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Finding Ways to Win

Published: 01 Jul 2005 - 00:04 by theguru

Updated: 08 Apr 2011 - 17:48

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A trait I always admire in those I meet is the ability to see the best in people rather than the worst. As a guru, it is a trait I work hard to cultivate even though at times it does not always come easy.

As is my habit, I equate squash with life - the time spent on court is practice for the bigger picture. A game of Squash has a life of its own and is life in minature. As I have often stated, the techniques which help improve your Squash game can be employed to improve one's self. It may also be useful to read this article on Life and Squash to help explain why, for me, this is a process that never ends.

Although I am earnest, I am also a little thick. It sometimes takes hours or even days of bashing my bald skull against a brick or concrete wall or other immovable object, before an idea, thought or piece of useless information becomes fully embedded. While this might spell disaster for most mere mortals, my extremely thick skull combined with my extremely thick skin ensures no apparent negative side effects. Or so it seems from my perspective.

If you have managed to keep with me so far, you will have realised by now, that the subject of this rambling collection of characters and spaces is not only about winning your Squash game, but winning the game of life. Please continue with this in mind.

If you have followed my progess (and I use that term advisedly) through the virutal pages of, you will know that I am presently attempting a comeback, although from where I am not certain. In the past when, say, recovering from injury, I allowed myself about 6 - 8 weeks to regain fitness and form. Mistakenly, I factored this variable into my comeback plans and goal setting.

It perhaps goes without saying that I neglected to allow for the ubiquitous Age Coefficient which compounds exponentially with age. So at 16 weeks into the comeback, I have just begun to come to grips with this sport which I know intimately, although, it must be said, as long as it in slow motion.

All the while, I have been looking for ways to win.

Of course beating an individual, who, for whatever reason has not the skill/fitness/experience/tactics/courage/tenacity either in whole or part or in combination to put up a decent fight, is of no consequense. There is no satisfaction in such a result. It is when these forces are either in balance or stacked against one that there is a chance to win. The winning not necesarily beating the opponent, but rather playing to a level at which one could not reasonable expect to better.

There arises two questions from this assertion:
  1. How does one evaluate whether the opponent was just too good forcing one to play poorly or whether one's own level of play was not good enough allowing the opponent to play better than they ought?
  2. How does one go about achieving my peculiar style of winning?

Peculiarly enough, both questions have the same answer - Awareness of self and of others. Returning to my original statements on others' qualities and my own failings, this provides the basis for the evaluation required, as one naturally tends to underestimate others and gloss over ones own weaknesses.

Whilst I cannot be prescriptive in how one goes about this individually, I can provide the process that I use to create winning habits through awareness. This is used in shorthand during a match and longhand afterwards and in conjunction with other techniques I may have written about in the past.
What is my primary weakness or failing and where does the opponent have an edge?
  • Footwork or stroke technique
  • Fitness
  • Speed/Agility
  • Concentration/Focus (and on what?)
  • Tactics - playing to weaknesses/strengths
  • Preparation
  • Pyschological/Effort

It is likely that more than one of the above will be influencing factors. At any one moment in time, we need to explore or review our evaluations to ensure our awareness is accurate. When the result is in the balance, the chances of one finding the right combination are enhanced.

Over the past 16 weeks I have been struggling wih these issues but thought I had them under control about four weeks ago. But there was one mysteriously missing ingredient. For over two weeks I could not indentify the vapourous value. In the course of any one game I could go from maestro to mug, genius to joke.

Finally, the persistant evaluation paid off. I was remaining too deep in the detail of it all when I should have been looking at the bigger picture, letting my instincts take over as if viewing the game from above, not as a participant. This allowed me to view the game whilst letting my subconcious make the decisions - the tactics, the anticipation, the movement and technique.

At last I had the freedom to win.

Unfortunately, there has been a downside. Many of the brick walls I have left battered have been attached to Squash courts and heaven knows we cannot afford to lose any more!squash game squash extras How to add images to Members' Forum posts and replies here...


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From msc - 01 Jul 2005 - 00:36

Oh yes I do like this article, particularly that bit where one may need to "step back" and let the body do the driving whilst the mind does the "backseat driving". Recently my squash form has gone from that of winning or playing at a high standard consistently to that of a "potentially good player" with "half-game length concentration" and an "inability to think about my game".....I've had a 2 week break to "re-evaluate" and re-motivate my game so I think I'll try some of the above tips at the fun tournament this weekend! Thanks!!

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