Tag Archive for 'Tips For Squash'

Deliberate Practice

If you’re serious about improving at your sport (mine’s squash) you need to start practicing and training deliberately. Deliberate practice is a concept that you’ll hear a lot more about in the next few weeks and months. Anders Ericsson, an expert in Expertise and Expert Performance is the world’s penultimate specialist in this field of research. You can find the reference to this book on my Linked In Profile, look at Marc Dussault’s Reading List on my profile page – it’s on the right-hand side of the page, below the fold, which means you’ll need to scroll down to see it.

Let’s get back to deliberate practice… Simply put, it means having a SPECIFIC outcome and focus WHILE you practice. Having a deliberate intent and focus is essential for on-going improvement that I call the 1 percent improvement doctrine.

For today, just make a list of what you’re focusing on.

For your information, right now I am focusing on NOT making any unforced errors. That means I only go for the kill shot winner WHEN it is in my strike zone and I can feel I have a 90+% chance of hitting the perfect winner. If the ball is not in my ‘kill zone’, I place it strategically to keep my opponent running, off balance and force HIM to make the ERROR.

That is my deliberate practice outcome.

HOW I am doing that right now is explained in my previous post.

You can now start to see how a champion goes about practicing and training.

Share with me your lessons, victories and defeats by posting comments on this blog. I am interested even if it’s another sport!

Play to force your opponent to make an unforced error

If you’re an avid squash player, you know that one of the best ways to improve is to play with multiple players on the court at once. 4 or 5 players is manageable, 6 or more there is too much time lost waiting to get into the rotation.

I’ll talk about this multi-player strategy in a future post.

Today’s concept is about forcing your opponent to make an unforced error. To gauge your progress, only count a point if your opponent has made an unforced error. If you hit a ‘winner’ you keep the serve but don’t get a point. You’ll soon see that forcing your opponent to make an unforced error has a lot LESS RISK associated with it as a strategy.

When you can go for the kill shot, KILL IT and start the next rally. That’s what you would do in a real game.

If you play with multiple players on the court, the person WHO MAKES the unforced error gets a point and the FIRST one to 15 LOSES.

See how you go with this unique twist. I have been doing this with my partners and we have ALL improved. The shot maker still makes the KILLS when the ball is loose, but otherwise forces a few more shots to be played in the rally until a loose ball pops up.

The retriever gets to all the balls but instead of tinning, pushes the opponent to the back of the court and ‘gets back in the rally’ until he gets a loose ball or his opponent cracks and makes a mistake.

The technician focuses on technique and stamina, making sure he only KILLS the ‘perfect shot’ reducing hitting the tin and playing a high percentage game – like the pros… Wear the guy down and then go for the kill. Of course you have to be FIT to do that… This forces the rallies to be a LOT longer, 10, 20 or 30 shots are not uncommon!

This reinforces DISCIPLINE and your focus is ON NOT LOSING THE POINT rather than trying to WIN THE POINT.

All champions know this DISCIPLINE is the key to having the Mindset Of A Champion.

Have fun with this and let me know what YOU LEARN from it!