Category: Psychology

Year in review: Your 2019 squash performance analysis – Part 2

23rd December 2019

As 2019 winds down and thoughts turn to Christmas and New Year celebrations for most, it’s a good opportunity to take a step back and turn a critical eye to your squash performance over the past year. In this two-part article we’re going to take a look at how you can go through and evaluate all the key areas of your game, and then consider how you can start building a plan to tackle your weaknesses head-on in 2020!

Continue Reading »

Year in review: Your 2019 squash performance analysis – Part 1

18th December 2019

As 2019 winds down and thoughts turn to Christmas and New Year celebrations for most, it’s a good opportunity to take a step back and turn a critical eye to your squash performance over the past year. In this two-part article we’re going to take a look at how you can go through and evaluate all the key areas of your game, and then consider how you can start building a plan to tackle your weaknesses head-on in 2020!

Continue Reading »

Good habit forming for improvements

2nd December 2019

I have become quite interested of late in the subject of habits and read some interesting studies around the subject. How parts of the brain are able to be formed and shaped differently with some simple good daily habits. I believe that good practice of daily habits can have a beneficial effect on your game of squash in the bigger picture and this article will look to explore this phenomenon deeper.

Continue Reading »

10 New Years resolutions to help improve your health and performance

26th November 2019

New year, new you! This is the time of year when mood is good and motivation high, with many players setting themselves commitments and targets for the coming 12 months.

Continue Reading »

Mental freezing in squash – Overcoming the yips

28th August 2019
match mentality

‘The yips’ is a phrase first coined in the world of golf but has a now become a cross over term to many sporting disciplines. The best definition of the yips that I have found is “a state of extreme nervousness that causes a golfer to miss an easy putt.”

Continue Reading »

Mindset for returning the serve

20th May 2019
returning the serve

All too often I see players not getting into the right frame of mind when looking to return the serve. I believe this moment, right before the ball goes into play, is a key few seconds that players need to try and be more mindful about.

Continue Reading »

Building the Mental Game

9th November 2018

When I ask athletes and coaches to make a list of mental skills they often look at me in shock as they usually don’t know what to put on it. It’s easy to list the shots you can play in squash, the types of physical training required and what you are meant to do as part of your recovery. Listing the mental skills in sport and in squash, in particular, is likely something you haven’t done before.

Continue Reading »

Go with the flow!

22nd June 2018

Most squash players whether amateur or professional, can recall having at some point played a match where everything just seemed to come together; where winners were rolling off the racket, movement was smooth and effortless, and the mind was free and clear. This state of ‘flow’ is actually a widely studied psychological concept and, while difficult to harness, is something that if embraced can be hugely beneficial not just to your sporting performance, but – if the psychologist behind the theory is to be believed – also to your general happiness and satisfaction in life.

Continue Reading »

Decision making in squash

27th March 2018

Elite performers in sports such as squash are often lauded for their ability to play the right shot at the right time. While what is deemed the ‘correct’ shot may differ from player to player or coach to coach, it is certainly a key indicator of high level players that they have good decision making skills, that consistently result in a successful outcome. For those trying to improve their squash the ability to improve their decision making is thus an important factor, yet many players find it a difficult area of their game to consciously develop.

Continue Reading »

How mental fatigue can affect your squash performance

5th January 2018
mental fatigue

Squash is a tough enough sport as it is, never mind when your evening game/training session has been preceded by a long day at the office.

Just about every player at every level will have at one time or another blamed a loss on work/social/family stresses while lamenting their poor performance, but is there any actual real evidence to support the validity of this oft-used ‘excuse’?

Continue Reading »

Squash tactics: Learn how to read the game

17th November 2017
read squash game

When you watch top-level squash, or any sport, executed with grace, flow, timing, rhythm and skill do you ever wonder “how are they able to do that time and time again so effortlessly?”

Continue Reading »

Your 5-point squash pre-season checklist!

26th September 2017
squash pre-season

We’ve already been treated to some outstanding early season matches on the PSA tour in China, France, and Hong Kong. With Autumn creeping in it’s now the turn of dedicated club players up and down the country to start getting back into the swing of things, as club box leagues and county league team squash begin kicking into gear for the new season.

To make sure you’re prepped for the coming season and ready to hit the ground running, check out our 5 point pre-season checklist:

Continue Reading »

Mistakes I made and lessons learnt!

20th April 2017

I’m still asked about whether I miss playing professionally and most people who ask, have a preconceived idea that I do. To their disappointment, I usually explain how happy I am and how fortunate I’ve been to play the sport I love but am also completely content never to play competitively again. I feel this satisfaction stems from the fact I’ve made mistakes throughout my career but always managed to work through them and learn more from the struggle – I have no regrets.

Continue Reading »

The power of red

22nd February 2017
the power of red

Watching the Olympics 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!

Continue Reading »

Physiology & sport: The art of dominance

27th January 2017
dominance in sport

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.

Continue Reading »

Accepting constructive criticism to improve

7th December 2016

One of the hardest things to take is criticism – of yourself or other people – especially when it is justified. The fear of failure and actually admitting failure is counter to so many defence mechanisms we have and are needed to achieve success in sport. I found myself being fully open to any constructive criticism during my training periods but then closer to my tournaments and during those events; I would be fully focused on my strengths and (most of the time) ignore any criticism.

Continue Reading »

Trying new ideas, and being open to change

18th November 2016
variety in squash

It can often be difficult for people to let go of closely held beliefs as regards technique, training and fitness, as new ideas can challenge people’s comfort zone and (perceived) knowledge of what can be pretty dogmatic subjects. This rigidity however, can often be detrimental to progress.

Continue Reading »

Keeping a training diary

7th October 2016
training diary

If you speak to most top athletes in any sport, you’ll find that they (or their coaches) will keep a record of all of their training sessions they’ve completed, as well as a schedule for their workouts planned days, weeks, and even months in advance. While it may be difficult to be that detailed and specific with your records as an amateur player, getting into the habit of keeping a simple training diary can be a great way to provide some clarity to your programme and keep you engaged. It can also give you a useful mental advantage in regards to your preparation for matches when you reflect back on the work you’ve put in.

Continue Reading »

Mental agility and strength

22nd September 2016
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. I know this from the early part of my career when I had a very limited game and relied heavily on physical and mental strength. So how can you get mentally tougher?

Continue Reading »