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We Know What Is Said About Practice and Perfection

Published: 22 May 2008 - 10:16 by raystrach

Updated: 23 May 2008 - 08:41

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Practice makes Perfect is a well known phrase just about anyone in just about any endeavour would have heard. I personally prefer the less well known but more correct, Perfect Practice makes Perfect.

But if we are going to get pedantic, what the hell is practice and what is perfect. Or maybe that should be practise. what is perfect anyway, and what we we call it if we saw it.

i consider myself fortunate in that i have always practiced in practice. this might seem self evident, but for some, practice is no different from a competition match. they are still trying to win. I am trying to win as well, but it is a different game. Not the game or match at hand, but winning the improvement game.

This attitude has helped me become a far better player than I was even 5 years ago. Even though i was paying better squash 20 years ago when I was at my best, my skill level now is far superior now.

I can honestly say, that i have never gone onto the court in practice and not been trying to work on some part of my game. This was probably helped by the fact that I was so hopeless when I first started, that i really needed to improve, just so I could actually carry on a rally. Yes, I was that hopeless.

Winning the practice game provides a very short thrill. Winning the improvement battle is probably more like winning the war. But this is where it becomes tricky.

What do we need to practice?

The answer is tricky and there is probably no absolutely right or wrong answer. The more pertinent question is, what improvement can I make which will have the biggest positive impact on my game. Maybe you need to ask others whose judgement you trust, that very question. has unmatched resources to help you in that process.

You may wish to do some drills which might specifically address the weaknesses you are trying to improve. That would be ideal. If you are only playing games, you need to be constantly aware of the issues which you are trying to improve, and analysing outcomes briefly after each rally and between games.

Do this on on consistant basis , and the changes you achieve over time, will make their way into your competition game automatically, which is what you want to happen.

You will play at your best when things are automatic, so don't expect brilliant results from your practice game.  You might just be losing one squash battle in order to win the main Squash war.

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From rippa rit - 23 May 2008 - 08:38   -   Updated: 23 May 2008 - 08:41

The points mentioned above are correct, and of course must be taken in context of course. 

I have noticed that some players are expecting perfect practice to happen by looking at top shots of top players and expecting to be able to repeat the technique on court, and feeling disappointed when it just does not seem to happen.  Changes do not happen overnight. You must get on the court, and don't be scared to make some mistakes, and feel useless and awkward too as we do - remember our first "ghosting" session, and feeling an absolute idiot.  That idiot feeling did not change by watching others, it changed by getting on the court, setting out a plan on "how to do" and trying to do it.  Then correct little fragmented bits over each practice session.  Yes, the session was not perfect.  So, what are we saying then, as some of our messages could be very confusing to a newbie player.  Remember, anything new always feels wrong and awkward, even if it is correct.  So, the following suggestions may help put the words of wisdom in perspective:

  • Get a picture in your mind of what you are trying to do.
  • Get together a checklist in your head/notes, of the key words, in order of importance/priority of how the stroke/technique needs to be performed.
  • Keep checking during the action (freeze) to see if it is in accordance with your ideals.
  • Once one aspect looks ok go onto the next most important/priority and join the two key aspects together, and so on.
  • Then join them all together and repetitiously strike the ball (start from a static position, and then gradually move into automation).  This link to Strokes/Movement will give a good idea of how to start the process.

Then, try to put into practice your own evaluation of play, take your checklist and watch a good match or video, and try to identify with the key points that you are trying to put into your own game, eg racket preparation, racket head control, balance, lunging, etc. .  You too can then become a good critic.

Watch a video of your own practice session will also be helpful.

I hope this makes sense as you try to groove in your perfect practice; relax and enjoy.





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From Adz - 22 May 2008 - 18:35

I've said it on other threads and I'll say it on this one....... Practice does NOT make perfect...... Practice makes PERMANENT!


To improve your game you need to practice the RIGHT things over and over again, and as Ray says in the main post, you will see things begin to become an automatic action that you hardly need to think about.


What you don't want to do is practice poor technique over and over again or the only thing you'll end up with is MORE poor technique!





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