As an amateur player striving for improvement amidst the familiar stresses and strains of work, family, and social life, it’s crucial to learn to properly manage your time. You may not have the luxury of a clear daily schedule to work on all the multiple facets of technique and physical fitness that the professionals may have, but with a bit of foresight and organisation, you can optimise the time that you do have available to really maximise your on-court training. Check out our 5 top tips:
Maintain a Schedule
The first step to ensuring you make best use of your training time is to keep a schedule mapped out at least a week or so in advance to help keep you organised and efficient. List all of your other commitments on there, and start identifying the slots you have available for your squash-related training. Once you start thinking of your training session ‘appointments’ in the same way as other important elements in your week, you can properly manage and prepare for them.
Always Have a Plan
As well as planning out your schedule in advance, it’s important to plan out your actual sessions in advance also. Taking 5mins to map out the specifics of what you’re going to do within your session – what exercises, how many reps, how many sets, how much rest time – helps ensure you don’t waste time at the gym/squash club, while also allowing you to formulate a properly constructed session focusing on your key areas for improvement rather than throwing together a hastily conceived workout with a few random sets of ghosting/sprints/shuttles.
Not sure where to start? Check out our SquashSkills fitness session library.
While a warm-up takes up time, it’s time that is well invested. Whether you’re focusing on your squash or your physical conditioning, a solid 10-15min warm-up protocol will better prepare you for the session ahead and help avoid you spending the first half of your session cold and stiff and all the frustrations that go along with that. Think of the warm-up as a time investment to make your workout session more productive, even if it eats into your actual training time. You can also use the warm-up to add in a few movement and mobility drills, therefore killing two birds with one stone and being more efficient with your time.
Focus on the Important Things
A vague idea of ‘wanting to get a bit fitter’ and throwing in a few court sprints here and there may be sufficient when you first take up the game, but the longer you play for and the more general fitness you develop, the more you need to really zero in on what are your key areas of improvement. Take the time to really assess your game, and decide on where you need to dedicate your physical training time the most.
Add a Bolt-On
If you only have a couple of slots to play each week and don’t really have the time for devoted fitness sessions, consider utilising some ‘bolt-ons’ at the end of your court time – short, intense physical sessions that won’t take up more than 5-10 minutes. They may not be as beneficial as a full dedicated fitness workout, but you can still get plenty of bang for your buck.
B.Sc.(Hons), CSCS, NSCA-CPT, Dip. FTST
SquashSkills Fitness & Performance Director
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