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Fitness Programs

Published: 28 Feb 2006 - 18:28 by flap

Updated: 24 Sep 2008 - 12:22

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I went to South Africa for a squash comp. It was a joke, all they did was run me out of the court those guys are top top top fit. They dont play better sqaush than i do but they are much fitter than i am! i was wondering if any one could direct me to a site that offers fitness programs or if you could email me some!

thanks a million


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From rippa rit - 07 Mar 2006 - 13:31

Hi Flap - what happened to your fitness program?
Did you get started after all that info everybody contributed?
Maybe you got scared, or got analysis.
Just realised I should have referred you to our link on periodisation which probably will be a good guide to setting up the training program.

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From fxjackal - 05 Mar 2006 - 04:00

Hi All

Seems as though I have put my post into FLAPS thread.  Sorry.  Thanks for the comments .


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From hagesy - 03 Mar 2006 - 14:29

Ghosting is a great way to improve court movement and aerobic fitness which is necessary for squash.

I do not know your level but "120 stroke rally" is a great ghosting drill.  Look it up on the internet for details, it should be somewhere.

If you feel you are better than these players perhaps you are not doing enough with the loose shot your opponent gives you.  Once your opponent hits that defensive boast or whatever, it helps to hold your shot.  In other words don't hit the ball at the top of its bounce, wait for it to drop after its peak and then play your attacking shot.   Mix it up.  This takes some practice but once you have a grasp of it, it will help you no end.


Good luck.



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From rippa rit - 03 Mar 2006 - 07:38   -   Updated: 03 Mar 2006 - 07:43

Flap it seems this post has taken a different twist?
  • So, now it seems that your fitness is ok but you are slow to start up?
  • You will have a problem if you really get a good opponent, as there are not many good opponents you can give a two game start and still win (maybe, unless they are unfit)!!
  • I can relate to what you are saying and it can be a few things, some mental and some physical, eg.
    • If you are better than your opponent and think you can win, you may go on the court complacent, and not actually ready for a good fight, and give the game very little mental preparation/game planning. Therefore have a casual or lethargic attitude to the game.
    • If you have been doing physical training and the muscles are cold, a bit stiff, it can take a game to get the body warm and fluid.
    • If you have had a big meal that can make you a bit "dead" too.
    • If you have been sitting watching TV before going to squash that will not help either.
Some ideas about getting "on the ball" earlier, eg
  • Warm up well to the point of perspiration before going on court.
  • Have a hit up before the game if that is possible, or do some racket swings and ghosting movements.
  • Set a goal before the match, like "I will limit this opponent to 2 points per game" so that every point will count....take a bet with your mates to make it real.
  • Play in a higher grade to really make you knuckle down.
If an opponent is a tactical player, and maybe not so fit and mixes up the shots,it can be harder to get into the swing of the hitting and running game, so the rhythm gets out of wack.  This lack of rhythm can play tricks with your head so a dialogue starts in your head "wish this player would hit the ball" and "I am not enjoying this game" etc.  and it may take a couple of games to get them tired, or where the "fight and flight" adrenalin kicks in where suddenly the head says "I don't want to get beaten by this .....player" so away you go flat out chasing every ball.
If this is the case, It is no good playing the opponent's style of game, eg slow and placement - so it is necessary to force the opponent to move quicker, and give them less time, and this can take more concentration and effort, as you will need to generate all the power and speed of the game.  This can take effort and cause frustration too and a feeling of "who cares".

Flap, now what are you thinking?

