Squash is a game of high pace and intensity. The ability to move powerfully around the court and accelerate rapidly onto the ball is a key prerequisite to playing at a high level, yet is an element that is often neglected or trained inadequately. Want to learn how to better develop explosive movement? Read on for our SquashSkills 3 Top Tips to Boost Your Power & Acceleration.
Don’t Skip Skipping
We’ve highlighted the value of skipping for the squash player on SquashSkills on a number of occasions, due to its convenience and versatility as a conditioning tool.
In regards to enhancing your power, skipping is a great foundation plyometric exercise – plyometrics being an advanced power-developing training method. While holding significant value on its own, skipping is also an introduction to plyometric training and a great first step toward bringing some of these high-level drills into your conditioning programme.
Plyometric exercises work by exploiting the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC), where stored energy is exploited via the elasticity of the tendons to generate ‘spring’ like power rapidly and efficiently, rather than just through the use of force produced via the muscles.
The quick, bouncing action of skipping utilises the SSC at a lower impact level than some of the more complex plyometric drills, and is much quicker and simpler to include in your training. We have a number of skipping routines on the SquashSkills Training App that you can try, that work a variety of squash-specific durations and patterns.
Build Your Strength
Strength is an essential precursor to power – the kind of explosive acceleration force that we’re referring to when we use the word ‘power’ in this context, is actually more technically termed as ‘speed-strength’.
If you increase your strength, then you will increase your capacity to produce force. Producing force rapidly through the lower body and into the floor is how we move quickly off the mark, so by extension the more force we generate then the more potential we have to be able to move faster.
Getting in the gym and incorporating a comprehensive resistance training programme into your schedule, will help improve your force production and make you a more explosive athlete. As you become more experienced in the gym, you can start better tailoring your strength programme to enhance power development by introducing blocks of reduced levels of resistance, with an increased speed of action.
Master the Split-Step
Beyond developing your physical capacity, significant enhancement in your power can also be driven through improving the actual technique of your movement.
The ‘split-step’ is used by high-level squash players to be able to move powerfully away from the T and drive forcefully onto the ball. It involves rhythm and timing, allowing for optimal efficiency in that crucial first step. Squash movements are very often no more than 4 or 5 steps, so channelling your physical power most effectively within that first take-off is an integral part of bringing everything together.
B.Sc.(Hons), CSCS, NSCA-CPT, Dip. FTST
SquashSkills Fitness & Performance Director
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