Squash News From Around The World - Serious Squash

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A couple of blog posts ago I wrote about the troubling state of squash in many countries across the globe. Today I'm going to write about a way that we can all pitch in to make the game a little stronger and that's by purchasing a Squash TV membership.

I should start off by stating that I do not work for Squash TV nor am I associated with them in any way whatsoever. In fact I've been trying to get some footage from them to analyze for Squash Shots and have offered to pay for this, but I haven't heard back. So my opinion in this post is purely my own and the only interest I have is in promoting squash and to see it flourish. I have had my own Squash TV membership for as long as I can remember and some years I watch it more than others, but I will never cancel it.

I recently did a poll on the Serious Squash Instagram account and only 40% of the people who answered it had a current Squash TV membership. I'm going to try and do some research and figure out why the 60% don't have one. My guess is that they don't want to, or can't afford to spend the money. Or perhaps some people get enough squash from Youtube or don't care about watching full pro matches and tournaments. I know there's a few things about professional squash and Squash TV that could improve and if more people subscribed we would be doing our part to make that happen.

The quality of the production and the amount of matches filmed on Squash TV is quite impressive in my opinion, especially considering how limited watching professional squash was when I was growing up. The commentating is clever, well informed and easy to listen to. The caliber of the players is also amazing and the game is constantly evolving because of the filming production and ease of access. Players, current pros and up and comers are able to make better game plans and analyze squash in a way that was not possible prior to Squash TV. But it's not only for those keen on improving their squash that I believe should purchase a Squash TV membership.

I haven't had cable in over 8 years. It's too expensive and I don't want to sign a contract for an over priced service. All I would normally watch on cable was sports and much of that is now available online. I mention this because I know a lot of people don't want to pay the monthly or annual costs associated with a Squash TV membership. Some people may even share accounts because their interest is simply in saving themselves a little bit of money. But by doing this these people are not supporting our game at the highest level and we all know there is not enough publicity or money in the pro tour.

I don't know the statistics, but if the Squash TV membership somehow doubled I imagine it would allow them to majorly increase their production value and it would be more appealing to potential sponsors and tournament hosts. Squash has always had a tough time getting on television. As as small close knit and supportive community, we basically have our own channel and by not supporting it we are also not doing our part to give back to our game and to help it flourish at the pro level. If there is no professional circuit, or a less funded one it is bad for the entire sport; I truly believe there is a trickle down effect right to your home club and for many of the members in it. Imagine if they took away the NBA, NFL or NHL and what type of impact that would have on their respective sport and the kids who look up to their role models?

Hopefully you can agree that the simplest way we can support the PSA World Tour and the professional players that are trying to make a living playing squash is by buying a membership. We can't all attend or sponsor a pro tournament, but most of us can afford to purchase a Squash TV membership. If you don't have a Squash TV membership and you're reading this I'd be curious why not. You're clearly into your squash if you're reading a squash blog. So I'm making a plea for the good of our sport to give Squash TV a try. Even if you don't want to use it this is putting money back into our sport and potentially you can purchase it for someone who would love to have an account and watch all of the matches. It's my understanding that Squash TV is run by the PSA so by supporting it you are also supporting the tour. If the PSA World Tour thrives over the next decade and beyond I have to imagine the state of our game globally will be in good hands.

Here's the link for those that want to purchase a Squash TV membership: https://psaworldtour.com/squashtv
I know it's not cheap as the monthly subscription is more than my Netflix bill. But I also have an MLB annual pass which is higher than both. I know we could all do with saving a bit of money and cutting out unnecessary expenses, but I believe this is a good cause that goes beyond our local squash club and unifies us all. If Squash TV made an extra million dollars I highly doubt it would just go into the pockets of anyone in particular, it would go back into the sport and the service and make it all that much more impressive. If Squash TV had more paying members than the Tennis Channel or NHL season pass I have to believe this is something that would get big corporations on board for sponsors and may potentially impact a future Olympic bid. We may not have the vast majority or numbers, but we can be the most dedicated and passionate!

Another great part about Squash TV is that you can go back and watch replays of matches and tournaments. There are also some old school matches featuring some of the best from the last decade. Some of my favourite players to watch are Shabana, Power and of course Ramy.

