We received a great question from SquashSkills member Benoit Tricot, directed to James Willstrop. James was graciously happy to help - as below:

Q: I am 6ft5 and weigh around 220 lbs which is I think really close to James Willstrop's height and weight. Needless to say that it takes a lot to move that big body around the court! So I have always wanted to know what kind of physical training James does to improve his movement and speed, and what are the parts of his physical training he really insists on?

A: Being tall brings some difficult challenges. Because I weigh more than many of the players I firstly try to get strong enough to carry that around the court. So I spend time in the gym working on leg strength and functional core work. This involves lunges and squats with weights. I would make sure I am strong enough first before I get in to heavy movement work on court.

Once you have built the strength then I practice the movements that are the hardest. A lot of players like to move me forward and make me twist and turn so with my fitness coaches I work out movements and speed routines to practice this. Also in many of my hitting sessions I am thinking about speed off the mark and good rotation and agility. 

I would suggest you try ghosting (build your strength by training off-court first though, otherwise your body will break down) with speed and lots of different twists and turns. During this don't think so much about endurance, but work on fast, quality movements, and give yourself rest so that you can put quality in to each set.

Good luck,


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