The third lockdown has been tough for everyone, but with the government’s roadmap out of lockdown the end is in sight and the chance to play the game we love is upon us!
In the last few days England squash has released it’s expected guidance on a return to squash on the 12th of April (confirmation of which we expect from 5th April).
For many the guidance may look a little disappointing, as we are unable to play freely from the 12th. Instead, we will have to wait until 17th May before we can enter the courts with friends and old foes!
With this news, I have heard quite a bit of negativity, and understandably so! We are all desperate to get back on court, get stuck into some match play and compete. However, this isn’t going to be the case for the first 5 weeks of our return to the court. This got me thinking about mindset, how can we as squash players use this period wisely and maximise this time. Growth mindset is a theory we use consistently with our players from beginner to professional. We believe it is an essential trait for any player to have who wants to improve.
“The growth mindset definition is to belief that skills and intelligence can be improved with effort and deliberate practice. People with a growth mindset embrace challenges, overcome obstacles, learn from criticism, and seek out inspiration in others’ success.”
It will be extremely easy to look at the guidance and be angry, disappointed by its limitations on your play. However, we have had a long layoff from the game, and it will take time to regain fitness levels and skills sets so this period of time alone is a good opportunity to ease back in.
I as a coach would go further than that though and suggest using a growth mindset to examine what you could improve and achieve within this period to make yourself a better squash player. We have had a forced reset in our games from these lockdowns, this is an opportunity to really look at these and highlight some areas you’d like to improve. Set yourself some short to medium length goals through this 5-week period and beyond.
Throughout our experience with professional players from all over the globe there is one area they will all tell you has been a vital component in them reaching the level they are at, this is solo practice. It’s the one session where you can really hone your skills and focus entirely on a particular area of your game without the pressure of a match situation. Professional players will do anything upwards of 10 hours solo practice per week. Now I’m not suggesting you suddenly start putting those kinds of hours in but that really drives home the importance of solo practice.
As I mentioned earlier in this post it can be beneficial to highlight some areas of your game or shots that you would like to improve and use this time to practice them. Whether you are able to seek out good advice in the form of a local coach or even using some of the great content online can help with this journey. Perhaps start to put together your own 5-week practice plan. For me personally I have had some knee pain from Patella tendonitis, so I will be using this time to do a lot of ghosting sessions, slowly bringing the intensity up and increasing length of session. It is also a great way for me to think about my first movement from the T and movement patterns around the court both aspects I’m keen to improve upon within my game. This way I know I will be ready to play at the intensity required for competition when the time comes.
Most important of all enjoy being back on court and that feeling of striking a ball once more!
We will be releasing some great solo practice content in the form of session plans and videos on particular solo exercises throughout April and May so keep an eye out across our social media.