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Do you choke?

Published: 01 Feb 2009 - 11:51 by rippa rit

Updated: 11 Feb 2009 - 08:57

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Rippa Rita`s championship squash tip

When you choke everything gets restricted, yeah? Simply put, a limited supply of air and oxygen will travel to the lungs, brain and muscles, so they become starved. You don't have to turn blue to be starved for air!

Maybe it should be called "strangle" rather than "choke".  Now, with a good visual picture of "choking" in a match, you will have a better idea of why you have difficulty operating/playing well.  This will now give you a remedy to get relief, and then be able to put your foot on the "accelerator". Does this make sense?

If, suddenly, seemingly easy tasks/strokes become impossible, loosen up, put that oxygen back into the blood stream/muscles, engage the brain, and bingo, what a difference it will make to the play.

If you still don't quite understand check out this analogy Squash Library/Mental Skills/Arousal

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From rippa rit - 11 Feb 2009 - 08:51   -   Updated: 11 Feb 2009 - 08:57

aprice - it sounds as though you got anxious to win and panicked, especially as the match started to slip away. Your head/mind at this time probably lost focus and started a dialogue which caused you to lose confidence, eg I am going to lose this match, the opponent is playing better, I don't know what shots to play, I better slow down to make sure I do not make errors, I only need one more point etc.. Obviously your game plan was working to be up 8:3. There can be a tendency to change the plan that was working without realising it, eg stop attacking with the idea of not making an error, and that then gives the opponent more time, or maybe just keep hitting the ball back but not really putting any pressure on the opponent, freezing when doing drop shots and either hitting the tin or hitting the ball too high. Remember too, your opponent has nothing to lose when down this far, to just put their head down and tail up and try their hardest; and this strategy can cause rushing making touch shots more difficult, and the rallies longer. The longer the rally goes the more anxious you become, then comes the short breathing - a viscious circle. Next time, just forget the score (match ball is just another point), keep focussing on good length, the corners, making the opponent run, don't change the plan, keep volleying, throw in a surprise serve, no errors.

A few questions come to mind as well, which you may not be aware, eg did the opponent change their game at 8:3 and either speed up or slow down, relax and forget the winning and just play without any pressure, play more short shots (boasts, drops) when you might have been expecting length.

It is very frustrating. However, to be able to work through this mental game, you do need to try to understand what actually happened, so you can be more aware of what to do next time. Did you lose those last five points, or did the opponent win them with smart play?


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From aprice1985 - 11 Feb 2009 - 07:11

I was pondering this today as i failed to close out a match at 8:3 in the 4th, to win 3-1 and ran out of time, i must have had 6 or 7 shots to finish it and jsut didn't manage it.  How much of it was tiredness and how much psychological and lacking the tactical nous to finish the rallies i don't really know.  My opponent upped his game but one good serve should have had him, i was feeling rushed and should have takena deep breath and concentrated on the serve rather than rushing to make sure i had time for the serve.  On the plus i managed not to lose my temper today and chillax a bit!

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