New year, new you! This is the time of year when mood is good and motivation high, with many players setting themselves commitments and targets for the coming 12 months.
Fitness and performance resolutions should be kept simple and specific if they’re going to be stuck to – ‘getting fitter’ isn’t a particularly useful goal for example, as it lacks any kind of objective measurement or time-frame. Something like ‘reaching level 10 on the bleep test by March’ is far better if your goals are endurance based, as it contains an inherent measure and time period – ‘getting fitter’ is still at the heart of it, but with a far more clearly defined outcome.
To help get you on the way with some general health and fitness targets for 2020 then, check out our 10 SquashSkills resolutions geared toward improving your on-court physical performance. Listed in no particular order – see how many you’re already doing, and how many you can commit to to kick off the new year!
Drink a pint of water every morning
Water is vital to so many functions of our bodies, yet many people leave themselves at risk of energy-sapping levels of dehydration by not properly hydrating in the morning after sleep. If you rush out the door to work with nothing more than maybe a coffee on the train, by the time you sit down and think to have a proper beverage it can be anything up to 12hrs and the previous evening since you last had a proper drink of juice/water. Resolve to drink a pint of water first thing every morning upon waking.
Complete a minimum 10-minute warm-up before every on-court match or session
Warming-up isn’t just about preventing injury, it’s about improving performance. By making time to warm-up and mobilise for 10mins before every session, you won’t just be more resilient to certain injuries, you’ll function a lot better both physically and mentally.
Include one new fruit or vegetable into your diet each week
We’ve spoken before on the site of the benefits of ‘eating a rainbow’, and all the additional vitamins and minerals this will help expose you to. There’s a whole host of nutrient-packed fruits and vegetables out there that you’ve never even heard of – take the time on your weekly shop to find a new fruit or veg that you’ve not tried before, and add it to one of your weekly meals.
Complete one dedicated squash-conditioning session per week
Finding time for a comprehensive fitness training programme can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be an ‘all or nothing’ circumstance. Get into the habit of finding time for at least a minimum one additional physical training session per week – those pushed for time can use one of our SquashSkills bolt-ons, meaning all you’ll need is barely 10 extra minutes at the end of one of your weekly court sessions. No excuses!
Incorporate a minimum of one recovery session per fortnight
Train hard, rest harder. If you’re working hard on the court or in the gym, you’ll need to find time to recover properly as well. Schedule in a minimum of two extended foam roller routines, sports massages, or swim/spa sessions per month in addition to your normal rest/recovery routine. If you don’t find time to properly look after your body than you had better be prepared to find time to nurse an inevitable injury or illness.
Keep a skipping rope in your bag, and use it at least twice a week
Don’t skip skipping! Cheap, simple, and effective – resolve to always keep a skipping rope in your bag ready to be whipped out as part of a squash-specific warm-up, or as a 10-15min session in and of itself working on rhythm, foot-speed, and endurance.
Keep a training diary
Keep a simple record of your training, your matches, and your performance levels. If you don’t keep an accurate record of what you’ve done and how you’ve performed in your workouts or match play, it becomes very difficult to judge whether you’re progressing and improving your physical and mental proficiencies. It doesn’t have to be a 1000 word essay every night, just get into the habit of jotting down a few details or thoughts as regarding your day’s training to allow you some data to go back and reflect and review upon periodically.
Get into a regular sleeping pattern, with a minimum 8hrs at least 5 nights a week
Sleep is a crucial part of recuperation and recovery, for both mental and physical performance. Resolve to get your head down earlier and focus on the QUALITY of your sleep as well as the quantity – get into a ‘sleep routine’ of winding down at the same time each day, cutting off all electrical distractions at least 30mins before, and trying to get up within an hour of the same time each morning.
No more elevators – take the stairs
Stair climbing is a great exercise for those all-important extensor muscles in the lower body, and getting into the habit of always using the stairs will help with your squash conditioning without even having to think too much about it. Already a regular stair-master? Bound up those stairs 2 at a time, to get a bit of plyo power work in!
And finally, resolve to check SquashSkills each and every day to pick up a new fitness drill or technique point to add to your matchplay/training!
With a vast library of content spanning multiple themes and disciplines and a whole host of world-class players and coaches, there’s more than enough to keep you coming back 365 days a year!
B.Sc.(Hons), CSCS, NSCA-CPT, Dip. FTST
SquashSkills Fitness & Performance Director
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