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From aprice1985 - 03 Mar 2006 - 06:31

Firstly i agree that fitness is a major compnent of any sport, if your opponent was fitter you were beaten by the better all round player even if they couldn't hit such good shots.  If it was such a joke and you were so much better then hit dead nicks every time, if they still win then they were fitter AND had amazing returning skills!  Fitness is a skill that can be honed just like any other and is maybe even easier than raquet skills to improve so if it is your only problem it is an easy solution, gym, swim, ghost and play loads of squash.  Fill you week with a few hours of exercise of some sort a day except long endurance like a marathon and i suspect your squash will improve.  It is an area where i am quite lazy but have good "natural" fitness but shoudl work on it more.  I hate jogging as it is boring, ruins the knees and only strengthens the legs really.  Swimming is good for all round fitness but remember the white muscle, do some sprints to keep up your explosive anaerobic fitness.

being fit is key to being able to anticipate and hit good shots but mental focus is vital and can be something i lack.  When you lose concentration you can find it very hard to regain but being fitter will help, remember to just bounce a bit on your toes to help you kick off as it were.  Good positioning will be vital to be able to win, if you are well positioned you won't need so much fitness or anticipation.  Anticipation comes best i feel from playing a range of players of all different styles on a regular basis.

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From fxjackal - 03 Mar 2006 - 06:01

Thanks Slavi

You are correct with your interpretation of my post Slavi.  I cannot disagree with you.  It is as though my brain and muscles are not connected for the first two games of a match, then suddenly it all comes together.  There are no pills for this illness only hard work to correct.  In other words I step on the court after stretching etc, warming up for the game with the standard 5 minute ball knocking, stretching while opponent knocks the ball to himself a while, then spring (not really - actually I sleep) into action with the first point until the end of the first two games.  It is as though I expect the 1st 2 games to loosen me up, and kick the wheels into motion.  It happened tonight in my league game: 2 games to 0 down (9-1) in 2nd game, then I killed the opponent 3-2. 

The problem as I see it: I do not place enough load or strain on the correct muscles during warm up or before, nor do I focus on the game (mentally).  I just wait for it to drift on by.  I notice, more often than not, that I am able to play another game immediately after my game as my fitness level is good, and my game is on a far better level than the first.

Anyway, your or anyones advice / drills / routines would be greatly appreciated and accepted.


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From drop-shot - 02 Mar 2006 - 07:46

I do not want to be found as a killjoy, but if your fitness is relatively good but court movement leaves a room for improvement, well... I am sorry, but it's prety regular illness of non-proffessional players ;-)
If I was to wear your shoes I'd focus myself on improving and mastering court movement, footwork and speed... then, your feet will be in the place where you want them to be, your body will be balanced and shot selection will be just the matter of your choice. You know what I mean :)
What you're saying means that you put yourself into big troubles, so no need for opponent there. Maybe it's good time to start solo practice on court.

The second point from your post IMHO is strictly rooted into the first one, so if you'll master your footwork and body position, your reaction and anticipation will raise automatically. Just remember... on your toes, be ready to start, move fluid and efficient. Squash is not about speed jogging... Three steps each side of the court is more than enough... Just watch Lincou in action, he's one of the best athletes covering the court in minimum effort. Jonathon Power and Stewart Boswell are another great examples..

P.S. I am just an amateur player, so if anybody wants to correct me, feel free :)

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From fxjackal - 02 Mar 2006 - 06:04

Wow - there are so many good ideas and advice in this post.  Everyone seems to have entered the fray.  I have a few comments:

Point 1.  I believe my fitness levels are good.  However, my on court movement (positioning) is often poor, due to a previous poor shot or poor shot selection.  So I place myself under pressure.  Solution is better shotmaking and shot choice.

Point 2.  I have noticed (and I am not the expert) that my anticipation or reaction times (when it is my turn to play the ball) are slower than I would like.  ie.  I see the potential ball position, but continue to watch until the ball position is confirmed and then I move.  My return is then under pressure or shot is poor or poorly selected (point 1).  So I should be moving back to the T area quicker, be prepared to move quicker.  The point here is also that the first move I make is too slow, as though my muscles are lethargic, but once in motion I move quickly.  It is the first motion that is costing me.  i was speaking to one of the 1st league players and discussing drills to eliminate this.  He suggested court drills like running, forwards, backwards etc.  Any ideas?  Further the game should be played on ones toes, not on the back of ones heels.  I like the skipping idea as posted earlier.

