:
Peter Nicol shows how to play the Backhand Volley Drop

Professional and amateur players alike from a wide variety of sports are seen eagerly munching them as part of their game day ritual, but what are the actual benefits of consuming bananas for the squash player, and is their reputation as an athlete's go-to snack well-founded?

One of the most common reasons given for the consumption of bananas by sportspeople and exercisers, is for their proposed 'refuelling' effect. They typically contain around 25g of energy giving carbohydrate, just over half of which is simple sugar.

Read the blog...

Understanding which squash ball to use can be a bit confusing. Choosing the correct ball can make a huge difference to the amount of enjoyment you’re able to take from a practice session or match.

The Pro (or double yellow dot) is the official ball of the leading global organisations, thats the WSF, PSA and WSA. It is the only ball used in international and professional events. It’s suitable for professionals, good club players or for playing on very warm courts.

Read the blog...

My motto when playing professionally was “to never to stop learning”. The very best players in the world do not get to a point and then decide to stop practicing or improving – the ones that do you see flying down the ranking list pronto!!

                                   Read the blog....

 

Peter introduces the forehand volley drop and begins the series by explaining how to keep the racket face open at impact point.

                               View the video...

I'm a bit of a technique geek. I get excited by seeing a really good swing in action and sometimes get caught up with what the swing looks like as opposed to where the ball ends up.

This is wrong, because if someone is hitting a target time after time despite not having the most aesthetically pleasing swing then they must doing something right.

However, I am a firm believer that if you create and aesthetically pleasing swing where all the bio-mechanics are working as they should, then you will hit the ball more accurately, more consistently and with more power.

For those of you who follow the Facebook page, you will notice that I'm a big fan of shoulder rotation on the backhand side and often highlight this whenever I see a photo of someone doing this correctly. For me having good shoulder rotation at the beginning of the backhand swing is fundamantal. It's where all your power, and all your consistency comes from.  
 
       
                Read the blog
 

It can often be difficult to squeeze in much extra time for any additional squash-specific conditioning training beyond your usual on-court sessions, so it’s important that anything that you do add really maximises the time you have available.

One of the exercises you’ll often see in many of our sessions and programmes here on the site that really fits the bill, is the rear foot elevated split squat – a favourite of many top sports performance specialists and athletic trainers such as Eric Cressey and Mike Boyle.

The rear foot elevated split squat (RFESS), also often known as the Bulgarian split squat, is a variation of the standard split squat or ‘static lunge’ exercise.

The exercise set-up is similar to the end position of a lunge, but with the key differentiation of the back leg being elevated on a step, bench, or small platform. Obviously the lunge exercise is one of the primary movement pattern that squash players should be practicing, but adding in some RFESS sets to your training programme can have a number of additional benefits.

                              Read the blog
 



In this series Jethro focuses on movement practices
that can be used to develop the split step and back foot slide

We’ve got a great selection of training programmes now live on the site, with more being added every month.

Whether you’re looking to focus on your speed, your endurance, or if you’re just looking for a general all-round physical boost, there’s a programme for you.

This month the spotlight is on our beginner’s strength training programme.

                       Read the Blog...



Jethro focuses on movement practices:
develop the split step and back foot slide

You will have heard us use the saying “you’re only as good as your movement" on a number of different occasions here at SquashSkills. We’re firm believers in the fact that to hit a good squash ball you need to be able to get to the ball, in a solid and stable position.

Good movement isn’t just all about raw speed. It encompasses a whole host of different facets... weight transfer, balance, spacing, timing and efficiency amongst other things.

Improving your movement goes way beyond just making your feet go faster, it’s about thinking how your whole game links together and flows. The best movers in the World never looked like they were moving quickly, everyone used to say how Jansher just seemed to walk around the court...     
                           Read the Blog...

If you’re serious about taking your squash to the next level, at some point you’re going to have to incorporate some form of structured physical training into your programme.

We’ve got some great fitness content on the site, with a wide variety of exercises, sessions, and programmes covering the entire spectrum of fitness needs and goals.

I’m often asked though, what I consider to be the most important aspects of squash-specific conditioning training.

It’s difficult to condense such a wide ranging topic down into just a few brief ideas, but here are what I would consider my 3 top tips for squash fitness training.

                          Read the Blog...



Jethro demonstrates
how to use the split step to burst off the T
& move into the front corners

View the video

Lee Drew analyses Mathieu Castagnet's physicality & explains how this makes him extremely hard to break down on court

View the video

A typical squash rally contains multiple sprints, lunges, turns, and changes of direction. These movements need to be strong and dynamic to allow you to cover ground quickly, get onto the ball early, and not be controlled and manoeuvred out of position by your opponent.

The element of athleticism that ties in most specifically with these explosive, multi-directional movements is power. But perhaps even more so than many other aspects of fitness and conditioning, power training is often poorly understood and frequently misappropriated in many training programmes.    Read the blog
 


Lee Drew: how to turn defence into attack
with the counter drop
when you don't have the ability
to get underneath the ball and lift

View the video




Read the blog


David analyses how Nick stands upright on the T

A couple of weeks ago here on the SquashSkills blog we looked at the ‘benefits of beetroot’, and how it has the potential to boost physical performance – perfect for squash players looking for an extra edge on court. Another food that has recently been suggested to also have similar performance benefits, is dark chocolate.

