20/08/14

Pre-Performance Routines

Pre-Performance Routines

One of the biggest frequently problems reported by a lot of squash players, is achieving a consistent level of performance. That familiar and frustrating feeling of playing your best squash one day, and then walking on court for your next performance and feeling like you’ve never hit a ball before, is one that has affected most regular players at one time or another.

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Category: Fitness
Tags: Gary Nisbett, Fitness / Conditioning

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06/08/14

Got (Choc) Milk?

Got (Choc) Milk?

After a tough training session or match, our bodies are often left in a state of depletion – replenishing certain nutrients in this post-exercise period can be crucial in optimising our recovery. Particularly for players competing in tournaments who have may have several matches across a day or weekend, or for those working on conditioning programmes that require multiple tough sessions across a typical week, recovering properly after a session is crucial. 

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Category: Fitness
Tags: Gary Nisbett, Fitness / Conditioning

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30/07/14

The Power Of Red

The Power Of Red

Watching the Commonwealth Games Men’s Final between Nick Matthew and James Willstrop this week, it struck me again just how fine the margins can be between winning and losing in competitive sport. 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!

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Category: Squash
Tags: Gary Nisbett, Tournaments

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15/07/14

Responding To Failure

Responding To Failure

Whatever level of squash you play, almost all players will have general aims and targets for their performances. They could be anything from beating a regular partner at the weekly social night, to winning the club box league and climbing the local rankings, or even competing in county/regional championships or higher. Even if they’re not explicitly set out and formalised as ‘goals’, the standards and expectations players hold themselves to are a central factor in regards how they appraise their squash performances – be that consciously or subconsciously .

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

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09/07/14

3 Recommended Nutritional Supplements

 3sup

In an ideal world, we’d get all of our required vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from our diet. Unfortunately, due to time restrictions, cost issues, and often just plain lack of relevant knowledge, a lot of active people (and even many athletes) struggle to cover all of the necessary nutritional bases. Squash is obviously a very physically demanding sport, that places great strain on the body – it is especially important therefore that regular players in particular make sure to cover this full spectrum of essential dietary requirements, to enable them to optimally recover and get the full benefits of the training they undertake. This is where supplementation can be very useful in filling the gaps and helping to support our standard dietary food intake.

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Tags: Gary Nisbett

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02/07/14

Unstable Surface Training

garyblog

In pretty much any large scale commercial gym you might wander into, you’re more or less guaranteed these days to see a number of various inflatable balls, foam blocks, wobble boards and other ‘unstable surface’ items of training equipment. Their popularity has soared in recent years with the ‘functional training’ fad, and this popularity has unfortunately seen many otherwise smart athletes and trainers drawn in by the hype with little consideration of what ‘functional training’ actually means, and how balancing on one leg on an upside down air-filled rubber dome could ever accurately be described as ‘functional’.

 

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Tags: Gary Nisbett, Fitness / Conditioning

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26/06/14

Physiology & Sport: The Art of Dominance

Physiology & Sport: The Art of Dominance

In Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on body language: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are, I discovered some impressive statistics to support the “fake it ’till you make it” concept of physiology. It’s been long known that not only does your mental or emotional state affect your body language, but the reverse is also true. You can choose to change the way you feel by assuming a different posture, pose or facial expression. I’ve been telling this to my boxing and kickboxing students for years. 

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Category: Fitness

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11/06/14

Creatine Use For The Squash Player

Creatine Use For The Squash Player

Perhaps the most common of the numerous proposed ‘Performance Enhancers’ available, are nutritional supplements – the various pills, powders, and potions that promise extraordinary gains in energy, power, and recovery. A quick browse around your local health food store will reveal literally thousands of different brands and formulas available, with ever more sensational advertisements, packaging, and promotional blurb. 

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Category: Fitness
Tags: Gary Nisbett, Fitness / Conditioning

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03/06/14

Peaking For Major Events

Peaking For Major Events

I found out the hard way how difficult it is to play in and be successful in major events. As a young professional, there were really only two recognized major events, the British and World Opens. By the end of my career, outside of the World Open, there were several tournaments you would consider to be part of a Grand Slam in squash.

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Tags: Peter Nicol, Tournaments

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16/05/14

Comparisons Between Shabana and Willstrop

Comparisons Between Shabana and Willstrop

As a coach, I’m always looking at the differences between amateur and professional players, and to learn from the best - what each of the pro players actually do differently. Watching Amr Shabana followed by James Willstrop at the Tournament of Champions highlighted exactly that - and it was interesting to find such different players utilizing similar techniques, and of course their opposing talents and playing traits. 

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Category: Squash
Tags: James Willstrop, Peter Nicol

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06/05/14

Performance Enhancement

Performance Enhancement

We’re taking a look at ‘Performance Enhancement’ on the fitness & conditioning side of the site this month, and as part of that we’ll be examining some of the most popular of the wide variety of tools, devices, and supplements that people use to attempt to improve athletic performance and to try to gain that extra edge over their opponents in sports such as squash.

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

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23/04/14

Types of Stretching & Flexibility Training for Squash

Types of Stretching & Flexibility Training for Squash

Our monthly theme for May on the fitness and conditioning side of the site, is Flexibility. In part 1 of my article ‘Flexibility for Squash’, we looked at the use of stretching as part of a squash-specific warm-up, and how the traditional concept of ‘static’ stretching here was somewhat outdated and had shown little appreciable benefit in controlled studies. In part 2 I’ll be looking more into the mechanics of stretching, the actual effects on the muscle, and what the latest research says as regards the potential use of flexibility training as part of a wider athletic programme.

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Tags: Gary Nisbett, Fitness / Conditioning, Physical

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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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