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From drop-shot - 02 Mar 2006 - 05:31

... One thing has to be added to that mix ...
I am sure, Flap, you are familiar with the name Malcolm Willstrop. Coach of Lee Beachill and James Willstrop was asked what is the crucial thing he teaches his "students". To your surprise, he says footwork and good positioning is critical. So, if you take a look on that base of our conversation, if you would move on the court fluid and efficient, you are almost a winner. Racket skills, tactic and the otherBut what this gentlemen says in the very beginning is "speed". You must be quick to gain ability to put your feet in the right place. And then comes relaxation and self-confidence.

During the squash season you can get a lot of fitness being on court alone, practicing speed ghosting, skipping a rope in a sporty fashion (100 skips, 1 minute of break, 100 skips...), short ghosting (it's almost like regular "star" ghosting but you make only one step).

Jogging ... well ... I am the victim of jogging and false expectations towards jogging influencing fitness. There is no jogging invented that helps you in squash. If you really want to jog, use hills and valleys. But I would not recommend any marathons for sure ;-)

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From rippa rit - 01 Mar 2006 - 09:35   -   Updated: 01 Mar 2006 - 09:51

Welcome flap to the forum.  You sure stirred people into action in the forum too.  Good
  • Fitness is a topic for life I have found out, and once you get a handle on what amount of effort helps what area of your body  you will be able to work through the various components of fitness that need addressing. 
  • Ray, is trying to help you do that by asking for some further info.
  • A good contrast is when a 55 year old female, say, can thrash a 23 year old fit and fast male player it is nothing to do with fitness either which is what Slavi is sort of hinting at.
  • Fitness is better if it is specific to the individual.  But, from my observation we tend to do the things we like to do, and neglect the areas we really need to give a good "push" along!
  • Of course besides hard training there is smart stuff too, eg weight control, consideration for age, on court work, off court stuff, eg skipping, cross training and that link above should expand your thoughts.
  • I think our link about fitness is a good  read, and then you will understand why everyone is coming from different angles.
We look forward to your further input.
What would be good, is for us to come up with something that was realistic and achievable.

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From raystrach - 01 Mar 2006 - 08:11

the other thing of course is that different people respond and like different training.

it looks like viper likes going for a run. I can't run out of sight on a dark night! even swimming is better. but if you like running and it suits you, that's perfectly ok.

flap, i have a sneaking suspicion your problem may be anaerobic fitness. this is usually found out when the pace your are playing at increases. it's a liittle bit like a comfort zone once out of that zone, you just can't get your breath back quick enough.

in any case, let us know a little bit more about your situation. (and what your current playing/training entails)

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From drop-shot - 01 Mar 2006 - 08:01

Viper, look what Ray said. He just rephrased my statement. Fitness is only one aspect of squash.
And squash is a game of things being kept very simple. So if you loose, just admit that you lost, look on the things to be improved from your side but for god's sake never say offensive things towards the opponent who just beaten you. It's nothing but indulgence...

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From raystrach - 01 Mar 2006 - 07:39

hi flap welcome to the forum

can you let us know what level you play at.

skill always plays a big part in fitness. if you are the bloke controlling what is happening with skill, you need no be so fit. If you are doing the chasing because of less skill you need to be fitter. There are also different types of fitness.

i have got a strong feeling that your simple question is going to get a very complicated answer because there are so many variables. - fitness is only one aspect.

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From Viper - 01 Mar 2006 - 06:13   -   Updated: 01 Mar 2006 - 06:13

Not necessarily, they may well have been evenly matched technique wise but he may have just run out of puff.

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From drop-shot - 01 Mar 2006 - 01:00   -   Updated: 01 Mar 2006 - 01:00

Excuse me, if you were beaten on court it means you were beaten and the opponent was better. Fitness and speed is a component of squash (racket skill and footwork is another part). So, I dare to say they were better thsn you.

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From Viper - 28 Feb 2006 - 21:01   -   Updated: 28 Feb 2006 - 21:01

No secret needed : Fitness = running/jogging, run 2/3 days a week 6 k's or so, anymore and you risk injury IMO.

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