Come winter and the Christmas period, most inter-club county/regional squash leagues shut down for a couple of weeks, and intra-club box league activity tends to lessen. While for a lot of players this down-period is an important time for a break due to the increased seasonal family and social activities, for many other players this time of year can often just turn into a period of general inactivity, before getting back into their squash in the new year when people's schedules return to normal.

If you are one of the people who finds themselves playing less squash this time of year just due to your local club's courts quietening down through general seasonal circumstance, why not make a commitment to go through a ‘mini pre-season' to really get your game firing on all cylinders come 2017, and the resumption of your usual squash routine? Using this period to get a jump start on your opponents can be a great way to really maximise your dedicated squash playing/training time at this time of year – particularly if those same future opponents have spent their festive weeks living rather more indulgently, sitting mainly in bars or on sofas!

A lot of the more dedicated squash pros use this time of year to really get some focused training in, working on-court on areas of their game they haven't been happy with in the first half of the season, or working hard in the gym on generally topping up their physical conditioning.

You can emulate them and give yourself the best chance of hitting the ground running in January, by thinking of these next few weeks as a condensed summer training block. Why not browse some of our latest squash technique videos, and then check out some of our physical training programmes? Alternatively you could use this time to plan out and incorporate some fresh conditioning sessions into your training week, or just simply have a browse through our exercise video wall and pick out a few new exercises or drills you haven't tried before.

Of course, all that said, for some players a rest at this time of year may be exactly what they need. Players with a lot of matches in their legs, may be best served in using the Christmas period to rest and recuperate from any little niggles and sprains or strains. If you're feeling a bit beat-up and jaded from your squash, taking a few weeks out to enjoy the excesses of the festive period is no bad thing.

If you are feeling the strain but don't want to allow your conditioning to suffer by stopping completely, why not try some cross-training away from the squash court – maybe something non-weight bearing such as swimming, or try an exercise class such as Circuits or Spinning, or alternatively get in the Gym and spend some time focusing on some strength and power work. 
Whatever you choose to do at this time of year, you are best served making it a conscious choice. Taking some time away from matchplay to work on some dedicated training can be a great use of the winter festive season period, but equally, acknowledging that your body needs a little bit of a break and structuring in some time away from the court and/or some active recovery work and cross-training can be just as valuable.

The third option of course, is to meet all those Christmas party and family gathering events head-on and make the choice to get away from everything and enjoy this time of year as much as you possibly can… We here at SquashSkills obviously won't think any the less of you for that, as long as you promise to see us back here in January refreshed and raring to go!

**LOOKING FOR HELP PUTTING TOGETHER A TRAINING PLAN?** Check out our fantastic range of fitness exercisessessions, and programmes. For more info on getting your own personalised conditioning programme, browse our great training packages.


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


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