Archive for the 'Training and Drills' Category

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In a previous post, I discussed the concept of Competitive Performance Mentality. I got a lot of positive feedback from people saying that it was a simple and easy way to ‘extract’ themselves from the self-analysis process. Today’s topic is perspective. Champions have a different perspective than their non-champion colleagues.


Perspective is in the eye of the creator of that perspective!

3 Components Of A Champion Perspective Continue reading ‘Perspective’

Competitive Performance Mentality

In previous posts, I introduced the concepts or orientation, attributions and other psychological variables to help you think, perform like a champion. The next step is to assess your mentality. Your Competitive Performance Mentality to be precise. It’s a concept I picked up in a great book called The Sport Psych Handbook.

Continue reading ‘Competitive Performance Mentality’

Mastery By Metrics

In business, I call it Management By Metrics, but in sport I guess I should call it Mastery By Metrics. The question is “How do you know how well you’re playing?” Today’s post is one of the ways I do it as an elite squash player.

These photos are self-evident, but the question for you is how do YOU know how you’re progressing? What feedback mechanisms do you have in place to gauge progress and development?

Squash Racquet Strings Usage Comparison

Squash Racquet Strings Usage Comparison

You want to consider this on an on-going basis so that whenever the opportunity arises, your Reticular Activation System (RAS) will pick up on it.

Squash Racquet Strings Usage Close Up View

Squash Racquet Strings Usage Close Up View

In future posts, I’ll share additional feedback mechanisms I use. Of course if you have some you’ve used in other sports, by all means share them with me so I can share them with our readers!

Water Tips For Serious Athletes

We’ve all heard it before “drink more water”. What you may not know, is that by the time you’re thirsty, your performance has already been negatively affected. That means if you’re serious about your performance, you have to include drinking more water. I’ll discuss other types of drinks in future posts, but for now, let me give you an additional tip that I have to be honest, really surprised me.

Men’s Health Magazine (November 2009) reported that in The Journal of Sports Sciences a study quoting that cyclists who actually wrote down their drinking strategy consumed 55% more water than those who didn’t. A drinking strategy for a cyclist can be be as simple as “the mouthfuls art the 15, 25 and 35 minute marks or at the 10, 40 and 50 Kilometers.” For a squash player, it could be “drink a full glass one hour prior to my practice/match, then half a glass on my way to the court, then 2 mouthfuls in-between each game, then a full bottle after the practice/match”.

Just having a drinking strategy can make a big difference – try it out and see what happens! Of course it may just improve your performance by a few percentage points, but in squash, that’s 1 point per game and y’know what? I’ll take it!

Too many people are looking for the BIG BANG solution, when very small, easy steps can add up to produce BIG RESULTS.

Stick with me and this blog and you’ll see how easy it really can be if you actually DO THIS STUFF!

Psst! still not sure if drinking more water can help you lose weight? <- Click on the hyperlink and see how easy it can be!

The Mindset Of A Champion – Get It From A Champion!

A friend sent me a link to a 2-day Squash Bootcamp with Former World #1 and current World #8 David Palmer in Sydney next week, January 6 and 7 2010.

David Palmer Squash Champion

David Palmer Squash Champion

Of course I jumped at this rare, one-time opportunity. The reason I’m blogging about it is because if you know anyone who’s an avid competitive squash player, this is a rare opportunity to spend time ON THE COURT with a WORLD CHAMPION… Send them this blog post link.

That’s it for today – stay tuned for some of the lessons I learn from David…

Match #1 2009 World Masters Games

I know you’re on pins and needles, so I’ll get right to it. I arrived VERY early for a friend’s match that was scheduled before mine… Seriously – the first match started with a lot of nervous energy that is symptomatic of the first and early morning matches. I won it 11-9 which is a little deceptive since I had a comfortable lead throughout the game. I came out with a plan and stuck to it, I was just a little nervous which is normal. I knew I would settle into my rhythm.

Continue reading ‘Match #1 2009 World Masters Games’

Match #3 2009 Australian Masters Squash Championships

Today’s result – a long, well fought 5-setter. I’ll save you the drama. The match was won fair and square by my competitor who was better than me on the day. I didn’t lose, he earned the victory and I learned priceless lessons.

As I keep saying, we’re reasons or we’re results. This match and competition was a GREAT RESULT – it ‘ranks’ me as #12 in Australia, which puts me way ahead of my development schedule and confirms I am training properly as I ascend through the rankings.