 You can subscribe to this blog by email to be alerted for future blog posts. Also, you can find Serious Squash on Youtube, Facebook and Instagram for the most regular posts. Plus there is a Patreon account where subscribers receive exclusive weekly videos for $3/month. You can check it out at Patreon.com/SeriousSquash but if you are only going to subscribe to one, pick Squash TV :)

It's that time of year where people are using the start of a new year to set goals in an attempt to change a behaviour pattern. Making short or long term behavioural changes to improve our quality of life is terrific, but how often are do they last? Today I am going to be discussing the peak of of goal setting pyramids, dream goals. Dream goals do in fact have something in common with New Years resolutions and that is that most are doomed to fail. Does this mean we should not bother setting or pursuing either type of goal? Let's find out.

Through emails and Serious Squash social media platforms I get a lot of messages from players all around the world. I recently had a 12 year old boy message me and tell me how his goal was to become world champion. It made me think about what it was like when I was that age. Twenty-six years ago I was wearing similar shoes as I was extremely driven to become the best in the world (I'm the little guy in the photo below).

When I was young I kept a journal where I logged my daily training sessions and I wrote out analysis from my matches. Some weeks I was on court more than 20 hours and solo hitting for 2-4 hours at a time. Nobody told me I should do this, I just instinctively knew that I had to do more than the competition to get the results and life that I dreamed of.

It's normal for young kids to have ambitions and dreams. A lot of kids dream about being the next Lebron James or in squash, Ramy Ashour. If we look at squash for an example there are very few world #1 ranked players in the history of our sport. Let's say there's been around 40 total (just a guess). Out of 40 total world #1's ever what are the odds of any child making this select group? If I was a mathematician I imagine it would be close, but not quite impossible. Yes just like the infamous scene from Dumb and Dumber, 'so you're saying there's a chance?'

I'm guessing many of the world top athletes all had these big dreams at one point or another, but 99.99+% of us never reach our dream goal of becoming the best in the world. And for the selection few who do reach their dream goal after a decade plus of dedication what is left to drive them forwards afterwards?

This is one of the most difficult things about squash. When you're an adult playing on the PSA tour there are no weight, age or height divisions. There is always a winner or loser so we can generally definitive say who is better than who. For something like music this is far different. Who is the best musician in thew world? I would argue it's not whoever sells the most albums and it would depend on personal preference. But for sports there's less of an argument, you either are or are not world #1. Which means at the time of writing this article only Ali Farag and Raneem El Wilily can say they are living their dream childhood goals while the rest of the pack are giving everything the have to experience that glory. Although it's an amazing feat I can't imagine many kids grow up dreaming of being world #2.

So if you are a parent or coach should you support your child's overly ambitious dreams of becoming the next Ramy (pictured above)? Or should we ensure that they have something to fall back on for they inevitably fail? I recall my parents saying 'what if you get hurt?' That's what parents are supposed to do; they're supposed to worry about your future and they tend to have a lot more common sense. When you're a kid (at least for me) I didn't care what anyone else said I could or couldn't do, I was going to be the best in the world; even though as you can tell from the photo above I was one of the smallest kids in my grade. I believe I was 12 in that photo and that was take n after beating my good friend and childhood rival in the final of the U13 U.S. Open.

Breaking news, I did not become world #1. I know it's sad, my dreams which I war absolutely convinced would happen didn't. But I did get to a pretty high level because of my dedication, work ethic and passion for the game. And it's because of what I was able to accomplish I learned that if I want to do something in life I can do it if I really put my mind to it.

As I get older it's not so simple resurrecting that same type of passion and dedication for a new goal that takes over your every thought and motivates each of the daily decisions you make. This is probably why I was a pretty serious coach for the first few years. How could anyone not put their everything into trying to become the best they can? It took probably close to 8-10 years of coaching to learn how to allow kids to be kids and have fun and to understand and most importably accept that they are not all (in fact very few are) the crazy self driven kid that I once was.

As a coach I think that trying to become the best I can be is something that motivates me most similar to that young version of me who lived for squash. And I've learnt that being the best coach does not mean just knowing the techniques, tactics, etc. Being a great coach is much more about dealing with different types of people, handling challenges, planning a variety of fun engaging practices which will also enable skill development.

