Put it into practice: Match preparation with Paul Coll

31st December 2018

We’ve had some fascinating new content on the site from world number 7 Paul ‘Superman’ Coll, looking at how he prepares himself for an important match and some of the things he does as part of his daily routine to build up to it. The aim of this article is to give you some practical tools you can take away from Paul’s advice, and help make your preparation as conducive to optimal performance as possible.

An old adage that applies very much to the squash player, is to ‘control the controllable’ – you can’t control the bounce of the ball,  the performance of your opponent, or the decisions of the referee, but you CAN control a lot of the other things in and around your preparation for a game, and how you approach the time available before you go onto court to play.

While at an amateur level you may not have the luxury of a full day to prepare yourself for a big match or tournament, there are certainly some relevant tips that can be garnered from Paul’s insights.

Nutrition and hydration play a big role, and ensuring that you both eat a good breakfast/lunch on the day of a big game as well as remember to take in a steady consumption of fluids/electrolytes throughout the lead-up, can both help make a significant difference to your physical readiness just on their own.

Paul also talks about the importance of psychological preparation, and this is an area we’ve explored in depth on the blog in the past. Even something as simple as recalling some of your best performances from memory as you travel to the venue of your game can have a very powerful effect on your mindset.

Paul discusses in the video about having a light hit during the day leading up to an evening match, and this is a staple part of many pro’s preparation routines. While getting on court during the day might not be possible, if you can get to the courts early enough before your match then a short 20-30min ‘grooving’ session can be a great way to sharpen up your shots before you go into competition mode. Try our solo session linked below, or if you have the benefit of a partner you can work with them on some basic feeding exercises.


Put it into practice

Getting in some mobility work during the day can also help keep your body strong on supply, even if you just run through a quick 10min routine on your lunch break.

Solo Practice

Solo ‘grooving’ session you can use anywhere between 8 hours to 30mins before a big match, to help sharpen your technique ready for action


Pairs Practice

Pairs feed ‘grooving’ session similar to the above, but with the addition of a partner/feeder


Want to add a physical edge?

Lower body mobility session to help open the body up and loosen off tight joints, to use in the daytime before an important match


The warm-up is crucial to preparing yourself for any physical exertion and should be an essential part of your pre-match preparation to help prime your body and mind. Check out Gary’s warm-up playlist, and download our ‘SquashSkills Guide to the Warm-up’ to help you formulate a routine that works best for you.


Related content


Check out Gary’s blog on ‘pre-performance’ routines




Some great insights here from Paul Assaiante on getting mentally prepared before a game



Watch this to get some insights from Ali Farag on why he feels a pre-match hit is so important



In this video, Laura Massaro discusses the importance of preparing for a match correctly regardless of your level


Let us know how you get on with the sessions, we’d love to hear your feedback!

Not watched the full playlist yet?

Check out the full series here and learn about clean hitting on the backhand as we dive into the technical elements of the swing and explain the key technical points that make up a successful backhand swing. 

Watch the playlist in full