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Mental help needed

Published: 05 Jun 2007 - 06:12 by aprice1985

Updated: 24 Sep 2008 - 16:35

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I am currently playing some of the best "technical" squash i have ever managed having finally got some coaching, changed my grip to an open one and started hitting the ball well.  however i now seem to be unable to win, even against people in used to beat, obviously this is a bit annoying, i know i win most when i put the ball deep but never seem to make myself do that in matches, can anyone help me win again?

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From aprice1985 - 04 Jul 2007 - 08:20

It does sound sensible, now all i need is people to do pair routines with!  My coaching is going well and should be able to focus on it a bit but finding other people of a high enough level who want to do practice can be difficult

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From rippa rit - 04 Jul 2007 - 07:14

aprice - you worked it out for yourself.
More practice on returning the lob serves into the corners sounds like the focus for the next couple of months.
When you do pair routines start them off with a serve, so that will then give you practice at both your rallying, movement and serving.
Any problems with doing that?

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From aprice1985 - 03 Jul 2007 - 08:32

Well fitness wise this was the match that told me my fitness is fine, previously a lot of them have been so easy i have worried i have not been working hard enough in them but i played a total of 7 games tonight and feel good afterwards!  I know i have been going for shots too early even though i play best keeping the ball deep and letting my opponent try to attack but just couldn't do it.  He had a good lob serve and i kept hitting it back cross court and eventually started doing that even if it was an easy serve as i lost confidence in my backhand drive.  I hit too many of them back to myself and gave away lets or strokes, especially off the volley.

The frustration bit definitly plays a part as it just builds up as i hit more and more bad shorts and that causes even more bad shots.

Hopefully in the future i can put my game plan into action better and push my game on my opponent.

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From aprice1985 - 03 Jul 2007 - 08:30

Well fitness wise this was the match that told me my fitness is fine, previously a lot of them have been so easy i have worried i have not been working hard enough in them but i played a total of 7 games tonight and feel good afterwards!  I know i have been going for shots too early even though i play best keeping the ball deep and letting my opponent try to attack but just couldn't do it.  He had a good lob serve and i kept hitting it back cross court and eventually started doing that even if it was an easy serve as i lost confidence in my backhand drive.  I hit too many of them back to myself and gave away lets or strokes, especially off the volley.

The frustration bit definitly plays a part as it just builds up as i hit more and more bad shorts and that causes even more bad shots.

Hopefully in the future i can put my game plan into action better and push my game on my opponent.

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From rippa rit - 03 Jul 2007 - 07:18

aprice - you probably have read this article http://www.squashgame.info/articleview/98.
What has been said here could apply to your opponent too.
It takes a bit of match practice to apply yourself all the way to the finish of a match, and you will have learned something about yourself from your defeat.  By the third game there are some critical factors going around in your head, as you want to finish off the match eg
  • Anxious to win, and start thinking about the result (focus on the wrong things).
  • Fitness starts to play a part in the match, and it could be the anxiousness starts to affect your breathing (take your time and breath deep and slowly in between points to keep the oxygen going into the brain).
  • Trying too hard to finish the match off (go for the shots too soon, at the wrong time).
  • Panic and feel you are going to lose as the opponent seems to be playing better (the opponent has nothing to lose and relaxes, or even changes their game and regains their rhythm).
  • Get frustrated with yourself, and have negative thoughts (lose confidence in your ability).
  • Start to rush, and as a result change your game.
There is a combination of mental skills and tactical skills in this post.
Will you be able to handle this situation better next time now?

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From aprice1985 - 03 Jul 2007 - 06:43

I now need help with my concentration and consistency, i played tonight, one the first so well my opponent said afterwards that he was worried he would lose 3-0 and then  i lost it, i chose all the wrong shots, didn't play with any plan and lost 3-1.  How do i try to combat this and keep my focus with methods other than punching a wall so hard i nearly break my hand.  (Tried that in the past, i played better after it and then couldn't type for a day!)

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From rippa rit - 08 Jun 2007 - 09:01

aprice - raystrach has a list longer than his arm of things to do - and what you are talking about is one of them.

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From aprice1985 - 07 Jun 2007 - 21:34

Could you explain a few more solo drills, they dont seem to be explained as well in the drills section as the two person ones are.  what are some good routines and how best to do them?

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From rippa rit - 07 Jun 2007 - 15:35   -   Updated: 07 Jun 2007 - 17:21

aprice - yes, in theory what you say is right about pre or post game/gym practice.
When you are warmed up you might get down to business a bit earlier even though you have played - the games before might also give you some ideas on what you need to practice too.
The gym combined with squash will give better muscle balance.

If you do the pregame practice you will need to warm up well beforehand to get the best out of yourself and also do a bit of ghosting movements and swinging your racket to get into the rhythm.

The post practice might help to train your concentration skills too.  If your legs are weary there is plenty of solo practice where you do not have to run about too much, eg volleys and drop shots.

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From aprice1985 - 05 Jun 2007 - 22:53

Just wondering what anyone thought of solo practice either pre or post gym to make sure i keep the fitness up.  Going aftre the gym would ensure that i was tired when i was practicing just like in a match but practice before the gym should ensure i am fresh and able to hit my "best" shots.

Any thoughts?

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From rippa rit - 05 Jun 2007 - 09:46

aprice - now you are having coaching your solo practice should have improved markedly too.
Don't give up on it - keep going back and giving it another go.
Once you get better accuracy you will find the solo stuff more enjoyable and satisfying.

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From aprice1985 - 05 Jun 2007 - 08:22

The solo practice is something i am not so hot on, i find it awkward and it never really does much for me except frustrate me but some of your ideas sound good.  I know that the time aspect is one part of my problem but my coach tries to do some drills that put me under slightly more realistic conditions but the actual games do seem a bit of a step up.  I think i also need more matches as friendlies cause most of my friends who play are at a lower level than me so it is very little effort and i get lazy!  Anyone who plays at a decent standard in Norwich who wants a game let me know!

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From i like squash - 05 Jun 2007 - 07:52

sometimes change can take a little bit of getting used to. When ur technique changes or any other part of your game, initially your game may lower, but soon you will get better at the new technique and you will improve quickly.

i found this to be the case a lot with my old coach, so often he would change my game then id go and lose to someone im better than, but next time it wouldnt be the case.

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From rippa rit - 05 Jun 2007 - 07:34

aprice - sounds like you are probably  concentrating on the the technical parts of the stroking, and not on the tactics or your opponent's positioning on court..   That can be the disappointment of having coaching, when you play well and lose.  It happens to lots of players when they start to change their game, and it will settle down.
Just work through this until you can get the strokes to come naturally, and then you can put your mind onto other areas of the match.  Main suggestion at this point:
  • Solo practice until the strokes come automatically (old habits die hard).
  • The targets (will help you get your feet/shoulders in position).
  • During competition try focussing on the targets for good length - if you have the correct grip the swing should be OK and you have done solo practice.
  • If your coach has been getting you stroking the ball without any pressure (giving you plenty of time) it could be that the extra speed is what is upsetting your comp game. (The opponent sort of distracts you and makes a bit of pressure).
  • In the solo practice, set up a couple of consecutive shots for yourself, eg play a boast, then move across and drive it down the wall to length; drive one ball down and one ball across and see if you can get a rhythm going (so you get your feet and swing going simultaneously); boast and then move to the front and lob.
  • After a couple of weeks, do some simple pair routines.
Give that a go for a few weeks and let me know if that helps.

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