Let's discuss outcome squash goals for the moment. Over the past decade I knew I wasn't going to play on the PSA tour, but I still trained a lot and tried to improve my game? There is this innate curiosity about still trying to improve oneself and as you improve various parts of your game you can't help but feel like your best game of squash is still ahead of you. I have also learned how to actually enjoy pushing myself hard in training and in matches. When I was a kid that is something I was not great at.

As I got older I also have learned to accept losing better, although I'm still not too good at it. When I was young I focused so much on winning that it put a lot of pressure on me and I focused on the wrong things (the outcome vs. the process). There are a lot of factors that are outside of your control when you play squash. Plus if you want to become the best you can possibly be you have to get spanked by better players along the way. How many matches do you think Ramy Ashour lost in his entire life? And how many tins do you think he hit in his career? A LOT!!!

I know this post is a little all over the place, but I really want to focus on motivation, perseverance and dream goals. It's not always easy finding things in life that are enjoyable when you lose something that you are so passionate about or when your goals change. When I was chasing world #1 I had a purpose each day. That purpose is so motivating and inspirational and it forces you to make a lot of sacrifices. That's why I love hearing someone else tell me that they have the same dream I once had. When kids set their goals too modestly they will not dig deep and grind it out and miraculously become a great champion some day.

A number of years ago I ran a camp with many of the top juniors in western Canada. Only 1 out of these top juniors said they had a dream goal of playing on the PSA tour. Some of their dream goals were things they could already achieve and had little meaning. I was so perplexed and upset as a coach. I wasn't sure if they didn't really want to put in the work needed to get to the top level or if they only wanted to set goals they knew that they could easily achieve? A little better than mediocracy is what I believe most kids, at least in Canada are striving for these days. We aren't brought up wanting or needing to work extra hard for something and getting uncomfortable enjoying that process of the daily grind. This is why it was quite refreshing when this recent junior shared his goal.

For a few years as a child I lived with purpose where my lofty dreams fuelled me. At school or lying in bed all I thought about was squash. Why does this happen to some kids and not others? Does it have something to do with the environment or genetics? Likely it's a mixture, but as a coach there is nothing better than working with someone so motivated and driven. It's easy to spot this type of dedication and dreams in athletes. There are many parents who are more motivated for their children's squash potential than their kids themselves; this rarely ever works out and the kids eventually will lose their motivation to play squash. Intrinsic motivation, persistence and a dare to dream is what it takes and those are things that someone else cannot wish upon you.

Do you think it's healthy to have dream goals even if they more than likely won't come true? Someone has to be the next Nicol David (pictured above), why not you?

What do you do when you finally have to give up on your dream goal? That I don't have all of the answers for, but I know I didn't feel as alive and as driven to do other things with the same focus and passion. Finding new goals or passions are certainly important. Wether it's training, improving a variety of skills on or off court, taking up a new hobby or what I thoroughly enjoy it helping someone else achieve something special.

Squash was what I've been most passionate about so that's why it's hard to envision doing anything besides coaching. Squash is what made me and it's how I feel I can pay it back to other people, especially the young motivated dreamers. I can't imagine being happy doing a random job that didn't interest me and I wasn't passionate about. I know that's what most people do, but I don't know how they do it. I would never go the extra mile (or for that matter do the bare minimum) for something that doesn't interest me. If I was doing something to make a living that didn't engage me I will admit I would not hire me.

Have you ever or do you currently have a dream goal? Even if other people think they are unrealistic, what keeps you working towards your dream? Do you have someone you aspire to be like? Role models who you can relate to can be extremely motivating and this can prove that what you want to do or where you want to go too is indeed possible. And here's my take on the popular quote, you may shoot for the stars and end up on the moon. But if you only aim for the moon you may not get far off the ground. Do you use the naysayers to motivate you to prove them wrong? Do you have a team that is supporting you with your dream goal? Because if there is 1 thing I do know for sure, it's that you can achieve much more with support than you can on your own.

