18/04/14

There's No One Way To Play Squash!

There's No One Way To Play Squash!

I’ve just finished playing the Legends Tour events in Aberdeen and Bermuda. Having started on the tour 4 years ago, I honestly thought by now I would have retired a second time but the enjoyment of getting on court with the other players is still too strong to go fully out to pasture! Don’t get me wrong, it’s harder and physically more demanding every time but I still love the challenge and I am now learning as a coach rather than a player.

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Category: Squash
Tags: Peter Nicol, Tournaments

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02/04/14

Trying New Ideas, and Being Open to Change…

Trying New Ideas, and Being Open to Change…

I may well be putting a few noses out of joint in this month’s Flexibility theme, where many people hold personal beliefs that don’t quite fit with what the science and research actually says. People often find it difficult to let go of closely held beliefs in topics such as these, as it challenges their comfort and (perceived) knowledge of what can be a rather dogmatic subject, and this rigidity can often be detrimental to progress.

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Category: Fitness
Tags: Gary Nisbett, Fitness / Conditioning

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27/03/14

'Crossfit' & The Importance Of Appropriate Exercise Intensity

'Crossfit' & The Importance Of Appropriate Exercise Intensity

‘Crossfit’ workouts are an amalgamation of high intensity interval training, bodyweight calisthenics, weightlifting, and several other related exercise-types, stemming from a company/philosophy founded by Greg Glassman in 2000. In their own words their sessions are‘constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad modal and time domains’.

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Category: Fitness
Tags: Gary Nisbett, Fitness / Conditioning

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04/03/14

Don't Skip Skipping!

Don't Skip Skipping!

There’s a huge range of different fitness tools and devices available now, of a wildly varying degree of use and effectiveness. Amongst this backdrop of latest ‘must-have’ gadgets carefully marketed to part the fitness enthusiast from their money in the quest for the next latest and greatest workout tool, sometimes the simpler things get lost. 

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Category: Fitness
Tags: Gary Nisbett, Fitness / Conditioning, Physical

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18/02/14

Hand In/Hand Out: Court Sprints

Hand In/Hand Out: Court Sprints

 

In our brand new monthly Hand-In/Hand-Out series, we’re going to be taking a squash related fitness/conditioning topic and examining the pros and cons by presenting two conflicting views. This month Gary and Jess debate Court Sprints. One of the most traditional of all squash fitness training drills and widely employed by players of all levels, has their importance and suitability been overestimated?

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Category: Fitness
Tags: Gary Nisbett, Fitness / Conditioning

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11/02/14

Energy Gels In Squash

Energy Gels In Squash

We had a question on the forum this week from Paul Campbell, about the use of Energy Gels in squash. It’s a subject that I’m seeing discussed a lot more lately, as these carbohydrate supplements are becoming more popular and widespread in sport. In today’s blog article I’ve revisited my post on the forum and expanded upon it a little for those that may have missed it.

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Category: Nutrition
Tags: Gary Nisbett, Fitness / Conditioning

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05/02/14

Attacking Short From The Front Of The Court

Attacking Short From The Front Of The Court

I’ve always found going short off an easy ball, even with plenty of time, a challenging aspect of my game. Attacking from the middle of the court is much easier for me as I flatten the racquet head and hit through the ball a little harder, leaving my opponent less able to get onto the ball and counter attack due to their positioning and shot type. From the back of the court, I could only ever attack by hitting the ball deep again - my highest quality option being a forehand boast. 

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Category: Squash
Tags: Peter Nicol, Technique

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29/01/14

Keeping a Training Diary

Keeping a Training Diary

It can often feel fairly easy to maintain motivation for training in the first few weeks of a new year, as there is that tangible feeling of fresh opportunity and optimism with all the prospects a new calendar year offers. That positivity and those good intentions unfortunately have a tendency though to wain a little as our schedules again start to fill up, and work commitments begin to take over again. 

