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Diamonds Created From Pressure

Published: 13 Jun 2008 - 01:19 by raystrach

Updated: 13 Jun 2008 - 10:56

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You would not think that in a small provincial city playing in a local club competition there would be pressure when playing in the local Grand Final. But there is.

Is can be surprising that mature people with responsible jobs which are full of pressure feel the pressure of the situation. Whether they win or lose will not make all that much of a difference tomorrow when they wake up. They won't be any richer/poorer, any better/worse looking or any more/less athletic.

It goes to show you how pressure is internal. It is between the ears.

Last night I, along with my team mates were fortunate enough to win the local Squash competition. A couple of weeks ago, we had beaten the same team (who finished on top of the table) after winning a couple of close matches. It was tight again last night.

The overall competition is not of a great standard, but what the players lack in skill, they make up for with enthusiasm. And, without exception, they were all up for the challenge of the final. I have mentioned before about Squash's ability to make every match a world championship, and the intensity of the first three matches was very high.

I find it very interesting observing these contests as it says a lot about the game and those who play it. As i have mentioned before, small things can make a very big difference. Using the right tactics can makes up for a helluva lot of skill or fitness that might be lacking.

We had a young bloke in our team (mid teens) who up until two weeks ago had never beaten his opponent. As soon as he changed his tactics to exploit his opponent's weaknesses, he turned a two game deficit into a five game victory. He employed the same tactics last night and won in three. The confidence that he gained from the first win helped him get through some tough spots, to stick to the game plan and overcome a very determined opponent. His win in straight games actually won the competition for us on the night. It all came from up top.

Our other five game winner last time, also did a little better. We devised a plan, but in the first game it was like it was his twin brother playing - the one that did not know what was going to happen. In the second, even though he was fighting his instincts to not play the way we discussed, he stuck to the task and won a tight battle. Again, the confidence surged as a result of winning that little battle, enabling him to win the last two relatively easily.  We saw the complete transformation of a player from one who could not do a thing right, to a completely confident individual, making good decisions and playing exactly to script. 

The bloke who I thought would perform the strongest, actually lost, but not before he had won it for us on the night. Two weeks ago he played a really controlled game, but this time up, he wanted to smash his opponent off the court. His opponent was determined to turn the tables from their last encounter. It was not until he was  two games down that he was able to bring his emotions under control and take a game. Again, it was his head which was the difference. In the fourth game he was repeating the dose and had the opponent at his mercy, but someting up top snapped and he reverted back to his form of the first two games. He was forced to set two to ten before regaining his composure and taking the game and the rubber.

It was great to see the three players respond well to the pressure and come through with added confidence. In each case their opponents made it difficult for them but they  were able to overcome the obstacles.

Fortunately we had the  win, as my opponent was just too strong. He was able to exert contant pressure, through great retrieval and speed about the court. I just was not capable of going with him over the course of the match. As my fitness improves, I get a little  closer, so I hope to put him under some real pressure over the next few months. As long as I can keep my head right that is.

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From raystrach - 13 Jun 2008 - 10:53   -   Updated: 13 Jun 2008 - 10:56

no worries jez

it is always more interesting when you are part of the story. well played last night.

ps i would be interested in hearing what was going through your brain last night, should you want to share it with the squash world!

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From jez - 13 Jun 2008 - 09:15   -   Updated: 13 Jun 2008 - 09:16

Great story Ray really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for the tips. Jeremy

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