I wish there was a way to see what past squash champions are all up to nowadays. How many are still involved in squash? How many are helping the up and coming future squash stars (like Jonathon Power and Diego Elias or Thierry Lincou and Amanda Sobhy)? Same goes for world champions in other sports. What do these former champions do to find meaning now that their time has come and gone? I'm sure family has a big impact on this and can help put things in perspective. Even still there's a reason Tiger Woods is still out there competing and training even though he's had countless surgeries and his back is a mess. Tiger sure doesn't need the money, but something keeps him teeing it up. I bet it's still his childhood dream of being world #1 and winning majors and these goals still have a stranglehold in his life.

I suppose this is we are so transfixed by athletes who do defy the odds and end up achieving their childhood dreams. There's a long list of books which attempt to get to the bottom of how and why elite performers achieved the results they did. All top athletes begin their sporting journey with a dream and there is nothing quite as intrinsically motivating as that dream. And for a few select hard working athletes dreams do once in awhile become a reality. Someone has to be world #1 so why not you?

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It's hard to believe it's been over 3 months since my last blog post. I've still been quite active on the video side of Serious Squash on other platforms, but I do feel I need to get back to the blog more frequently in 2020. I'm going to start this trend by talking about the current state of squash.

As someone who has been a part of squash for 3 decades I have seen a lot of improvements and also some worrying signs for squash. The job the PSA does now filming the top events and interviewing the players is world class and has brought our sport forward by a substantial amount. When I was young we had a few expensive vhs tapes that we had to order and we'd watch these over and over. This was the only way you were able to watch professional squash back then.

The style of squash is something that has also improved greatly. Back in the 80's and 90's the racquets were heavy, the scoring promoted fitness and the higher tins meant the rallies and matches were generally boring and long. This began to change at least from our vhs player with players such as Rodney Martin and Jonathon Power. Chris Dittmar was also a favourite who just couldn't seem to crack the steady Jansher Khan (pictured below).

As the players become more explosive, equipment improved, the tin was lowered and the scoring was changed, attacking squash began to make a fixture in the game. All professional sports have spent a lot of their resources recently to speed up play to keep viewers tuned in and interested. This is something squash has done quite well in my opinion. That being said squash gets little attention on sports news shows or on tv. Although I haven't had cable in about 8 years now, squash is failing to reach the mainstream. Would things improve if it got into the Olympics? Probably a little, but I don't think by a lot. There are lots of sports that don't get much airtime during the Olympics and which people don't ever consider playing anyways.

Squash is possibly the toughest sport on the body. To play at a high level you not only have to maintain an insanely high fitness level, but you also need to be healthy and have good mobility. For someone who is 38 now I know the challenges of this. I can only imagine how difficult it is for the weekend warriors. People who sit around staring at a computer of their phone all week now have to exert themselves to the max. Once injuries come into play the future of that squash player is in jeopardy. This is where hardball doubles is an excellent solution and having a social network at a club can keep squash members paying their membership dues even if they are not so active on the courts anymore.

I feel like every week or so I go on Facebook and see some story about a court or squash club closing its doors. Our the numbers of people playing really declining? Should we be worried about the future of our sport? Should I be worried about my chosen career path? If I had to answer those honestly, I would have to say, yes most definitely.

Let's think about the simple math for a second. A squash court and club takes up a lot of space. Only 2 players usually book a court that could fit 20+ into a fitness class. Most courts are only booked from 5pm-8pm. There is the occasional lunch game and some clubs will have some activity on the weekends. This is not an effective business model and owning a squash club seems like one of the worst investments you could make. And I'm saying this from a passionate and optimistic squash perspective.

Is having a successful squash club no possible anymore? It certainly is, but it takes a lot of work and a major commitment from both the coach (or coaches) and the owners or board of directors. For some people they want to just exercise and have fun within their small group of friends. Others like receiving coaching and meeting new people to play with at their level. If the average squash membership in Canada (excluding country clubs) is around $80/$120 month. How much on top of that do the members want to spend on extra things like tournaments, pro shop items, coaching, etc? People who go to yoga, spin or some other class will pay around $15/$25 for a class. It's clearly a cheaper (although some would argue less fun or skilled way to exercise), but there are a pile of these types of classes available all over. Cheaper and more convenient and injures are rarely an issue for this types of low impact classes.