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Category: Fitness
Tags: Off Season Training, Gary Nisbett, Fitness / Conditioning

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14/01/14

The Backhand Diamond Position

alison-diamond-smudge 

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. 

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Category: Squash
Tags: Technique, Backhand, Jethro Binns

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08/01/14

Test Yourself!

Test Yourself!

January and the beginning of a New Year is traditionally the time when people make their resolutions for change and improvement. Of course, health/fitness is one of the most popular of resolutions, and this no doubt extends to many Squash players also - you only have to see our very own Jethro and Peter, to see that players of all levels and abilities will often have the same inclinations.
 

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Category: Fitness
Tags: Gary Nisbett, Fitness / Conditioning, Practice, Physical

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05/01/14

Mental Agility and Strength

Mental Agility and Strength

We all know improving fitness is an easy way of becoming a better squash player. However, one area and element of the game that we forget about that can also dramatically improve your standard is mental agility and strength. You have to remember that the person who gets the ball up on the front wall last in a rally wins the point. Therefore, if you're stubborn, strong enough physically and technically, then you'll be able to win more points in this manner and thus win more often. 

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Category: Squash
Tags: Peter Nicol

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10/12/13

What The Science Says #1

What The Science Says  #1

In this new semi-regular feature, we’ll be investigating some of the scientific studies that have been done into squash to see ‘what the science says’.

Searching through the academic journal databases for research studies performed into major mainstream sports such as football, rugby, and tennis, yields thousands upon thousands of results. Perhaps unsurprisingly, squash’s much lower profile means there haven’t been anywhere near as many scientific trials centred upon the sport over the years. 

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Category: Fitness
Tags: Gary Nisbett, Fitness / Conditioning

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27/11/13

Scheduling Your Physical Training for Squash – Fitting It All In!

fitnessimage 

We’ve had a focus on Speed this month on the site, and in the coming months we’ll be moving on to look at Power, Stability, Strength, and many more physical attributes. Where does it all fit in though? For a lot of recreational squash players family, work, and social commitments mean it can be difficult to find enough time simply to get on court and play during the week, let alone schedule in additional physical training sessions as well. With this in mind, one of the changes we’ve made with the new Monthly Conditioning Programme is to make all of the weekly ‘Foundation’ sessions on-court based, and structure them to enable them to be ‘bolted-on’ to the beginning or end of a standard game/training session to help maintain your general conditioning.
For those that wish to delve deeper and add in some more focused additional physical sessions however, one of the most common questions often asked is: What should my priority be, and how do I fit it all together?

 

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Category: Fitness
Tags: Gary Nisbett, Fitness / Conditioning

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18/11/13

Technical vs Outcome Driven Sessions

Technical vs Outcome Driven Sessions
As a player I was driven first and foremost about the outcome of a shot and by extension, the rally. As a coach I have to stop myself getting too caught up in the technical aspects of the game and allow the players I teach to find ways to achieve the desired outcome without too much technical coaching. Obviously, there needs to be some consistency in form and the mechanics have to be correct for the shot to be accurate. However, there as so many ways to reach the same impact point that too much technical focus can be counterproductive.  
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Category: Squash
Tags: Peter Nicol

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13/11/13

Fitness & Conditioning - SPEED!

Fitness & Conditioning - SPEED!

Hopefully you’ve been enjoying the November focus on Speed here on Squashskills. We’ve had the first part of Gary’s in-depth article ‘Introducing Speed for the Squash Player’, with the second part to follow next week, examining the specifics of how to actually properly train for speed, and looking more closely at how to incorporate these sessions into your training programme.

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Category: Fitness
Tags: Gary Nisbett, Fitness / Conditioning

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24/10/13

Sweating Blood: My Life In Squash – The Official Nick Matthew Autobiography - Extract 4

Sweating Blood: My Life In Squash – The Official Nick Matthew Autobiography - Extract 4

It’s all Chris Evans’s fault. It’s thanks to that notorious radio DJ that my relationship with James Willstrop is so acrimonious.

