Always lose the ﬁrst game? Every club has the notorious slow starter; but in all honesty, everyone is guilty of cutting corners in their preparations for a match. The ﬁrst game is very important when trying to create your own positive momentum and crush your opponents spirits from the outset!
TIP 1: GET YOUR MIND RIGHT!
Squash is often described as ‘physical chess’, yet very few players engage their mind when they are playing. Before the ‘knock up’ you should start to build your game plan. Considering the following questions, can help:
1. What are my opponents strengths?
2. What are my opponents weaknesses?
3. What are my strengths and how can I direct them towards my opponents weakness?
When you start the ﬁrst rally you should be clear on the areas of the court you’re aiming to hit, maximising your strengths and exposing their opponents weaknesses.
TIP 2: GET YOUR BODY WARM!
Propping yourself up against the radiator for 10 minutes is not a warm up. Instead; prior to the knock up, allow 10 minutes to complete the following:
1. Pulse raiser (skipping / jogging on the spot)
2. Dynamic stretches (lunges / squats)
3. Squash-speciﬁc movements (quick, short lunges / ghosting)
The warm up is as much for injury prevention as it is performance enhancement.
TIP 3: USE THE KNOCK UP!
When knocking up, is this you?
**Hit 2 drives to yourself then x-court the ball to your player partner, proceed to think about what’s for dinner and the email you didn’t send before you left work.**
If so. Stop it! You are wasting valuable time to gain an edge over your opponent.
1. Focus on ﬁnding your range when playing the following shots: drives, volleys, drops, x-courts and lobs. If you haven’t played at least one of each shots during the knock up, you’ve missed a trick.
2. When you are not hitting, watch your playing partner. This can help you establish their strengths and weaknesses. Are they a hard hitter? Do they like to volley? Is their Forehand or Backhand stronger? Studying your opponent in the knock up will help you build a game plan, especially if you are playing at new player.
Try these tips and increase your chance of winning the ﬁrst game!
Do you have a question for Neal? Drop him an email on Neal_brooker@hotmail.com