Those of us that really enjoy competing know that squash can take over our life. It's what we think about and are willing to spend above and beyond what is reasonable to improve. Very few of us are going to play professionally and make a living at it, yet still there is a squash core that has an addiction to learning and becoming the best they can be. Squash to me also is a measuring stick for how fit I am and it helps me live a healthier lifestyle than if I was say a golf coach where fitness was so vital to your ability to coach or play.

Many people have told me how pickle ball is the fastest growing racquet sport. That shouldn't be surprising. We've spent 1000's of hours pushing ourselves to the limits and still not quite getting the results we envisioned. There's also pressure in the expectations and the results we place on ourselves every time we step on court. I've met very few good losers at any level. When we switch to a different sport which we are somewhat competent in we can relax more and enjoy the sport for what it is. There isn't a hierarchy we have to mold into. I also have to say any new sport will be faster growing than a more deeply rooted sport.

So what do I see is the future of squash? Is there a future for squash? I feel like it's becoming more privileged again. Only fancy country clubs and schools will be able to afford to not make money on their squash programs. I do believe an excellent coach can create a sustained successful program at a given club, but there are not enough of these types off coaches that are willing to do the work for what many clubs are willing to pay. I've never made above the median national income in Canada and I certainly don't now in Turks and Caicos either. Eventually coaches have families or stop paying rent and many will either take a cushy fancy job or flock to the U.S.

The U.S. was so brutal at squash when I was young. Nowadays the U.S. is where the top paying coaching careers are. US Squash is what's keeping squash alive in my opinion. The U.S. has the resources and finance their sports far greater than most countries. They send huge junior teams to international events and the College Squash Association (a match at Yale pictured below) is basically the PSA minor league system. School squash is not only the future of squash, its squash. Most clubs aren't producing enough juniors to keep their courts booked and the bills all paid. This is why I would love to see more schools in Canada build courts and hire squash coaches. Not that many years ago there used to be a battle of the border where Ontario junior would take on the US national team and team Ontario was stronger. Eventually they caught up and now they are beating us even when we send our top national juniors.

So what is the future of squash clubs? I believe they will continually struggle and they will soon be nearly as extinct as the dinosaur. That being said I have seen some successful squash clubs and what they have done mostly well is retained top coaches who have a passion for coaching and they also have a huge social network within their club. If your squash club feels like a home away from home it has hope. As long as there are enough people that feel the same. As most Canadians will know. Goodlife chose to shut down their squash courts. I think there's 1 or 2 still fighting to keep the doors open. But it's a fact that almost all of us care more about having a successful business than a struggling one. Unless your club is run or owned by a seriously crazy squash enthusiast the future growth and success of that club must be a concern.

I also think squash clubs need to be creative. They need to have perks that keep players coming back. Maybe having a bar, a ping pong table, a badminton court, a decent gym, a sauna, etc. can all make memberships more appealing. But one of the most challenging things is getting a non squash player into the doors and having them sign up for a membership and decide to pay for lessons to learn how to play properly. A lot of us started playing because someone helped us get into it and got on court with us when we couldn't keep a rally going.

One of the clubs I grew up playing at (Ajax) used to be busy and had a lot of top players, but now it's a ghost town. Pine Valley had the largest house league in Toronto and eventually was bought out and closed. The Victoria Squash Club is another one where one of the best coaches in the country couldn't keep the doors open. There's plenty of other examples all over the world. How can we all do our part to keep squash alive? Is it dying a slow inevitable death? I haven't given up hope yet so wherever I'm coaching I'll keep trying to do my best and growing the game 1 person at a time and hopefully I'll keep some of you around the world motivated and interested in squash through this blog and from my more regular posts on Youtube, Facebook and Instagram.

Do you have some other ideas on how we can improve our sport? Should we go permanently to 2 out 3? Should we try RAM scoring? I mean really, if Rmay couldn't save our sport who can? Should we lower the tin even more? Should we change the bounce of the ball? How can squash get more attention on sports networks? How can we get more schools to get their kids to a squash club to try it out?