Some people (non-champions) think RESULTS means winning, but that’s often not the case. It quite often is about IMPROVING so that you can eventually ‘win’. In my case it’s not even about winning because as I’ve mentioned before, I am not aiming to win the World Championship, but to get into the top “16” in the world. When I get to that point, I will have reached what I consider to be my equitable and optimal ‘RESULT’. In case you didn’t read the blog posts about this – my opportunity costs are much too high to devote the time and effort to trying to beat people who do this for a living and have a 30 to 40 years head start.

Plus – it’s still just a black ball in a white room that you have to hit before it bounces twice…

Anyway, amongst the many lessons (there are more than I list below) I learned, I’d like to share the following with you as my gift for supporting and following me on my journey.

Lesson #1: Continue reading ‘Match #3 2009 Australian Masters Squash Championships’

Play By The Rules

I need your help – I am looking for the most up-to-date Squash rule book or video. If you come across a website that has them, please let me know. The only two sources I have found so far are noted below. I would like to find an e-book that explains all the rules graphically that I can sell on this site for other squash fanatics like me. We all need to get better at INTERPRETING the rules. Thanks in advance for your contribution!

Pilates Video

Last week, I explained how I increased my speed, agility and quickness with a 5-minute Pilates exercise… An exercise I promised to show you. Here it is. It’s self-explanatory – enjoy!

This is compliments of Bruce Hildebrand – B.App.Sc.(HM)
Bruce is co-director of Balance & Control Pilates Studio in Melbourne and Consultant Strength Coach to the Australian Ballet School.  With a lifelong involvement in sports, Bruce holds a degree in sports-science, international certifications in Pilates and is the Australian pioneer of the revolutionary Franklin Method®. With 10 years Pilates experience, Bruce presents to related industries his teachings of Imagery and Movement incorporating both Pilates and the Franklin Method® at Conferences in Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and the UK.  His clientele range from Olympians, Masters Athletes, Elite Athletics, AFL, A-League and Tennis players, Models and TV stars.
Balance & Control Pilates Studio offers internationally trained and experienced professionals to deliver proven medical-research-based and results-oriented Pilates exercise to accelerate your back pain reduction, core strength, postural pain and flexibility so you will excel at your chosen daily activities.

Pilates Exercise To Increase Squash Speed, Quickness And Agility

Pilates Preparation For Greater Agility, Quickness and Speed

Squash is one of the fastest sports that relies on agility, quickness and speed. Agility to move to different places on the court, quickness to react to changing situations shots and opponent tactics and speed to actually get to the ball. With this in mind, a friend and Pilates specialist Bruce Hildebrand of offered to give me a Pilates session.

Here is an excerpt from the feedback I gave him the day after I did only some of the exercises he suggested. He gave me two “blue squishy balls” to work with – both which ‘exploded’ within 10 minutes of use – soon to be replaced…


I played yesterday after getting through the foot part of the exercises and my partner noticed I played well – My feet were definitely more ‘lively’ and responsive than usual. My movement wasn’t at peak since I had several days without playing, but I know what my return to the court feels like and this was much better. BECAUSE I had more responsive in my feet, my balance and anticipation were keener and sharper, reducing the reaction delay – giving me more time to get to the ball. Fractions of a second count. They count psychologically as well as physically – building confidence to get there.

The other aspect is less fatigue by the end of the match. My opponent today was much less fit than I am,  but I still had less soreness on my feet after one hour of ‘pounding the floor’ so-to-speak. Squash players are notorious for having bad feet. Mine are fine because I started playing as a mature adult, but they still get their workout. I sensed yesterday that they (1) didn’t feel sore or tired during the games and (2) recovered much more quickly yesterday that today’s expected sensitivity is non existent.

So I am definitely a ‘convert’ to Pilates.

I am looking forward to learning more exercises and acquiring more quickness, agility and speed.

This is yet another example of what I call the 1 Percent Improvement Doctrine and antimimeticisomorphism in action. Pilates is one of the last places a squash player will look to improve quickness, agility and speed. An exponentially minded champion seeks ALL avenues and gauges each by the RESULTS they produce – simple as that.

I will, over the next few weeks, explain and illustrate in more detail some of the exercises Bruce has been teaching me. Today’s post was to introduce you to Pilates if you didn’t know what it was all about. NEXT WEEK’S POST will have the exercise video for you… Stay tuned!

At this stage of the process, I know very little – all I care about is RESULTS. Now that I know I can get INSTANT RESULTS, I want to and WILL learn more.

Welcome to the 1 Percent Improvement Doctrine where RESULTS replace REASONS for not achieving.