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. There is however a relatively small but solid amount of squash based studies available out there with a bit of searching, and I’ll be picking one out from time to time to examine in these blog posts to reveal the experimenters’ findings.
Although most people are familiar with caffeine and are aware of some of its potential benefits and effects, there are still a lot of myths and misconceptions as to its exact uses and functions within the body. Used correctly though, it can be a very useful performance enhancer for the squash player.
We’ve highlighted previously here on the blog some of the most important things the squash player should be doing before a game to best prepare for optimal performance, in terms of preparing equipment, pre-match routines and warming-up properly.
But 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)?
To ensure you perform at your very best on the squash court, a crucial piece of the overall performance plan comes in the shape of your nutritional choices. What you eat and drink on a daily basis has a big impact on your general health and energy levels, so a good diet is something that should be a concern of every keen 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. One of the more familiar of these nutritional supplements is Creatine. Most regular exercisers and sportspeople have heard of it by now, following the surge in its usage during the 1990s, but what exactly is it, how does it work, and is it of any benefit to squash players?
Whatever level you play at, the idea that there might be some ‘extra edge’ available is a pervasive one, and this thought process sees a wide variety of tools, devices, and supplements used by players to attempt to improve athletic performance and to try to gain that extra advantage over their opponents.
Energy gel carbohydrate supplements are becoming increasingly popular and widespread in sporting circles, though there are still a lot of myths and misconceptions as to their correct usage and potential benefits. In today’s blog article we’ll be looking at how useful energy gels may be to the average squash player, and also their possible advantages/disadvantages to recreational athletes in general.
Due to the intensity of the sport of squash and the enclosed environment within which the game takes place, players will inevitably sweat heavily over the course of a match.
A bit of a change of theme in today’s new blog, where we’re taking a look at the topic of weight-loss – a popular request we get here on SquashSkills from those players out there who are looking to shift a little of the excess bodyfat that they’ve accumulated somewhere along the way!
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.
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, and it’s rather difficult to single out anyone as unequivocally ‘better’ than any other due to the huge range of vitamins and minerals found in natural produce (check out an interesting article that discusses many of the other issues with a lot of these ‘superfood’ media articles here).
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 professional athletes) struggle to cover all of the necessary nutritional bases.
Leftover banana peels are almost part of the furniture at courtside in many clubs, with the bendy yellow fruit becoming as familiar a sight as the usual gels, sports drinks, and other nutritional aids found in players bags.
In such a physically challenging game as squash, it is vital that players who are serious about training to improve their skills and sport-specific conditioning take the time to consider the importance of their dietary choices.
Healthy eating is vital for supporting the body’s physiological processes and helping to repair the joints and muscles exposed to such high volumes of physical stress.
An area we get a lot of questions about here at SquashSkills is Nutrition. Specifics of what exactly we should eat, and when we should eat it are very relevant questions for such a physically demanding sport as squash.
A pint or two in the bar is an integral part of the post-match experience for many amateur squash enthusiasts, and the occasional tipple shouldn’t be of great concern to the average healthy individual. But, what affect can it have on your sports performance and fitness levels?
For those of us in the northern hemisphere the dropping temperatures and shorter days marks the incoming heart of Winter, and for those so predisposed it’s unfortunately also the peak of what is often termed as ‘cold season’; that time of year when it seems everyone is starting to go down with various minor illnesses/viruses and having to suffer all of the nasty congestion, coughing, and spluttering that invariably goes with it. These unpleasant viruses that tend to circulate at this time of year bring misery to thousands, often leading to enforced days off of work and – even worse – enforced days off of the squash court!
Whilst New Year’s resolutions revolving around healthy lifestyle goals and new fitness programme pledges are a long established tradition, something related that has become an ever increasing trend in recent years amongst health devotees looking to kick-start their wellness regimes is the ‘Detox’ – a juice/supplement/enema based ‘flushing’ of the body, to cleanse you of ‘toxins’ and set you on the righteous path toward health and happiness.
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.