Do we need to promote crazier and fun types of rallies? It's boring watching a low scoring hockey, basketball or baseball or soccer game. How can we make squash more explosive and entertaining for fans? I'm all about good sportsmanship, but do we need a new explicative Jonthon Power? What is we took away lets? What if we made squash more physical? Should we promote the audience to be vocal during a point? Should we do more video replays? Should we have timeouts? Does the PSA need to do a better job showcasing their players outside of the rectangle? Do government bodies need to do a better job on promoting memberships and tournament participation? Do we just need to get the Olympics nod? We have to try something because what we are doing for the most part isn't working.

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As I prepare to head back to Turks and Caicos this weekend I thought an update on all things Serious Squash was long overdue. I've been back in Canada for 6 weeks and a lot has transpired. Let me walk you through it.

Squash Shots
I've finally got a logo and intro video produced for Squash Shots. Here they are:

If you'd like to check out what Squash Shots is all about you can do so at Patreon.com/SeriousSquash
You can register for as little as $3/month and you will receive an exclusive coaching video every Monday. You can also opt out at anytime. 

Serious Squash Custom Racquet 
I finally received my Custom Serious Squash Racquets from Harrow! I've been selling them in person and also online at SeriousSquashShop.com. Here's a pic

2019 Turks and Caicos Squash Open
I've got a lot organized for the upcoming Turks and Caicos event (see below for tournament poster). It's limited to just 32 players as we only have 2 courts. It's running from October 24 - 26. There are only 13 spots left as I write this. If you'd like to register you can do so in the Serious Squash Shop. Please email me at squash@gracewaysports.com if you would like information about local resort discounts. All participants will also receive a pair of Serious Squash/Turks and Caicos flip-flops (see below). If you are unable to participate you can purchase a pair of these beauties in the Serious Squash Shop.

Amazon Influencer
A lot of people are always asking what products I use for squash and training so I've decided to create an Amazon Influencer page. This page I've titled as 'Everything Squash' and only includes products that I currently or have previously used and recommend. You can check out the page at https://www.amazon.ca/shop/serioussquash

I'm also running an Airbnb in Turks and Caicos. If you want to take a squash holiday in Turks and Caicos this season consider staying at my place. Here's the Airbnb link https://abnb.me/DPxThVTgPZ?fbclid=IwAR0t4avctNA2MPziO-WlHA7j17Q3yPfhcO1CCAkPA5yo3-8x5dIcx_AJCJ8

You can see it has been a pretty busy summer! Back to the island this weekend. Be sure to follow Serious Squash on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube for the most regular updates! 

Have you ever wanted to travel to a beautiful island for some world class squash coaching? Now you can come train with me at the Graceway Sports Centre in Turks and Caicos on Providenciales. Graceway has 2 squash courts, a basketball court, tennis courts, a full gym, a crossfit style area and loads of various group exercise classes.

I know Turks and Caicos is expensive. The prices are in USD and the resorts are beautiful, but expensive. If your budget is tight I may be able to help. I'm currently renting a house not far from the club, which I am also subletting on Airbnb as I have somewhere else to stay when the entire house is rented out. I am also open to renting out a room or 2 to friends, families or those wanting to come down and train with me for a specified period of time.

The house is 3 bedrooms and 2 baths right on the canal. Renting out 1 room is $150/night or $900/week. If you want to stay in a small group I could rent out the 2 rooms for $200/night or $1,200/week or of course you are welcome to rent out the entire house! This is much more affordable than hotels and resorts on the island, plus you get to pick my brains about your squash game at your leisure!

Here's the link to the house if you'd like to see more information or make a reservation: https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/37522746?s=67&shared_item_type=1&virality_entry_point=1&sharer_id=17132121

Here are my coaching rates (member rates listed which is $65 for a 1 month membership):
45 Minute Adult Private Lesson - $60 or 10 for $540.
45 Minute Junior Private Lesson - $50 or 10 for $450.
* please note that if you don't join the club the lessons costs are a bit higher and you would have to pay a $15 drop in fee per day. 

I'd be happy to build a custom squash training package if you'd like to have longer daily training sessions. 

Don't forget the 2019 Turks and Caicos Squash Open is fast approaching. It's from October 24th-26th and is also going to have a fundraiser for our national junior team. Entries are limited to 32 players and so far we are almost half full. 

