Physical – Mental – Technical
Those are the three aspects of Squash that you need to think about.
Each area comprises sub-aspects.
Over the coming weeks, I will be exploring each one and looking at the sub-sub-aspects, but for today let’s start defining them and then start thinking about the whole.
The fitter you are the more likely you are able to take advantage of the other two aspects. However, you can’t get very fit without working on some aspects of MENTAL.
Physical is not just about aerobic ability, but also includes strength, especially core strength, flexibility, agility (the ability to use your flexibility), balance, the ability to recover, footwork, speed and power (the combination of speed and strength).
Measuring the MENTAL aspect is almost impossible because there are no clear criteria. Mental includes concentration, the ability to stay focused when physically stressed or tired, shot selection, tactical awareness and adaptability, and determination & motivation.
Clearly, you couldn’t get really fit if you were not a determined person, fighting for those last few points is no different from running those last few intervals. Being able to think clearly when you are under-stress is something that must be worked on – some people have the ability naturally, but most don’t.
He is an example: after a tough ghosting session I used to ask my students a simple maths problem (3 x 38). You would be surpised at how many get it wrong and how long it takes. While this is not exactly like playing a match being able to choose the right shot at the right time when really tired is a skill that needs to be improved.
By technical I mean swing and footwork. You need to be able to hit the ball cleanly in all situations, but to do that you need to be in the right position and at the right time.
Just like a wizard, a pro player is neither early nor late but arrives exactly when he or she needs to!
As a player, the more evenly balanced you are regarding the three aspects, the better. Being stronger in one than the other is common but the difference should be made as small as possible.
Condense it down to this: Work on your weaker aspects more and harder.