Heading into the Off-Season

29th April 2016

Now is the time of year when (northern hemisphere) players start to slow down with their squash and look outdoors to different physical activities. The season is almost over and the summer leagues have yet to begin.

I see it regularly with club players and first hand here in Aberdeenshire at my own club. Players who have worked so hard throughout the season to reach a level both physically and with their squash, then overnight put their racquets away for a while. They are finally happy with the performances they are putting in but then completely stop. I find this puzzling. I understand the need for change and enjoying several other different sporting activities, but to have worked so hard only to throw away the improvement, to start again on the same cycle in a couple of months seems simply ludicrous!

What can you do about it?

I’d recommend that first and foremost you keep up your squash-specific physical fitness – this seems to be the single most negative impact from stopping playing for amateur players. Staying away from the courts after a long season is fine, for a period, but you really do have to keep in shape. Following Jess’ end of season training programme – or as much as you’re able to – is a good start. This will mean when the summer training programme comes around at the start of June, you’ll be in somewhat decent shape and able to get straight into the work. Losing fitness causes massive demotivation, who wants to work out and not be able to complete the exercises – it’s not a positive experience.

Also, try and get on court occasionally or maybe play some relaxed matches or fun practice sessions. Keeping it light is important at this stage of the year in my opinion, as you want to be recovering from the season just past. After a few weeks of mainly physical training and light squash practice, I’m sure you’ll be in much better shape for the summer leagues or to start your preparation for next years season.

So, although ideally you’ll be feeling strong and wanting to play squash, I realize there is a need, especially for amateurs, to take a decent length of a break from the court. Try, if you can though, to keep your fitness levels up (or even improve them!) before you start properly getting back into the game, whether it’s after a 2,4 or 8-week break. Good luck!


Peter Nicol

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