You can register at https://serioussquashshop.com/collections/turks-and-caicos-tournament-entry-fee

Have a fun and productive holiday on one of the most beautiful islands in the world! 
Chris Hanebury - info@SeriousSquash.com

Save the date! October 24th - 26th will be the first ever Turks and Caicos Open! Since we only have 2 courts the event will be limited to 32 participants. There will be a mens, ladies as well as a junior division. Of course Serious Squash will be a sponsor along with the local brewery, Turks Head, Harrow and Graceway IGA.

During the tournament there will plenty of drinks and food provided as well as some fun, unique prizes. Participants are guaranteed 3 matches. Matches on Thursday and Friday will start around 4pm and Saturday we will finish with a local bbq or dinner party.

During the event we will also be doing a raffle and/or a silent auction to raise money for our National Junior Squash Team! I am planning to take our team to the 2020 Caribbean Junior Squash Championships. If you have an item you'd like to donate for this please reach out to me.

Registration opens August 15th. Email me at squash@gracewaysports.com to register. I will need your full name, division, email address and payment via e-transfer or PayPal.

It's been a busy summer for Serious Squash! Have you heard about the new Serious Squash Signature Frame? That's right! Serious Squash now has it's own squash racquet! It's a Harrow Vapor model and it rocks a retro music theme. It's now in stock and available to order at SeriousSquashShop.com

Squash Shots episode 11 was posted yesterday. If you'd like to subscribe or read more about what Squash Shots is you can do so at Patreon.com/SeriousSquash

Good luck to all the Canadians participating in the World Juniors in Malaysia!

The long anticipated Serious Squash Signature Racquet is now here! It's a retro music themed style frame on the ever popular Harrow Vapor. This is one of the most popular frames by Harrow of all time, but none are so uniquely decorated. It's 140 grams and the Harrow racquets have a unique and comfortable rectangle shaped grip. Here are some pics of the new Serious Squash Signature Frame!

(guitar not included)

Like what you see? You can order one at SeriousSquashShop.com and if you're a member of Squash Shots you can get one for 10% off!

Jun 24 2019 10:17AM

Off Court Summer Training

Off court summer training has changed a lot over the years. When I was young a lot of people didn't even play over the summer, but eventually the competitive nature to get ahead in the game led to the need to train pretty much year round. 

I always enjoyed having more time to focus on training off court during this time of year. Over a 3 month window you can make a significant impact in a specific area of your training. A lot of people think they need to be fitter so they take up running or cycling. If that is an area that is holding you back that makes sense. But I believe that strength training for most squash players is what we should be focusing on. 

Professional squash players are more stronger and better overall athletes than they used to be. They aren't built like marathon runners anymore as the game is far more explosive. I know when I was younger I could do all the endurance training I wanted, but I should have done more to get on the ball faster and in a more stable position. As you get stronger you can also improve the pace you can generate and the distance you can stay away from the ball which makes the court play smaller. Additionally strength training can help you avoid injuries. So much of what should you do?  

In season I recommend 2 strength sessions per week. Obviously they may not be as encompassing as off season sessions, but it's important that athletes are not only maintaining their strength gains over the summer, but that they are increasing it during the season. A week with a competition I would probably only have 1 session early in the week. During the summer I'd like to see 3-4 strength sessions per week. Of course this depends what else you're doing and how hard you're pushing yourself. 

So what type of strength training is not good for squash players? Well you don't want to be too big like a body builder obviously. You need to maintain proper mobility without adding too much mass to carry around on the court. So when you are doing reps you would want to do 5-15 reps of most exercises. Those wanting to get a lot bigger you are looking at higher weight and lower reps. I also personally enjoy doing exercises that use a multitude of joints, so it's more geared towards core and overall body strength gains. Bicep curls are really not going to help your squash game and that's what I see most men doing in the gym.  

I remember being told when I was younger that if I didn't have a lot of time at the gym and I could only do 3 exercise I should do benchpress, deadlifts and squats. I believe this is still good wisdom. Obviously you can add in some other exercises too. Over the past couple of years I've done a lot of work with kettlebells. Swings, getups, carries, deadlifts, squats, split squats, etc can all be done with kettlebells. 