Chocolate is obviously not generally considered the healthiest of snacks due mainly to the high sugar and fat content. The cocoa in chocolate has actually been linked with several health benefits however, with dark chocolate considered the best source due to its higher cocoa content ...  Read the blog...

... to become a better squash player
By Gary Nisbet

 



Watch David Pearson's video

In the office we spend a lot of time looking at stills of squash players in action, and there's one photo that appears over and over again.

Players lunging into the front forehand corner, dropping their hand down the grip and hitting the ball off their right leg.

Read Jethro's latest Blog....



Watch the David Pearson Video

DP explains how Nick is able to relieve pressure and often win rallies by utilising the cross court lob from the deep backhand.

So many squash players neglect their strings, even though proper stringing can make a huge difference to the way a racket performs.

If you play three or more times per week we recommend that you restring your racket at least three times a year to ensure optimum performance.

With time strings lose their elasticity, and even if you're playing less frequently you should ideally still restring your racket at least a couple of times a year.

Our quick guide to restringing: read the blog...
 

The health & fitness media is always quick to hit us over the head with the latest 'superfood' fad, be it Pomegranate, Acai Berries, Wheatgrass, or whatever the current flavour of the month fruit/veg is being declared the indisputable last word in nutritional goodness.

The simple truth however, is that pretty much all varieties of fruit and veg contain nutrients important to our health...
 
read the blog...


a video from Lee Drew

where you learn how to hit lines

DP Explains how Nick's Technique prevailed/opened up his tactics

Peter Nicol was one of the best on the Tour for his movement to the front of the court. Now he tells you how he did it...

"As a large proportion of the game is spent in the back corners of the court (even more when losing!), being able to move into that area and still have options is crucial so that you do not get stuck digging the ball out continuously.

Over the years I have practiced a certain type of movement into the back corners but actually very rarely use it when I play. This is similar to my movement to the front as well.

However, what the movement practice has done for me is set me up to be in the best possible position so that I can choose to attack or defend the next shot."

read Peter Nicol article...

"Being able to move fluidly and quickly into the front of the courts is obviously incredibly important.

To either attack or defend well in these areas it is crucial to have solid movement, more so than any other area, in my opinion. This is because you are generally moving at a greater speed than to the middle or back of the court and there is more urgency required.

As with most movement patterns, the first step is pivotal as to what shot you will then be capable of playing when arriving at the ball.

A really common first step is to move sideways towards the sidewall rather than directly to or inside where the ball will be. This means you end up too close to or behind the ball and therefore means your shot options are limited – you see a lot of cross courts hit because of this first step mistake..."

read Peter Nicol article...


Camp with DP

 

 


 



When I’m thinking about my movement or trying to incorporate a new movement pattern or style into my play, I first always start with understanding my balance and transfer of weight.

The new movement may be the best possible way to get in and out of a shot but if you are slightly off balance or lack the proper transfer, the movement becomes difficult and could potentially be worse than your existing pattern of movement.

I always start with my position on the T, feeling the ground beneath my feet and gently swaying in different directions (without moving feet) to understand where my balance is. This also clears up which is the correct first leg to move off the T with as in different positions within your swaying, different first movements are called for...

read Peter Nicol article...
 

“Gentlemen, we will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence”

Vince Lombardi


This quote from legendary American Football coach Vince Lombardi (winner of 5 championships within 7 years with the Green Bay Packers), illustrates how a lot of athletes approach the concept of ‘perfection’ in their sports. Striving for perfection pushes elite performers to ever greater heights, even whilst acknowledging that the achievement of perfection is ultimately unattainable.

Read Gary Nisbet's article...
 





Paul Assaiante
on Goal Settings

DAVID PEARSON




VIDEO

By Peter Nicol

In my coaching I find there are so many different ways to coach the game and depending on whom I am coaching, different techniques are needed to get the best out of different players.

Saying that the swing should be the same for a 12 year old at 4’2” to a 6’4” 30 year old man is just not correct. Yes, there are core principles but so much has to be adapted to suit the individual. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the movement aspect of the game.

I want to discuss how different movement patterns have been taught and what has changed over the years.

The rackets are lighter, players are in better shape and therefore the pace of the game across all standards has gone up. That means movement is now much more fragmented and random compared to before when patterns and more controlled movement was needed/used.

Read/View the videos...

With squash being such a high intensity, dynamic, multi-directional sport, injuries are unfortunately relatively common. Sprains and strains of the joints in the lower body can occur from too rapid a change of direction, mistiming a step, or over-lunging onto a ball.

As well as these more sudden trauma injuries, people who regularly participate in physically challenging sports can also be very susceptible to over-use injuries.

One of the most common of these in racket sports is the dreaded lateral epicondylitis, more commonly known as ‘Tennis Elbow’.

In fact, both of the commonly used names for the condition are actually misnomers – the problem is certainly not limited just to tennis players, and the more correct medical terminology would be lateral epicondylosis (the suffix ‘itis’ refers more to an inflammatory issue or disease). read more...


VIDEO: Mastering the Backhand Return of Serve

It's FINALLY HERE!!!!!!!!!



March 2016 - Getting the best out of your team

 

     
   Parkey's Backhand drive      LJ's Backhand Crosscourt Nick

   

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