Many years ago I taught squash at the college
level and I enjoyed playing the game as much as possible. Over the
years I have been mental game coach to squash players ranked as
high as #3 in the US, and I have learned a number of mental approaches
that work well with squash players. Make no mistake about it, squash
is a very mental game. The player who commands their mental powers
in the correct ways, wins more and gains more satisfaction.
How is your mind in your squash game? Do you have the levels of
focus you need? Do you have the communication skills to not get
pushed around by the opponent? Do you have the ability to remain
calm in the face of unrelenting match pressure? Do you enjoy the
battle and have the will to win?
Here are four mental strategies you can use to gain more traction
in your mental game.
- Assert Yourself And Know Your Rights: Do you let opponents
push you out of the center of the court? Do you allow them to
crowd you when you are swinging? Do you let them block you on
your way to the ball? They will do these things as long as you
tolerate them. So stop letting them get away with this behavior.
Stand up for yourself. Either hold your ground, or call for a
let. Brush the opponent back physically if need be. Even tell
the opponent in passing, "Stop blocking me". Complain to the referee.
As you stand up for yourself, not only will the opponent respect
you and yield more often, but the "word will go out" that you
are not someone people can push around. If they do, you'll stand
up for yourself.
- The Point Is Won Before It Begins: You need to learn
how to relax after each point. This period between points if your
"mental vacation". You must be able to let go of the last point,
mentally and emotionally, so you can recover, refresh yourself
and be ready to play again. Far too many players "stay wired and
intense" between points. They never let go, and they then suffer
from many performance-killing resultsmuscle tension, mental
tiredness, low energy and other signs of stress. To play at 100%
in each point, recover fully between points. This way you'll give
yourself a fighting chance to win the next point.
- Use A Laser Pointer, Not A Floodlight: To watch the
ball, don't just watch "the ball". That's too general. Pick out
a piece of the ball, and watch that. You can pick out the inside,
outside, top or bottom of the ball. Every time you strike the
squash ball, your strings are indeed touching one of these pieces
of the ball. If you choose the correct aspect of the ball to strike,
your racquet face will automatically be angled perfectly, sending
the ball precisely to your intended destination. So instead of
aiming a floodlight at the ball, use your laser pointer. Get it?
- Make Your Competitive Instinct A Weapon: If you show
the opponent how much you want to win, and how much you are willing
to fight to gain victory, you will be a force to be reckoned with.
These competitive vibes you send out will be palpable to your
opponent. They'll know you're there to win and that you mean business.
How can you do this? Pump your fist after a good point. Keep your
game face on. Never let them see you sweat after a mistake. Take
all errors and points lost in stride. Run like crazy for everything.
Make them think you will do anything to win.
Now you know how to pump up your mental game of squash better.
You have some mental strategies that will keep you calm, yet pump
you up. You have the ability to laser target your focus. You know
how to show your competitive fire and will to win. And you have
the confident communication skills that let people know they can't
push you around. Make your mind your strongest weapon out there.
Take your mental game of squash to the next level.
For a comprehensive overview of your mental abilities you need an
assessment instrument that identifies your complete mental strengths
and weaknesses. Here is a free, easy-to-take 65-item sport
psychology assessment tool you can score right on the spot.
This assessment gives you a quick snapshot of your strengths and
weaknesses in your mental game. You can use this as a guide in creating
your own mental training program, or as the basis for a program
you undertake with mental coach
Bill Cole, MS, MA to improve your mental game. This assessment
would be an excellent first step to help you get the big picture
about your mental game.
Copyright © 2014 Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on sports psychology, peak performance,
mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of William
B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps sports teams and individuals
achieve more success. He is also the Founder and President of the International
Mental Game Coaching Association, an organization dedicated to advancing
the research, development, professionalism and growth of mental game coaching
worldwide. He is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school
alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published author of books and articles,
and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports and big-time
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