My trainer back in Canada gave me some tips when I was moving away and said to always try and include the following types of exercises: hinge exercises (like a squat or deadlift), explosiveness (which is something that cannot be done slowly), push/pull exercises and carries. The goal is to include at least one of each of those in each of my sessions. My trainer also said I should be focused mostly on the posterior chain, so doing deadlifts and swings. He said most people focus too much on squats and improving quadriceps strength and omit the hamstrings. So this summer I've been doing 2 posterior sessions per week and 1 squat session. You can obviously do squats and deadlifts in the same session if you like too. Basically all of these exercises are also keeping your core engaged and will vastly improve your core strength. 

So during the summer you could do strength sessions every second day and between those you could be on court or doing some cardio. If you're pushing yourself hard in your strength sessions you are likely getting some cardio from this too. I always tried to keep on court at least once per week in the summer, possibly twice. It was always a good time to solo hit as well because you can do this later after your strength workouts. It's also when the courts are generally quieter so it's easier to get an hour to solo hit. 

Do you write out your summer training? Or do you have a weekly routine? I definitely think this is a good time to set some goals and to understand why you're doing what you're doing. Some of my best seasons were set up from a good base of summer training that included hill sprints once or twice per week and 2-3 strength sessions and 1-2 on court sessions. The trick is how to keep some of that training going once the season begins. The question will be if your gains are sufficient enough that you only to sustain them or if you still want to see more improvement. If you're only looking to sustain you can cut back to once per week when the season hits. 
Last point is that I highly recommend working with a trainer or signing up for some strength group classes. Knowing how to do everything safely and correctly is very important. They can also push you harder than you can normally push yourself. If you're serious about your training this is a good investment. I know they are more expensive than squash coaches, but it's a critical part of the sport now. It's a tool I wish I had available to Mme when I was a junior. 

Hopefully this gives you an insight into some of the things I've learned over the years from my own training. If you want specifics it's best to get it straight from the horses mouth (a good trainer). Maybe now you'll see the importance of what it is. Or will you try and mimic Paul Coll and try out Crossfit? It's not for everyone and you already need a good strength athletic base to perform some of those exercises properly and safely. 

Okay that's it for today. Other Serious Squash updates: 
Serious Squash Signature Harrow Racquet is coming out this summer! You can check it out and place a preorder at SeriousSquashShop.com
Squash Shots is a new coaching platform where you receive weekly exclusive coaching videos from me. A subscription starts as low as $3/month and I've just posted episode 6 today. If you'd like to learn more you can do so at Patreon.com/SeriousSquash Members also get free downloads of previous released Serious Squash films and a discount on the new Serious Squash racquet. Alright time to get to my gym session! 

It's been a busy first month in Turks and Caicos. As most of you know, I've started a membership based weekly coaching video platform on Patreon. Want to see what Squash Shots is all about? I put together a short clip on some of the videos I've filmed so far. Here it is:

If you'd like to subscribe you can do so at Patreon.com/SeriousSquash

Also, the new Serious Squash Signature Harrow frame will be released soon! Preorders have already begun. This one of a kind music inspired racquet will definitely get lots of attention around your club. The Vapor is also a great model. If you'd like to grab one you can do so at SeriousSquashShop.com

Stay tuned for another update on life in Turks and Caicos...coming soon!

Squash Shots is in just its second week, but there’s been lots of progress made. I’ve set up a page on Patreon that allows people to subscribe to Squash Shots and they will receive weekly exclusive coaching videos. I will cover all areas of squash, from tactics, technique, best practices, the mental game, movement, on and off court fitness, solo drills and more.

Upcoming episodes include forehand technique, figure 8 Volleys, lunging exercises, backhand volleys nicks and more. Here’s a short clip on some of the footage I’ve collected so far:

Memberships start at just $3/month and there is no length of term commitment. If you decide to join a tier of $5+/month you can also submit requests for future video topics.

If you’re a fan of Serious Squash you will certainly love these new videos. There’s plenty of other great perks too! If you’re interested learn more at Patreon.com/SeriousSquash

Lastly, if you haven’t heard yet. Serious Squash has a signature frame coming out this summer. Here are some pics of how they’re going to look. There’s only 35 left so if you’d like to preorder one you can do so at SeriousSquashShop.com (FYI Patreon members get a 10% discount!)

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