As we come in to the first days of 2018, whether you continued to play and train over Christmas or whether you took some time out to rest and recuperate, hopefully you're refreshed and motivated for the new year!

For those keen to hit the ground running with their squash for 2018, it can be a useful exercise in this period to look back over the past 12 months and take some time to evaluate. This process can help you to gauge where you are now with your overall game and performance levels, and to then assess where you would ideally like to be by this same time next year.

January is traditionally a time for New Year's resolutions, where people make well intentioned promises about things they would like to change and improve upon about themselves over the coming year.

Unfortunately the generalised, non-precise construct of many people's resolutions all too often set them up for failure. Particularly in regards to something like physical conditioning, if you aspire to improve and enhance your capabilities in this area it's important to be much more specific in respect to evaluating where your fitness levels are now, and where you want/need them to be to play at as high a level as you possibly can. After all, if you don't know where you're aiming to actually go, how can you possibly hope to ever get there?

We've got a great selection of fitness tests here on the site, and this is a good time of year to go through the testing process to see where you are exactly with your physical conditioning. You can then use those results to be able to start setting some specific, measurable goals for the levels you are targeting to attain in the short, medium, and long term.

The process can be the same in regards to your matchplay as well – think about your box league or team match results, and consider the sorts of players you're going to strive to beat this forthcoming year, or take a game off of, or maybe even just how long you want to be able to make a match last for against a certain particularly strong player. Think about the players within your club or region, and think about the performance related goals as regards those players that you feel will be most personally motivating and stretching for you.

I've always been a big advocate of keeping a training diary whatever level you play at, as I feel that the use of such a tool is critical in directly tracking and monitoring your squash performance over time – both in terms of your general physical training levels (and more specific testing results), but also in terms of keeping record of your actual on court matchplay performance. If you've kept a training diary over the course of 2017 you can use it for this process now of looking back and being able to reflect/assess in more detail of how your game has progressed and developed.

Even if you haven't, you can still take some time to reflect and think about the positives and negatives of your game and start formulating some physical and performance related goals for 2018. Whether you're in the habit of keeping a training diary or not however, make yourself accountable and take the time to at least consider and write down your primary goals for next year; It's only a goal when it's been written down and made physical - otherwise, it's just an idea.

Enjoy your Christmas and New Year celebrations, and may 2018 be a prosperous and successful one for you, on and off the court!
 

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Gary Nisbet - B.Sc.(Hons), CSCS, NSCA-CPT, Dip. FTST 
SquashSkills Fitness & Performance Director

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