It all kicked off at the 2009 British Open in Manchester when James and I found ourselves squaring up to each other in the final. The media was quite rightly bigging up the match. After all, it was the first time since the 1930s that there were two Englishmen in the final. This was quite a deal.

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Category: Squash
Tags: James Willstrop, Nick Matthew, Tournaments

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23/10/13

Squashskills Fitness Section Changes

Squashskills Fitness Section Changes

Change is coming to Squashskills! We’ve been working hard behind the scenes in the past few months to bring in some changes and reorganisation of the fitness side of the site, based on YOUR feedback from emails, comments, and conversations.
The core idea behind these adjustments and updates is to make the fitness section of the site more streamlined and user-friendly, and to organise our blocks of upcoming articles and videos into more cohesive and engaging themes.

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Category: Fitness
Tags: Usability, Gary Nisbett, Fitness / Conditioning

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20/10/13

Sweating Blood: My Life In Squash – The Official Nick Matthew Autobiography - Extract 3

Sweating Blood: My Life In Squash – The Official Nick Matthew Autobiography - Extract 3

My 2012 British Open win over Ramy Ashour at London’s O2 Arena is, I believe, the finest performance of my entire career. As I admitted earlier in my book, I’d previously become obsessed with Ramy after a succession of losses to him during 2011 and 2012. I’d heard stories of how Peter Nicol had once adapted his training specifically to beat Jansher Khan and I’d tried to do the same for Ramy. The key difference, and where I got it wrong, was that Peter looked at how he might hurt Jansher.

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Category: Squash
Tags: Nick Matthew

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14/10/13

Sweating Blood: My Life In Squash – The Official Nick Matthew Autobiography - Extract 2

Sweating Blood: My Life In Squash – The Official Nick Matthew Autobiography - Extract 2

The tournament comperes love to refer to us players by our nicknames. Many of these monikers were originally coined by the main Squash TV commentator Joey Barrington in an effort to reintroduce to squash some of the gladiatorial features the sport enjoyed during his father Jonah’s heyday in the 1960s and 1970s.

Like darts or snooker, some of them are a bit cheesy: Ramy Ashour is the Artist, James Willstrop is the Marksman, Amr Shabana the Maestro, Gregory Gaultier is Asterix, Karim Darwish the Dark Prince, Alister Walker the Predator, I’m the Wolf. 

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Category: Squash
Tags: Nick Matthew, Tournaments

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06/10/13

US Open Experience - Part 1

US Open Experience - Part 1

This week sees the start of the US Open in Philadelphia which made me reminisce back to my playing the event - from Brown University in 1994 through to my final appearance at Symphony Hall, Boston in 2004. The event has changed dramatically in that time, starting as a smaller prize-money and regular court event to what is now a World Series event with glass court in a 2,000 seat auditorium.

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Category: Squash
Tags: Peter Nicol, Jonathan Power, Jansher Khan, Tournaments

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02/10/13

Sweating Blood: My Life In Squash – The Official Nick Matthew Autobiography

Sweating Blood: My Life In Squash – The Official Nick Matthew Autobiography

We are delighted to continue our close relationship with Nick Matthew. Here is an extract from Nick’s autobiography, which is available to pre order and will be released soon.

October 1993 and I’m rolling around in the playground fighting another school kid, Jonathan Caterer. Despite the fact that neither of us has yet managed to throw a proper punch, my jacket sleeves are pulled up over my fists so I don’t risk damaging my precious squash hands. For the group of kids huddled round us, cheering us on, it’s a pretty pathetic sight. I’ve got Jonathan in a headlock and we’re both writhing around in the mud. To this day, it’s still the only fight I’ve ever had.

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Category: Squash
Tags: Squash Pyramid, Nick Matthew

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